Weekend Reading – The costs to raise children

Weekend Reading – The costs to raise children

Hi Readers!

Welcome to a new Weekend Reading edition, related to the costs to raise children.

First up, a reminder about some key posts on this site:

It’s been a tough time for dividend stocks of late. Would I consider changing my approach? Should you?

A tough time for dividend stocks

And…with many dividend stocks taking a beating in recent weeks, you might be wondering if you should really have 100% of your portfolio in stocks. I’ll come back to that point later on…

Should you have 100% of your portfolio in stocks?

Weekend Reading – The costs to raise children

What are the costs to raise children?

A lot.

And, it depends of course…

A new report out tried to narrow down exactly how much it costs to have a family in Canada, including the extra money it takes to get by if they decide to live at home after high school.

According to recently released data from our Statistics Canada, raising two kids could cost middle-income parents more than $500,000.

Beyond a personal and emotional commitment, raising children is also a huge financial commitment. 

From the report:

“Over the past 40 years, Canada has seen an increase in the proportion of young adults living with at least one parent, results from the 2017 General Social Survey showed that 90% of young adults aged 18 to 19 years and 68% of those aged 20 to 24 years were living with a parent (Statistics Canada, 2019). Few studies on the cost of raising children have included estimates for the costs of adult children living in the household.”

Do you find these numbers staggering? For parents out there, are these costs inline with your reality?

Based on many reports I’ve read over the years, young adults are overwhelmingly deciding not to have children partly as a result of the high cost of living. This is certainly a shift from previous generations. Younger generations that are still deciding to have children are also delaying childbearing due to the time (and costs) associated with getting on decent financial ground in their 20s and 30s as a prerequisite. 

Some of my personal thoughts on this are: life, childbearing or not, is becoming increasingly complex such that so many things are vying for our time and attention – it’s becoming increasingly harder for folks to navigate their lives, moreso than the past. While some technological advances have been great, such advances may not yield simplicity and satisfaction in our lives – there are just too many things to track of and be mindful of.

As I age, and go through life, including watching my own family age, I’ve gravitated to becoming more mindful about how, when and where I spend my time and energy. Life can absolutely feel complicated and overwhelming. But it’s important to me more than ever that I know how, when and where to press the pause button, scale-down, scale-back and simplify. 

More Weekend Reading…

A reminder about this great, free, event! I’m looking forward to participating in this live, free, webinar next week on Thursday, October 12 with other investors along with my partners at TD Direct Investing.

When? Thursday, October 12, 2023 @ 6 pm ET

What? Three ways to build wealth with dividend investing

In this webinar, I join Adrian Starinieri from Passive Income Investing, and Henry Mah from Your Ever Growing Income to discuss the potential benefits of dividend investing as a way to build wealth compared to other investing strategies. I will share what works for me/us as a hybrid investor and how it likely differs from both Adrian and Henry.

I hope you can join this free event – click this link to register with ease. 🙂

Oct 12 - Three ways to build wealth with dividend investing

When it comes to houses and cars, seems so true:

Our GG doesn’t have any issue spending money. According to this report, Canada’s Governor General and Rideau Hall have racked up a six-figure dry cleaning tab in recent years, according to records obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. They did the math on this:

“It’s enough money to dry clean 13,831 blouses, 6,204 dresses or 3,918 duvets, according to the prices at Majestic Cleaners in Ottawa.”


Some financial experts continue to share that dividends and distributions are irrelevant. Debate on as you wish! Other experts believe this instead: Dividend-Payers: The Volvo of Equities.

If you don’t have 100% of your portfolio in stocks, whether you own dividend stocks or ETFs or other assets in between you might need to rebalance your portfolio now and then – here are some tips for that. 

And…for Canadians who want more answers to questions on dividends, ETFs, total returns, mortgages, interest rates, RESPs, RRSPs, TFSAs, investing, retiring, earning more, and saving more well they should head on over to register for the Summit – for FREE!

Yes, the 2023 Canadian Financial Summit is coming soon!

Yup, it’s that time of the year… back to school now, back to fall routines, and for me: back to the Canadian Financial Summit for another year!

Once again, I’m honoured to share the virtual stage with 35+ Canadian experts for this Summit.

2023 Canadian Financial Summit

This virtual Summit continues to cut through the fog and noise of confusing financial jargon to help build your confidence needed to seize control of your personal finances. Each speaker has their own expertise to share. With their actionable words of wisdom, all speakers are here to support your money management and wealth-building progress in one spot!

