Everybody knows that raising a child is a more expensive way to live than, say, being childless—especially in a city. But just how costly is it? How much do you need to earn to do a decent job as a parent while still feeling like you have some financial breathing room? According to one woman, her $400k-a-year household income is simply not enough. More surprisingly, she brought her hardship to an open internet forum, expecting others to commiserate.
Urban Baby is a message board where city-dwelling parents can anonymously discuss anything from the easiest stroller to take on the subway to the latest episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey. As far as parenting communities on the web go, it's one of the better ones. But like with anything on the Internet, anonymity allows people the comfort to say the kinds of things, publicly, that they normally wouldn't. Like one mother who recently bemoaned the high cost of private school, how she and her husband would have to "scrape" by on their $400k household income in order to cover tuition, and how unfair it is that people who make less money get financial aid—a system which she's willing to exploit for her own benefit, BTW. (If you're having trouble deciphering the lingo, please refer to the Mommy Message Board Glossary.)
I earn 200k and my DH earns 200k. Total HHI is 400k. We have 2 children. We could afford to send them to private school, but we would have to scrape and forego a lot (especially since our HHI is only 350k after nanny) and we would not qualify for financial aid. However, if I quit my job and became a SAHM, we would have a HHI of 200k, which would put us in the realm of financial aid (AND we could save the 50k+ cost of having a nanny). I am not going to quit my job to orchestrate this, but I resent the fact that private tuition is so high, in part because the people who pay are financing the tuition of the people who don't pay (including families with 200k HHI and SAHMs). This is all just so screwed up.
How depressing is it that $200k is considered "poor" enough to obtain financial aid? For grade school!
I don't know much about private schools in NYC except that they run anywhere between $20,000 and $40,000 a year on average. That's really steep, and I could see how parents would have to make considerable sacrifices to pay tuition for two kids. But what kind of things would people who could afford to pay a $50,000 salary to their nanny have to "forego"? What is "scraping by" to a family pulling in $400,000 a year? Ramen dinners? Salvation Army wardrobes? Walking 10 miles in the snow up hill both ways? Seriously, what?
But the craziest thing is that another women who joined the conversation suggested that the original poster was living above her means and "insane" if she thinks that she can't live comfortably on $400k—and she got attacked! People called her a liar and insisted that she didn't know what she was talking about and that it is actually not feasible to send kids to private school and save for retirement at the same time.
So, basically, if you are earning anything below $200k, get ready to live in abject poverty for the rest of your life. And you certainly aren't going to be taken care of by your kids—those poor suckers couldn't get a good job because they didn't get into a good college because you were too poor to pay for them to go to a decent grade school. They're lucky if they'll even be able to possess the skill set to even read this sentence one day!
Image via Stasys Eidiejus/Shutterstock