No Kids? One Wife?

I sent this picture of a Porsche Cayman S with a ‘NO KIDS’ license plate to my MegaCorp boss a few years ago. He’s a Porsche guy and he and his wife don’t have kids of their own. His reply was insightful … “One wife, too!”

I wouldn’t recommend making significant life decisions based purely on dollar and cents, but that doesn’t mean that many of these decisions don’t have HUGE financial consequences. Our personal situation is pretty favorable to reaching FIRE (financially independent & retired early): we’re college sweethearts who have been married almost 30 years and have only one son.

A recent article I read suggested that the two-parent family is a “perfect economic unit”. Especially if there aren’t too many kids, who are expensive to raise and don’t typically contribute income to the family. This chart from the USDA suggests it costs $233K to raise each child in a “middle-income, married-couple” household:

Kids get more expensive as they age, but they are still quite costly when they are young. That’s when parents are earlier in their careers and the opportunity cost of not saving for the future is higher.

Spreading the costs out over 18 years and using a 5% return rate, you could estimate that each child requires about 5.5 years of extra work (at $75K per year).

Perhaps it’s not a surprise that most Americans think two kids is ideal …

Divorces are also quite costly, which makes it ironic that disagreements about money is one of the primary causes of divorce.

The legal bills are a one time hit, averaging $15K, but splitting your nest egg to establish separate households is very expensive. Often times the married couple’s home has to be sold to free up the money needed to allow the divorced individuals to set up their own separate addresses. Those costs are ongoing, unless one or both of them get married again and start sharing expenses with someone else.

Again, I wouldn’t suggest these decisions be made for financial reasons, but they need to be understood. As we all know, happiness isn’t a function of wealth after a certain point, but it also no fun to be broke!

How much did you consider the financial implications of kids or marriage in your life?

Image Credit: Pinterest

3 thoughts on “No Kids? One Wife?

  1. Ha ha! I absolutely busted out laughing when I saw your last question! “How much did you consider the financial implications of kids or marriage in your life?” IMO…If any of us ever considered our life choices on marriage or kids from a financial standpoint (before we did it), we’d be extinct as a species within one generation! (Lol!)

    Ok, yes, I’m being a little sarcastic…but let’s face it…kids are expensive and so are most of us as spouses. If any of us thought about it financially, we’d all likely think twice! Luckily, I wasn’t too bright and fell in love with my wife when we first met at 18 yrs old. We were married at the ages of 19 & 20 yrs old (too young), and built our first house that same year too, while working our way through college (yes, we were idiots…and way too young!) We had our first baby at 25 yrs old, and second baby at 27 yrs old. Overall, we have somehow managed to do pretty well, and will celebrate 34 yrs of marriage in just a few more months. So there is a lot of truth to your article above. Stability in marriage is definitely financially beneficial. Stopping at two kids certainly limited our college payments to a manageable level. And I joke about not being too bright at 18 yrs old, but marrying my wife was the best decision of my life. We have been fortunate and are certainly reaping the rewards of a long, loving, and stable marriage, especially now that we are both retired in our early fifties and getting to enjoy life to its fullest extent.

    Let’s hope for our species sake, we stay somewhat spontaneous when it comes to love and children! 😉 …and at the same time…we continue to become a lot more financially savvy along the way!


    1. OK – maybe I deserved that! We have 1 son, so you could argue we ARE reducing the world’s population. 🙂

      But honestly, my wife and I did consider the financials in terms of WHEN we got married and in having only one child. While we met in college, we also delayed getting married until we were out of college, and consciously waited to have our child until we were established in our careers. As a result, while we too met when we were 19 & 18, our son wasn’t born until we were 31 & 30.

      We also reasoned that we would be able to much better provide more for one child (education and activities) than a larger family. While our thoughts weren’t purely financial, the dollars and cents were a legitimate consideration.


      1. Lol! I hope I wasn’t too sarcastic sounding. All in good fun! 🙂

        It appears your choices were all good decisions from the sound of things. One nice thing about starting earlier and having kids earlier…we had them out of college and off of the payroll sooner! It made FIRE a lot easier at 50, having no kids at home. And the best part is we are still young enough to enjoy it. We did struggle early on, but I think those experiences really helped fuel our FIRE choices later in life, and it definitely helped keep our early lifestyle-creep in check!

        You are certainly right though, if more folks considered the financial impacts of those big life decisions, it would likely make life a lot easier.

        Liked by 1 person

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