BALTIMORE - You've heard about putting money away for retirement, but there's another key financial milestone for many of us.
By the time it happens, we're left with nothing in the bank.
It's having a child, and when that baby arrives, if you haven't already started setting money aside, you are behind.
Raising a child is a marathon, not a sprint, as any parent knows.
New research from LendingTree shows that having a child is getting more expensive by the year.
Raising a child from birth to age 18 now costs an average of $237,000, up drastically from 2021 when the average cost was just under $22,000.
But here in Maryland, which ranks third in the list of most expensive states, that number is even higher, roughly $260,000.
The unfortunate thing is that those numbers that we looked at, include things like childcare transportation, food and clothing. which are the basics.
We didn't even factor in things like, if you want to take a vacation, or if your child wants to join a travel soccer league, or Heaven forbid, they may want to go to college.
This big financial impact may be one reason why some adults are opting to delay or even decide not to have a child.
But LendingTree's Chief Credit Analyst says there are some things you can do now to help lighten the financial load and reduce some stress.
"Get started thinking about money right now, if you're planning on having a kid," Matt Schulz said. "Cause the earlier you get started the better off you'll be because you have no better ally in your finances than time. Time allows you to take advantage of compound interest, to save, to build a little bit of a cushion."
And if you were late to the saving game, don't panic, there are ways to still set some cash back.
There are financial resources through government agencies, religious groups and nonprofits, and even emotional and spiritual support from family and friends.
"It is important to know that that sort of help is out there and that it's OK to take advantage of it because you're doing things to help your family, help your kid," Schultz said. "And for most of us, there's really nothing that we wouldn't do to make sure that they're OK."
One to note from this study is that location matters.
While the cost to raise a child is above the average here in Maryland, we also have a fairly high income area.
So the percentage of the income spent on childcare is less than what people in lower income areas in the country spend because they are still dealing with the same childcare costs.
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