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Old 08-29-2017, 12:27 AM
 
Location: Georgia
4,564 posts, read 4,264,158 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by submart View Post
My answer to statement #2 is with all the money being saved by not having kids a person can comfortably pay for a home health aide and long term care insurance.
But I find that's rarely the case. No one seems to figure, "Oh, look, all the money I would have spent on a child's school supplies -- that's going into my 401K!" Or, "Oh, good, I don't have to help with college expenses, I can just invest that money in treasury bonds." Basically, childless people tend to pursue a different lifestyle, and that lifestyle costs money -- the money that would have been spent on children.

The assumption is that most people who choose to have kids are economically advantaged. They aren't -- in fact, I think a recent study showed that childless households tended to have an average salary of $55K, whereas an average salary of a household with children was $54K -- not a significant difference. I think there are just as many childless-by-choice people out there that are underemployed, downsized, part-timed or, towards the end of their careers, finding it difficult to start a new career or even hold on to their job in the face of competition from younger employees and age discrimination. Being childless does not automatically make you financially stable. The money often goes into a newer car, traveling, hobbies, perhaps helping family members. My childless-by-choice next door neighbors' hobby is remodeling their house every couple of years. A childless person doesn't have special insight into investing -- their savings don't automatically grow more than someone with kids. From what I have observed, they make the same mistakes as those with children -- they buy expensive homes, expensive cars and often spend too much of their income on clothes, jewelry and accessories that do not maintain value. Plus, those who are childless have been found to spend 60% more on entertainment, 79% more on food, and 101% more on dining out. (They also spend more in categories such as alcohol and, ironically, pets, which I find fascinating, since many of these pets are often treated with as much care as a child.) In other words, they aren't investing any more than their counterparts with children.

It's a personal preference, and one that no one else can make for you or judge you by. Most people who claim they would not be good parents are probably correct.
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Old 08-29-2017, 06:54 AM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
8,297 posts, read 11,161,670 times
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We do not have children and are retired. Childlessness was not by choice. We are active retirees and have each other. Our nearest siblings are 250 miles away and all but one have families of their own. We never expected to have anyone care for us. My sibling and I took care of my parents and it is nice if you are close enough and able to do so. It does make it a lot easier, however, that is not our situation and we are fine with it. We will do for each other the best we can. Then whatever is left is largely going to charity.
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Old 08-29-2017, 07:39 AM
 
13,732 posts, read 26,242,195 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NormasDaughter View Post
I hope you have an advanced care directive written up. We just completed ours. What a relief! No worries my Mom can take over
I have a health care proxy and advance directives. I also specifically disowned my sister in my will.
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
25,706 posts, read 19,086,542 times
Reputation: 30563
Quote:
Originally Posted by dblackga View Post
But I find that's rarely the case. No one seems to figure, "Oh, look, all the money I would have spent on a child's school supplies -- that's going into my 401K!" Or, "Oh, good, I don't have to help with college expenses, I can just invest that money in treasury bonds." Basically, childless people tend to pursue a different lifestyle, and that lifestyle costs money -- the money that would have been spent on children.

The assumption is that most people who choose to have kids are economically advantaged. They aren't -- in fact, I think a recent study showed that childless households tended to have an average salary of $55K, whereas an average salary of a household with children was $54K -- not a significant difference. I think there are just as many childless-by-choice people out there that are underemployed, downsized, part-timed or, towards the end of their careers, finding it difficult to start a new career or even hold on to their job in the face of competition from younger employees and age discrimination. Being childless does not automatically make you financially stable. The money often goes into a newer car, traveling, hobbies, perhaps helping family members. My childless-by-choice next door neighbors' hobby is remodeling their house every couple of years. A childless person doesn't have special insight into investing -- their savings don't automatically grow more than someone with kids. From what I have observed, they make the same mistakes as those with children -- they buy expensive homes, expensive cars and often spend too much of their income on clothes, jewelry and accessories that do not maintain value. Plus, those who are childless have been found to spend 60% more on entertainment, 79% more on food, and 101% more on dining out. (They also spend more in categories such as alcohol and, ironically, pets, which I find fascinating, since many of these pets are often treated with as much care as a child.) In other words, they aren't investing any more than their counterparts with children.

