The 4 Biggest Purchases That Americans Will Ever Make

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Woman counting money
FabrikaSimf /

From weekly groceries to new clothes and dream vacations, America is a nation of spenders.

But when you look back over your life, it’s likely that a handful of expenses stand out from the rest. These are the really big buys that only come along a few times over many decades.

Recently, Age Wave and Edward Jones broke down data from a number of sources — including the Federal Reserve — and created the following list of the most expensive purchases that the average American makes in a lifetime.

4. A college education

College students listen to a lecture
Monkey Business Images /

Average cost: $103,000

The ongoing debate over student loan forgiveness is a reminder of just how expensive a college education can be.

Fortunately, you can keep this expense down by using the “7 Essential Tips to Reduce College Costs.”

3. Raising a child to age 18

A family sits on a couch together reading.
fizkes /

Average cost: $311,000

Probably no expense brings people more joy — and yes, the occasional headache — than raising a child. But as the above price tag makes clear, this adventure is not for the faint of heart.

For tips on cutting the cost of raising kids, check out:

2. A home

Happy new homeowners

Average cost: $397,000

Everybody knows homes are expensive. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that this purchase did not finish at No. 1 on this list.

If you are looking for a home, stop by the Money Talks News Solutions Center and search for a great mortgage rate.

1. A retirement

man relaxing wine retire early
KieferPix /

Average cost: $987,000

Saving for retirement is tough. You have to build a nest egg that will last for decades into the future, all while funding the day-to-day costs of the present.

If you are ready to tackle this largest of lifetime financial undertakings, check out:

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