Debunking the ‘Cost of a child’ report

This week the yearly research (Cost of a Child) carried out for insurance company LV by the Centre of Economic and Business Research hit the headlines. The takeaway from the findings was that the cost to raise a child from birth to 21 was measured as £231,843, an increase of more than £2,500.

First thing you have to ask yourself about this report is – why are LV (a for profit company) investing time and money in to this if there isn’t a measureable gain to show to their shareholders? The answer I believe to this question, is partly that it is good publicity for LV and secondly because they provide a range of insurances, which people could be, more willing to buy based on the figures produced in this report. Both the publicity and a possible surge of people buying insurances wouldn’t happen without some big numbers, hence where we get £231,843 and why on the LV website they are saying this is more than the price of an average house, when no comparison was needed.

On the LV report on their website (https://www.lv.com/life-cover/cost-of-a-child/the-facts) they have listed percentages of vague, generic areas next to some cute graphic to depict that area. They have called it the facts yet it is filled with opinions.

The small print

One of the interesting things about the report is the small print at the bottom, as unlike how the press is reporting that the research came from the Centre of Economic and Business Research, there was another body involved:

Additional research was conducted by Opinium Research from 22 to 27 January 2016. The total sample size was 1,000 UK adults with children under the age of 18 and was conducted online. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

This additional research has been heavily used by LV and it means that out of the 8 key facts they list on their review of the report, 5 are opinion based and nowhere near representative of the UK as a whole.

Opinions

Out of the 8 opinions they chose to highlight as ‘key facts’ the last one floored the whole research for me as they listed – 49% of people didn’t have a plan in place for a sudden loss of income. When a quick look at the LV website shows they sell Income Protection insurance. This shows me that this document isn’t to help us; it is to encourage us to take out insurance, as having no plan in place for a loss of income has nothing to do with the cost of raising a child.

So if we go back to the start and take the number they are banding about of £231,843 that means they reckon on average a child costs £11,000 a year to raise (I am raising a child with no pay increase of a penny a year let alone £11,000). For the first year of our daughter’s life our actual costs are going to run around the £1,000 mark, far short of that yearly average.

Breaking it down

Looking closely at the numbers here are some breakdowns and numbers that amused me:

Education: £74,430 – Cost of schooling is taken out in our taxes so not a cost that we see and there is no guarantee every child will go to University. When they go to University there are things like loans, grants and working. If as a parent you want to contribute you can start up savings accounts now with good levels of interest and pay in a slow, constant and manageable way.

Childcare and Babysitting: £70,466 – For us this will cost us nothing and I know for lot of people it will too. This is one of the many reasons why I think having a parent at home instead of working, works during the pre-school years. As parents we sacrifice, we don’t both go out with out our baby. We will go out individually or take her with us; it’s not that difficult.

Clothing: £10,942 – So far for our daughter we have paid the grand total of £4 on clothes. The rest of her clothes have been hand-me-downs from friends or gifts. At her age she doesn’t care what she is dressed in or if it is new or if it is the most fashionable thing. Yes I daresay as she gets older and builds her own style that clothes will become more expensive, but nowhere near this £10,942 number bounded about.

I could go on and on but will stop there. I just wanted to show how the actual cost of raising a child can be so cheap. Research like this really annoys me, as it is why people buy in to the lie that raising a child is expensive. Before I knew of this report I wrote about the lie the media pumps out about the cost of children here:

https://adamsibley.wordpress.com/2016/01/22/why-have-so-many-people-bought-into-the-lie/

If you want to have children, have children you will find a way of making it affordable if you truly want to.

Promoting Good News

There is so much bad news in this world that I think it is important to promote, make and share good news wherever we can. Thanks to rolling news, social media and the like we are bombarded with peoples thoughts and opinions that we never asked for or wanted at every turn. Sadly in the most the majority of these thoughts, opinions and news are negative.

I read and hear so much everyday that I don’t agree with and a lot that is just flat out wrong. We now seem to know peoples views in a way that we never did before, thanks to over sharing. Some of these views make me sad and it makes me sad when you see people have views that you never thought they had.

Don’t despair

To try and stop from despairing I now try to post as much positive and good news as I can online. As part of what I talked about last week about showing love instead of arguing, (https://adamsibley.wordpress.com/2016/02/05/love-wins-any-argument/) I am also where I can trying to actively post good and positive news, thoughts and opinions where I can, in the hope that people will be impacted by them.

I don’t believe that when you see something you don’t like on social media that unfollowing, unfriending etc. etc, is the way. I think it is important to stay in the conversation and in the connections & relationships you have built up. Never forget the reason you connected with them on social media in the first place, if it was because you care for them then what they share / say shouldn’t matter as you should still care for them.

