Wick Communications

Raise cash before raising baby

In Ideas on June 9, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Sometimes, the never-ending flow of spam into my inbox includes a nugget of a real story.

Thursday morning, the U.S.D.A. released a report called, “Expenditures on Children by Families” that claimed a middle-class American family that welcomed a baby in 2010 could expect to spend $226,920 to raise a child over the next 17 years. It says that is 2 percent more than the same child would have cost a year earlier and the report blames spikes in transportation, child care, education and health care for the lion’s share of the increase.

Interestingly, that is roughly the same amount that a typical American couple can expect to spend on health care over the course of their retirement.

Both of those national facts could be easily localized at any one of our papers.

Imagine going to a preschool class, or the local toddler gym or a Lamaze class and asking parents how they will pay for it all. Are they concerned? Do they have a financial plan? Are some of them laboring under the assumption that tax credits actually make having children less expensive than being childless? …

For art, you could do something fun, like juxtaposing little Sally with other things you could buy for a quarter-of-a-million bucks, like this house in Idaho. You might also tell young parents, with tongue in cheek of course, that they could use this book.

If you keep your eyes on the popular press you can find two or three things like this every day. If you read a number like the cost of raising a child, and it makes you go, “hmmm,” chances are others would have a similar reaction and your localization will provide readers something they can’t get anywhere else.

Clay

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