Kids and money, Money

Financial Independence And Kids? A Game Of Russian Roulette!

Yesterday I spent $770 in less than three hours for one kid! No, no major spoiling going on here. I paid for a medical and a dental appointment! And, because I am still employed , I get the benefit of private group insurance and it covers 100% of it. Phew. But not everybody has private insurance! Financial Independence And Kids? A Game of Russian roulette!

We all make plans assuming our kids will be healthy. You work on your financial plan, break down the projected expenses, factor in a few variables and you are all set to go. Easy peasy. NOT!

With kids, you don’t get to pick what you get! It’s like playing Russian roulette and until you “pull that trigger” (no pun intended!), you don’t know what the future holds for you.

Financial Independence And Kids : Expenses You CAN Control!

Yes, kids can be expensive! How much does it cost to raise a kid in Canada? But they don’t need to cost you a fortune. You can usually manage to keep the cost of having kid(s) under control:

  • House: If you have more than one child, you don’t necessarily need to upgrade your home, they can share a room. Growing up, we were four kids and shared two rooms (twin beds in each). We never suffered from it. My cousin has three kids (2 boys and 1 girl) and they shared one large bedroom their entire life.
  • Clothes, Toys, Furniture: You can buy everything second-hand, so easy with the internet and apps.
  • Food: By being frugal, you can keep the cost of food down even with kids. Check out what I am doing to reduce my grocery bill by 30%. 5 Proven Ways To Save Money On Groceries
  • Car: Some will argue you may need a larger car or a second one because of kids. I think it depends where you decide to live and what you need the car for.
  • College or university: You don’t have to pay for your kids’ education but you may want to help them out. Find out how I do it : Why I Don’t Pay For My Kids’ Tuition
  • Other costs may not be as controllable but you know what they are: Child care and summer camps are some of the costs that come to mind!

Related links: Baby bust: 5 charts show how expensive it is to have kids in the US today

But how about other unforeseen costs, such as medical and dental expenses you can’t plan for or didn’t think about! It could be minor amounts or not, but if you have kids, the odds are, there will be unforeseen costs.

Financial Independence And Kids : Expenses You CAN’T Control

With our three kids, here are some of the costs we didn’t necessarily expect (but in all fairness , we also did not have a plan!):

Hospital Stay & Gluten Free Diet

When my oldest daughter was almost two, she was admitted to the Children’s hospital for a week and eventually diagnosed with Celiac disease. We were relieved because one of the other alternative, based on her symptoms, was Cystic Fibrosis (a fatal genetic disease). We were also thankful we didn’t have to pay anything for her full week stay at the hospital (thank you Ontario). In the U.S., it probably would have cost us a small fortune. Since then, she has been on a gluten-free diet, which was challenging and expensive at first but much better these days, with all the gluten-free diet trends.

Dyslexia & Private Tutoring

When my second daughter entered Grade 1 and started reading, we were asked to get her tested. She was diagnosed with Dyslexia. It was the beginning of a very long and painful remediation program that involved a private tutor to assist her with her reading. I tried for two years before giving up, every night ended in a crying session for both of us. I admire people who home school their kids, I don’t have it in me. We paid a French tutor for years to help her with her reading. And because we are a bilingual family and I wasn’t going to let this stop me, we paid for an English tutor as well! She is now entering third year University and received a scholarship for taking some classes in French. (That’s my ROI!)

Sports & Injuries

My kids have always been involved in sports and, with playing sports comes minor injuries once in a while. Recently my son hurt his foot/ankle while racing (Track & Field). He has gone to several physio sessions in the last few weeks, $80 each session!

Crocked Teeth & Braces

It is pretty standard these days to get your kids’ teeth fixed for aesthetic purposes (but it is by no means a requirement!).  My three kids all “needed” braces. Thankfully, most orthodontists “offer” payment plans. My company plan does not include orthodontist reimbursement at all. Cost: $5,500 each for a total of $16,500! No, don’t tell me how much I would have today if I invested the money instead. I hope the ROI will be worth it on this one too!

Regular Dental Check-Up, Wisdom Teeth Removal & Cavities

I don’t know many kids who never have a cavity, even if they brush their teeth daily and go for regular cleaning/ check-up. The regular cleaning, check-up and sporadic cavity fixing add up quickly if you don’t have a private plan. And then add wisdom teeth removal! So far my oldest is the only one who had it done but it looks like my middle one may need that done really soon too. For all four teeth removal, it’s between $1,500-$2,000.

Mental Health & Therapy

More and more kids are dealing with mental health issues and depression. It is a real problem and, while you may think your kids will never experience it, you shouldn’t bet on it!  Check out some of the facts on how it impact Youth.

My kids are dealing with their own issues, including their dad’s death. One of them, went to see a therapist for the first time last month, over four years after he passed away, because she didn’t think she needed help then. I am glad she is finally dealing with it but each session is $130 for 50 minutes! Most plans will cover up to $400 or $500 per year, assuming you have a plan!

Major Health Issues

My examples are minor day-to-day health related costs, only to show the type of expenses you may not have thought about.

I am blessed my kids are healthy. Some parents have to deal with major health issues and their lives are forever changed, not just their financial situation.

Final Thoughts

While I understand that having kids is not for everybody, I personally can’t imagine my life without them. No matter how crazy they drive me sometimes (often!) or how much they cost me in the last 22 years! We also made some not so frugal choices for my kids in the past (competitive sports, travel overseas to visit my family), it was all worth it but definitely set me back several years on my way to financial independence.

Having kids is AMAZING and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but planning for financial independence when you have kids is more like playing a game of Russian roulette! You may get lucky but you may just kill your early financial independence dream too. The good news: You will get there eventually. I did!

Are you ready to play a game of Russian roulette? If you have kids, what were some unforeseen expenses you had to deal with? If you decided not to have kids, was financial independence/money a factor in your decision?

Financial Independence And Kids.

28 thoughts on “Financial Independence And Kids? A Game Of Russian Roulette!

  1. No kids here. I can’t say money was a deciding factor. Mrs. DD and I got married later in life (don’t tell anyone, but she is also a little older than me) and would have had to start a family right away. So it didn’t get done. I don’t think either of us have any regrets.

    p.s. I barely had time to read this post and write a comment because of all the laundry I have to do.


    1. Hi Tom, I guess it would take a while to find such a gem! Mrs DD, not you!:)
      p.s. Don’t forget to use Clorox, I may buy some of their stock.

  2. I’m going to bet my future kids won’t be college material so I save some dough 😉 haha jk 🙂

    How much was the private tutor for your daughter? Was it hourly? Was any licensing required by the tutor?

    1. Lol, that’s another way to look at it:)
      Honestly I can’t remember how much it was. We hired two teachers from the school because they were qualified (and patient)so we probably ended up paying more. It was hourly and she needed a lot of help! We also tried a learning center but it was very structured and not flexible enough to truly adapt to each kid’s need (our opinion). Otherwise anybody can tutor if you let them, no license required.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Caroline! And wow! $770 is a lot of money. I can only imagine how much more challenging it is to reach FI while having kids. I don’t have any kids but I did grow up in a family with 3 brothers. I’ve heard a lot about how expensive it is lol. You touched on a few things here that caught my attention. The mental health issue is definitely a rising issue. Regarding your question, FI does play a part in deciding to have kids for me. I really don’t feel like I have the capacity to be as good of a parent as I’d like to while working full time and having other aspirations. I guess I feel as though I have not even reached a personal level of fulfillment to move on and become interested in having kids. On the other hand, I’m always amazed at your ability to have so much going on. You run circles around me lol It’s inspiring. Hope you’re having a great week!

    1. I know I was shocked, over $600 was for the dentist alone! I always tease him that between the four of us I must be contributing a big chunk towards his vacations:)
      Mental health is a big issue for kids. And with social media these days , it is even tougher for them!
      As far as becoming a parent, I don’t think any of us are truly ready when we make the jump, but somehow we manage. But you bring up a good point, are we as good a parent as we would like? I know I try the best I can and I don’t always feel like it is enough but that’s all I can do:) Thanks Graham
      p.s.: Still waiting for the BoD to get back to me!

  4. Yeah kids are expensive. I don’t have any of my own, but everyone knows tons that do. It is quite the gift, but also has potential to be a huge financial drain. All you can do is plan ahead as much as you can and take it one day at a time. Thanks for sharing.

  5. you’re right. if it’s not russian roulette it’s at least a gauntlet. we have no offspring in our house. the bilingual part is cool. i would have gone to the rhone river valley by now if my french was respectable. oui?

    1. Rhone River? Non, non. La Normandie monsieur:)
      No offspring should get you to FIRE much faster!
      I had to learn to speak English at 20 so I thought I would be nice to raise them in a bilingual family so they didn’t have to go thru what I had to ! I can be a nice mom:)

  6. We hope to have children soon, which is both very exciting and scary at the same time. 😬 I’m sure that there will be many unforeseen expenses, but hopefully we will be blessed with healthy children and those things will be manageable. Most kids actually need very few things, especially when they’re tiny (boob or bottle, diapers, place to sleep), and I’m trying to keep that in mind as we plan ahead. I’ve also started following you and other bloggers with kiddos who seem to be on the same wavelength. Kids don’t need an Instagram perfect life to be happy. I’d welcome any tips that you and other readers have, and love following your blog!