Keeping relationships

The only way you can help, inspire or give hope is by keeping these relationships and to keep on sharing positively. Sometimes it is so hard not to react emotionally about what we read, hear or see and to react in a kneejerk way but we need to fight this as much as we can. People may not agree with what I say, my views or what I post online but as long as they read it, one day it might affect them when they least expect it.

When the world seems a sad, bad or miserable place try not to get down, just keep doing your bit and keep spreading positivity as that is all you can do and all you can do is good enough.

Love wins any argument

I don’t like arguments, I try to avoid them, as I think they are pointless and are situations when no one wins. I have blogged before on how futile they are, so these opinions of mine are nothing new to any regular readers.

Instead of getting angry with other people and venting, I wish more people just loved other people and acted in love. You see the thing is – you can’t argue with love, so if you want a guaranteed way to shut down any argument just show the other person some love.

Point scoring

Point scoring will get you nowhere! Answering back will get you nowhere! When someone is trying to argue with you they are blinded and their ears are closed, so you are wasting your breath with anything you are saying. Anything you say to them would be the equivalent of talking to yourself and I know I don’t like doing that.

I like it when people listen to what I have to say. I like people who have their ears and hearts open to what I have to say. I want to positively effect people, I want them to take in what I say. The only message I ever want to spread is love and I think in many arguments there is too much hate and disrespect. Showing disrespect doesn’t change the way people think and won’t make them respect you and your opinion.

Stop them in their tracks

Loving people feels good, arguing with them does not. Showing love doesn’t just make the person you are showing love to feel good, it makes you feel good too. Loving others encourages others to love, to show love and to be loving. Loving someone can stop them in their tracks and change how they feel about you or whatever it was they wanted to argue about.

To me this is just a continuation of my mission this year to love more than I am loved. Another area where I can show more love, another opportunity. In nearly every situation in life there is a chance to show love and I want to make sure I am taking everyone of them.

Love is a fast working natural remedy for most things in life; we just all need to use it more often. Love is a free tool that all of us can use and is not difficult to master. So why not give love a go today, you will be surprised by the impact and results it will have.

Is all media propaganda?

In today’s world I find it very hard to watch, read or listen to any type of media without thinking that there is an agenda and then I start thinking about what their agenda is. This stops me from just getting immersed in any media I consume, because I am always trying to think of what the agenda is and if that agenda is just. It just seems that in this world everyone is trying to convince you to believe something.

Media everywhere

Media is now everywhere; at every moment we have our phone, our tablet, our laptop, our computer, our TV, our radio and our newspapers with us. It has never been easier for people to put something in front of us and try to get us to believe something or think in a certain way. No one has to fight to reach us any more and this is why media is being used so aggressively.

Media to me falls in to two forms, one is media which is overtly trying to persuade you to think a certain way, the other is the media that is subtly trying to get you think in a certain way. To me I think the more subtle pieces are the more dangerous media. We very rarely question why we think in the way we do and I think media is a big contributor to the way we think about the world around us. Sometimes media is affecting us and we don’t even know that it is, if you had to ask yourself why you think in the ways you do, you probably can’t remember the media you have consumed that made you think the way you do.

The media assault

The media assault is helping many people to convince others to think in the ways they want to. Because we are consuming so much media we can’t remember everything we have consumed, this is key for media companies who are trying to go undetected. Do we even know what is media any more? Do we know what consuming means?

When do we turn off from media? Is there any point in our waking day when we haven’t got media around us? I think many of us don’t understand what we are taking in when we have the TV on in the background, are searching the Internet or have the radio on when we are concentrating on other things. Even without realising it our opinions and thoughts are constantly being affected.

I think expecting the world to turn off from media is an impossibility but what I want is for the world to become more media savvy, a world that understands when media is affecting us and why it is affecting us. Lets not get angry when media is affecting us let’s do something about it.

Why I will never understand football fans

In the UK, the football (soccer) season started for most professional teams this weekend just gone. After a couple of months since the last ball was kicked in anger, fans from across the UK were chomping at the bit to watch their favourite teams play, select their Fantasy Football team and start commenting about games on social media.

I love the game of football and have been a fan for as long as I can remember. Like everyone else I had been looking forward to the start of the season so I could start cheering on my team and watch Match Of The Day again, a TV show which is an institution to so many fans.

Dark Ages

Football is sold as a game that can unite the world, but sadly I think in this country it is a game that people want to use to cause divides between them and other fans. In a world where inclusivity and acceptance of people from all walks of life is on the rise (thankfully), I think football is still stuck in the dark ages. It is not deemed as acceptable to hurl an insult or abuse at someone who is different from you in life, yet for football fans it is seen as the norm to insult and abuse opposition teams and the fans of opposition teams.

