The Cost of Kids

Years ago, an old college buddy called me. At the time, we had two children, and he and his wife had been married for a couple of years. They were thinking about having children.

Now, this guy was the ultimate financial planner/worrier. Even in college, he was thinking about life 40 years out and looking for ways to make more money. He sold knives, was in a multi-level marketing program, waited tables, traded stocks – all while a full-time college student.

His wife really wanted kids, and he said he did, too. But he also did the research and calculated the cost of having a child. He said something to the effect of, “A child costs one-half of a million dollars, from birth through college. That’s a lot of money, and we don’t make that much. How can we rationalize having a child?”

My first response was to remind him that God provides. I went through some scriptures (similar to what Clint Archer wrote in How Much Does a Kid Cost?). I shared how God had provided for us, and that we were never in want, despite the becoming a one-income family and adding two kids. I shared the times when we received unexpected money in the mail, from family members, tax rebates, and dividends for stocks that I didn’t even know we owned.

He knew these truths, that our God is sovereign. He knew these verses, but he still was struggling. He needed something more practical.

So, I responded to his continued doubts. I told him, “Hey, I tell you what. Don’t have a kid. Don’t have any kids, and find me in 18 years. I want to see the million dollars, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, in your bank account. Guess what? It won’t be there. Because just like God always finds a way to provide for our family when we need it, we always find a way to expand our lifestyle into our income.”


He calmly said, “That’s a good point.” And that was pretty much the end of their conversation.

Fast forward to 2012.

This couple now has three beautiful children, and one more on the way.

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