Baby on the way? Here's how to prepare financially

Adding a child to your family can bring joy, excitement - and a boatload of bills.

A middle-income, married-couple family will spend roughly $233,610 (in 2015 dollars) to raise a baby born in 2015 from birth through
age 17, according to the most recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report on child-rearing expenses.

Families with lower incomes are estimated to spend $174,690, while those with higher incomes are slated to put out $372,210 from birth through age 17.

Andrea and James Kunk of Dayton, Ohio are among the many who are very familiar with the costs of raising children.  Aware of the potential financial strain, the duo waited until their early 30s to have their first child.

"We wanted to establish our careers and build a strong financial foundation before the kids came along," says Andrea, CFO at Peerless Technologies, a defense contracting firm that provides IT, cyber, and engineering services to the federal government. Andrea, 36, and husband James, 37, now have daughters Annabelle, 3 and Lillian, almost 11 months.

“It is absolutely critical that expectant parents understand and plan for the costs of raising children,” says Cynthia Boman Thompson, a certified financial planner and director of financial and accounting services at staffing firm Cinder Staffing. “The costs will be substantial and you are providing the financial safety and security that each child needs to thrive and grow.”

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