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!
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.
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?