5 Reasons to be Happily ChildfreeBy Money Mage · · Children, Frugality, FIRE
‘They’re a well off couple’. ‘They have no children though!’
Dual Income. No Kids. Yet another DINK.
I am one half of a DINK couple. And I’m proud of that. I’m perfectly content with my decision to never have kids.
I have zero regrets about my child-free life. It’s good for me. It’s good for my finances. And it’s good for the planet.
But it’s somewhat of a taboo subject. I am sure there are some of you reading going ‘here we go again’. Sure, but hear me out.
The other-MM and I have been together for 19 years. We spoke about having children very early in our relationship and I’ve made it clear all along I don’t want any. The other-MM is in agreement, but with slightly weaker held views.
It works for us…
There are many reasons you might not want to, or cannot, have kids. There is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.
Some women without kids are discriminated against. I’ve seen family members called ‘barren bitch’. It’s one of those emotive subjects, borne out of millions upon millions of years of evolution.
The desire to reproduce is strong.
Yet weirdly, I’ve never felt the urge. At all. I’ve always put it down to some skew-whiff genes.
I find strength in not having kids. Here are some of the reasons why.
My mom, rest her soul, was blessed with the unfortunate condition of bipolar disorder. It made her extremely creative, but also intense. In the lows, it was extremely difficult to be around her.
My mom tried for kids before me and miscarried 3 times. I know it dwelled heavily on her mind.
Aged 16 I had to get her sectioned under the Mental Health Act. She was a danger to herself, and others.
I don’t suffer as badly with my mental health as my Mom, but I do suffer.
I wouldn’t want to put a child of mine through what I had to go through.
It’s not just mental health. I also have an underlying health condition (IBD) that’s possibly hereditary, or at least partly hereditary. My Grandad had diverticular disease for as long as I can remember, so there is a family link.
With both of these concerns combined, health is a major reason I don’t want to have kids.
2. Same-Sex Couples
It may come as a surprise, but the other-MM, well, we are both guys.
We’ve been together for 19 years. We are not your stereotypical gay guys. If there is such a thing.
But the choice to have kids is a little more complex for two blokes.
Firstly, there are the practicalities of either of us not having a womb. So it then becomes: do we have two kids? One each? Who’s the mother? Or mothers? Is the mother the surrogate? If we have one, who’s going to be the father? Are we cool with that?
And the ugly practicalities, who’s holding the turkey baster?
Like seriously, I don’t want to look.
Nonsense aside, I’m ignoring an important fact that the world is starting to go backwards with acceptance of same-sex relationships. LGBTQ+ rights are being eroded daily. Specifically the rise of populsist right-wing leaders, normalizing hate and bigoted views.
Do I want to bring a child into an uncertain world with two Dads?
We could adopt, and that is still an option for us.
But at the moment, this chalks up two solid reasons for no kids.
I’m going to get a little selfish at this point.
I can barely look after myself, let alone a bairn.
Some days I struggle. Especially last year. With the insane pressure I was under at my job. I was at the edge of holding things together. Life was 9pm finishes and a collapse on the couch.
The responsibility of a bairn would have chucked me over the edge. I would have not been able to adequately balance work, relationship and child.
It’s an entirely emotionally immature, naive, and selfish view. I know that. But I don’t need, nor want, the extra responsibility.
And continuing in selfish vain, children are expensive. Like super expensive in the average case.
An LV study in 2016 showed the average cost of raising a child from birth until the age of 21 is £231,843
Let that sink in for a minute. That’s our house.
Some think the opposite of this. That children are an investment. You invest in them, and they look after you when you are old and decrepit.
That might work, if your money-lavished, boarding-school educated, Ivy League child doesn’t turn out to be a junkie. Which, by the way, happened to both daughters of a very wealthy family friend.
And this is hoping they stick around to look after you. Plenty of children move far away from the family home. Exercising their right to forge their path and career. In the cities of this world, with parents nowhere in sight. If I did have kids, I’d be encouraging them to live and learn. Not forcing some master-plan to clean up after pish-stinking old people.
So boarding school, an Ivy League university and forced geriatric care are not on the cards? I agree. I am sure you can bring up children more frugally than the average case. Just like you can live, earn and save more frugally to become financially independent.
Kid’s take on average 38% of your net income. So if you have kids and are on the path to Financial Independence, you’ve got to get your money to work 62% harder than I do to make up for that.
This isn’t said often in FIRE circles: if you have kids, it’s a whole lot harder to get to Financial Independence, let alone Retire Early.
Achievable, but harder.
This is another big weight on the scales of ‘no kids’ for me.
And yes, I know how selfish you must think I am.
But frankly speaking, it’s my choice.
I have lost a lot of faith in humanity during this COVID crisis.
Seeing people flaunt lockdown on UK beaches, in protests, and VE Day celebrations. Seeing ringpieces in Tesco without a mask, coughing everywhere.
Today in the store there were two guys without masks. They’d just been out for a run. The shop assistant served them. When we asked the shopkeeper why: ‘I’ve been shouted and sworn at, I’ve had enough, it’s easier to just serve them and get them out the shop’. Face coverings are mandatory by law in Scotland.
Politicians normalize this insane behaviour. BoJo taking his holiday and skipping four COBRA meetings. His special advisor taking a 400 mile round trip to his family home when infected. Trump. Just Trump. Pushing hydroxychloroquine despite there being no evidence of it’s efficacy. I expect he holds an interest in the manufacturer. Let alone Bolsonaro’s stance in Brazil, who’s similar off-the-charts batshit crazy.
I have long been a believer that the world’s population growth is out of control.
I’m now a strong believer that our leaders are off-the-wall bonkers, and so is good portion of the population for putting them in office.
We should be worried less about the exponential spread of COVID. Instead, more worried about the exponential spread of humans.
In the UK, we relentlessly separate our waste plastic from our glass and our cardboard. Doing the greater good at the bottle bank. Give yourself a round of applause. It’s placed on container ships and sold. Our bottles of Comfort and Waitrose plastic bags bound for Turkey and Indonesia. To be buried. Or burnt.
You might argue that using overpopulation is a socially and morally bankrupt argument: but if I can do my bit by not adding to the numbers, I will do so.
It would be completely fair to criticise my views as selfish.
I’m looking after myself. I’m not spreading my genes to future generations.
But, for the 5 reasons above, we live happily child-free. It’s just who we are. Each to their own.
Now, I admit, I don’t know what it’s like to give life, and look after that life. So I don’t know what I’m missing out on.
I do sometimes contemplate legacy. But I have a loving family, with cousins and sisters in law, all with children. We love them, and we look after them.
They will be our legacy.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, so if you have kids, are away to have kids, or are like us and are childless, let me know below.
Subscribe now, follow me on Twitter @moneymagery, stick by your principles and you’ll be mortgage-free in no time.
Sources and Attribution
- United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2019).World PopulationProspects 2019, Volume II: Demographic Profiles(ST/ESA/SER.A/427). https://population.un.org/wpp/Graphs/1_Demographic%20Profiles/World.pdf