Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Most Expensive Decision You Ever Make

Now I'm willing to admit that there are some people who live in a slightly different financial world to the rest of us. For them, the purchase of a superyacht, a diamond encrusted Bentley, or a small private island might actually be the most expensive decision they ever make. For the rest of us proles though, the most expensive decision you ever make is to have a child.

Now one might think that it is actually buying a house - of course there are some very expensive houses about - but we're going to deal with averages. The average house price is about 170k. Roughly speaking, the cost of raising a child to 21 is 200k. So, that means to the average man in the street, the decision to have a child is the most expensive one he can make, and that's just for one. That is of course, as long as he's planning on paying for that child.

Yes, inevitably and rather obviously this post is going to focus on children and the state's role in funding them.

My better half and I do ok on the earning front. We won't buy a private island, but neither will we receive child benefits. We've worked out that as long as work continues to provide promotions and according remuneration we might just be able to afford two children. It'll be tough, but to give our children the best, that's all we can afford. It may sound detached and material, to consider affordability of children as we would a house or a new car. However, that is the stark reality - children cost an enormous amount of money.

For a large number of people, much of that money comes from the Government. From the budget. From your taxes. From your schools and hospitals. From your armed forces. Should there be a Chinese style limit on children? Of course not. Should there be a financial test for parenthood? Of course not. What of the people on permanent welfare with 6, 8, 10 children? Does this make it right to keep on reproducing knowing you will be sending the bills directly to John Q Taxpayer?

The argument the left will always fall back on is that one has the right to have children. What do I think? Yup, you do. The crux is that perhaps the state isn't obliged to pay for it all. If I can only afford two children that I will pay for, why should my taxes pay for someone else to have 10? Your rights, and what is right are two very different things…


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