Here is what you can expect this year:

  • How to plan your own retirement at any age
  • The Pension Paradox: Lump Sum vs Cash for Life
  • How to save money on taxes by optimizing your RRSP to RRIF transition
  • Plan your personalized combination of a DIY portfolio alongside an annuity for a customized stream of retirement asset growth + monthly income.
  • How to maximize the new FHSA (First Time Home Savings Account)
  • How to adjust for high interest rates in your portfolio and day-to-day life
  • How to efficiently transition your investing nest egg to a steady stream of retirement income
  • What Canadian real estate investments looks like in 2023
  • How to deal with inflation on your bills and in your investment portfolio
  • The best Canadian personal finance books of all time!
  • When to take your OAS and CPP
  • Travel for free with Canada’s loyalty rewards programs

Together, the entire panel of speakers have authored more than 100 personal finance books, hosted 600+ podcast episodes, written 20,000+ blog posts and newspaper columns, and have been featured in thousands of media articles and interviews from every news and financial publication in Canada.  


How to Check Out The Canadian Financial Summit

In order to reserve your tickets, click this link and check out my talk!

When the Summit starts, you’ll be sent an email each day with the link to the sessions that go LIVE for the next 48 hours.

That’s it. There’s no paperwork. No need to put in payment information that you have to cancel later. No worries.

This year’s Summit kicks off with a webinar on October 18th and once again, is absolutely FREE to view for that weekend.

If you want to check out the videos after the free window has passed (and get access to a whole smorgasbord of bonus resources and video sessions) then you’ll want to sign up for the low-cost All Access Pass.

A reminder not to miss out on the Early Bird Pricing, as the price jumps up as the Summit begins so register early…

How Do You Sign Up?

Again, click here and sign up and the folks at the Summit will get you ready to roll. 

P.S. A BIG thanks to all of you who have shared this event with your friends and family since I’ve been doing my own Summit talk some six+ years ago! 

Last but not least before the weekend, some tiny but very important thoughts from Farnam Street as you consider some thanks and gratitude this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. Things you control:

“Your effort.
Your beliefs.
Your actions.
Your attitude.
Your integrity.
Your thoughts.
The food you eat.
How kind you are.
How reflective you are.
How thoughtful you are.
The type of friend you are.
The information you consume.
The people you surround yourself with.”

Save, Invest, Prosper!

As always, check my Deals page – partnerships and discounts to help you make the most out of your money – some of them you can’t find anywhere else!

Check out my partnerships with:

  • Dividend Stocks Rock
  • 5i Research
  • StockTrades.ca
  • LegalWills
  • Borrowell 
  • and more!

As always, you can also consider hiring me for some low-cost financial projections services – anytime.

Just reach out. 

This is a service founded by DIY investors for DIY investors without the conflict of any advice.

Have a great Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend!


My name is Mark Seed - the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I'm looking to start semi-retirement soon, sooner than most. Find out how, what I did, and what you can learn to tailor your own financial independence path. Join the newsletter read by thousands each day, always FREE.

23 Responses to "Weekend Reading – The costs to raise children"

  1. Kieran Joseph Nicholson · Edit

    How do you spend money on kids: $100,000 on 8 years of private Catholic high school, $540,000 on 9 years of Catholic university. It is actually worse because these are AFTER TAX dollars. Did not do it for Catholicism, just for academic rigor.

    1. @ Kieran;
      Kind of what I point to. The “average” Joe can not afford those kind of expenses. That is for the 6 figure(X2) households.
      The majority of kids will go to public high schools and non-ivy league universities – if they even go at all. Some are, so to say, not cut out for higher education. Nothing wrong with that and if they have the drive and determination can even surpass the ones who carried on through. A higher education does not equate to wisdom. We just have to look at our politicians as well as those of other countries to see the stupidity of their actions. For some reason they can not seem capable of governing.
      And do those children help support their own education through summer work and possibly the weekend at the local grocery store. I would hope that that is not beneath their social standing to put in an effort to their own betterment. Do they put in an effort to obtain bursaries and grants?
      I have three children. My daughter went all the way and works in a medical profession. She also obtained grants, bursaries and worked during the summer to help pay for her education.
      My oldest son did one semester in a semi-private CEGEP in QC ( somewhat equivalent to college) and it wasn’t for him. He did do some trade school studies and a second course in his current profession. Now he works in the trades and pulls close to $100K per year or slightly above. He also worked weekend evenings as a bus boy at a bar to help pay for his education.
      The youngest finished his trade school and works in his profession now. Also pulls in close to $100Kyr. He didn’t have any side jobs as he was basically too young at that time. He is of the younger generation and was in to sending out his resume by email after graduation. To no avail. I did some research on where he was living and took him out one Friday afternoon to actually go see the prospective employers. It helps if the employer can at least see who they would be hiring. The next week the first place we went to see hired him. Now with all the courses his various employers have sent him to he is in demand because of his knowledge.
      So all that to say, depending on your prospective vision of your child’s future life, the $500K can be very overblown.
      The average family 1) can not afford ivy league education and sport activities and social life and 2) maybe it is not really what their children desire or can manage.
      The hypothesis that your child can be anything they want to be is also overblown to a great extent. If that means changing courses every two years because they changed their mind on a “chosen” profession then maybe it is time to sit them down and tell them they can pay their own way now. It might help them to concentrate on what is possible for them.

