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Here's an article about the cost of raising one child. It got me thinking: would anyone seriously not have children because it could potentially delay their desire to retire early? Yes, I think many would apply this "logic" to that decision.

http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/CollegeandFamily/Raisekids/P37245.asp

For me, for whom a large part of my life's satisfaction is derived from my family and what they mean to me, the idea of not having children so that I wouldn't have to work anymore is like explaining blue to a blind man. But I wonder if any of the FIREs on this board actually said to themselves, "if I have children, I won't be able to retire early; therefore, I won't have children.

Would you share your thinking on this subject?

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Well, DH and I have 3 kids. I retired at 50 and DH could have if he had wanted to. I didn't even think about retirement until after all 3 were born. Sometimes you have to accept the situation and just move forward.

The worst thing is to fill your child full of high monetary expectations. Ours never got a car from us (though there was one they could use) and went to state colleges. LBYM is certainly possible with kids, and that means you can save your money.

arrete
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Would you share your thinking on this subject?

I believe our costs to procreate would be much higher than the average since my wife and I both have fertility "issues". In-vitro fertilization was the only way for us to have children beyond adopting. We've gone through 4 procedures with one successful (a beautiful 2.75 year old daughter). I haven't added up the total costs of our IVF's, but it's likely over $75k.

I remember taking a walk with my wife before the first IVF and voicing my concern of the high cost, being the tight wad that I am. My wife's response was something to the effect of:

So when we're 65 years old with loads of money and no children, do you think you'll wonder what it would have been like to have children?

That one question definitely swayed my opinion and I've never looked back. Certainly, children aren't for everyone, but I honestly think my daughter is worth every penny!

I've noticed that as I get older, I get less excited about things. I remember not being able to sleep the night before Christmas or going to the amusement park. I don't get that excited anymore. My daughter brings that excitement back to me. I see the world through her eyes and it's a much better, less troubled world than my eyes see.


Multiple IFV procedures...$75,000
Monthly Daycare...$800
Stroller for walk to the park...$125
Hearing the "Ohhhs" and "Ahhhhs" while my daughter watched her first ever fireworks last night...PRICELESS!

-murray
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Would you share your thinking on this subject?

When our son was born, we were poor, dirt poor.

We came to this town driving a cattle truck with all of our earthly posessions, with a newborn baby on board, and $300 in my pocket, that's it.

Our son wasnt planned, so there was no weighing in the balance between having kids or the dream of retiring early.

My dreams were a bit smaller then, like hoping that one day we could afford Coca Cola's, instead of having to drink Kool-Aid all the time.

Golfwaymore


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Would you share your thinking on this subject?

I would not give up my daughters or even my ex-wife for an earlier retirement. I am so proud of them and their future is mine.

Prometheuss
(Though one of them was a spare ...)

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CC asks:Would you share your thinking on this subject?

This is actually something my wife and I have been talking about in the few months since we have been married. There are a few factors that come in to play:

1. Are we able? - My wife's family has a history of difficult pregnancies and more than a few women who have been altogether unable to have kids. As they are living in China, they have no access to fertility treatments so I don't know how responsive my wife would be to them, should she indeed turn out to have problems conceiving. Personnally, I am totally against the idea of fertility treatments in that I think the world is overcrowded enough and I should adopt before going to artificial means which will exacerbate the problem. Also, I have tried to downplay my desire for children since the possibility of disappointing me seems to weigh heavy on her.

2. How much do we want them? - I am a kidaholic. I love kids. My roommate in college had a 3 year old son and I couldn't get enough of him. We would play together all the time. One of my employees brings his son to work for the last hour everyday and I can help but go in and talk to him every few days. Kids are fun. My wife, on the other hand, is less kid friendly. I think it has something to do with being raised an only child (and Chinese...). She enjoys well-behaved and cute kids, but the ones that are a little out of control are anathema to her. Go figure.

