• Ryan

“Bingos” Make no Financial Sense

Whether you’re ChildFree, working on Financial Independence, or both, you’ve probably gotten Bingoed.

What is a “Bingo”? It’s a generic, not-thought-out response people give when you reveal your life plans aren’t traditional. Let’s explore some common ones below both through a Childfree and a Financial Independence lens.

“Who will take care of you when you’re old?”

Perhaps the most common bingo, and one of the easiest to refute. Since we’ve done the math on how much kids cost, we know we’ll be looking at about half a million dollars extra thanks to compounding over 18 years. But since people usually have kids in their early or mid twenties, after 18 years we’ll only be like 43 - hardly old enough (hopefully) to need living assistance! Assuming we let the money grow at 7% to age 83, even with no further contributions, we’d be looking at $7,000,000. Holy cow, I almost forgot how good compound interest is.

If we withdraw that money with the 4% rule so we can stay retired, that gives us a budget of $23,333/month on care by not having kids, which is enough even for the ridiculous modern nursing home costs. Of course, if you don’t care about leaving any money behind, you could withdraw more to up your standard of living.

Letting your money compound to 80 really could buy you a bed of money

So, financially, “who will take care of you when you’re old?” falls flat - the money will.

But unfortunately, even people with kids have no guarantee they’ll get help - the kids probably have their own lives demanding their time. Many nursing homes are full of people whose kids don’t visit as much as they’d like, or at all. It’s best to be able to rely on yourself in retirement.

Sorry for the doom and gloom! Let’s move on.

“It’s different when it’s your own”

This one seems dubious. The only difference seems to be that you’re both footing the (steep) bill and feel overwhelmingly responsible for how your child turns out. Extra stress, extra cost? I’d like to stay away from that “difference”.

And of course, I’ve saved the worst for last:

“What will you do instead with all your time? Won’t your life be meaningless without [Work/Kids]?”

I’ll do anything I want, whenever I want. How is this even a question? This response irks me as much as hearing a busy person sing “Too Much Time on my Hands”. Use your imagination and have some fun!

Styx's singer and I have the same reaction to people being bored...

It can be a struggle always answering the same, bad questions (when did I become a politician?). However, instead of becoming an old grouch, try to learn to laugh about it. A lot of people on reddit/ChildFree come up with some really humorous comebacks to either brush off the questions or make the questioner realize they’re being pushy.

Give it a try, and let me know some of your favorite bingos/responses in the comments below!

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