The cost of parenting

The cost of raising a child is often discussed; the price of uniform, swimming lessons and dance classes not to mention holidays and parties. It all adds up, over a 21 year period to a …

The cost of raising a child is often discussed; the price of uniform, swimming lessons and dance classes not to mention holidays and parties. It all adds up, over a 21 year period to a huge £229,251 (as estimated by LV=). But what about the cost of the actual work involved, all the things you don’t pay for; the cooking, cleaning and taxi driving? If you had to pay someone to do all the work parents do, the most recent figure following research by L&G is £50,000. That’s for all the things your children need but most parents provide for free.

Research carried out by L&G found that if paid, a mother’s annual salary would be £29,000 and a father’s £21,000. This pay is not particularly attractive considering parents are expected to be on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week and have no paid holiday. An article last year in The Independent suggested that in the first 4-5 years of a child’s life, a mother spends 5840 hours a year, or 112 a week, caring for their children (based on an average family with 2 children). When the children start school, the mother’s hours are reduced only slightly to 96 hours a week.

The average mum (or dad) spends 69 minutes per day cleaning, which totals 8 hours a week or just over 420 hours a year. Similarly, a study by suggests parents spend an average of 13 hours a week preparing meals for the family. If a cook was employed to do that it could cost £6,084 a year. That’s the equivalent of enjoying dinner at the Ritz once a week. In a year, 125 loads of children’s washing need doing which would weigh around 680kg and cost £3,740 to send out to a laundry service. If laid out piece by piece, this would cover an entire rugby pitch!

It’s easy to underestimate the cost of the work parents do and L&G’s research found that while parents take into account their salaries when arranging life insurance they don’t consider the cost of all the domestic, unpaid work they do to raise their children including the costs of chauffeuring children to school, clubs, friends’ houses, looking after them when they are sick, dealing with a myriad of issues such as lost toys, relationship problems and more serious things such as bullying. These are all roles that parents gladly play but they should certainly consider the implications if for some reason they could no longer fulfill these responsibilities.

There are several different types of insurance policies that can help families to make sure their loved ones are protected if, for example, a parent could no longer work, became seriously ill or passed away:

Income Protection – pays monthly installments (usually half of your take-home salary) if you are unable to work due to illness or involuntary redundancy to cover expenses or mortgage payments. These policies allow for multiple claims and payments continue until the policyholder is able to return to work, retirement or when the policy ends.

Critical illness cover – provides a lump sum should you suffer from a listed illness and are unable to continue with your employment. The money can be spent however you choose but is typically used to pay off a mortgage or rental payments or to make necessary adjustments to your home like wheelchair ramps etc.

Life insurance – provides either a lump sum or monthly payments. Both of these options can be related to paying off mortgage payments and any remaining amount can be used as the beneficiaries wish or put in trust for something specific according to the policyholder or beneficiary’s wishes such as further education.

If you have any questions regarding life protection insurance, please call our specialist team on 0800 172 172 or request a quote