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January 11, 2010


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Early Retirement Extreme

Also, kids provide cheap farm hands, but more importantly, there's a 0.00000000001% chance that if you invest in guitar lessons they will grow up to become the next Michael Jackson. No wait, what?! OK, maybe the kid will be the nerdy guy who grows up o become the next Karl Rove. Yay! :-)

Incidentally, the cost of raising just one kid is more than a lifetime of retirement for me, according to that calculator, but I despair.


Syd, I can relate. I am 36 and DH and I have never wanted children. It is refreshing to hear that other women also have chosen not to have children, it certainly is a rarity these days and you are seen as a bit of an oddball if you dont want children. I have also found it quite isolating as most women my age either have them or obsess about having them.

But yes, DH and I are hoping to retire from the rat race later this year, we would probably not be able to do this if we had kids. I think it is more than just an issue of money, because when you have kids it strikes me that this impacts upon decisions such as how and where you live your life.

I too have been told that there will be no one to look after me when I am old, well, having kids is no guarantee to that either.


Ha, I believe your bullet points understate the goggle-eyed venom they're usually delivered with but pretty much sum them up! I think the fact you retired early is very inspiring and much food for thought for thus-far childless women like myself so it's a good thing that nutcases in Canadian Dream's comments sections etc don't stop you posting stuff like this.

Incidentally, the cost of raising just one kid is more than a lifetime of retirement for me, according to that calculator

Yeah but what about the cost of raising a pug, Jacob?

Retired Syd

@ERE: Yeah, it would be just my luck to wind up with a little Karl Rove!

@Dreamer: The good news is once the kids of your friends get a little older, your friends will be eager to reconnect. Hang on to those friendships. But I sympathize with you since you have not reached my advanced age where the badgering ceases.

@Guinness416: Yes, I expected a little more of a firestorm here this morning, but alas, the day is still young . . .


I don't get it!! Shouldn't the list be about reasons why someone WOULD want kids??

Those babies sure are cure, though.

AND...I think the people who have babies should be able to afford them in addition to wanting them.

So there!

Retired Syd

@Sara: But you HAVE a kid. Granted, you didn't get the baby part . . .


Personally, I hope that no one ever has children. Eventually the human race will whither away and die and that, in my opinion, will be a very, very good thing.

Early Retirement Extreme

@guinness416 - Luckily we found some cheap cello lessons and he's not into that whole travel soccer thing.


Wow, the calculator is highly inflated in my personal experience (2 kids). But they've probably cost me a good $100k each. I'll get it out of them when I'm 75 I hope. :-)

I think the higher cost has been the work opportunities I've foregone at times when not being able to devote myself as fully to my work as others have been able to - and the impression that gives to bosses etc. that don't allow you to be flexible (those who think of face time more than actual productivity).


OH!!! I love you Syd!!!!

Mother of three

I do have three children with whom I have good relations. But children don't come with guarantees. I know people who are estranged from their children and some whose children have predeceased them - so much for taking care of them in their old age. Yes, children bring joy but even watching your grown children go through difficult times is painful. My children don't owe me anything - especially grandchildren. When I was in my twenties, I thought people who didn't want children were selfish; by the time I was thirty, I realized that those people probably put more conscious thought into their decision, a very wise thing to do. I don't regret having my children; but I know people who do. Thank you for helping pay for my children's education so they can pay into our social security for years to come.

Retired Syd

@Alice: Having one of those days today, huh?

@Jacqueline: At even $100k per kid, I think that's still enough to carry Jacob (ERE) through a lifetime of retirement . . .

@Mother of 3: Thank you for your very thoughtful comments. You do bring up a very good point, I am very thankful for all those of you that have kids--I'm going to need that Social Security too someday! (My pleasure on the education.)


Kids are all those fulfilling things people tell you and grandkids are even more so. I have two sons and five grandchildren, plus one on the way. But even in our culture today, those who choose not to have kids come under a stigma in the eyes of some. What gets me, is people who hammer childless couples, whether they are childless by choice or not. And some people who tout all the wonders of parenting are doing very little parenting. The individuals who have kids but are too selfish to spend the time and energy training them to have inner strength and self-discipline are the ones who need the wake up call, as well as those who are so concerned with me, me, me that when their relationship with their partner crumbles they enter nasty breakups using kids as weapons against each other.

Pardon the rant from a geezerette!

Retired Syd

@LC: That reminds me of a couple of women my husband and I met on a bike trip about 15 years ago. Betty and Meg were childhood friends that ditched their husbands for one week each year to vacation together. They were a fun, high-energy pair, probably in their mid-60's.

When they asked us if we had kids and we told them we didn't want any, Meg said, "Betty, I think they are smart, don't you? Kids are so overrated."

Betty said, "Absolutely, not worth the trouble." But after considering a minute longer continued, "Oh, but Meg, then they won't have grandchildren, and THEY are definitely worth it."

Meg agreed and said that's the only good reason to have kids, to get those grandkids.


My chuckle of the day!

