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Parenthood: a joy, an adventure and a constantly growing expense!

Being a parent changes your life. You become an instant expert in time management. Your relationship with your partner faces new challenges and priorities. Your once-neat home becomes a minefield of toys, sporting equipment and unwashed, haphazardly strewn clothing. You’re forced to reacquaint yourself with things you thought you’d left far behind – like algebra homework, finger painting, band practice and science projects. As a parent, you soon realise that you have less spare time than ever before – and a lot less spare cash, too.

while child-raising costs have gone up by 50% since 2007, our household incomes have only risen by about 25%, which means the cost of raising children is growing at double the rate of our average incomes

Figures from the latest NATSEM (University of Canberra) Income and Wealth Report show that for a typical middle-class Australian family, the cost of raising two children from birth to adulthood was 2, 000 in 2012. What’s scary about this number is how much it has gone up in the previous decade (the same figure in 2002 was 8, 000).

And the news gets worse: while child-raising costs have gone up by 50% since 2007, our household incomes have only risen by about 25%, which means the cost of raising children is growing at double the rate of our average incomes. If the costs of parenthood have nearly doubled in just one decade, what will the dollar amounts look like in 10 more years, or 20?

Also, with the costs of parenthood taking a larger slice of the total income pie each year, where will the money come from for retirement, investment, basic living expenses and everything else? It is no exaggeration to say that for most Australians, the most important economic decision they’ll make in life will be about having a child.

Child education costs

According to the Australian Scholarships Group (ASG), a child born in 2014 will cost around $63, 000 to educate (from Prep to Year 12) in a public school in Metropolitan Australia. To educate the same child in a private school, the cost jumps to around $459, 000.

There is a common perception in Australia that sending your child to a private school will result in a much improved educational outcome. Several studies conducted in the past few years contradict this.

The costs are a bit lower for regional Australia – $51, 656 for public schools and $323, 006 for private schools. These figures include tuition and predicted expenses for transport, clothing and extracurricular activities.

Where you live in Australia also affects your child’s education costs, with Sydney and Melbourne being pricier regardless of whether your child attends a government school or a private school. Hobart and Adelaide currently boast the most affordable public education in the country (for capital cities) at around $50, 000 per child.

There is a common perception in Australia that sending your child to a private school will result in a much improved educational outcome. Several studies conducted in the past few years contradict this assertion, however.



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