Monday, September 12, 2011

A Cross we Won't Bear

If you're a childfree person, then you know that the CF life is one of the world's best kept secrets.  The list of awesome benefits of being childfree is seemingly endless.  For countless reasons, every day, I take a huge sigh of relief that I did not choose the parenthood route, and count my many blessings for all the many ways my life is happier, easier and just plain BETTER for making the wise choice to not burden myself with offspring.

This recent clip from the Today Show highlights just ONE reason not to have kids -  and it's a biggie. A person could base their entire decision to forego childbearing on this one issue.  We will never have to struggle with the monumental problem of how to simultaneously save for retirement AND pay for kids' college education.  Talk about a load off our shoulders!!!


CeCe said...

I don't intend on having to make this choice either but this is my 2 cents. 1st who says that just b/c you pay for your kids college education means that they will pay for your elder care? This woman sort of assumes that if a parent taps into 401k it just means the child is trading college education expenses for elder care. Not necessarily. 2nd you can't get a loan to finance your retirement but you can get one to finance school. Sounds like an open and shut case to me.

Freelance Feminist said...

Oh, definitely. One major benefit to being childfree is the fact that we are less obsessed with money.

People who have children are constantly thinking about money: how to make more of it, how to save it, how to spend it, if they should save, if they should spend.

Parents want to have their cake and it eat too: they want to be able to provide their children with all the things our consumerist lifestyle dictates they should have, while also saving hundreds of thousands of dollars for important things in life like college and retirement. It really is impossible to meet both demands. Talk about the "do it all badly" lifestyle!

Zazzu said...

Oh, YES, to this entry and the previous comments.

It's almost unbelievable that any parent today would be naive enough to believe their children will take care of them in old age. Every elderly person I know is financially supporting at least one of their children/grandchildren. Seriously...every one.

Unless these parents have some sort of written contract (I'll pay for college, you pay for my elder care), aren't they just placing a really risky bet? And, would there really be a way to enforce such a contract, anyway?

Lolagoth said...

I have always been confused on why parents now a days assume they HAVE to pay for their kids college education. My parents told me if I wanted to go to college I better get grants and scholarships or my ass isn't going. My husband had to pay for his college education. Hell, 90% of my friends that I graduated HS with are paying for their own college education.

Dave said...

I would argue that being childfree can enable someone to save and plan for an EARLY retirement, not just a retirement. I did not realize I could retire at age 45 when I decided to be childfree at age 20. Once I hit 35 thirteen years ago, I saw that I could retire early, not later than age 50 or 55. But in the following 10 years I saw that timeline to an early retirement shrink even more, to the point that I was able to say good-bye to working at age 45.

Talk about total freedom to come and go as I please!

No kids, no debts, no work. :)

Childfreeeee said...

I worked my way through college and paid my own way. It took me 9 years to get my bachelor degree, but I did it, and I was proud to have done it on my own, without financial assistance from my parents (who didn't have the money to pay for my college education). I also paid for my own masters degree.

Times have definitely changed and if I was a student today, it would be far harder for me to pay my own way, as tuition has skyrocketed...even at the state schools I attended. It would probably take me 15 years to do it now.

The culture has also changed. It is now ASSUMED that if a kid doesn't get scholarships, the parents will pay for their college education.

I think if I was a parent today, I would offer to pay SOME toward college (if we could afford it), but I would also expect the kid to pay at least as much.

Dave, that is so awesome you could retire so young! You obviously handled your finances very well (and I know being childfree was also instrumental).

Anonymous said...

I love reading your blog, am CF myself. As for previous posts, I think its ignorant of people to assume their kids will be there for them when they're older.

My grandmother had 5 daughters; one of them died in 2007 but the others don't help take care of my grandmother at all, despite, two of them living next door to her and across the street from her. My mom is the ONLY one that does anything for her!

TLewis said...

I think most parents and students see college (much like retirement) is an investment. The message being that if you want a good job you have to go to college. However, simply earning a degree doesn't guarantee you a good job. For over-involved parents college is one more thing that their child must do and succeed at.

Spectra said...

I don't understand people who are hellbent on saving for their kids' college funds. My parents, poor financial planners that they are, didn't save one cent for my college fund. I had to take out student loans, work part time, and go to a cheaper school so I could afford college. My parents did help where they could, but my sister and I both struggled through college. Although, to be fair, my parents didn't really start saving for retirement until they were in their 40s. My husband's parents were very poor and couldn't afford to pay for college for their kids, husband and his siblings all went to college and they all got loans to pay for it. But it is nice to be able to focus on saving for retirement instead of worrying about stashing money away for a 529 plan for my kids.

Wag the Dog said...

There is a growing trend of parents providing financial assistance for their adult kids even when the parents are approaching retirement, or already have retired. Often young adults have little chance of getting a mortgage on their first home without a downpayment from the bank of Mum and Dad. Then there is the new phenomenon of boomerang kids that will unfortunately become less of a novelty in the not too distant future. For parents, retirement ain't what it used to be.

Zen Trekkie said...

I graduated from a fairly well-to-do High School in a nice neighborhood. My mom busted her hump to be able to live there - she didn't have enough money to funnel into our higher education, and neither did my dad, who she divorced when I was 12. Both my brother and I went into the military ( Me, the Marines, my brother, the Air Force). I was processed out of the Marines early, with not a single employment prospect (my MOS, or Military Occupational Specialty does not have a civilian equivalent). I got married, went to college, and I'm still paying for that mistake. I chose to go to college for something that wasn't appropriate for my skill set, but I'm being responsible and paying for it anyway. Luckily, I found out about the VA Vocational Rehab Program, which helps Disabled Veterans find or train for a suitable job - in most cases, at no cost to them. I'm in school now to be a Library technician (not a high-growth area, but perfect for my skill set).
I think that parents are under NO OBLIGATION to pay for their ADULT children to go to college. Kids should EARN their education - they value it more than if it is GIVEN by mommy and daddy.