The Department of Agriculture recently estimated the cost of raising a child to be $234,900, but this does not represent the full expenditure one would assume. The USDA statistics are based on raising a child to age 17, so tack college tuition onto the $235,000 figure. The USDA estimate is what a middle-income family with annual income between $59,410 and $102,870 is expected to spend. Families that earn more than that could spend an average $389,670—not including college. A better real-world estimate that accounted for missed income, career sacrifices, and opportunity cost of not investing the money “would be closer to $900,000 to age 22 than the reported $300,000 expenditures to age 18,” said John Ward, an economist. An estimate in 2009 put the dollar amount for raising a child from birth to undergrad years at $1.1 million.

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