To have one’s own progeny, whether biologically or by adopting, is perhaps the most emotional experience of your life. Beside the uncertainty of the duration of labour, postpartum depression, and sleepless nights for at least the first 18 years of your child’s life, there’s a financial cost attached to having a child.

A study conducted by a prominent financial newspaper in 2011, and updated earlier this year, found that a whopping 59% of a parent’s cost of raising another life goes into Education. Other significant costs include Healthcare (10%), for (9%), and clothing (6%). The rest of the 16% is divided almost equally between entertainment, transport, clothing, housing, vacations, and other miscellaneous expenses.[1]

For a modern nuclear family, or even if you a single mother, it is important to understand and set these milestones in order to give your child the best possible future:

Infant (0 to 4 years)

In India, the average maternity ward in a hospital or even gynecologist charges between 50,000 INR to 4 lakh INR to merely deliver a child. A normal delivery is usually lower on cost, while caesarians cost on the higher side of the range. Adopting a child in India also entails costs of about 15,000 INR (maintenance of short of a year). Add to that Diapers, pedestrian visits, vaccinations, and so on. Since the apple of your eye is entirely dependent on you until well into adulthood, the cost of housing, clothing, food, etc. gets distributed.
Starting cost: 6.2 lakh INR[2]

Toddler (4 to 9 years)

This is the stage when you will start scouting for schools and lining up outside a few of them overnight for their admission forms. The rest doesn’t stop, for now your child will begin to express choices and opinions on what she or he wears and eats.

Added cost: 6.9 lakh INR

Tweenager (9 to 13 years)

Aha! Now your kid understands television and going “out to the movies”! Entertainment is a legitimate feature of her life just as much as it is yours. No more will old plastic bottles or cardboard packaging catch their fancy. Prepare to make lunch, shopping, and movie dates a regular feature of your relationship with your child.

Added cost: 8.4 lakh INR

Adolescent (13 to 16 years)

Your kid is now old enough to be insolent, demand her own room and a television and internet in it, and has the potential to veer towards becoming a child prodigy or druggie. Haha! We’re not trying to inflate your ego, not be the devil’s advocate, but even under tightly supervised conditions and given today’s security measures, alongside school and coaching class fees, muster all your financial strength!

Added cost: 10.5 lakh INR[5]

Young Adult (16 to 21 years)

This is the age for your kid to start reflecting all the clichés you’ve been bombarding her with, that you learned as a youngster from your folks. She’s going to do some serious growing up, behave herself, and want to stand on her own two feet. At this stage, the cost of education really shows itself. Whether within India or abroad, whether a medical degree or a course in filmmaking, whether or not the institution provides hostel accommodation, the last few years that your child will still be within reach is when she will be dearest to you – both, emotionally and financially! Invest and prepare for this right from birth.

The final haul: 35.4 lakh INR

Wanting a child has been as much about your biological clock as the kicking in of your innate maternal instincts. But if you’re rational, love your body and career just as much, and are mindful of the milestones of bringing a new life into this world, you’ll be able to raise her healthy, happy and socially well adjusted.

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