Picture it, my wedding day, 2007. My husband and I are making the rounds at the reception, greeting as many guests as possible as we make our way through the chaos that is our family and friends.
We're told that everyone is having a good time and that they all enjoyed the meal, etc, etc. All pretty standard banter..... until someone asks us about when we'll be having children. (Seriously, people, we'd only been married a few hours at that point!)
Our standard response for that night and for the two-plus years that followed was that we would not be having children until we could afford them.
To which many people scoffed, "If you wait to have kids until you can afford them, then you'll NEVER have them."
Ahem. Point taken.
Sure, we were warned about how our lives would change once we had a baby, but we didn't listen. Insistant that we would be exactly the same but with a new addition, we pressed on and had a baby anyway.
Thankfully, though, we did listen to all the stories of unforseen expenses involving child-rearing, which is exactly why we stuck by our guns and waited so long before even CONSIDERING the notion of parenthood.
But, given that I have an analytical mind and tend to thrive on structure and well-thought-out ideas, I do wish that I had done a little more research before pressing on.
Specifically, it wasn't enough for me to know that babies are expensive; I needed to know exactly what we'd be looking at in terms of dollars and cents.
So, here is what I wish someone had told me prior to having a baby......
The first-year expense for first-time parents?
A whopping $11,000. (And at the rate we're going, I feel as though I'm being conservative.)
Keep in mind that this total is for the first year alone, while on a reduced income due to maternity leave. Many financial experts estimate that it will cost the average middle-income family $250,000 to raise a child from birth to adulthood, all BEFORE the cost of post-secondary education.
It's difficult for me to imagine that far into the future, but it's definitely something we need to consider now, which is why we started making RESP contributions into our daughter's school fund the very month she was born.
Yes, we waited several years before having children and so we built up a nest egg that could help us with the early costs of raising a child..... but who knows what the future will bring? My husband is currently working two jobs so that we can once again fluff up our financial cushion..... although I have the feeling that we'll never reach a point where we'll be 100% worry-free.
Regardless, I think we're on the right track by planning for the future and investing as much as we can now.