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I heard an interesting news item this week. According to the US Government it will now cost $160,140 for the average middle class American family to raise a child to the age 18. If you are quick on the draw with your math facts you just estimated what it may cost you to raise your children. For Susie and I, if the estimates are correct, it will cost us around $800,000 to raise our 5 kids, and that doesn't include college! We could be over one million dollars if you were to add college costs for our five kids.

When you stop to think about it, the cost of raising our kids is still a real bargain. $160,140 over eighteen years works out to only about $8,897 per year, or just $741 per month. Now that is only $24.37 per day or about $1 per hour. That's a deal!

Some might argue that investing our money in something other than children would give us a better return on our money. With the right investment strategy parents could skip having the kids and just get rich. Before we jump to any conclusions, just what can you get for your investment of $160,140 per child these days? For only about $1 per hour you will receive the following:

Baby's first steps, and their first words, "Mama, Dada!" To play tickle monster, and blow raspberries on tummies.

Small hands to hold and bear hugs that hold on tight.

A lifetime supply of butterfly kisses (a.k.a. perma-kisses!).

The chance to be the tooth fairy.

The opportunity to always believe in Santa Claus.

Story books to read each night.

Bedtime prayers to peek inside their hearts.

More "I love yous" than you could ever count.

You can play in the leaves each fall.

Build snowmen and catch snowflakes on your tongue.

Celebrate each victory and wipe the tears after each defeat.

That's only the beginning!

As the MasterCard commercial would say, "Raising your kids to 18: $160,140. All the love and laughter you get through those 18 years: PRICELESS!"

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