      Bit of a rant there

  2. Hi Mark: Guy’s the money is irrelevant. This over 17 years and there are lots of expenses. One does not realize all the cost involved from clothes, food, schooling, books, medical bills, etc. The costs have to be doubled. Once I had a discussion with a friend who was complaining over dues. I told him what my bowling dues were and he wouldn’t believe me. I said that I can easily kill a $20.00 bill and that is $20.00 a night for 34 weeks which is $680.00 a season and being in two leagues that would be double to $1360.00. That is just bowling and a small sample that although it is $20.00/ night for a whole year it adds up. The same goes for kids and being kids and not twins that is over 19- 20 years. Each year doesn’t seem so much but over the years it adds up little that I would know seeing that I’m single and never married but using common sense I’m not inclined to write it off.

  3. Hello Mark; Thank you for your posts. Your insights help me think about important matters.
    Yes, raising children requires a large financial and time commitment over many years , but my wife and I didn’t worry too much about the cost at the time ( we raised two children) .Our goal was nurturing the young ones to be kind, well adjusted, responsible people.This certainly required a lot of dedicated effort and work as well as some challenges. Now we are seniors and thoroughly enjoy the many benefits of close and enduring family relationships.
    Perhaps our biggest misstep was not adequately preparing our children well enough in the financial literacy saving aspects required in life. As I was learning some effective investing strategies over the years , it would have been wise to pass these methods onto our children in a better manner. ( I did try though, putting our daughter’s Child Allowance, as it came, into a DRIP- CP Rail. Unfortunately, she ended up selling the shares to purchase a treadmill. Those modest investments would now be worth over $100 000 and continue to grow )
    Sill, we move on with few regrets. Take care. Mike

    1. Excellent comment, Mike. I enjoyed that and that makes the most sense to me:

      “Our goal was nurturing the young ones to be kind, well adjusted, responsible people>’

      We all have a few investing mistakes/regrets, we can’t learn if we don’t fail now and then!

  4. How the heck do you all spend half a million dollars on kids? Do you folks go to disneyland every year?

    We have three, and if we check our spending for their clothes and food at the end of the month, it’s less than the $519 we get from the government. We make profit at the end of the year. The only expensive times are when we need to buy them their first bed and etc.

    My in-laws with the same amount of kids and no job (on welfare) gets about $1500/month of child benefit, and no way they spend that much.

    1. @Rob
      I think you spent $500K on kids if you have salaries in the six figures, buy all brand new latest fashion clothes, get in to every sport the kid{s} think they want to participate in, enroll them in private schools and insist they attend ivy league universities. After all, they can be anything they want to be and who are we, as parents, to deny them that.
      All this while being their private chauffeur to and from school as well as volunteer driver (nothing against that) driver for any and all activities. Maybe even buy them their first car.
      It’s a hard life if you need to do some things on your own when you are growing up!
      I shouldn’t talk too much as I rarely skimped on toys on B’days and Christmas.


      P.S. The $500K is a headline grabber

    2. Lloyd (63, retired at 55) · Edit

      “How the heck do you all spend half a million dollars on kids?”

      The link Mark supplied provides the entire study. It ain’t short but it seems to be comprehensive (three income levels and family sizes for example) and includes several disclaimers.

      In our case, the RESP was likely the largest single expenditure followed by health care. Housing, child care and transportation would have been negligible. YMMV

      1. @ Lloyd
        Hadn’t looked at the study but having looked at it now it partially seems to justify my point that the higher your income the more you (can afford to) spend on your children. To each their own but IMO the whole point of an education is for your children to be able to support themselves once they have flown the coop – hopefully without the boomerang effect.
        My daughter was the most expensive but that is because she pursued a medical degree. Luckily I had put money in to an RESP in prior years so that helped defray much of the expenses. She also found employment while studying and applied for and received grants. Sometimes the caveat to grants is that you have to borrow money in order to get them. My two boys went in to the trades and make well more than I did at their age.
        So, yes, it costs to have children. But they can also help with the costs unless you wish is that they enjoy all their time off from their stressful studies. Again, IMO, life is not quite like that.


