Nicole Centinaro / Sue Murphy
Coyne Public Relations
BabyCenter® Study Reveals Moms and Dads Disagree Over Family Finances
Cost of Raising a Child Reaches Record High, Financial Worry Up 10% Since 2011 Weak Economy Disrupts Traditional Gender Roles
(San Francisco) – September 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — BabyCenter.com, the #1 pregnancy and parenting destination worldwide, today released its 2012 U.S. Cost of Raising a Child report, which examines the profound impact of the economy on families. With the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently estimating that a middle-income family could spend an average of $235,000 to raise a child from birth through age 17, it’s no surprise that 4 in 5 families are stressed about money. In fact, nearly 70 percent of moms are concerned about not having enough money to raise their children, a 10 percent increase from 2011.
“Financial worry is nothing new, but how families are responding to the increased stress is what’s unique,” says Carmen Wong Ulrich, a BabyCenter.com financial contributor. “There is a whole new dynamic between spouses when it comes to money, and their stress and fear about the future have turned the traditional family roles upside down.”
More than 2,000 BabyCenter.com moms completed the survey, candidly answering questions about the economy’s impact on their finances. The report revealed several surprising trends, among them:
Mom vs. Dad
Nearly 70 percent of couples admit they argue about money, but the biggest point of disagreement stems from their own spending rules. Moms are more likely to check with their partner on certain categories of purchases, while dads say they check in on purchases above a specific amount. Where to splurge is also a topic of debate – 76 percent of moms splurge on their kids, while 54 percent of dads splurge on themselves. Additionally, moms are more likely to have a separate credit card, while dads are more likely to have a separate savings account. These varying financial viewpoints can be a big source of stress for parents, especially because both Mom and Dad think they are better equipped to handle the finances than their spouse.
“Once you have kids, your bank accounts will never be the same. While moms and dads are facing the same bills, and are often equally responsible for paying them, they rarely see eye to eye on finances,” said Wong Ulrich. “It’s important to be completely transparent with one another and handle the household finances together. BabyCenter.com’s Cost Calculator is a helpful budgeting tool, and I also recommend splitting extra spending money into two separate accounts, one for Mom and one for Dad. This way, you know what money is yours, and you can spend it however you want – without feeling guilty!”
My Kid, My Investment
Despite the high cost of raising a child, virtually all moms (95 percent) say the money they spend on their children is worth it, with 4 out of 5 moms seeing it as an investment in their future.
“It’s common to find parents who feel guilty about splurging on themselves but are willing to spend on their kids,” says Wong Ulrich. “Parents often view spending on extras like sports, music, or entertainment for their kids as a solid investment that will positively benefit their children and hopefully lead them to success as adults.”
Everyone Does Their Part
With so many people out of work, society is calling for everyone to pitch in. As a result, the “traditional family” (stay-at-home mom, working dad) is becoming less the norm than it was five years ago. In fact, 27 percent of BabyCenter moms said stay-at-home moms are less accepted than they were five years ago. Families that have stay-at-home dads and working moms are also more accepted by society than they were five years ago.
“It’s been a real eye-opener to see just how much 21st century parents share the burdens of earning money and caring for their children,” said Wong Ulrich. “The days of separate gender roles are long gone – now it’s all hands on deck!”
The Simple Things in Life
Moms are doing their best in the difficult economy with 65 percent making the most out of discounts and coupons, and many cutting down on discretionary expenses such as eating out (66 percent) and clothes (60 percent), vacations, or going to the movies. Moms also say the economy has improved some aspects of their family life with 49 percent being less wasteful, 46 percent saving money with hand-me-downs or used items, and 41 percent paying more attention to the simple things. In fact, 27 percent of BabyCenter moms have cut their cable subscriptions to save money.
“People used to be embarrassed about couponing, but now we have all these tools for saving, and young families are being really smart about buying,” says Wong Ulrich. “In this high-tech world, it’s also easy to forget about the simple pleasures in life. Have family game nights, spend time outdoors, and plan stay-cations. Parents will be amazed at what some creativity and quality time can do for their family life – and their wallets!”
The Economy Gets the Vote
The vast majority of moms (79 percent) and dads (86 percent) say the economy is the most or one of the most important issues in the upcoming presidential election. When it comes to improving financial issues that affect families, parents overall put more faith in Obama, but moms remain skeptical. They cited partisan politics, Congressional incompetence, and the influence of big corporate donors as reasons they’re cynical about any broad economic change coming from Washington. Interestingly, dads are more optimistic: A sizable 63 percent said they have hope that their financial situation will improve as a result of the election.
“The economy is always a hot button issue, and this year is no exception,” said Wong Ulrich. “This election season, household economics are on everyone’s mind.”
For more information on BabyCenter’s 2012 U.S. Cost of Raising a Child report and money-saving tips from Carmen Wong Ulrich, please visit: http://www.babycenter.com/child-cost
About BabyCenter® LLC
BabyCenter® is the voice of the 21st Century Mom® and modern motherhood. It’s the #1 pregnancy and parenting destination worldwide, reaching more than 13 million moms monthly in the U.S. and more than 29 million moms monthly in 22 markets from Australia to India to China. In the United States, 7 in 10 babies born last year were BabyCenter babies. BabyCenter is the world’s partner in parenting, providing moms everywhere with trusted advice from hundreds of experts around the globe, friendship with other moms like them, and support that’s remarkably right at every stage of their child’s development. BabyCenter also works with some of the world’s most prominent brands and institutions to provide life-stage marketing solutions and a direct line to highly engaged moms. BabyCenter is a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies.