Would You Live a Happier and More Financially Rewarding Life If You Never Have Kids?
Published 12/3/07 (Modified 3/8/11)
The subject of whether having children is a financially smart decision is a sensitive one that touches many brainy issues, including the meaning and purpose of life. Frequently this discussion is moot since not all births were carefully planned and many were simply unexpected accidents. I'm sure parents have secretly pondered this question before but were afraid to speak too loudly on the subject. No one wants to doubt their decision to have children and everyone instinctively wants to convey the impression that children have brought them nothing but pure joy and lifetime fulfillment.
Since I am not yet married and don't have children of my own, perhaps I can comment on the issue from the perspective of someone who has not chucked the dice and thrown himself into this path of eternity, so to speak.
Having Children Is Extremely Expensive and Will Deprive You Of Some Of Life's Financial Enjoyments
Raising a life from scratch into full adulthood is a lengthy and expensive journey. No one can deny that it requires a substantial and personal willingness to sacrifice one's own personal wants for the betterment of another. Medical and educational costs bear the greatest financial brunt and some parents frequently have to work multiple jobs to provide financially.
I know couples who made the conscientious decision not to have children, but sometimes I wonder if they are happier as a result. I have an uncle and aunt who decided a long time that they were not going to have children. They never caved to family pressure and didn't succumb to "accidents" (*hint hint, wink wink*) and now they live a financially admirable life. They have a beautiful massive house, big screen TV, and they take frequent vacations to lavish destinations - things that they would not have been able to enjoy if they had children in their midst.
But Children Bring Intangible Happiness That Cannot Possibly Be Duplicated By Anything Else
Now whether they are truly happy with only their material possessions to show for their efforts is a different matter. I'm sure that their material possessions have brought them a certain level of financial happiness. They get to enjoy all of the newest and coolest technological gadgets, and get to visit places that others can only dream and hope to save up for. But as they eventually approach old age, I wonder if they will find a void missing. Having children provides a type of life purpose and joy that money and material possessions can never full replace. I know it is a tremendous financial and social sacrifice, but I personally think the potential fulfillment is so great that is hard for me to understand why any couple would choose to give up this very humanistic desire to create a reflection of yourself and to instill it with love.
It's interesting that this type of lament and reflective thinking usually occurs closer to old age, but I can see myself pondering this question down the road already. I enjoy making and planning a financial fruitful life, but when the time comes to make the financial sacrifice for my family and children, to give up my expensive hobbies, my computer, my big screen TV, and to be willing to forsake my own material wants, I think I'll be ready to make the right choice.