Every so often, a magazine, newspaper, or yes, even a blog, comes out with a “shocking” analysis that shows raising a child is expensive. Some studies even question the decision to have children altogether, insinuating that people who have kids have somehow made a wrong choice, or at least an irrational one.
Today’s version of this theme is an infographic that asks whether raising a child is more expensive than a Bentley. If you think that raising a child is cheaper, then you clearly don’t understand how this sort of thing works.
Ironically, this infographic rubbed me the wrong way not because it has anything to do with the value of a child, but because it never even looks at the question is purports to answer. While the costs of children are broken out in dubious and nonsensical ways.
Take this quote: “Average cost of daycare in U.S. is $972 a month, but prices range from $3,582 to 18,773.”
Um, that’s not how averages work. In order for the average cost to be $972, then the range must include values below $972, or the average would be higher.
Taking typos and poorly worded statistics out of the mix, the truly phony part of this infographic is that the ONLY shows costs for children. There is no analysis of Bentley expenses whatsoever, other than the initial purchase price. Gas, insurance, maintenance? Nope, not included.
You see, the point of this infographic is to just list some of the expenses that come along with raising kids, and then saying that they are really expensive in a dramatic way in hopes that people will respond by saying, “Oh, my gosh! That’s so amazing.” More specifically, what they really want is for people to link to their infographic so that Google will view them more favorably. Instead, I’ll link to my own personal finance blog.
Kids are not cheap. Of course, their value to a kind and loving parent cannot be overstated. So, if you are going to “compare” the cost, at least make a comparison that is valid on its face.