Why Parents Are Going Into Debt to Bankroll Perfect Childhoods

Mid adult coupe playing with baby girl at doorway

By Jennifer Liu

There are plenty of things to prepare for when you're bringing home a baby.

One thing you might not expect, but that's surprisingly common?

Going into debt.

Nearly half (46%) of moms surveyed for BabyCenter's 2015 Cost of Raising a Child report have taken on debt to cover child-rearing expenses.

After all, caring for a little one costs about $13,000 a year, and finding that extra room in your budget isn't necessarily easy.

Still, three out of five moms admit they could raise kids for less than they spend. It's just that they want to create the "perfect" childhood.

That desire translates to a budget-busting lineup of activities, setting moms back an average of $1,391 annually. The majority (91%) say they pay as much as they do because it's what's best for their kids—not to keep up with their social circle or who's posting what to Facebook.

But it's hard to resist lifestyle inflation, and the more money earned by surveyed moms, the more they report spending ($2,600 more per child for those making at least $100,000).

And expenses further down the road are already looming: 60% worry about having enough money to fully support a child until adulthood.

Such pressure has its own costs. One in five say their relationship with their partner suffers from financial stress and the need to work more to give junior the very best.

While that impulse is understandable, these findings are a reminder that becoming a parent is a major money commitment. If you're thinking of having a baby, our handy checklist is a good place to start your financial prep.