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Old 03-28-2014, 01:26 PM   #1
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Child-free

So, I searched the topic and the latest thread on this was back in 2007. Today, I've read two others who are mid-30s, child-free and intending to stay that way. I became curious...

Background: I am 36, DW is 33. We are presently child-free, but are always discussing the should we/shouldn't we. If we do, we will have two. We have a plan in place that would likely allow us to retire forever at (my) age 42 under our present and forecasted (child-free) financial situation. We have a great start even if we have kiddos, and thus would likely be able to retire late-40s or early 50s.

So, for those forum members who are child-free, was there anything that drove you to that conclusion? Or just a "I don't really want kids?" Or were you in the group that thinks "if I don't KNOW that I want kids, I shouldn't have them?"

Wife and I kinda fall in that last group right now. We wonder if we can be the best parents we can be if we aren't just SURE that we want kids. I would say we favor having kids by a 60/40 margin, but neither one of us will commit to one or the other. We do acknowledge the opportunity cost of NOT having kids, and that's what keeps us in the game (the joy, the opportunity to teach and learn from children, the purpose they give to your life - NOT the "I hope they'll take care of me or keep me company"... you can't guarantee that).

Interested in thoughts, or if I missed a more recent thread on this, point me there!! Thanks!
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:44 PM   #2
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Either way you need to decide soon. The risks increase significantly with the ages of both parents, especially the mother.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:47 PM   #3
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Most of our friends have kids and we like to spend time with their family but we never go home thinking that we should have kids of our own. As we are turning 40 and the childbearing window is closing, we still have no desire to have children. So we figure that we don't really want kids.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:48 PM   #4
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I am turning 50 soon. Single no kids. Retired.

I actually think I would be a better father and am more interested now than I ever was while working. I was so stressed out and spent far too many hours in work mode when I was younger.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:59 PM   #5
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Either way you need to decide soon. The risks increase significantly with the ages of both parents, especially the mother.
Yeah, we know, and our "ideal" window (with respect to my job) is probably the next year to year-and-a-half if we decide to start. DW is also employed and doesn't necessarily want to give up her career. One aspect of the FIRE life that we've considered is my retiring at 42 (with mil pension and our savings) and her continuing her career. With her current income and my pension, our savings rate would be very low, but we'd be fine and we have a great start toward FI as is. I could be Mr. Mom... and a kept man.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:33 PM   #6
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Interested in thoughts..........
This is such an individual, personal decision that it's really hard to comment. We all pass through life once and do the best we can to make the most of it. Whether "making the most of it" involves parenting, well that's where you're going to have to make some big boy decisions no one else can make for you. Clearly, for those who have the choice, the kids/no-kids decision has to rank near the top of life's "forks in the road."

It sounds like you have a good handle on either path. And whichever you pick, there will be future doubts as to whether the decision was the best one. I have a feeling you'll have moments of happiness/fulfillment and moments of doubt whichever fork you follow.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:33 PM   #7
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I was never very child-centric, but figured that if it just got all over me in my 30s, that we'd have kids. I kept waiting for that clock to go off at 35, like all those ladies had warned me...and it didn't. I don't think you should have them unless you are WAY into it.

Now that I'm 43, I'm really really really glad we didn't choose to have kids. The stress and cost would not have been worth it, I don't think. We have such a peaceful and carefree life compared to the folks with kids, and not nearly as much to fight about!

I guess if I were you, I'd keep thinking about it, and seeing if your wife got baby crazy in the next couple of years. Thank god I didn't.
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:48 PM   #8
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Half of the people we hang out with had kids, half didn't. I don't see any difference in the two groups' levels of happiness, fiscal achievements, retirement ages, career advancement, etc., etc. Such a personal decision.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:04 PM   #9
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My husband and I don't have kids. When I was of that age and my friends and sibling wanted to have children, they all had this burning desire to have babies. I did not have that desire and thought it unfair to have a child because I was "supposed" to. That said, we have many children in our lives whom I love deeply - nieces, nephews, godchildren - and feel truly blessed. It really is a personal decision and one that no one can make for you.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:12 PM   #10
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I have never wanted children and do not regret not having any. There are several generations of nieces and nephews so I get to enjoy the babies and children though not often since none live in my city.

