plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

February 26, 2009

musings on child-free lives

Filed under: philosophical — Tags: — plonkee @ 9:59 pm

Parents like to justify having kids. I know this because I encounter it a lot. It’s fairly often of the *kids give life meaning* variety. You know, *kids change you so much, and that’s always good therefore everyone should have kids*.

Since I’m planning and hoping to remain child-free by choice, although I think it’s wrong, this attitude doesn’t bother me because I’ve already realised that I personally, can get more value from doing other things with my life. A couple of my friends however would desperately have liked to have children, but as single women in their early 40s have come to the realisation that it is unlikely to happen for them. Sure I think that you can have a great life without kids, but I don’t really like children. It’s much, much harder to enjoy being child-free when you hadn’t quite planned to end up that way.

I deliberately use child-free by the way because that’s how I see it – as a positive state rather than a negative one. And I do think it’s funny that natural selection is unselecting my genes.

Life without children is good for your finances. I don’t care how frugal you are, or how much harder you think you work, the fact remains that people, even fairly small people, consume resources and resources require money. Kids require educating as well as feeding and clothing, which to most people means being tied to an area with good schools (although home education has much to recommend it). Good schools cost money.

It’s often argued that being child-free is selfish. If you think about it, that’s trivially not true, but it is true that parents sacrifice time, money and energy for their children. I can see how one might begrudge the child-free their morning lie-ins and extra cash. But these are the consequences of the choices that we make, plain and simple.

The real problem with not having kids (aside from other people’s comments), is deciding what to do with all that extra time and money, of all the many things on offer. Just having kids can be treated as a bit of a pass on this front because the children effectively give you things to occupy your time, and then some.

But, even if you do have kids you are only putting off this decision until the time at which they leave home. And, as I remind my parents occasionally, just because you have kids, doesn’t mean your children will provide you with grandkids. With a bit of luck, eventually we’ll all have to find some kind of intrinsic value in our lives – not derived from any kids.

Thinking about what you want to do with your time and money is important, because otherwise you tend to waste it. And life is too short not to be as happy and content as you can be.

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