Kari Lubitz

Wow Syd, I am honored to have been mentioned! Thank you... and I believe I have mentioned that I totally understand people that don't want to have kids and I DO think that sometimes couples that decide not to have children think about it longer and harder than many of us that do have children. Everyone deserves to have choices and make those choices based on their own needs, wants or desires. Right? Anyway, my Brother and Sister-in-Law are struggling with being able to have children... but on New Years Eve as we were trying to enjoy a concert with them downtown, but meanwhile were texting with one teenage boy driving our Volvo over a Mountain Pass with 3 of his closest friends in a snowstorm while the other was galavanting around downtown with his pot smoking friends, AND as we were contemplating how we we could even afford 2010 with an estimated $90K going to private school educations, I gently suggested to them that it might actually be a lot less stressful and a LOT less expensive if they just didn't have children :). AND I do not believe for one minute that our children will take care of us in our old age, but maybe I am just having a bad day!


I think all of your points are well-taken. My 59 year-old banker sister who is set to retire any day now would agree. MY retirement is going to wait until I'm 69 because, unlike you, I chose to parent five kids! Rearing children is an intensely personal decision and should, in no way, be governed by social and political constructs. If Ms. Duggar wants to have 19 kids, I don't fault her. If Syd prefers to have zero kids, she can wave to us from the beach at a much younger age. I will point out though that you may miss having grandkids--from my vantage point with 5 daughters and six grandkids, being a grandparent is WAY MORE FUN than being a parent!

Retired Syd

@Grace: While I hear good and bad reviews of raising kids from my friends, the feedback I hear on grandkids is pretty much unanimous. Which does make me sorry, not for myself, but for my dad (my last bullet point). He loves kids and is great with them. And babies? He's like a baby whisperer.

I'm the only child, so no hope for him. Although kids just tend to follow him around wherever he goes, so he probably does still get some of the benefits, even though they aren't exactly related to him.



You are so right about kids and the ability to retire early.

Though I have a child and wanted at least one more I think that those of us with children should all be thanking you. 1. You aren't contributing to the mass of people stressing the planet that our children will have to deal with. 2. By retiring early you are reducing the amount of consumption that spending all of that extra money would have resulted in.

You are right, you shouldn't feel guilty about any of it.


I give you a lot of credit for speaking up on the subject and taking such a minority view. As a 50-year-old, heterosexual single woman with no kids, I certainly do feel like an oddball many times, and unfortunately, our media and culture reinforce stereotypical roles ad nauseum.

Mothers out and about with their children, babies in particular, just assume you think their progeny is adorable and cute, when I could really care less and hope they don't start screaming.

Sandra L.

Dear Syd, My DH and I decided not to have children. I'm 45 and he's 53. We love our nephews and niece, but decided it would be best not to have our own children. Sometimes I grieve for the child I will never have. But when I hear my friends talk about their kids' unplanned pregnancies, nervous breakdowns, drug problems, temper tantrums, mooching money off them, moving back home with their own kids in tow...well, I'd rather have pets.

I admire you for speaking up on the subject, as Claudia said.


Dear Syd, this is a great topic you brought up. Having no children has a LOT to do with when you can retire. Me and DH always thought we'd have kids. We got married, enjoyed being the two of us for a few years. Then when we wanted to start a family, we were not able to have kids (despite our young ages at the time). Thankfully, in the meantime, we did our investments, worked hard to build a good life and future. And we enjoyed our continuing freedom. The past few years, we've also been thinking about the idea of early retirement, and this excites me very much! Now at 35/37 yrs, we are very content with our life, which eachother, and being childfree. I'm sometimes still thinking wether I would still want to have a child (a little surprise or maybe adoption).. But having the option to leave the rat-race in a few years and retire in our early 40's (or do whatever low-paid job will please me) is a big thing now in my life. I look at my dear friends who have young children and their struggle and frustratation with day to day life, with eachother, and how many of them just do not want to work full time, but have to for many more years. I am not saying it's not worth it. It must fulfilling be in many mays - that love of a child - which I hoped to experience myself until recently. But, there is a cost for everything in life; when you give up something, you are able to get something else. I can very much relate to parents and their views, but also very much to childfree by choice crowd. Nobody has to convince the other that one choice is better than the other. Everyone's circumstances are different. The important think is to be content with the life you make.


To "Mother of three": Thank you for your sincere and kind words. Yes we do all pay for kids' educations (whether we have a child or not) and I cannot think of this being any different. In addition, (as a childfree person) I'm happy that I will have so many other ways to help or contribute to what's already out there (there is going to be some extra time and money that will help me do this). Being childfree doesn't mean, I do not want to contribute to society. Kids are everyone's future, no matter who brings them into this world. And I always give credit to those wonderful parents out there who do a great job in raising good kids.

fred doe

oh my god! i just realized i forgot to have kids!


Late to this thread, but I am glad I read it.

I retired in late 2008 at age 45. When asked why I was able to achieve that, I answer it this way:

"No kids, no debts." In. That. Order.

I knew since I was 20 years old I never wanted to have kids. But it wasn't until I was in my late 30s that I would be able to turn that lifestyle choice (and that is all it really is) into retirement at age 45.

One thing I have been able to do since I retired is to do more volunteer work with several area schools. I had been able to do it often in the preceding 7 years after I switched from working full-time to part-time, freeing up many weekdays. But now my schedule is unfettered, enabling me more easily plan those midday activities.

Syd, those "bingos" from the childed are surely annoying. Thankfully, as a single man, I don't hear them as often as women, especially married ones, do. But they are still annoying.

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