It's a personal preference, and one that no one else can make for you or judge you by. Most people who claim they would not be good parents are probably correct.
While I don't doubt that people without children spend more on "extraneous" items, being without children gives you something critical - more options and flexibility - over those with children.

One of my friends and high school classmates works as an auto detailer at a local detail shop. His wife works as a clerk for a nearby county in southwest Virginia. They have a daughter that is less than six months old, and have been married just under a year. They are always complaining about money on Facebook. Put together, I'd say they make a good bit less than I do.

I have a lot more flexibility in my budget. I had about $1,500 of auto maintenance and car insurance in May, so I cut back in June, eating at home more and not dining/drinking out as much. I don't think I went on any overnight trips in June. It was a nuisance, but not really tough.

$1,500 in additional expenses would be very tough for this couple. They are low income as it is. They've said they cannot qualify for a mortgage, so they must rent, and that is expensive and a poor value for your dollar in this area. You can't just eliminate baby expenses. If the child is sick and you need to go to the doctor, you take it. They have two cars to keep up to my (paid off) older SUV.

I make $60,000 as a single guy in a low cost area. I'm by no means struggling, but it doesn't go as far as people think. I really don't know how a couple with two kids could make it on $60,000. They'd need a bigger house than me. That's four sets of clothes/shoes/food to my one. They'd definitely have more medical expenses, likely higher utilities, etc.
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Old 08-29-2017, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Lakewood OH
21,697 posts, read 24,243,362 times
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I wonder, sometimes, if those who criticize people who choose not to have children really think their attitude through. Would they really want someone to raise children who weren't interested in doing so? Is their goal to convince those who don't want children to have them? Why do they argue in favor of having children so strenuously? Why the "You'll regret its," or "What's wrong with yous?"

So if they convinced someone to have kids and it turned out to be bad for both the kids and the parents, how would that work? How would they feel knowing they pushed people into making such an important decision as having kids but it went all wrong? Miserable kids, miserable parents. I know of situations where this has happened. It's pretty awful. Usually it's family that pressures the childfree couples into having kids. Sometimes it works for the best but often it doesn't. Then everyone suffers.

What I really don't understand is why are strangers so adamant about other people having kids. This thread is like all other threads I've seen in my life of its type. A question is asked of childfree people about regrets. It doesn't matter what the question is; regrets, finances, lifestyles, reasons etc. whatever it is it's being directed to childfree people only. But you can bet your bottom dollar those with kids will jump on and have their say. Usually they will lecture on how wrong the decision not to have kids is which is kind of a hoot on a retirement thread where the majority of people posting are long past that option. Still, they will have their say.

They have to say how their lives have been so wonderful with their kids, they have no regrets, those who don't have kids don't know what they're missing, without kids you'll die alone ad nauseum. Well that's fine, good on them. I couldn't be more happy for them, but why are they so concerned about those who have made a different choice? And, really now, why here? Why on a thread that was clearly inquiring about those in their later years who had made the decision not to reproduce long ago?

And why oh why does this happen on every single thread every single time there is a thread, a post, a forum directed at childfree people only. I wonder, because I don't go there, if many childfree people reverse the procedure and post their scorn, advice, opinions, warnings etc to parents on parents' forums about their decision to have children.

So again, why is it so important for people who have kids to tell people who don't how wrong they are especially when it's a done deal?
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Old 08-29-2017, 09:10 AM
 
8,750 posts, read 5,454,294 times
Reputation: 14804
Quote:
Originally Posted by dblackga View Post
But I find that's rarely the case. No one seems to figure, "Oh, look, all the money I would have spent on a child's school supplies -- that's going into my 401K!" Or, "Oh, good, I don't have to help with college expenses, I can just invest that money in treasury bonds." Basically, childless people tend to pursue a different lifestyle, and that lifestyle costs money -- the money that would have been spent on children....
Yes, but…. If one wishes to be a brutally uncompromisingly fanatical miser, that is possible if one has no children, but impossible as a parent. Kids need food, clothing, shelter. And it helps to buy a house in a more successful school-district. The stories of the software-programmers living out of their station-wagons, showering at the YMCA, are a bit less tractable if said programmers have kids.