    P.S. I’m so glad that your kiddo is seeking out therapy. It’s some of the best money I’ve ever spent.

    1. Hi, yes having kids is exciting and scary at the same time. I remember bringing my oldest one home, we were scared to drop her! We were lucky my mom came to spend the first two weeks with us. And then it just all fall into place.
      I feel like it was easier when they were younger, more running around but smaller problems:)
      Thanks for following my blog:) I have made my share of mistakes so hopefully I can be help others avoid some of the same mistakes. I would say do the best you can and you will be fine.
      p.s. I was glad she finally agreed to it too.

  7. hey Caroline

    No question kids cost money. I havent really experienced the costs to.much yet. luckily dental is covered by her work. being in Ontario is nice for the medical aspects.

    clothes are generally all hand me downs right now. college savings, sports and daycare are definately our biggest expenses at the moment.

    I had braces growing up, glad my parents paid for them thats for sure!


    1. Hi Rob, yes being in Ontario is a blessing for some of the medical expenses. Much nicer if you also have the private plan otherwise you end up paying for some of the specialists! It does add up. Thanks for dropping by.

    1. Hi FTF, “you got of easy” I like how you put it, I have so far:) 2-3k in 15 seconds! Brutal. You may want to consider moving to Canada, emergency room visits would be covered by the province! Food for thoughts?

  8. Caroline, excellent post and topic. You are doing great as a mom!

    Kid(s) means joy, worry, stress, guilt, expenses, time, tears, and everything. It is hard to raise a kid. I never got a training on how to be a mom. I wish such a formal training existed. Even a simple job provides some training, not mentioning this daunting task of parenting. As a result, I just stumbled all the way. I’m glad my kid and I survived okay.

    1. Very good point, I am glad we survived too! but it seems like this parenting job NEVER ends!
      Sometimes I wonder why they don’t have a licence/training requirement to become a parent , I mean you need one to drive a car! I guess the population would drop drastically if we did:)

  9. We have experienced any unforeseen expenses yet for Baby with Cents but I know it will be coming as he gets older. Expenses like braces and any hobbies he may getting into like sports and/or playing a musical instrument. But as long they are worth it, then we will have no problem throwing down money for them

  10. That must have been so stressful the week of hospital admission for your child- glad it is just celiac and not cystic fibrosis! Health care coverage is HUGE! Also I am grateful for private plan and work benefits. I have counselling $500 a year too, it’s so expensive but very worth it. That’s good to hear that your children are going to counseling.

    I am planning to try and work part time until my kids are all done their braces just to get benefits. Haha! Hopefully they are finished their braces sooner rather than later. My husband and I both needed braces. Orthodontists are making a kil-ling!

    1. Hi GYM, it was a very stressful week! Plus I was 7-8 months pregnant with my second one and those pull out chair at the hospital are really not that comfortable! lol
      $500 for specialists is standard for most plan and is not much when you think about it:(
      I truly think people underestimate the benefit of private insurance thru work. If you never need it, great! But if you ever do, it will make a huge difference in your wallet. As long as you enjoy your work, part-time may make sense:)

  11. You’re scaring me. Our kid’s biggest problem so far is the hearing impairment in his left ear. Hopefully, he won’t have many more problems. How did kids survives in the past? Pretty crazy.
    I’m hoping our son doesn’t need braces. I never had braces so I’m keeping my fingers crossed there. Mrs. RB40 got braces when she was an adult.

    1. Oh no! I didn’t mean to scare anybody! Of all people, I am sure you guys will be fine.
      Maybe you need to consider moving to Canada:)
      Both my husband and I never got braces but I think kids have different expectations these days. Sometimes you want what’s best for them even if not the best for your wallet:)
      Thanks Joe.

  12. You did a nice job of hitting on all sorts of expenses that can come with kids. The expenses certainly do add up! We’ve been able to manage fairly well over the years with our three kids. We’ve been lucky in that nothing too major has come up.
    For those of us that have pets that are treated like family, that’s another source of potentially large expense. Injury due to accidents, or health issues that require attention can often lead to big bills, mainly because pet insurance isn’t something most pet owners have (maybe I’m wrong?). We’ve been stung a couple of times in this regard.

  13. Kids are definitely expensive, especially when it comes to health problems. My two kids had their own share of issues, but fortunately for me, health insurance options at the time were much better than they are today.

    1. Hi Gary, health insurance is definitely a bonus particularly when you have kids. I don’t know how FI I would be without it! Thanks for dropping by.

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