March 18, 2006

Baby, You're Not A Rich Woman

I love when people assume I have money to throw around just because I have no children. My late maternal grandmother used to irritate me all the time with that. I'd give her cards for her birthday or a holiday, and she'd grumble to everyone else, "Well, there was no money in the card." The childfree have bills to pay like everyone else.

Granted, I do have a little more discretionary income to play with than someone who has children. I don't make the big bucks or come from a rich family. Neither is there a husband at home bringing in a second paycheck to help keep the wolves from around the door. I work a regular nine-to-five, and worry about funding my retirement like most people.

I never understood people who have numerous children, yet are struggling financially. I read a book some time ago that was written in response to people who are either childfree or wish to limit the amount of children they will have. The book was sent to me for free by an ultra right-wing, fundamentalist religious organization after I took offense to an article their leader had written against the childfree. The author had written that one of the reasons people should have children is because the kids increase the wealth of the household. It takes over $250,000 to raise one child, according to some financial experts. That money is being laid out for food, clothes, school supplies, college educations, etc., and it is not coming back in. I don't care if the kids grow into adults who financially help their parents out from time to time, the parents are never going to get all of that $250,000+ (depending on how many kids they had) back.


ChrisR said...

Good point Tomboy! Not something I've consciously registered for a while, but yeah, people do assume you've got spare bucks when you haven't got kids.

Well, how's this for novelty - I live within my means. Not a particularly extravagant lifestyle, but the things that are important to ME are covered.

Besides, aren't the breeders always telling us we'll be lonely when we're old? How do they expect us to pay for our dotage if we spend all our money on them? :)

NikkiJ said...

It's hard to see how children increase the wealth of the household unless you go back many years when a man's wealth was actually based on how many children he had. Since the wonan's role was to bring up the children, the wealth wasn't generally attributed to her. These days, if you sat down to count the cost of what having one or two children was in money terms, (in the Western world) it is staggeringly expensive.$250,00/child is actually conservative. Which is probably why most people don't really consider the long term costs, including things like a working woman losing up to 2/3 of her earning power, or the loss of career opportunities should she exit the workplace to bring up children, childcare, suitable transport, housing needs etc. I suspect if people did a realistic long term think about the cost, all but the most wealthy would decide not have children, because they'd find they couldn't afford them. So they simply go ahead determined that they'll manage - somehow. And most do - somehow, but at the cost of something else.
Now, compare that to what happens when they're buying a house or a car...