It’s true that expenses often behave like a gas, rapidly filling whatever space is allotted to them, so that if money’s not spent on kids, it is spent on luxuries, or if not on luxuries, then on vacations, and if not vacations, then on drugs, etc. Eschewing parenthood is not a guarantee of a lavishly-funded retirement; nothing is. But not having children, allows one to indulge in the sort of savings-habits that would be quite literally criminal for parents.

My own qualms are, that having (largely) succeeded in such fanaticism myself, what now? Being child-free was, and remains, a pillar of my value-system. I embrace it. But I’m not convinced that my derivative choices, enabled by being child-free, have been good ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minervah View Post
I wonder, sometimes, if those who criticize people who choose not to have children really think their attitude through. Would they really want someone to raise children who weren't interested in doing so? Is their goal to convince those who don't want children to have them? Why do they argue in favor of having children so strenuously? Why the "You'll regret its," or "What's wrong with yous?"
It's because some people are offended and personally traduced by any perceived deviation from normalcy, and reproduction in most circles is "normal". The same goes for religious belief, for sexual orientation and so forth. If a member of the community deviates from the norm, there's the perception that the whole community is threatened. Its values are challenged, its objectives denied. To not have children, according to one view, is to subvert the essence of nature and society. It's tantamount to asserting that mankind's existence is somehow accidental, and not particularly special.

As to why this topic appeared in the retirement forum, well, I gather that the OP's question was entirely sincere, and I have no intention to be accusatory. But the reason for the tendentious discussion is that whereas persons of child-bearing age could still (maybe?) be swayed, those who are older, as soft-targets for vitriol and condescension, of "I told you so". This reinforces group-identity of the majority, and vindicates the conventional choices made by the majority.
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Old 08-29-2017, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
25,706 posts, read 19,086,542 times
Reputation: 30563
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minervah View Post
I wonder, sometimes, if those who criticize people who choose not to have children really think their attitude through. Would they really want someone to raise children who weren't interested in doing so? Is their goal to convince those who don't want children to have them? Why do they argue in favor of having children so strenuously? Why the "You'll regret its," or "What's wrong with yous?"

So if they convinced someone to have kids and it turned out to be bad for both the kids and the parents, how would that work? How would they feel knowing they pushed people into making such an important decision as having kids but it went all wrong? Miserable kids, miserable parents. I know of situations where this has happened. It's pretty awful. Usually it's family that pressures the childfree couples into having kids. Sometimes it works for the best but often it doesn't. Then everyone suffers.

So again, why is it so important for people who have kids to tell people who don't how wrong they are especially when it's a done deal?
I don't want to paint with too broad of a brush, but oftentimes parents will place a lot of pressure on young adult children to marry and have kids. That doesn't mean that the parental pressure caused the young adult to have a baby, but they are certainly correlated.

My parents used to give me that guilt trip, and my grandparents still do. My paternal grandparents are both still alive, and they think there is something wrong with me because I'm not married with kids at 31. It's one of the reasons that I don't go over there often - I basically feel forced to explain myself. My parents want grandchildren, but have backed off badgering me about it. My grandparents have three great-grandchildren already - two babies and an 18 year old.

If I had truly listened to family and social pressure, I would be married with kids now. And I'd likely be miserable.

My lifestyle is totally different. I often get in the car and just go places on the weekend with little plan at all. I'm rarely home on Saturdays and sometimes out of the area until late Sunday, especially in the summer. I love outdoor activities - hiking, swimming, etc. I'm not a person who likes to lay around the house. I do my errands through the week so I have weekends free, instead of coming home with the kids or just vegetating in front of the TV after work, then spending Saturday at Walmart and Target instead of doing something fun.