3. Moola - Kids are expensive. Someone brought up about there being an abundance of 'T' personalities on this board. My wife and I are both thinkers (although she tends more towards feeling than I do...) and I believe that in the end this will come down to a cost benefit analysis. Well, so long as we aren't 'surprised' some where along the way (I have a history of that in MY family ;). Kids are expensive, and I have no fantasies that my wife will enjoy living at anything other than a pretty comfortable standard of living. Fortunately, she understands that we save 35% first and live as comfortably as we can off the rest. So, in the end, we will have to sit down together and decide whether we are going to have kids. I am sure we will compromise and make a decision we are both happy with, but it will be interesting to see what we decide. Who knows, nature may have already made that decision for us, you never know...

Comments?

st
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SloanT writes,

1. Are we able? - My wife's family has a history of difficult pregnancies and more than a few women who have been altogether unable to have kids. As they are living in China, they have no access to fertility treatments so I don't know how responsive my wife would be to them, should she indeed turn out to have problems conceiving. Personnally, I am totally against the idea of fertility treatments in that I think the world is overcrowded enough and I should adopt before going to artificial means which will exacerbate the problem. Also, I have tried to downplay my desire for children since the possibility of disappointing me seems to weigh heavy on her.

I agree with that thinking.

I also think people should adopt dogs and cats from a shelter rather than buying prue-bred animals.

intercst
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But I wonder if any of the FIREs on this board actually said to themselves, "if I have children, I won't be able to retire early; therefore, I won't have children.

I didn't get married until I was 30 and reasonably well-established in my profession. DW also was (and is) and professional. I never felt a compelling need to have children, but DW wanted them. We ended up having one. There's no question that I didn't want any more kids because I didn't want to be paying college tuition into my 60s. I always wanted to retire early, but I used to think of early as being 60. As time went by, I started to think of 55 as being the right time. Later still, I came to appreciate the idea of doing it even earlier. As things turned out, I left my partnership at 49 to start my new life. I never would have been able to do it if DW and I had elected to have 2 or 3 kids. Of course, I could have had more kids and left them to their own financial survival, but that's not something I could have done. My son will finish college this time next year. I'm sure he'll take in a little more schooling after graduation, and he knows that his parents will do what they can to help, but he also knows that there are limits to what we reasonably can do. Do I regret not having more kids? Hell no! Does DW regret it? Hard to say for sure, but I think she would have liked to have one more. How does she feel about it today? I think she quite satisfied with our decisions from many years ago. She's been working 3 days a week for most of her career, but she's selling out next month to her partner to start her full-time early retirement.
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I am totally against the idea of fertility treatments in that I think the world is overcrowded enough and I should adopt before going to artificial means which will exacerbate the problem

Yours is an admirable choice, but not the one we made. I notice you didn't comment on others using fertility treatments; I appreciate that.

I feel that the small number of people that require infertility treatments and can afford them (IVF in particular) will do little to affect overpopulation. The stories on Dateline about the couple having 7 children through infertility treatments borders on medical malpractice. It's the fertile couples that are overpopulating the world :-)

I agree that ours was a selfish choice, having a child with our DNA. OTOH, I didn't like the idea of adopting a child from a teenage mother with little care or education on prenatal care or from a Russian orphanage that tries to raise money by shuttling children through.

Actually, how does the choice of using fertility treatments "exacerbate the problem" any more than simply conceiving a child the old fashioned way? You are bringing another being into the world either way.

-murray
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Actually, how does the choice of using fertility treatments "exacerbate the problem" any more than simply conceiving a child the old fashioned way? You are bringing another being into the world either way.

Gotta agree with this. The cost of IVF is prohibitive only to those who can't afford it; for those who can, it's their business only. Either way, same result.
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Murray:Actually, how does the choice of using fertility treatments "exacerbate the problem" any more than simply conceiving a child the old fashioned way? You are bringing another being into the world either way.

