My long-time girlfriend and I recently visited some old family friends of mine. We ended up having a great time, but on the way home, we sort of had a sudden realization. The extremely comfortable lifestyle we had just witnessed could be all ours if we made one simple decision – not having kids. Obviously the decision to have children or not shouldn’t solely revolve around money (on the other hand, maybe more people should consider financial ramifications before having huge families in this day and age). Mrs. TM (at this point we have been together longer than most marriages) and I will be both be teachers in a couple years when she finishes her schooling. The couple we visited were also both teachers. There are a lot of similarities between the life they live, and what we would imagine as our “ideal lifestyle.” We had been tossing around the idea of having kids for a little while now, and the very alluring depiction of a childless life didn’t exactly squash the idea. Growing up, we had always believed we would have kids just because that is what you’re “supposed” to do, but after working in a high school for a couple of years, both of us know that we definitely don’t want children right now, and there is a distinct possibility we might not ever procreate. One thing I know for sure, my old family friends sure didn’t appear lonely or unfulfilled like most of society claims that they should.
All Potential Parents Should Be Teacher-For-A-Day Before Having Kids
It might sound to crass to some, but I would recommend to all potential parents that they spend a week with teenagers before committing the sacrifice of becoming a parent. I phrase it that way, because to me, that’s what it is – a sacrifice. Many people are willing to sacrifice a lot in order to realize the joys of being a parent. I just want people to realize exactly what that sacrifice entails and allow them to make an informed decision! When I have talked to other people about this they usually respond with, “Oh, but that is other people’s children, you can raise yours differently.” This sounds logical, but I’ve seen a ton of parents who I think are great people have two or more children. Some of their children turn out as you might expect – good, upstanding citizens, while others are the exact opposite and become the bane of teachers (and probably their eventual bosses) everywhere. One would assume the parents used similar techniques and were equally loving, caring, and adherent to the discipline of all their children? This seemingly random roll of the dice scares the hell of out me, I’m not going to lie. I spend 6-8 hours a day with other people’s kids, and I’m not sure I want to come home and do another 8-10. Does this make me a bad person? It seems many people think so, but then again, when I look at demographic charts there seem to be a lot of us “bad people” out there these days.
If I Say It Enough Times Then It Must True
Sometimes I justify our current decision not to have children to myself by saying, “I’m not sure that world really needs anymore kids, and really, I already spend more time with about 100 kids a day than most their parents likely do (they are forced to sit and listen to me muhaha).” Maybe this is just assuaging my guilt, but I think they are something to take into consideration. I’ve even heard the oddly convincing argument that not having kids is the best thing a person can do for the environment… think about it before you react immediately. This line of thinking naturally leads me to question why many people decide to have children. I don’t know if I have come to many conclusions, but I know that a lot of people are strongly influenced by our cultural norms of having children. I don’t think this is a good reason at all. If I choose to take responsibility for the life of a child I want it to be because I am ready for it and want that responsibility, not because I believe society might look down on me if I don’t!
Some Might Argue That Sanity Is The Biggest Cost
Then there is obviously the purely selfish pull of the lifestyle that one can afford if they choose not have children. It’s not a popular opinion to express, and I’m sure some of you will comment that I’m a terrible person (it’s ok, I’ve been called worse, one senior citizen used 400 words detailing how brutal I was on one of the biggest personal finance blogs in Canada last week), but it is there nonetheless. If you consider the compounded returns of money that can be saved instead of spent raising a child it is a definitely life-changing difference. My buddy Tom Drake over at the Canadian Personal Finance Blog (I hear they recently hired a very articulate staff writer over there) wrote a great article about the cost of raising a child and came up with a figure of around 200K if you add in a little college savings. This doesn’t take into account the decreased earning power if one parent takes decreased work hours, or parental leave on behalf of parenting responsibilities. With compounding, this could easily result in a $1 million dollar difference over the course of a lifetime, and possibly a lot more. To some, that means a lot of ski trips, to others it means early retirement. These things sound mighty fine to a young graduate.
Please don’t think I’m overly shallow (although, if the shoe fits…). I know that many people believe having children is the greatest gift life has to offer. Is it possible that some people are just better off not having children? With finances being squeezed tighter than ever before for a lot of couples, I can see why the need to bring new life into this world is not all-encompassing. Is anyone else out there struggling with the decision on having kids, or brave enough to admit that they made the wrong one and now regret it one way or another? I’d be genuinely interested in hearing others’ thoughts on this.