I keep in touch with a high school crush. She's absolutely beautiful, but always wanted children and to teach since she was little herself. She's a 5th grade math teacher and had two kids in her early-mid 20s. Every single Facebook post is about her or her friends' children. She seems to be happy, but they don't travel and don't see to have much identity outside of their children. I find that kind of sad.
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Old 08-29-2017, 09:50 AM
 
Location: South Florida
203 posts, read 118,107 times
Reputation: 1194
Growing up, my sister always said that she would like to have 6 children. She is in her 50s now, married for 30 years, zero children, and happy as a clam. I really think that most people's plans for their futures are fluid and change as their circumstances change. Life happens and you adjust your plans. I can't imagine that someone who never had kids yet had a full and happy life would get to their later years and start to think "Gee, I wish I had kids so that Junior could take care of me". I also don't think that most parents think "Gee, I'm so glad I had kids because they are going to take care of me when I am old". You have children or you don't have children because it is what you want to do with your life, not because it was part of your retirement planning.
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Old 08-29-2017, 10:36 AM
 
6,116 posts, read 3,290,736 times
Reputation: 11992
Some parents show a definite tinge of either Sour Grapes or Misery Loves Company.

The first comes out in resentful comments such as, "YOU can do that because you don't have children. But we don't really care for [whatever 'that' is] anyway." The "that" could be something as simple as a spur-of-the-moment decision to go for an all-day hike. In other words, something free or cheap but requiring flexibility of schedule.

The second comes out as "Kids are difficult but sooooo wonderful that your life is incomplete without them!" Uh, sorry, not true. Kids--other people's kids--are all over the place, and that is enough, uh, wonderfulness already.

The worrisome thing is that the same attitude seems to have spread to many dog owners. After our dogs died, a few asked when we would get another. They literally said, "I could never live without a dog." Okiedokie, no argument or judgment from me that THEY need one, then. But not everybody does.
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Old 08-29-2017, 12:48 PM
 
12,825 posts, read 20,607,745 times
Reputation: 10929
Quote:
Originally Posted by Minervah View Post
I wonder, sometimes, if those who criticize people who choose not to have children really think their attitude through. Would they really want someone to raise children who weren't interested in doing so? Is their goal to convince those who don't want children to have them? Why do they argue in favor of having children so strenuously? Why the "You'll regret its," or "What's wrong with yous?"

So if they convinced someone to have kids and it turned out to be bad for both the kids and the parents, how would that work? How would they feel knowing they pushed people into making such an important decision as having kids but it went all wrong? Miserable kids, miserable parents. I know of situations where this has happened. It's pretty awful. Usually it's family that pressures the childfree couples into having kids. Sometimes it works for the best but often it doesn't. Then everyone suffers.

What I really don't understand is why are strangers so adamant about other people having kids. This thread is like all other threads I've seen in my life of its type. A question is asked of childfree people about regrets. It doesn't matter what the question is; regrets, finances, lifestyles, reasons etc. whatever it is it's being directed to childfree people only. But you can bet your bottom dollar those with kids will jump on and have their say. Usually they will lecture on how wrong the decision not to have kids is which is kind of a hoot on a retirement thread where the majority of people posting are long past that option. Still, they will have their say.

They have to say how their lives have been so wonderful with their kids, they have no regrets, those who don't have kids don't know what they're missing, without kids you'll die alone ad nauseum. Well that's fine, good on them. I couldn't be more happy for them, but why are they so concerned about those who have made a different choice? And, really now, why here? Why on a thread that was clearly inquiring about those in their later years who had made the decision not to reproduce long ago?

And why oh why does this happen on every single thread every single time there is a thread, a post, a forum directed at childfree people only. I wonder, because I don't go there, if many childfree people reverse the procedure and post their scorn, advice, opinions, warnings etc to parents on parents' forums about their decision to have children.

So again, why is it so important for people who have kids to tell people who don't how wrong they are especially when it's a done deal?
Some who accost us are coming from the Old Testament "increase and multiply" - by failing to do so we are deemed to be rebel members of the flock. We are "testifying" to a more modern and to some, un-Churched way of living.

Some others who accost us are coming from a hidden envy. They feel they "did it by the book," following a life script written by the mass culture and their own wiring - the remnant we all have of our common primate underpinning. At milestone X, thou shalt have done Y.

There are other additional pathologies. Society is complicated.
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