Still Not Interested

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

In my “debut” post 2 years ago, I discussed my wife’s and my aversion to having children.  This past weekend we talked about this again and are still fairly steadfast in maintaining our childless household.  This is kind of an amusing viewpoint to have, as I am writing this post while going to see my new niece, just born an hour ago (apparently my brother doesn’t really agree with me and my views on children as this is his second girl born in 17 months).  My wife and I spent the weekend with our nephews, aged 8 and 4 and after we were done playing with them (which was fun) we were both very happy for the quiet ride home.

In the past two years, my views haven’t really changed around having kids although I think my reasons have a little bit.  In my first article, I wrote about how expensive kids would be and how it would limit my chances of retiring early.  Since then, I have come to believe that kids are as expensive as you make them.  If you go out and outfit an entire room with fancy furniture, buy disposable diapers, and attempt to buy your kid a good childhood, then I could see how having children could easily approach the average cost of $250,000 I quoted in my original post.  Otherwise, I think costs could be kept down fairly low.

Where my views have changed, beyond my own personal preference to be free to do what I want to do when I want to do it (maintaining what could be called a selfish lifestyle) I really don’t know why I would add to the population.  The UN recently had a huge celebration that we as a species have achieved a population of 7 billion people.  For me to make a decision to add to this, is essentially being selfish.  I can’t really see how me and my wife adding to the population is really going to help anything.  The only reason I would be having a kid is because I would want one, as the choice is available.  Everyone out there adding to the 7 billion people on the planet is basically saying “What’s one more person?”

I’m not getting all Malthusian here or anything, I’m sure that we’ll somehow figure out a way to get more food for the next 7 billion people on the planet – I’m simply saying that, from the standpoint of the species as a whole maybe we should calm down a little bit in our population growth.  I don’t think the addition of another few billion people is going to have a positive effect on the planet, but nobody really talks about that (I’m going to say that population control is not a very popular campaign to run on).

So, no real change here, from my wife or myself.  We love kids, we just love to be done with them after a visit.  We are enjoying our freedom, and the maintenance of our DINK status.

I understand that this is kind of a charged subject, but my question of the day is can you see how down the road the planet will be a better place if we maintain our current level of growth?  Thinking of this, would you think twice before adding to this growth?


12 thoughts on “Still Not Interested”

  1. I agree with much of what is said here although I have a kid on the way. This line of thinking along with a bunch of other reasons will keep us from having a second kid. And we were this close to not having a kid at all.

    So if everybody did what we were doing the population would be cut in half!

  2. If you have one child you statistically do NOT add to population growth, 2.2 children per mother are needed to keep the population stable, I believe therefor your argument is weak.

  3. I like kids, love spending time with my rapidly growing nieces and nephews. That said if my wife and I were to have a child now it would blow a crater sized hole in our well laid ER plans.

    The number of human beings on this planet is actually quite sickening and I believe that virtually every problem that this planet faces is the simple fact that there TOO MANY OF US. But if we truly wanted kids, we would have them, overpopulation or not…. we just don’t.

    Good post, Dave.

  4. I thought twice and I’m not having kids. I don’t currently have the desire in any case, but if I ever do I’ll be very happy to register as a foster parent.

  5. The population problem has more to do with developing (and not developed) countries. Where education is a large factor amongst females, birth rates tend to decline to about the replacement level or sometimes below. Of course, countries don’t really like this (someone has to pay for seniors/pensioners/etc) and many incent people to have more children. Some rural areas of Russian pay $11k for each baby people in those areas produce.

    The other huge factor in a sustainable planet is consumption, and American’s are the worst of the bunch. From reading your posts, you are already much better than the norm here… but this is another area we can ALL focus on.

    There’s a great article in January 2011’s National Geographic that I would strongly recommend.

  6. Good post, Dave. As a fellow childfree, I applaud your decision and hope you can retire at 45 like I did 3 years ago.

    I will be seeing my nephew tomorrow for the Thanksgiving weekend. He is nearly 8 and while it will be good see him in my annual visit, it will be good to get back home Saturday, too.

  7. We decided, partly from personal desire, partly from economic considerations, partly from population-growth considerations, and finally, because of special needs, to only have one child. And then we registered to be foster parents. So we have many of the best things of both worlds. We’re not contributing to population growth, we are able to deal with the special needs of only one child when she’s having a rough time, we are able to welcome more children when things are stable in our home, and my husband was forced to retire early (at 47) due to health problems, and we’re still economically okay. Granted, I’ll be working until I die to support his health-care costs, but that’s another post!

  8. @ Brian K – I think it would be a tough sell, but I agree.

    @ Theo – So let’s all do that then – I don’t think everyone will get together to agree on doing that though. The jist of my argument is – let’s as a species draw a line and say “are there enough of us yet?” If yes, then let’s stop the population increase.

    @ Kaylen – Good for you!

    @ Eclectic Indulgence: I would say that cutting back North American population would be a start, I’m not sure what can be done with developing nations – to a certain extent it could be said that we “know better”. Additionally, with our consumption levels it would make the biggest dent in pollution and otherwise.

    I’ll check out the article, thanks for passing it along!

    @ Deegee – I agree, my wife and I love playing with our nephews, but on the 2 hour drive home I just like the peace and quiet.

    @ Sandy – Sounds like you have worked out a nice balance at home (other than the working until you die).

    @ K – When I wrote my initial post a couple , I just assumed that kids would be ridiculously expensive to raise. Mr. Money Mustache wrote a very good post back in May that debunked a lot of this viewpoint (he figured in total a child could be raised for $75,000):

  9. I think having 2 kids is perfectly acceptable and if another came along 3 is pushing it. When people plan on having 4 or more children it becomes ridiculous! How the hell do you control that many children at once?

    I wonder if the government took away the child benefit after two children, how many people would still continue to have kids?

  10. Wow,I just lectured about this in class today. A better measure of future growth is average fertility rate because of the large cohort of individuals in developing countries in the 0-15 age group. Soon they will be contributing many more people to the total population, compared to older individuals dying. To achieve a zero pop growth, average fertility rate should be about 1.5 children/mother. Projections are that we will reach zero growth around 2050, leveling at around 9.5 billion people. Crowded….
    BTW: I have only one child and grateful for him.

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