As others have said it's a very personal decision and only you and your spouse can decide if you want to have children.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:26 PM   #11
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I could have been the author of the original post in this thread 23 years ago. But minus the RE aspect, since that wasn't on the radar at the time. DW helped me to understand the "purpose/meaning" thing, and she being traditionally minded, we ended up with kids. I'd say they were somewhat expensive, but generally ours (two girls) didn't seem to contribute much in the way of stress, and any stress that did come about was dwarfed by tons of other interesting and fun stuff. Of course it is simply not possible for anyone past that decision to say they took the wrong path, hehe!
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:39 PM   #12
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When the young wife and I got married, we were 23 and 25, respectively. At that point, we assumed that we would have children, but I was in the Navy and regularly deploying, so it did not seem like a propitious time to do so. Shortly after I left active duty, she started grad school, which also seemed like a bad time. When she finished grad school, I went to law school. Ditto. Then, of course, we were both starting out in new and demanding professional careers, recovering financially from having gone to school, and saving to buy a house. When the smoke finally cleared, we were in our late 30s and still childless. At that point, we took a good look around and mutually concluded that we were fulfilled and happy as is, so we never did have children.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:54 PM   #13
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Never wanted, never had, never saw the point.
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Old 03-28-2014, 04:37 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
I was never very child-centric, but figured that if it just got all over me in my 30s, that we'd have kids. I kept waiting for that clock to go off at 35, like all those ladies had warned me...and it didn't. I don't think you should have them unless you are WAY into it.
That's how it went down for me, plus then I married a guy who really didn't want children.

I have two young nephews who are pretty good grandchildren substitutes since my SIL is a generation younger than I.
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Old 03-28-2014, 04:41 PM   #15
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I am single, 50, and childfree. I knew when I was 20 years old I never wanted to have any kids. While I was never enthusiastic about having kids, two summers as a day-camp counselor sealed the deal in the early 1980s.

I attribute my ability to retire in late 2008 at age 45 in large part to being childfree. Best and most important decision I ever made.
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Old 03-28-2014, 04:52 PM   #16
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So, for those forum members who are child-free, was there anything that drove you to that conclusion? Or just a "I don't really want kids?" Or were you in the group that thinks "if I don't KNOW that I want kids, I shouldn't have them?"
According to your stipulation, I shouldn't be on this thread, but....

Four boys... now 48 to 55...
Wouldn't trade the joy of having children for anything. Still love watching young minds develop, and the warmth that it brings to marriage.

As to the question of having children. For us no question. The fact that any question exists... well...

Current cost for a child birth to age 18, $241K. That's before college expenses. College another $100K to $250K. Girls... wedding costs.

A dollar here, a dollar there, and first thing ya know...
.................................................. .................................................. .
If I were to set up a test to measure whether a couple would be happy with children, it would be to have a dog... maybe a golden retriever. Dealing with the occasional $700 vet bill, house training, walking the dog every morning, afternoon and evening... rain snow or heat. Buying the dog food, letting him out to poop, cleaning up the dog hair on the sofa and the carpet, getting the shots, and the registration. Then going on vacation... searching for the right place that accepts dogs, or boarding him at $38/day... if you're lucky.
Being home on time... all the time, to "let the dog out"... And after all of that, going through the agony of watching him grow old and die, and losing the best friend you ever had.
Then... comparing that to bringing up a child... except that the child will take up more of your time and effort than having 10 dogs.... and then some, like being prepared for things to go wrong... health-wise, personality wise, and things like Downs, or ADD or some other handicap.

With kids, you can't hunker down if things go wrong and struggle through the tough times with your spouse... The kid(s) come first, and choices become limited.

That said... we wouldn't trade our kids for the world, nor the 30 years of having extra people in the house... and now, almost like the second time around... a second chance... here:
Recent Photo

You can't put a dollar sign or any kind of measure on that.
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Old 03-28-2014, 04:57 PM   #17
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We are 44 and 43 and do not have kids or plan to have kids. I think for us our marriage has benefitted from not having kids because we enjoy spending time together hiking/camping/sailing/skiing/motorcycling, most of which would be hard to do with a small child. I have also noticed a few of our friends with kids who so value the few hours they are away from the wife and kids (or husband and kids). That just doesn't seem like happiness. An example was one coworker saying how nice it was going to be because his wife was taking the kids to her parents for the weekend and he would get the house all to himself.

I have seen a few people who had a kid to "save" the marriage and it never works out well.
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:35 PM   #18
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Either way you need to decide soon. The risks increase significantly with the ages of both parents, especially the mother.
We married in our 40s. This is the reason we decided against having a family.

(Well, plus the fact that we both came from dysfunctional families. Enough of that, already!)

DW likes to say that we did the world a favor by "taking two of them off the street."
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:46 PM   #19
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I have always enjoyed being with children and my entire career was in the field of pediatric nursing. Even when I rose through the ranks of middle management to senior management it has always been within a hospital solely dedicated to pediatric care. I like kids a lot better than I like adults.

That said.....I never wanted my own children. I just couldn't see myself enjoying that lifestyle. I had friends that told me I was selfish.....which I always thought was odd. Selfish to me is wanting a child of your own when there are so many already born that need families.

At this point in my life I am very happy I am childless and know I made the right decision for myself.
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:50 PM   #20
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We married in our 40s. This is the reason we decided against having a family.

(Well, plus the fact that we both came from dysfunctional families. Enough of that, already!)

DW likes to say that we did the world a favor by "taking two of them off the street."
I forgot about that reason. My first cousin is also my second cousin and my aunt's mother is her sister. Our family tree has no branches.

(well really the first case was first cousins marrying sisters (unrelated) and the second case was a sister adopting her much younger sister when both parents died)
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