Grandbabies: The Great Reward

In Economy, How We Behave On

And my generation is spending more money on our grandchildren, 64 percent more than grandparents did just 10 years ago, doling out, for instance, roughly $4.3 billion a year on primary and secondary school tuition. We’re also spending on everyday needs like baby food, clothes and tricycles as well as big-ticket items like the crib, the stroller, a piano (that was me). We’re straightening their teeth when they get a little older.

Over and over grandparents have whispered to me, “Don’t use our name, but we bought their house” or “We pay their rent.” I know a couple who moved out of their rent-stabilized apartment so that their daughter and new baby could move in. In our case, we help pay for preschool and the nanny. When our first grandchild was born, we even turned a room in our apartment into a nursery, hoping that if we provided all the comforts of home, our daughter and son-in-law would visit often. We bought a crib, bedding, diapers, bottles and — I couldn’t help myself — a sweet bassinet that alone cost us a crazy $500. When it arrived, we had to put the darn thing together ourselves, with that insufferable Allen wrench.

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