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Old 04-20-2017, 08:00 PM   #461
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Everyone has to pick the level of balance he's most comfortable with and that he thinks will accomplish his goals in keeping with his values.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:16 AM   #462
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I'll wade in here, because I enjoy these threads, and think they are helpful both for those in their 30's / early 40's with kids, as well as the younger guys getting married and considering it.

Depending on the year, we have paid as much as $50k+ for child care alone. Last year it was about $35k. We use child care FSAs so get a little bit of this tax free.

Other costs I would attribute to children:

- Soccer fees, dance lessons, swim lessons, ski school, etc. Not horribly expensive because they are too young for travel sports, but still probably $2k a year.

- Insurance (I want to say health insurance is like $300 something a month for a family of four, but you also have dental on top of that). Let's say $150 a month for the kids, so $1800 a year.

- Clothing & toys (completely variable, you can spend as much or as little as you want on this).

- College Savings (we have $50k-something saved for a 7 year old and a 2 year old). We don't save every month, but generally when we get windfalls like my bonus.

- Airline tickets. This is a considerable expense for us. We fly somewhere warm every spring break (just got back from Mexico), across the country to see my family once a year, and generally a third flight for some reason (wedding, funeral, etc). Let's assume tickets average $500 each. That's an incremental $3k annually in airline tickets.

- Food. I don't know off the top of my head what this runs, but it's a big driver. Kids eat a surprising amount. Easily several thousand dollars a year.

All in, NFR's $60k a year ballpark number for two kids was probably pretty accurate for what many families on the coasts spend if both parents work. I find our costs range between $50k and $70k.

In terms of the both parents working argument, I know very few single income families on the coasts. Certainly some, but not many.

Fortunately, many of the dual income families I personally know have flexibility. Certainly, I do. I get up with the kids every morning (people talk about getting their kids up. Usually its the kids getting me up), feed them breakfast, get them dressed, and put my daughter on her school bus at 8:30. I then drive my son to preschool, dropping him off around 8:50.

In the afternoons, my daughter goes to an after school program, and my wife and I split pickup, each picking up one kid around 5:45-6pm. About half the weeknights my daughter has something at 6pm, whether swim, dance, or soccer.

The thing that is the hardest is cooking. I cook maybe 2 nights a week, but probably 3 nights we get take out. Not ideal.

My wife does all homework with our daughter, and I give all the baths while she cleans the kitchen. Then we split them up again and each put one to bed, which involves pajamas, brushing teeth, and reading stories. Usually they are both asleep around 9pm (bedtime starts at 8:15), which leaves an hour for talking / working / tv / sex. We watch tv maybe 1 night a week, max.

The big thing is having to put the little guy (2 y/o) in daycare/preschool for 9 hours or so every day. The 7 y/o actually likes the after school care (she basically gets to do art and play with friends), and is only there for 90 minutes or so.

The flip side of all of this is both my wife and I are engaged in our careers, and have considerable upside. She is a senior government executive, and will draw a nice pension one day. My plan is once the kids are all in school to try to step my career up a notch and move from mid-level corporate executive to the senior ranks. That will likely require an au pair or some kind of nanny coming to the house in the mornings (maybe 7-8:30am every day) and afternoons (4-6:30pm). Many of the people I know have this kind of situation.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:35 AM   #463
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^thanks for that, I'm in the category you mentioned and your thoughtful and detailed analysis helps. Here's to you joining the senior ranks of consulting/industry soon!
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:16 PM   #464
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Clearly tax filing season is over
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Old 04-22-2017, 09:43 AM   #465
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I felt like the last couple pages became a novel.
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