Would You Live a Happier and More Financially Rewarding Life If You Never Have Kids?

Published 12/3/07 (Modified 3/8/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

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.

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7 Responses to “Would You Live a Happier and More Financially Rewarding Life If You Never Have Kids?” 

  1. Mrs. Micah says:

    I love interacting with really young ones and watching them grow and learn. That's a really wonderful experience.

    At the same time, I sometimes wonder how we'll afford kids (well, we'll just not have them now, condoms are cheaper!) and how I'll handle certain aspects of parenting--like if my kids end up with the same major depression I have, or if I'll pass the genes on to them, or how I'll handle being a majorly depressed parent.

    My mom didn't have kids until she was 40. She says she enjoyed all those years of "freedom" but also doesn't (now) regret her decision for a minute. I just plan to wait until it's financially possible for me to stay home with them (i.e. Micah's got a full-time job, not a student teaching position with a stipend).

    This lil' guy is one of the biggest reasons I want to have babies. He took his first steps at our place: (Photo)
    (these are a few weeks later). :)

  2. Richard says:

    You seem to pose the question as a choice between selfless child rearing and selfish materialism. I think that's a rather shallow treatment of the subject, and, perhaps, betrays your bias.

    I've chosen to not have children so that it will be easier for your kids to find parking spots for their SUVs when they grow up. How selfless of me.

  3. Raymond says:

    Richard, yes you are right, truthfully, I am biased. I mean this with all respect, but I do feel raising a child is such an integral part of the human experience that I find it odd when I encounter those who have made or want to make the opposite choice. I always find myself asking them, why? It's one of those questions we can ponder endlessly.

  4. Joseph says:

    I humbly suggest this post be rephrased as follows:

    Would You Live a Happier and More Financially Rewarding Life If You Never Have a Girlfriend/Wife?

    or

    Would You Live a Happier and More Financially Rewarding Life If You Rob a Bank (and not get caught)?

    All the commentary should be more or less the same as what the original post has.

  5. Aaron Stroud says:

    Raymond, you're right that good parenting requires that we willingly make substantial sacrifices. But I would argue that parenting doesn't have to be extremely expensive. Lot's of costs are unavoidable: clothing, food, bigger house, medical expenses. But the rest is optional.

    If parents do a good job of preparing their kids to be adults, working their way through college will not seem an insurmountable burden.

  6. Kyle says:

    Interesting post. My take is that if you plan accordingly to have kids you don't necessarily have to give up the expensive hobbies, computer, big screen TV, etc... You may have to dial them back a bit, but it is not a question of giving up one for the other. It is all about balance.

  7. Alex says:

    Isn't it selfish to have your own child when there are so many children in this world who need a better home? Should we not adopt?

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