New research shows that each kid can bring down your credit score by almost 10 points.

2 minute read

Raising a child is often described as one of the most fulfilling jobs in the world. But while it’s filling up your heart, it’s draining your wallet.

A personal finance site called FinanceJar recently quizzed more than 700 adults on their debt and credit. One of the many takeaways from the poll: “Every person you add to your household equates to a 9.5-point drop in your credit score.”

“As delightful as having a large family can be (for some of us, anyway), as it turns out, it might not be the best thing for your credit,” FinanceJar says.

Harder to pay the bills

The cost of living has gone up and inflation has hit record highs over the past several months. Many families have been forced to take on debt to keep up.

A single parent takes on about $6,000 in debt every year just to afford basic necessities, according to the Ludwig Institute for Economic Prosperity (LISEP).

The average American household owes about $163,268 and backing up LISEP’s findings, about $6,000 of that comes from credit cards.

“The cost of living for working-class families has been increasing steadily over at least two decades,” says Gene Ludwig, LISEP Chairman. Families with two, full-time middle-class jobs have to take on debt just to meet the most basic standard of living.”

Families are feeling this hit. ParentsTogether Action surveyed 500 parents and found that 9 in 10 feels like it’s been harder to make ends meet. Nearly half (45 percent) said that they’ve even skipped meals so that their kids could eat.

Many parents have no safety net since they’ve already burned through their savings to pay the bills.

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The rising cost of living

It’s no secret: Everything is getting more expensive and often wages aren’t keeping up.

Debt.com previously reported that while wages went up by 4 percent in one year, inflation rose by 7 percent. Until recently, inflation rose by about 3 percent every year.

While prices have gone up dramatically in the past year alone, the past couple of decades haven’t been ideal either. LISEP says that the cost of living, or the cost to meet minimal needs, has gone up by 63 percent since 2001. And since pandemic-era financial aid programs have come to an end, such as the Child Tax Credit, more families are sinking under the poverty line.

During this period of extreme inflation, over 9 in 10 parents rated food and gas as the most difficult expenses to cover followed by utilities and housing.

It’s because of these financial strains that families are taking on more and more debt and struggling to pay it off. Carrying over a credit card balance at the end of the month will not only contribute to a dipping credit score, but it’ll also cost you more in interest.

After keeping the fridge stocked and the lights on, make paying down debt a priority. It’s difficult but still possible – even if you’re broke. Just knocking out one credit card can save you hundreds of dollars down the line.

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About the Author

Gillian Manning

Gillian Manning

Gillian Manning graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 2021 with her bachelor’s degree in journalism. At FAU she served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, the University Press. During her time there, the paper saw an increase in content production, readership, and engagement. Before she even graduated, Gillian was published in various outlets such as South Florida Gay News and the Boca Raton Tribune.

Published by Debt.com, LLC