You are probably reading this article because you have kids—or maybe you want them someday. If you’re already a parent, you know the indescribable love you feel holding your new little one. Once you stop floating on cloud nine, though, you’ll quickly snap back to reality when you start adding up your new expenses—baby products, child care, clothes, baseball, dance costumes, education, and much more. You aren’t alone if you worry about how to afford it all!
According to a 2017 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “The cost of raising a child today [to age 17]is $233,610—excluding the cost of college—for a middle-income family.” As if that isn’t scary enough, this number doesn’t take into account inflation, so that adds a little extra salt to the wound.
As parents, we naturally want to give our kids the best we possibly can. We splurge on cute baby outfits, we buy ridiculous presents for their birthday, and we spend money on random activities or events for them. However, what is the price tag of a child’s happiness? Are you becoming broke just to pay for it?
Now don’t get me wrong: This article isn’t about how to raise your children, but how to afford the way you want to raise them.
Trust me, I get it. My kids are only three and one, and I want to give them the world—which is exactly why I am investing in real estate. Here are four ways I think real estate investments can help offset the staggering “cost” of having children.
4 Ways Real Estate Investments Can Help Fund Your Kids’ Upbringing
1. Start a college fund.
Arguably the biggest expense for your children is the cost of college. My husband and I are using the same method Brandon Turner describes in his article to pay for our kids’ college tuition. We bought a duplex the year our son was born for $68,500. Even though we paid for the down payment ourselves, an investment of roughly $17,000, that duplex will appreciate to roughly $117,000 in 18 years (with the note being paid off in year 15). If we choose to sell it if he goes to college, it can be sold free and clear. We applied the same concept when buying a triplex for our daughter.
Other investors we know are flipping houses and putting most, if not all, of the profit in a savings account for college. Think of it this way—if you flip one house every year for 18 years and “only” make $10,000 each flip, that’s $180,000 you will have earned towards their college tuition! Combine that with a few rental properties, and you will have tuition paid for in no time.
What is the cost of college these days? That number will look very different based on the degree type, location (in state versus out of state), amount of time spent in school, public versus private university, etc. If you want your little one to go to your alma mater, go check out their current tuition rates online. For those who have no idea what type of post secondary education their child will pursue, the U.S. Department of Education’s has a pretty cool online calculator. After it scares you a little, it might help you budget and set an investment goal.
2. Pay for extra-curricular activities.
Right now, I’m enjoying our evenings free of running to extracurricular activities. Toddlers might be impulsive and destructive, but their social lives are basically nonexistent compared to their school-aged counterparts. I see parents with school-aged children arranging after-school pick-ups, dinners, drop-offs, carpools (and more!) in an ever-changing scheduling nightmare. Whether your kids are in one activity or 10, those clubs probably all come with a price tag. Add more than one child into the mix, and I’m sure the costs per month really add up.