I agree completely with everything you said in your response: it is a personal choice, septuplets do border on medical malpractice, and adoption has serious issues of its own. You are correct, bringing a child in to the world by either method contributes to overpopulation. I guess my point was that if for whatever reason we are unable to have children of our own naturally than perhaps it is meant to be that way and I feel I should strongly evaluate other means (i.e. adoption) before opting for treatments.

st
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There are more mindless breeders than non-breeders in this world. The child free people I know tend to be more sensible, lead more balanced lives, and have more fun. The breeders I know are always complaining about how they don't have time to do the things they want to do because their kids eat up so much of their time.

Breeders tend to see having kids as a duty (probably due to some wacko religious reasons) that everyone must undertake. They have kids because their parents want them to or because their breeding peer group pushes them into it and they end up regretting it.

Breeders are much more likely to be judgmental of the child free than vice versa because they want others to join them in their misery. The breeders tend to be very subtle in thier attacks on the child free. They look askance at the child free and tend to belittle any reason a child free person may have for not wanting to have children.

There are some people for whom having kids was the right decision. They are truly happy with their kids, love them, and raise them to be fine citizens. However, there are several more who either didn't think about the decision to have kids or who had a kid accidentally and, although they tend not to say it out loud, they are just waiting for the day when the kids leave the nest so they can get their lives back. Their resentment of their kids usually manifests itself in subtle attacks on those who choose to remain child free.

Not having kids because one wants to retire early seems like a valid reason to me. Having kids is a lifetime commitment. You don't want to end up resenting your kids because you now need to work 20 years more than you would have if you hadn't had kids. It's not fair to the rug rat and it's not fair to you. Besides, having kids is much more selfish than not having kids. Your kid will consume many scarce resources in his or her lifetime, contribute to overcrowding, and contribute to the pollution of the planet. Only a very few will grow up to give back more than they take.
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SloanT
2. How much do we want them? - I am a kidaholic. I love kids. My roommate in college had a 3 year old son and I couldn't get enough of him. We would play together all the time. One of my employees brings his son to work for the last hour everyday and I can help but go in and talk to him every few days. Kids are fun. My wife, on the other hand, is less kid friendly.

You sound like a good candidate for Scout Leader or Coach--a way to get your kid fix without your wife.

Vickifool
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There are more mindless breeders than non-breeders in this world. The child free people I know tend to be more sensible, lead more balanced lives, and have more fun.

I'm glad you used the qualifier "people I know" because my experience is just the opposite.

Why, just this weekend I went to an engagement party populated with many breeders. From the looks of the gathering, everyone--including the progeny of the breeders--took time out to lead a balanced life of friends, family and fun.

Indeed, most of the breeders I know are sensible, lead more balanced lives and have more fun--some of it downright child-like--than the non-breeders. I guess it's who you hang out with.
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I think that procreating is a very personal choice based on myriad factors, too many to list in one post. I've chosen not to have children. Early retirement is one of many, many factors that went into that decision, but the primary reason I don't want kids is that I don't have the desire. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I chose to be childfree the same way most people "choose" to be heterosexual. Having money for FI/RE is a side benefit that I've decided to take advantage of.

What galls me is how some (luckily, very few people in my own life, which unfortunately did NOT include a former ob-gyn of mine) people feel the need to make all sorts of judgments about my personality or my character from that one little fact. No, I wasn't abused as a child (I have great parents). Sure, I could use more fun in my life, but having children will NOT do that for me. Selfish? Career-oriented? Well, if that kind of label makes people feel more comfortable around me, sure, whatever.

I used to care a lot about what people thought of me about being childfree. These days, I just don't care. They have their lives to live, and I have mine. We've all made the best choices we know how with our own lives. I just think it's presumptuous for some parents to think that they've made a better choice than me.


CK
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Indeed, most of the breeders I know are sensible, lead more balanced lives and have more fun--some of it downright child-like--than the non-breeders.

I, too, have noticed that breeders tend to act more like children than those that choose to remain child free.
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I, too, have noticed that breeders tend to act more like children than those that choose to remain child free.

Yes, children are wonderful, aren't they? Were you ever one?
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OK, now that I've had my coffee, I realized that my last reply probably was not on-topic. So here's another attempt to answer the question.

