Babysitting or Bankruptcy? The Childcare Cost Conundrum

I love my kids .

My children govern a lot of what I do nowadays. I left Facebook in 2017 to have time with my son. I’ve avoided returning to a traditional W-2 for two years to have more time with my daughter. As a chronic workaholic, I’m glad they’ve managed to penetrate my condition for constant work. 

There's no questioning my love and commitment for my children but let's dive into a topic that's been gnawing at my wallet. If you have little ones running around, I suspect you're familiar with my concern — the spiraling cost of childcare! 

My wife and I have been going through hell trying to find affordable but good private school and daycare options. After countless interviews, site visits, and applications, we found an affordable option and were ready to go. Before we sent it, I wanted to run through the numbers since I hadn’t seen them in a few months.

FORTY m*#$*ther f$&*%#n’ THOUSAND DOLLARS for both kids … per year.

Yes, you read that right, 40 grand! With a one-year-old and a six-year-old, my journey through the maze of daycare and private school expenses is nothing short of a financial thriller. I am a public school is my wife. We planned to have our children join the public school crew until we discovered my son’s learning style in addition to the poor conditions of our neighborhood school. I had no idea what I was agreeing to. The monthly cost of childcare will become higher than my mortgage. 

Oh how I miss the affordable and high-quality childcare we had in Spain. They had services, activities, and uniforms, for just pennies a month. I miss you España. 

Courtesy of Midjourney

State of the Childcare Union

Let's talk numbers. Over the last decade, childcare costs in America have skyrocketed. They’ve risen so sharply that they compete with college tuition fees. It's a trend that's not just hitting our pockets hard but also reshaping how we approach family planning and careers.

When it comes to the professionals I know, who crush it in their career and have the same ambition for parenting … it’s hard. We tend to want the best for our children, with all kinds of school and activities abound. But we work hard AF and there isn’t time to watch the kids during the day. Ironically, many of my professional friends are delaying or avoiding having kids.

I don’t think kids are for everyone. Yes, they have changed me and moved me in ways I could never have imagined, and would never want to give up. But it’s not only a ton of work, it’s freaking expensive. Regardless, many countries have figured out ways to ensure childcare isn’t a concern when deciding to have kids … just not the US.

Tackling the Cost Head-On

How does one deal with such crippling costs? Is it time for these kids to find a new home, with adopted parents, who make even more money than we do? Give up on the private school dream?

There are a few things I have been doing, and we can all do to navigate continuing the human race and keeping our careers.

Leaning on Family

Moving back to D.C. to be closer to family wasn't just a sentimental decision. It was a strategic move to offset some childcare costs with trusted family support. As they say, "It takes a village to raise a child," and this village is helping us save some serious cash. 💰

I know countless friends and colleagues, especially during the pandemic, who moved back to family to get some help and to just be around family more. Doesn’t help that it can knock $10K a year off of childcare costs between babysitters and some last-minute “the daycare is closed and I got a meeting” help.

Homeschooling: Not just about alternative education

You may remember I homeschooled my son for five months last year as we looked for a new school. This was purely for his benefit, but I’m now realizing we benefited too. Those were five months we dodged tuition payments.  It wasn’t as hard as I expected and I think our relationship is still stronger because of that time. If you are in a situation like us, where the local public school isn’t an option, then homeschooling may be the move. There are a lot of working parents, especially with remote work, who are making it work and seeing great results. It’s not for me long-term, but maybe I’ll do it for a year and buy me another rental.

Change up the Investments to cover new costs

Adapting my investment strategy has been key. With these expenses, I'm focusing on properties that promise immediate cash flow, ensuring a steady stream of income to buffer against these hefty childcare costs. 🏠

My long-term plan and recommendation is always about building equity that grows and compounds faster. That is how you build wealth.💸

But it’s real now. So i’m focused on looking for rentals that can produce more monthly income and keep the books flowing.

Strategic School Selection

While looking for a new house we naturally considered the school district.  We knew the local school for us wouldn't meet our needs, but we kicked the can down the road … and now it’s here. However, long-term, we are deciding we might just be private school people, understanding the type of environment our son strives in.

And within private schools, there is a huge range. We spent a lot of time and effort finding "affordable" options that could meet our learning goals. We didn’t go for the most expensive option (that was a total of $64,000 BTW), we focused on what would be a good fit for us.

Kids are still worth it

If this childcare cost circus continues, I might have to dust off my resume and head back to work, or we'll just pack up and move back to Europe. Either way, something’s got to give. 😅

Anyone looking for a washed-up former Meta Product Manager who has found a 2nd calling in teaching? Part-time only, mid-6-figures. I got that experience 😁

Damien “These kids are about to send me back to work” Peters