‘Cost of Raising a Child’ report explores the American Dream

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Parents are still leading rich, rewarding lives

SAN FRANCISCO— BabyCenter.com, the #1 pregnancy and parenting digital resource, today released its 2016 U.S. Cost of Raising a Child report, which examines the rising cost of having a baby. More than 1,100 BabyCenter moms completed the survey, which found that parents spend an average of $13,000 per year on each child.

In 2016, 7 out of 10 moms say they are worried about having enough money to raise their kids – a 5 percent increase since last year. BabyCenter also found that 9 out of 10 moms are in debt and nearly 4 in 10 don’t see a day when they will be entirely debt free. Also, 1 in 4 is receiving financial aid from a parent or family member, and 1 in 3 is experiencing relationship issues with their partner due to working longer or irregular hours.

It’s not the traditional American Dream that 81 percent of moms said they expected to follow, but even with harsh financial realities, these parents are creating rich, rewarding family lives.

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“Given their new financial realities, parents are redefining what the American Dream means to them. Today, they are placing more value on shared family experiences and making lasting memories than on material possessions,” said Linda Murray, BabyCenter Global Editor in Chief. “Happiness is about love, not money.”

In fact, trips or moments to share together as a family are the top areas mom would be willing to splurge on, and following happiness (59 percent), moms ranked their main priorities as a good marriage (58 percent), good health (55 percent), and raising their children (52 percent). Owning a home only came in at 5 percent.  When asked what was on their lifetime bucket list, early retirement was listed slightly ahead of earning a big salary.

Rooted in relationships

“For this generation, it’s about making enough money to acquire time, not things. Their happiness is rooted in relationships, time together as a family, and experiences,” said Murray.

One of the most valuable experiences parents want their children to have is higher education. Sixty-three percent of moms selected a college education for their children as the top desire on their lifetime bucket list. And, though nearly 60 percent of moms are currently paying off their own student loans – a 21 percent increase since last year – 55 percent are putting money away for their children’s college education.

“Though the idea of the American Dream is changing, parents can still make the most of their finances by establishing a budget based on realistic expectations and learning how to manage day-to-day living expenses in order to meet short- and long-term goals,” said Andrea Woroch, a BabyCenter financial contributor. “Also, meeting with a financial planner or using a budget tool such as BabyCenter.com’s Cost Calculator is a great way for new parents to get insight into their finances so they can afford the experiences they value as well as save for the future. It may not be the American Dream that they grew up believing in, but it’s a healthy combination of merging their traditional beliefs with their financial realities.” – PRNewswire

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