Monica Kovats believes at 17 teenagers want to do things that are more sophisticated – and more costly. It costs a lot to be Monica Kovats. There is her school education, mobile phone, car and a desire for the more sophisticated things in life.

But at 17, the East Maitland teenager is the norm.

According to new research, 17 has been revealed as the most expensive year of a child’s life with teenagers of this age costing their parents more than 20 per cent of the average NSW weekly wage.

The inaugural Suncorp Bank Cost of Kids Report has found that it is teenagers, not

newborns, placing enormous financial strain on their parents and household budgets.

The report revealed that teenagers cost their parents $237 a week, with the financial burden peaking at 17 years.

This compares to $206 a week for infants, $167 for toddlers and $163 for primary aged children.

And, according to Monica, these results are not surprising.

“I think at 17 you realise you want to do things that are a little bit more sophisticated and that sort of ups the price of things,” she said.

“But at this age you are also able to get your licence, so that means a car and petrol, so the costs accumulate there as well.”

The Hunter Valley Grammar School student gave up part-time work this year to concentrate on her studies with her parents agreeing to introduce a pocket money system.

“When my parents were younger they would maybe look at more creative options that

didn’t cost as much whereas money is a bigger deal now,” Monica said.

Suncorp Bank Regional general manager NSW Steve Morgan said the report findings revealed some interesting insights into the variable costs associated with raising children.

“The analysis shows teenagers and babies place the greatest financial burden on parents,

while preschoolers and primary school children are relatively inexpensive,” Mr Morgan said.

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