I spent yesterday shopping for baby stuff for a friend’s upcoming baby shower. Browsing her registries, it struck me that HOLY CRAP baby stuff is expensive. Apparently newborns consume 10 diapers a day. What the hell?
It doesn’t have to be that bad. After all, people were reproducing long before the invention of Louis Vuitton diaper bags and Jessica Alba organic swaddles*.
Some time ago, my friend Andy calculated the financial impact of raising children. Cuz his wife wants a baby and he thinks the best way to dissuade her is to present financial projections surrounding the future cost center.
He was surprised to discover that, under some circumstances, it is actually profitable to reproduce! And by profitable, I mean profitable based on tax incentives; not profitable by sending the kid to work in the coal mines.
- Assuming $100k dual incomes, having a child generates a $1700 tax credit for a married couple.
- If filing as unmarried individuals, the net tax credit increases to $3800 after one child.
- Additional children yield diminishing returns ($2300 for the second kid, $2k for the third).
So Andy told the Mrs. that he would be amenable to one offspring, as long as they agree to feed the child pre-moistened dog chow and have it shit in a litter box. Also, he would need a divorce to take full advantage of the $3800 tax benefit.
They remain childless.
*Sure you can save money buying non-organic swaddles, but then your kid might not get into Harvard. And then what kind of life would that be???