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As a parent did you know how much it costs you for raising a child? The financial responsibilities of any parent can be myriad, but at the end of the day they boil down to one set of clear functions: protect, raise, educate and help one’s child grow to a healthy, functioning adult who can contribute to the world. This one sentence generally incorporates 18 or more years of dedicated support, trials, decision-making, stress, and more to help a child successfully make it from a tottering toddler all the way to a self-sufficient adult.

The basics

There is no question that parents have to provide the basics. In most countries and jurisdictions parents are actually required to provide for their children by local law. Failure to do so can land a parent in jail very quickly. This includes food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and similar basic needs of living.

Along with the physical basics, parents are also financially responsible for providing their kids with a solid education that will make them useful adults when they grow older.

The discretionary

However, just providing minimum requirements is not a pass for good parenthood. Where children need additional resources or have the ability to take advantage of an opportunity, parents should find a way to support them. This will not always be the case, as many a family has dealt with challenging economic times when prioritisation is a requirement. That said, where additional help can be provided financially, it usually should. That may be in the form of tutors, additional training classes, or extracurricular activities.

Extra-curricular activities

Programs outside of core school education are also valuable as well. They often provide the ability for children to learn new skills as well as learn how to function in a group. Sports are often the most popular, teaching kids how to work with others for goals and objectives. These programs do have costs in most cases, and kids have to pay these fees to remain a part of the given program.

Other costs for raising a child

Children and teenagers will regularly trigger other expenses that need support, so the idea of getting downtime from handling finances for a child is a myth. Instead, a parent is often called upon around the clock to solve problems or acquire new things a child wants. Unfortunately, most of these are gift or entertainment requests and have no serious value, so spending on them should be controlled.

Don’t forget a holiday

Everyone needs a break, even parents. So what better way to achieve this than by going on a holiday. The ability to relax is a great idea for getting children back into the mode of learning again a few months down the line. Holidays often mean using funds for lodgings,  food, and transportation, but the ability to bond as a family and reduce stress is, most experts agree, helpful for the long-term health of a family.

In summary

In my view, parents should avoid looking at their child’s educational cost as “yet another bill to pay.” While a good education can be expensive, the dividends are huge on a child’s success later on as an adult. Parents also need to be financially prepared for the costs of raising a child.

As I confirmed in a recent press release: “With our research showing that three out of four parents underestimate the true costs of educating their children, it is highly recommended that parents explore all the options available to them with an expert independent financial adviser as early as possible.”

Most financial advisers I hope would actively work with their clients, who would benefit from doing so, to build education planning into their long-term financial strategy to allow those individuals the best opportunities to be able to give their child or children the best possible start in life.

About Mike Coady

Mike Coady is an expat expert based in Dubai and is on hand to help with all of the above and more.

Mike is an award-winning money coach and industry leader in the financial sector.

Qualified to UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) standards, a member of the Chartered Insurance Institute, a Founding Fellow of the Institute of Sales Professionals (FF.ISP), and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors (FIoD) and featured as a highly qualified Financial Adviser in Which Financial Adviser.

To learn how to choose a great financial adviser, download our free guide.

Blog published by Mike Coady.