(San Francisco) – August 2, 2011 – BabyCenter.com, the #1 pregnancy and parenting destination worldwide, today released its 2011 U.S. Cost of Raising a Child report, which reveals interesting insights into the mindset of today’s new and expectant parents, especially given the current state of the economy. Deciding to have a baby is a big decision for couples and waiting until the time is right is important, but if a couple is waiting until they think they can afford a baby, they may be waiting longer than expected.
“A common stressor for new parents has always been providing for their children financially, but combine that existing fear with a weak economy, and you’ve got more concern than ever before,” says Jean Chatzky, financial expert and BabyCenter.com contributor. “BabyCenter’s new study has identified what they are calling the ‘Recession Generation,’ kids who are born today into a world that is much different than just a few years ago. Recession Generation kids are used to a lifestyle where there are more moms in the workforce, smaller family sizes, and frugal shopping as a result of parents’ financial fears.”
More than 1,000 BabyCenter moms completed the survey, candidly answering questions about their finances, how money impacts their decision to have children, if they would save for retirement over their kids’ college education, and more. The report revealed several surprising trends, among them:
Money and Family Size
According to the survey, 43 percent of moms waited to start or expand their family until they felt financially stable and 61 percent of moms are worried about not having enough money to raise their children. Money concerns are strong – a staggering 2 out of 3 moms say it will affect how many children they have. Most are planning to have two children but would have three if they could afford it.
Adding to the fears of moms who are raising the Recession Generation is the recently released figure by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that a middle-income family could spend an average of $226,920 to raise a child born in 2010 to age 18, not including college. It’s no surprise that the decision of whether to have a baby is becoming increasingly overwhelming, according to Chatzky. “The recession is no reason not to have children. If parents budget and plan accordingly, they don’t need to sacrifice having a family,” she says. “It comes down to priorities."
Moms in the Work Force
We all know the landscape of the work force is changing, with one-third of moms being the primary breadwinner in their household, but are moms happy? A whopping 63 percent of moms would work less and take the pay cut if they could, while 59 percent would stop working completely in order to spend more time with their children.
“Affording a child is one thing. Opting to transition from two incomes to one is another question entirely,” says Chatzky. “Moms contemplating cutting back or leaving work altogether should practice living on one income beforehand and also use BabyCenter.com’s Cost Calculator as well as my budget worksheet to determine if it’s realistic.”
The use of coupons among moms has increased nearly 30 percent over the past four years. Moms are paying close attention to bargains and using coupons to pay for family expenses.
“Spend just 15 or 20 minutes per week couponing,” says Chatzky. “Starting with the Sunday papers, where 80 percent of the best coupons still lurk, and then branching out into the Internet can save you $1,000 a year.”
College vs. Retirement
Education is moms’ number one financial worry. Just over half of the moms surveyed have started saving for their children’s future and another 40 percent are planning to do so. However, the majority of moms (54 percent) would save for their retirement over their children’s college education, if they had to choose.
Chatzky says, “Retirement comes first. There is plenty of financial aid for college, but no one is going to finance your retirement. If you’re on track to have a great retirement nest egg by the time your kid reaches senior year in high school, you can pull some money to help pay for tuition.”
For more information on BabyCenter’s 2011 U.S. Cost of Raising a Child report and money-saving tips from Jean Chatzky, 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 destination worldwide, reaching more than 10 million moms monthly in the U.S. and more than 25 million moms monthly in 22 markets 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.
About Jean Chatzky
Jean Chatzky is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, a contributing editor for More Magazine, and a columnist for the New York Daily News. She blogs daily at www.jeanchatzky.com.
Nicole Centinaro / Sue Murphy
Coyne Public Relations