Is it Selfish to Not Have Kids?

Happy CoupleThis is DC from Young Adult Money. While Cat is away on maternity leave I’m filling in and talking about the benefits of, well, not having kids! Don’t worry, I made sure this topic was okay with Cat beforehand ;)

My wife and I are a “DINK” couple – Dual Income No Kids. While we have many (many) friends having children these days, especially those a few years older than us, we are happy being a DINK couple and are both on the same page. We might want kids down the road, but for now we are happy reaping the benefits that come with the DINK lifestyle.

What benefits, you ask? Well without further delay, here are just a few of the benefits of being a DINK:

1) Time to get finances in order

Let’s face it: children are expensive. It just takes simple math to realize that not having children will save you money. Therefore, not having children means you have extra money to save, invest, or spend.

While there is never a “right” time to have kids, it’s hard to argue that putting off having kids is bad for you financially. In this “pre-children” time period you can focus on a number of things:

  • Build up your savings
  • Buy a House
  • Pay down debt (consumer, student loans, mortgage)
  • Add to your investments

Yes you can (and will) do all these things while you have children, but if you don’t have children you will have access to funds for getting your finances in order that otherwise would have gone towards all the expenses that children come with.

2) Time for your spouse

I’m willing to admit something: I don’t make enough time for my wife. Between working a 9-5 full-time job, pursuing my side hustles, working out, and all those small time-consuming things that come with “life” I simply don’t give her the time she deserves. If we were to have children right now I would certainly have to cut back on my side hustle pursuits, even though they are helping us reach our long-term goals.

Because I already feel like I don’t give my wife the time she deserves I can’t even imagine throwing kids into the mix! I think all parents would agree that when you have kids you need to sacrifice things. Unfortunately I can only imagine that includes sacrificing some of the time you used to give towards your spouse. If you live in a DINK household, though, you can (more) easily dedicate your free time to your spouse.

3) Ability to focus on your career

One time I was interviewing for a job and I asked the interviewer about his experience getting his MBA. He told me he finished a part-time MBA in a very short period of time because they had their first child.

A pastor I knew told us getting his phd resulted in a few years being a ‘blur’ and that his wife and children suffered the most.

These stories reveal an obvious truth: it’s easier to focus on your career when you don’t have children. It’s hard enough to sacrifice your evenings and weekends going to grad school if you are single or married, but if you have children it’s a whole new form of sacrifice.

There is only so much time in a day and if you want to move up in your career, build your business, or get that advanced degree it’s going to take a time sacrifice. It’s easier to make that sacrifice when you don’t have children.

4) Freedom to Travel

Traveling is something that almost everyone I know wants to do. Not having the time or money for it is usually the reason why people don’t travel. Adding children to the equation not only limits your time and money but also brings in a whole new variable. From now on every time you travel you have to think about whether your children will go with. If they are going with, you have to make sure you are doing child-safe activities. If they aren’t going with you have to make arrangements for them to be taken care of.

Beyond time and responsibility, you will have to think about how your financial responsibilities to your children will impact your ability to travel. Yes, there are creative ways to pay for travel but it’s simply easier to find money for travel if you don’t have kids.
___________

Yes, I realize you can get your finances in order, spend time with your spouse, focus on your career, and travel while having kids. I’m not ignorant of that fact. If you don’t have kids, though, these things become easier.

Ultimately I think it all comes down to being on the same page with your significant other. If you both want children, that’s great! If you both want to put off having children for a few years (or not have children at all), that’s perfectly fine as well.

Just please don’t call me selfish for not having kids like one person did a while back :)

Are you or have you ever been a DINK household? If you have kids now, how has it impacted your finances, time, etc.?

Editor’s Note: Thanks so much, DC! I have to agree with the above. Having kids has really changed everything, and the hubs and I are so glad that we traveled and saved some moolah before they got here!
____________
Photo by Gareth Williams

The Importance of Your Personal Brand

personal brandToday, we have a post from personal finance blogger Harry Campbell.  Harry started blogging about personal finance on his main site Your PF Pro a few years ago and enjoyed it so much that he started a second site dedicated to finding the perfect work-life balance at The Four Hour Work Day.  When Harry is not blogging, he works full time as an aerospace engineer and enjoys surfing and playing beach volleyball.

Do you know what your personal brand looks like? If you’ve never even thought about it before, it’s time to start. Now more than ever, it’s important to understand that we each need to build, cultivate, and maintain our own personal brands.

You might already know why it’s important to have a good reputation at work, or a certain image within a particular field. You need to maintain your reputation so that people who matter – potential employers, current supervisors, or partners and coworkers – relate your name to positive qualities before they’ve even met you. In the past, we really only needed to seriously worry about this in a professional sense. After all, not many potential connections were going to stumble across your name in the yellow pages. Instead, maybe they’d ask someone in their network about you, or call up a previous manager.

Global Scale

But thanks to today’s global economy and increasingly online world, it’s easy to run a simple Google search to discover all the online information available on a particular name. Regardless of whether or not you find this creepy or a violation of privacy, it’s reality.

Additionally, as more people forego the traditional workforce and strike out on their own with a side business or as freelancers, the Internet has become an increasingly noisy place. As a result, it’s becoming more and more important to create a solid, accurate image – a good personal brand – that will be appealing to anyone who is browsing online and hits upon your information.

Perception is Everything

How people perceive who and how you are can make or break opportunities in your career or business. It doesn’t matter if you work for someone else as an employee or have started to venture out into self-employment: the workplace is incredibly competitive. If you manage your personal brand, you’ll have a leg up on your peers and it will be easier to stay one step ahead of all that competition.

Having a personal brand means you have a presence within your chosen industry. It means you are more than a barely-filled-out LinkedIn profile or a locked-down and totally private Facebook page. When someone Googles your name, multiple social media accounts will pop up, and the latest posts will show that you’re actively engaged in what others in your field are talking about. It means other employees (or entrepreneurs) within an industry network not only know your name, but know what you do, what kind of value you provide, and what you believe in or stand for.

Getting Started

So how to do you go about building your personal brand if you haven’t started yet? First, ask yourself what’s currently out there. Do a Google search on your name – what comes up? Is the information accurate? Are the results even referring to you, or are they all about a different John Smith? Once you get a feel for your relevance and presence online, you can start taking steps to grow it or improve it.

Start with social media accounts. There’s nothing wrong with having other social media platforms that are completely private and for your personal friends and family only. But make sure that’s not the only platform you’re using. For example, if your Facebook account is private, fire up a public Twitter account, follow people in your field, and don’t be afraid to tweet things that are relevant or helpful. This will help you establish a presence online and will also have the added benefit of growing your network.

Personal Website

Consider setting up a website (“yourname.com” is a good idea for a domain) to feature the kind of work you do or want to do. Use it to showcase a portfolio or host case studies of how your efforts have improved a marketing strategy, sales numbers, or conversion rates. And adding a blog to your site is another thing to think about; it’s a good way to ensure you have a way to constantly produce content that’s longer and more in-depth than a social media update.

Once you have some sort of brand in place, you need to manage it. Your goal should be to always add value in whatever arena you’re active in. This will further cement your reputation as someone others want to be around and work with, as it proves you’re knowledgeable, helpful, and willing to work with others. It’s the easiest way to make your name memorable and to create a brand that is recognizable – and in demand.

Editor’s Note: Do you have a personal brand? Interestingly enough, I feel like my Budget Blonde brand evolved all on its own. If you liked Harry’s post, you’ll probably enjoy this one too. :)