|Kerching: prices are rising|
Initially the sum seemed way over the top to me, but on closer inspection, they are not that outlandish. The biggest two elements - making up more than 60 per cent of the total - are education and childcare. The education element assumes a child is going to college and the parents are picking up the tab, which may or may not be the case. For childcare, a large chunk of the £62,099 racked up over 21 years is accounted for by the assumption that your child is in full time nursery care from six months until they go to school. For many parents, this is simply not the case. One or both of them, may take shorter hours to spent more time with their child, so childcare expenditure is lower.
Elsewhere the costs assumed for items such as food, clothing and leisure do not seem unrealistic. That's not to say that many parents don't spend less on them. Clothing costs tumble when you have older siblings to pass on from, and not everybody has an annual holiday (here the annual allowance of £740 for your child does seem a little generous to me, especially if you're having a camping holiday in Norfolk, for example).
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It goes without saying that this economic approach does not reflect the 'payback' that parents get from their children. You can't really tally this up in pounds and pence, and it sounds mushy to even talk about it, but what you get back from children is a very tangible thing. It lifts you when you are down, it makes you laugh harder than a ticket to the latest comic sensation, and it provides a sense of purpose that can seem lacking in the daily grind. I often feel skint, but I rarely find myself blaming my children for that. When you are a family, you really are all in it together.
Predictably a lot of comments on blogs and newspapers today are from the militantly 'child free' who leap upon these stories as a way to berate parents. "It's your life style choice, so don't moan about it," they say.
As opposed to the lifestyle choice of being an intolerant prick I suppose.