A few years ago I did a piece based on what was at that time a government released report on the cost of raising a child from birth to age 18.

Kevin's children Brandon & Alex (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

The figure that was used was in the neighborhood of $160,000 but in doing some additional research I now find that the most-recent U.S. Department of Agriculture Report says it’s going to cost much more than that.  How much more? How about $353,000 for a very middle-class family which does include $83,000 if your footing the bill for a public college.

If you’re in a higher income bracket the cost is greater and of course if your child goes to a private university than you can tack on another $31,000 or so.

When you hear numbers like that it’s easy to understand why more and more couples today are choosing to have small families or no families at all.  Many of us have probably had wild fantasies about all the things we could have bought, all the vacations we could have taken and all the money we could have saved if we had no children.   It’s easy to see why some believe the key to becoming rich is not to have children.  It’s just the opposite because you can’t put a price tag on:

Kevin with his daughter Alex and wife Jane (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

Feeling a new life for the first time and having someone cry, “it’s a boy” or shout, “it’s a girl.”  Counting all 10 fingers and toes for the first time.  Cupping an entire head in the palm of your hand. What do you get for $353,000?

Naming rights: first, middle and last.  Giggles under the covers every night, more love than your heart can hold.  Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds and warm cookies.

A hand to hold…a partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sandcastles and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain.  Someone to laugh yourself silly no matter what kind of day you had a work.


For $353,000 you never have to grow up.  You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek and never stop believing in Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy.

You get to frame rainbows, hearts and flowers under refrigerator magnets….hand prints set in clay for Mother’s Day and cards with backward letters for Father’s Day.  You get to take the training wheels off a bike, remove a splinter and coach a soccer team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream.

Kevin and his son Brandon (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)

You get a front-row seat to history…to witness the first step, first word, first date, first time behind the wheel.  You have the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, ground them forever and love them without limits so one day they will…like you, love without counting the cost.



For $353,000 there’s truthfully no greater bang for your buck.