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LA childcare: What does it cost?

For those of us who spent some time on the fence about whether or not to become parents, one of the common concerns we verbalized was about the financial commitment.  "I'm not sure we can afford it" was something that many a thirty-something LA couple would articulate over drinks and dinner.  The general response from the world was "there's never a good time."  Financial concerns were brushed aside as insignificant.  A kind of self-indulgent, yuppie denial mechanism.  "You'll make it work" people say, while ordering another round of drinks. 

This is a shockingly cavalier, incredibly irresponsible attitude.  Because the truth of the matter is raising a child in Los Angeles is very, very expensive.  

Childcare is a subject of great debate with new parents.  Part time nanny?  Full time nanny?  Daycare?  Most households require two working parents.  But what if you don't make enough to cover the Nanny?  It's also hard to plan ahead of time because until you become a parent, you may not be sure what you feel about the subject.  But as you are debating your options, here are some numbers for you to take into account.

Hiring a full time Nanny will cost you, at minimum, $600 a week.  Hourly rates generally run around $15 at the low end, up to around $25 if you have multiple children or are hiring someone with the ability to drive and/or cook.  Yearly cost:  Minimum of $31,200 a year. 

Hiring a part time Nanny is a more economical approach... as long as you have at least one parent who can cover the rest of the week.  Most Nanny's require you to still hire them for full days, so they can work for other people as well.  Hourly rates can run a bit higher for part time help.  Cost based on 20 hours a week at $16 an hour:  $16,640 a year.

Now, there is no doubt that daycare and preschools are more reasonable priced; monthly rates can run between $800-1800 a month depending on the location and the enrichment programs they offer.  However, unlike a Nanny, they will offer specific hours.  Yearly cost:  $9,600 - 21,600.

So, the question remains... should finances play a role in deciding whether or not to have a child?  Maybe not.  But don't kid yourself... they certainly are going to play a large role in how you chose to parent them. 




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