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Father Figure$ – The Surprising Costs of Parenthood!

By Alison Rockwell

Published May 30, 2018 • 5 Min Read

The infant stage is (literally!) just the beginning of a new level of extracurricular and educational expense opportunities that you’ll encounter. Don’t despair, the upside to this onslaught of investments you make along the way will inevitably churn out a happy, well-rounded, athletic child (who possibly even has perfect teeth, thanks to the life savings you spent replacing lost retainers !!)

Get ahead of the game with a disciplined savings plan, so you’re prepare for these six future childhood expenses you may not be expecting.

She Blinded Me With Science

For a while all your baby does is stare and blink. Then they start to roll around, pull themselves up, crawl, walk, run, and suddenly with that added mobility, your home can no longer support indoor activities and you need to seek activities outside your home. With our long cold winters, and endless hot summer days, every parent knows the importance of maintaining seasonal sanity. Enter the well-marketed museum/science centre/indoor play place/family gym membership intended to prey on your most frazzled of Saturday-morning-raging-cabin-fever nerves. In terms of sound childhood investments, these annual fees to stimulating social hubs, that allow you to flock with other refuge-seeking parents, may just be a dollar well-spent.

Hey Big Spender

Regardless of how genetically blessed you were as a child, the meshing of your DNA with someone else’s will result in a myriad of wonderful surprises that are in store for both you (a lefty pitcher!) – and your local orthodontist, to whom the shelling out of head-shaking amounts of take-home pay will ultimately contribute to her/his purchase of a vacation home in Tofino (don’t wait for an invite!) You’ll be astounded at the cost of manipulating your child’s teeth into even the barest of socially-acceptable smiles, and be forewarned that even the best medical/dental plans won’t cover more than a fraction of their services. So if you don’t have a great insurance plan, start setting money aside early!!

We Don’t Need No Education

The irony of mortgaging yourself to a high-threshold pain-point in order to live in a desired neighbourhood with great schools, only to find yourself shelling out the Benjamins (or, for Canadians….the Borden’s?) isn’t lost on anyone who has raised a child in today’s hyper-competitive educational landscape. You’ll soon be convinced that your once-bright child appears to have a learning disability (or you’ve been a neglectful home tutor) as Emily has entered kindergarten not fully understanding Pythagorus’ Theorem. In truth, tutoring isn’t always about the race to succeed, all kids learn differently and extra help can do wonders in aiding them with small learning hurdles and instilling confidence towards academic success. Just be prepared to pay for it. Weekly. For years and years.

Go, Go Party, It’s Your Birthday

Depending on when you were born, birthday party memories may have culminated in a grainy photo showing a backyard celebration in a wading pool with paper hats, or in more modern times, a stressed-out parent corralling a handful of hyper prepubescent boys to the latest Star Wars movie. Times have changed, and in our wonderfully inclusive society it’s now de regieur to invite everyone in class to your child’s fifth birthday, all thirty kids, lest someone feel left out. We’re all for group dynamics, but today’s celebrations have developed into an immense for-profit industry with pricey loot bags, venue rentals, rent-a-princess/superhero, nut-free-organic-gluten-free-fair-trade-non-GMO-free-trade cakes costing $100 that will barely be touched since you already shelled out another $100 on pizza and guacamole Doritos. Phew. Can we go back to the old days?

The Good Old Hockey Game

Your original intent was simply to introduce your child into a sport you loved, and hope they embraced it as you did, remembering all the positive influences sport had on your life. But, thanks to the impressive eye/hand coordination, ( that you are of course taking full responsibility for passing along from your genetic code!), your daughter is asked to try out for an elite/rep/select/advanced/invite-only hockey team while your son’s swim coach starts comparing him to Michael Phelps. Suddenly, you are not only on the bandwagon – you’re driving it. It’s a funny thing, the link between flattery and finding out you are willing to pay thousands of dollars and hundreds of driving hours to help your moderately talented child chase a higher level of sporting success. If your child is feeling the same fervor – fantastic, though fair warning, the more elevated the air, the higher the price tag.

When I Met You In the Summer

Past generations will (and do!) scoff at the state of kids camps today. While our forefathers were sent out with a tarp and two twigs and told to make shelter and fire and come back alive during their annual summer sleepover excursions, today’s versions offer wakeboarding, digital coding and extra wi-fi bandwidth, the latter available to be purchased at the camp tuck shop where they have been provided with a $500 credit. Progress comes with a cost and summer camps are no exception. Granted, some of the main benefits remain; learning how to be away from home, bonding with strangers, and if you’re lucky will also involve a screen-free canoe trip forcing kids to ‘rough it’. You’ll pay for it all regardless of the camp curriculum or how much they are coddled.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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