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SOURCE BabyCenter LLC
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- BabyCenter.com, the #1 pregnancy and parenting mobile and web destination worldwide, today released its 2013 U.S. Cost of Raising a Child report, which examines the rising cost of having a baby. More than 1,200 BabyCenter.com moms completed the survey, which found that parents spend an average of $13,000 per year on their kids. So it's no surprise that 66 percent of moms feel that parents spend too much on their kids – a 22 percent increase since 2012 – and couples are worried about having enough money to start a family.
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"Children are expensive, but couples aren't letting that hold them back from starting a family," says Carmen Wong Ulrich, a BabyCenter.com financial expert. "They are exploring ways of saving that they may not have previously considered, like moving back in with their parents or accepting money from in-laws. This can be a good short-term solution for couples to get them started, but they need to make sure they are taking the necessary steps to eventually become financially independent."
All in the family
Expectant moms would like to save at least $4,500 before their baby is born, and some are turning to their parents for help. In fact, 10 percent of moms admit to living with their parents to save money in order to start a family. And the family support doesn't stop once the baby is born – nearly 30 percent of moms said they received financial help from their parents or in-laws during the baby's first year.
"Budgeting for baby is one the biggest challenges new parents face," said Wong Ulrich. "A new baby can drastically alter a family's financial status, and parents need to be prepared." A budget tool such as BabyCenter.com's Cost Calculator is a great way for new parents to get insight into their finances and start planning for independence.
Getting pregnant isn't cheap
Today it's not only raising a child that saps parents' wallets – even getting pregnant is a huge expense. Close to 50 percent of moms are spending money on products or services to encourage pregnancy, and it's adding up fast. From ovulation kits to vitamin supplements, women trying to get pregnant spend close to $500 to help them conceive.
"It can take couples up to six months to conceive and all those prenatal vitamins, ovulation kits, and fertility tests can be costly," said Wong Ulrich. "We also have to take into account that some couples need fertility treatment such as IVF or other medical interventions. The average cost of assisted reproductive techniques is $12,400 for a single try, which can be a real budget buster."
The Affordable Care Act is bringing big changes. BabyCenter answers moms' biggest questions about this legislation as well as helps moms figure out which essential items are now covered and how to get insured.
Planning for maternity leave
Half of BabyCenter's expectant moms say they plan to take three months off for maternity leave, and nearly 80 percent of them would take a longer maternity leave if they could. Though dads would like to have paternity leave, few get significant time off for it, and nearly 40 percent head back to work after just one week.
"Since paid maternity leave is rare, most new moms end up using a combination of short-term disability, sick leave, personal days, and unpaid family leave to take time off from work to care for their newborn, which takes a chunk out of the cash flow," said Wong Ulrich. "To ease financial concerns during this time, parents should aim to save up at least three months' pay ahead of time. This will offset the paycheck that won't be coming in and provide a cushion in case of any emergencies."
Most families are feeling optimistic
Though moving home and getting financial support from their parents may not be their ideal, the vast majority of moms are very optimistic about their future. Nearly 70 percent say they will be able to provide more for their children than they had growing up and the number of moms worried about having enough money to raise their children has declined approximately 10 percent in the last year.
Analyzing family spending: Where is the money going?
Parents admit to spending nearly $13,000 each year on their children, but where exactly is the money going? "Housing accounts for a large percentage of parents' annual expenditure," says Wong Ulrich. "Whether parents plan to renovate a room, expand their home, or move to a larger house, housing takes a big chunk of parents' wallets."
Childcare is another big drain on parents' bank accounts, especially working parents who need to arrange for daycare and after-school care. The remaining funds are allocated for transportation, food, entertainment, healthcare, and clothing.
For more information on BabyCenter's 2013 U.S. Cost of Raising a Child report, please visit http://www.babycenter.com/child-cost.
About BabyCenter® LLC
BabyCenter® is the voice of the 21st Century Mom® and modern motherhood. It's the #1 pregnancy and parenting digital destination worldwide, reaching more than 35 million moms monthly in 11 languages across 14 owned and operated digital properties from Australia to India to China. In the United States, 7 in 10 babies born last year were BabyCenter babies. BabyCenter is the world's partner in parenting, providing moms everywhere with trusted advice from hundreds of experts around the globe, friendship with other moms like them, and support that's remarkably right at every stage of their child's development. BabyCenter also works with some of the world's most prominent brands and institutions to provide life-stage marketing solutions and a direct line to highly engaged moms. BabyCenter is a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.
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