This is just one of many bugbears I have with the fans of this game. It’s like when your team wins, it is a great feeling and one to be enjoyed but sadly to many this isn’t enough, instead they feel the need to poke fun at the opposition and their fans. As football fans we all know how it feels to lose (it doesn’t feel great) so in the knowledge of this I don’t know why any fan of the game would want to go out of their way to make that experience even worse for another.

School ground mentality

Sometimes I feel like most football fans still have the school ground mentality of bullying and ganging up on someone because it is seen as the fun or cool thing to do. I don’t see why people get their kicks out of provoking people and rubbing it in their faces when the team they support beat another.

I enjoy watching any game of football, regardless of who is playing, just to enjoy the sport. It seems other fans however enjoy watching games that don’t feature the team they support, just to give them ammunition to mock the fans of that team, which to me just seems like such a waste of time.

I just want to enjoy the game and I don’t want my enjoyment of the game to come at the price of anyone else’s enjoyment. I know I am in the minority but I wish more were like me. Sadly I know that insulting, laughing at or abusing other teams and fans is a big part of fan culture, that people get great enjoyment from, I just want to opt out of it and enjoy the high & lows of the season as they unfold. Celebrating the victories, commiserating the defeats, watching great football no matter who is involved and congratulating others when they have success.

Words are my Weapons

I truly believe that some of the most important things I have are my words. In my opinion words have the potential to change the world and through your own words you can change the world around you.

Words have the power to inspire, excite, encourage, depress, comfort, sadden, anger and a million other things as well.

Nothing happens without words

If it weren’t for words written in a contract or spoken at a meeting nothing would ever get done in this world. Without using words not much happens. This is why I believe words are one of our mightiest weapons.

I am very passionate about doing something to help those affected by Alzheimer’s and Dementia. I don’t have bags of money and I don’t have the aptitude for science and medical related subjects, so at first I didn’t know what I could do to help. These conditions need a lot more money and research plowed in to them, as I would one day love to live in a world where we knew what caused it and what would actually work as a prevention and cure.

Experiences

All I have to play my part in the fight on Alzheimer’s and Dementia are my words and I want to make sure I use them in the best way I possibly can. With this in mind, I got to work writing a book to share with others about my experiences and thoughts. The book was published last month and I am now using all forms of social media to promote it. Again I am using words to promote my book that is full of my words, which just goes to show that words are involved in everything.

Through my promotion of the book I was asked a few weeks ago to write a guest blog for a leading Alzheimer’s website which was amazing, as now my words are in front of a new audience who may not come to this blog:

http://www.alzheimers.net/4-3-15-unbreakable-bond/

I love this modern age where we can sit down, type words in to a keyboard and then post them online for the world to see and to be stored forever. Every experience can be shared and we can all learn something from each other. My wish through my writing is that I encourage others to share their thoughts and experiences too. There will never be too many thoughts and experiences to share and each one that we do share could literally change someone’s life in a real and meaningful way.

Decisions

The decisions I have made over the year, which have changed my directions in life and got me to the amazing place I am today have mainly been based on words I have read or heard. That is why I think words are so important, as they can change someone’s directions, someone’s thoughts and someone’s opinions, which could help them on the most amazing journey in life.

We All have a Platform

If you talk to anybody in your day to day life whether that be at work, at school, at home or on the street, you have a platform. If you are on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, WordPress etc you have a platform. Some people are blessed to have bigger platforms than others but that doesn’t mean you can’t make noise from yours.

By using your voice, by using your creativity and by using a keyboard you can change the world in some way, because I think more than ever now people are listening. An example of this would be this small blog. It is still in its infancy as we continue to grow and develop but yet we are getting the attention of influential people. Recently I posted on this site an open letter to the footballing world about the level of betting adverts displayed around football media, which can be viewed here:

https://adamsibley.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/open-letter-to-football-teams-players-staff-and-tv-companies-that-screen-football-in-the-uk/

Then yesterday I went on and looked at the traffic stats for this site, on this admin page it shows me who is linking to blog posts and referring to them. In the box for the blog featuring the open letter was the intranet of the Gambling Commission. Inside the top authority on gambling in the UK they are talking about my blog post.

It just shows you that regardless of the size of your platform you can get your views seen and heard by the people that matter. When you go out in the world you need to be conscious of the platform you have. The words from your mouth or your fingers have the power to change hearts and minds; they have the power to positively influence the world. Sadly many people use their platforms in a negative way and for negative reasons and this is why we all need to be careful. As the saying goes “with great power comes great responsibility.”

If you feel passionately about something – tell someone about it! If you disagree with something in the world around you – say something about it! We have more power at our fingertips today than anyone ever had, so let’s start using it. Let’s start engaging with the world around us more. Nobody will ever listen to you if you don’t try, lets stop complaining or talking behind people’s backs, lets be the generation that grasps what we have and uses it for good.