Having kids is expensive. A new database, the National Database of Childcare Prices, shows that childcare prices for one child can range from $5,357 up to more than $17,000. That represents between 8% and 19.3% of a median family income.
Those figures doesn’t count the other expenses that go into raising children. A study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that, apart from daycare expenses, it costs an average of $310,605 to raise a child from birth to age 17.
Millennials and members of the Gen Z cohort are making a surprising decision to help cut costs as they become established in their careers and finances. They are waiting to have children, while cutting expenses dramatically to save for the future.
What Are DINKS?
The Double Income, No Kids (DINKs) designation is not new. Two people can live more cheaply than one by sharing housing, grocery and utility costs. DINKs fall into many categories and include empty nesters, young couples who have not had kids yet (or don’t plan to have any) and Gen X couples who never had children. The number of DINKs in the U.S. has risen to 71.3% of the population since 1967.
Some couples use their second income to enjoy a more lavish lifestyle, going on vacations and splurging on toys (for themselves) as well as luxury cars. Recent TikTok videos showcasing the luxury lifestyle of DINKs have more than 33 million views, according to TIME. Busy, cash-strapped parents may enjoy living vicariously through DINKs, while younger couples may aspire to the lifestyle.
However, another group of DINKs are using that extra income to make wise financial choices for the future.
DINKs Who Save
Jadyn Bryden, a 23-year-old venture capital investor in Boston, has chosen to live frugally with her husband. The couple lives off just one salary and invests all the money from their second income.
“Having dual income and no kids is the perfect opportunity to use your discretionary income to save or invest,” Bryden told TIME. The couple is building their emergency savings and retirement funds and plans to put some funds toward investing in rental real estate. Couples who aspire to buy a house can also use that money for a down payment on their first home.
Bryden advised other DINKs to save while they can, pointing out that they can still decide to have children in the future and will be in a more financially stable place to raise them.
Financial Planning for DINKs
Whether or not they decide to have kids in the future, financial planning is crucial for DINKs. Child-free couples miss out on the child tax credit, which can eliminate a hefty chunk of taxes couples may owe.
DINKs might also wish to plan ahead to decide what will happen with their estate after they pass. And they will want to make sure they have plans in place for care when they get older. While it’s not a given that children will take care of their aging parents, it is an option that DINKs won’t have.
Delaying having children — or forgoing them all together — can be a smart money-saving decision. To make the most of your dual incomes, you’ll want to speak with a financial planner who can help you find the best ways to save and invest (and also consult with a tax professional to minimize your tax liability).
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