        1. Lloyd (63, retired at 55) · Edit

          The authors likely used the three different levels of income to show how much the various expenses could vary. They also used different stop times (ages) as well. Seemed like a reasonable report to me.

    3. Ya, I think these numbers from Stats Can need to be taken with a large dose of salt! That said, kids are expensive and moreso than our cats!

      Thanks Rob,

      1. HA HA Mark!
        Don’t know about those pets. Listening to news there seems to be a lot of people who hadn’t figured that pets had to be fed and taken care of according to the SPCA. However when they had a “Free” adoption day there was a five hour lineup of people who wanted a “free” pet.
        Go figure


  5. Great stuff as always Mark.

    I do think StatsCan including housing in the cost of raising kids is a bit misleading. Many people buy the home they can afford, or the home they want, and squeeze the kids in as needed. So allocating so much childrearing costs to housing doesn’t make sense to me. It’d be like allocating 1/5 of your transportation costs to your child just because your car happens to have 5 seats.

    1. I’ll second that. My father bought a veterans house after WWll with two bedrooms, LR, DR, K and one bathroom.
      We were two boys so the two bedroom was suitable for us and parents.
      Now the neighbours, three houses down, with the same house, there were veterans houses four built at the same time, had twenty six children. Now they weren’t all there at the same time as some had flown the coop before the last kids but never the less they got a sizable number of people in to that house with a few modifications.
      So our standards are somewhat different today than 60 yrs ago. Just about every kid has to have their own bedroom and television, etc, etc. So costs for kids have increased but through our own wishes to have our kids have it all or not miss out on anything.

      P.S. As a bit of an anecdote to this they had a vegetable garden in the summer and it served as a skating rink in the winter. It’s where I learned to skate and I might add not with the latest carbon fibre brand name skates
      Later on the town had an outdoor skating rink where we played hockey every Saturday with pick up teams. Whoever showed up played. No fancy hockey sticks or skates, no coaches, no tournaments, no fees! Just fun

    2. I agree. To simply slice things into factors is poor math but they had to make a host of assumptions to publish any data.

      Alas, it what it is. 🙂

  6. Yes, I think those parenting costs are pretty accurate. Once you have a child you stop spending any money on yourself and it all goes toward the child/ren’s expensies.
    My medical costs for the kids was far, far higher than that posted, which was really a tiny amount. When adding it up for income tax one year I realized why I always felt so broke. $8-$10,000 a year wasn’t unusual for us and that was with having a fairly good plan from work.

    People fail to realize that having kids means you need a bigger car or even a second car, you need a bigger house and you need a lot more furniture. This is in addition to everything else a child requires and then there are the wants. Music lessons, sports teams, dance classes, ski passes, extra tutoring (luckily we never needed that) day care, after school child care, summer camps and on and on.

    I have to say that mine are worth all of that and more. Sad for me that now with one in another country, one in another city, I only have one left nearby.

    1. Thanks, Barbara. Yes, I can appreciate the costs including healthcare too!

      I certainly did my fair share of sports and extras when I was younger, but thankfully my parents supported that.

      Hopefully you get to see your kids a few times per year together!

      Have a great long weekend,

  7. Lloyd (63, retired at 55) · Edit

    “For parents out there, are these costs inline with your reality?”

    No where near what our situation was, but we were not likely any where near reality for the average/normal couple. Having a child was not that of a major expense for us for several reasons.

  8. If you want children then be prepared to take care of them. The $500K is just an attention grabbing headline. Don’t they all do that to catch you eye.
    Raising children does cost – psychologically, socially and financially as well as the time to raise them. Doing what comes naturally has implications. If you’re going to get out the spreadsheet to estimate the costs and see if you have the where with all then maybe it’s not for you!
    The “modern” age has put a lot of impediments in the way of families. Does our social life take precedence? Does our employment and job advancement take precedence? Do we want a bigger house first? Do we put ourselves first? Having said all that you still have to be aware that it does take money and counting on the bank of mom & pop or the good Lord may not cut it.

    I have three children who have all flown the coop and are doing well

    1. Thanks for your comment.

      I tend to agree, the “modern” age has put a lot of impediments in the way of families and potentially puts things into a different priority for many. Some folks decide not to have children, for many reasons. Those are just fine IMO.

      Congrats to all your children who sound like they are doing very well indeed!

      Enjoy the long weekend.


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