- Some wealthy millennials are using their kids as status symbols.
- Raising a child is already an expensive endeavor, costing six figures around the world.
- On top of that, the elite have been known to buy their children pricey accessories, invest in high-end childcare and education, and give them unique names.
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Raising kids is expensive, no matter where you are.
To raise a child to age 18 in the US, it’ll cost parents an average of $230,000, according to Merrill Lynch’s "The Financial Journey of Modern Parenting: Joy, Complexity, and Sacrifice" report. Meanwhile, in the UK, the average cost of raising one child is $323,000.
But the elite, especially millennial parents, have no problem spending beyond those six-figure estimates. In the age of social media, it’s easier than ever to show off your children to others, and if they’re wearing designer clothes and living in swanky nurseries in those images, it helps flaunt your wealth — and your status.
It’s not just about material goods, though, or how much you spend: Investing in intangible goods like high-end childcare and education creates the same effect, as can the number of kids you have and the names you give them.
Here are eight ways millennial parents are using their kids as status symbols.
They’re paying up to six figures for Instagram-worthy baby nurseries.
Some New York-based parents are spending upwards of $100,000 on nurseries for their babies, from hiring top-tier interior designers to investing in eye-catching aesthetics, Meira Gebel previously reported, citing a report by the New York Post. Think $6,000 24-karat cribs and $4,000 custom wall patterns.
"Everyone is excited to show off their space — and their personalities via their space — more than ever before," Malorie Goldberg, copresident of Noa Blake Design in Marlboro, NJ, told the Post. She said it’s likely because parents want the nurseries to look good on Instagram.
Zoya Bograd, a Murray Hill-based interior designer, told the Post her clients spend an estimated $10,000 to $100,000 decorating their child’s nursery.
They’re dropping money on designer kids clothes and customized shopping experiences.
Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Instagram is also influencing millennial parents to invest in luxury clothes for their children, reported Grace Cook for Business of Fashion. Social media makes it easier for parents to share images of their children, and kid influencers like North West are in part driving the trend, she wrote. The luxury category within the childrenswear market has nearly tripled since 2016, according to data from Edited.
Designers are meeting the demand — Givenchy and Balenciaga both launched childrenswear lines in the past few years, according to Cook.
"Young parents with kids don’t want to sacrifice their own aesthetic choices for the sake of dressing their children," Moschino creative director Jeremy Scott told Cook. "They want them to look cool, like an extension of themselves."
Look no further than Collective Child, a personalized shopping service for luxury childrenswear, to see the shift in millennial moms’ shopping habits — the company hand-curates designer kids clothes in monthly subscription boxes and has had a 1,500-person waitlist for nearly two years.
According to its website, nearly half of its members spend more than $200 a month on the service. The top 10% of its clientele are spending $400 per month and VIP clients spend more than $750 a month.
They push their kids around in thousand-dollar strollers.
Buggies previously addressed parents’ affordability and safety concerns, she said.
"But the new generation of buggies appealed to a deeper existential anxiety in modern parents: ‘Who am I going to be after this baby comes?’" Rodriguez McRobbie wrote. "The answer, these objects said, was that you’d be the same person you always were, the kind of person who is interested in design, travel, style — albeit with a new and much needier co-pilot."
She credits Bugaboo for spurring the rise of this "practical luxury." Along with its competitors, the brand has become an "emblem of a new kind of parent," she wrote.
Celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow have been spotted with the Bugaboo — products range from $799 to $1,905 — and Kate Middleton has been seen pushing Prince George and Prince Charlotte in Silver Cross prams, which can cost as much as $2,276.
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