The costs of raising a child, monetarily, emotionally, and time-wise, is a fact. Whether or not someone actually makes the calculation of whether the value of that money and time is worth, the fact is still there. I guess some people feel the need to play ostrich to avoid making the "is it worth it to me?" calculation, but I see nothing wrong with asking the question of whether children are the cost of early retirement (or other things). It's all about choices. Playing ostrich may allow someone to avoid looking cold and calculating, but it still doesn't change the FACT that children cost time and money and emotions.

I'm sure it's worth it to a lot of people, but I know it wouldn't be worth it to me. But again, I wouldn't try to explain that choice to other people (not that it's any of their business anyway). I don't understand why some people feel the need to try to convince me otherwise. It's like me trying to convince other people why opera is still a fascinating art form.

CK
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"I've been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding..."

- Harvey Danger
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"Not having kids because one wants to retire early seems like a valid reason to me. Having kids is a lifetime commitment. You don't want to end up resenting your kids because you now need to work 20 years more than you would have if you hadn't had kids."

I refuse to be a slave to my DNA. I don't believe some "God" or "Aliens" are going to come and rescue us from overpopulation, depletion of scarce resources (oil), pollution etc. He didn't show up during WWII when the Nazi's were busy butchering millions of innocent civilians, so I doubt He will show up when the oil runs out.

I've heard people use the excuse "I want to leave my DNA to the future." After one generation "your" genes are 50% in the first generation, F2 = 25%, F3 = 12.5%, F4 = 6.25%, F5 = 3.125%, F6 = 1.5625%, F7 = .75%, F8 = .375%. So after 8 generations the amount of DNA that you might leave to any given individual is less than 1%! That is assuming that your DNA even makes it 8 generations, which may not happen due to the reduction in population that must accompany the depletion of oil resources. The world will just not be able to support the huge increases that happened in the 20th Century.

The kindest thing you can do for the environment is to choose not to reproduce. - Art
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But I wonder if any of the FIREs on this board actually said to themselves, "if I have children, I won't be able to retire early; therefore, I won't have children.

Would you share your thinking on this subject?



When I was newly married in my early 20's, I read the "Baby Trap". It helped me to realize that there are many wrong reasons to procreate and really only one right one. I was never in the right circumstances to have a child. Being childfree means that I was able to retire with lower expenses. However if I had decided to become a mom, I believe that I still would have found a way to retire early. That 250k price tag for a kid is a bunch of baloney!
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I used to care a lot about what people thought of me about being childfree. These days, I just don't care. They have their lives to live, and I have mine. We've all made the best choices we know how with our own lives. I just think it's presumptuous for some parents to think that they've made a better choice than me.

Good for you CK.

Instead of giving tax discounts to households that increase as the "kidcount" increases, I think big tax credits should be given to those who've taken the same path as you.

It would be no more unfair than the current tax law.

Golfwaymore
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MedicalDiagnoses writes:

There are more mindless breeders than non-breeders in this world.

Wow. I suppose each is entitled to his own opinion. Do you really believe this? I guess you do, but I'm floored.

Breeders tend to see having kids as a duty (probably due to some wacko religious reasons) that everyone must undertake. They have kids because their parents want them to or because their breeding peer group pushes them into it and they end up regretting it.

Most of the parents I know had children because they really wanted them, and I know of only a few that regret it. The vast majority tell me their lives are greatly better for having had children. Are you sure you aren't projecting your own feelings on to them?

Not having kids because one wants to retire early seems like a valid reason to me. Having kids is a lifetime commitment. You don't want to end up resenting your kids because you now need to work 20 years more than you would have if you hadn't had kids. It's not fair to the rug rat and it's not fair to you.

No argument with you there. Everyone needs to understand this before they choose to have children.

Besides, having kids is much more selfish than not having kids.

Oh, please.


tmeri, childless by choice

-
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"I've been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding..."

A guy I work with is Mormon and just had his 6th child. He is also one of the most intelligent people I know. He mentioned throughout the world the trend is for lower educated women to have more children. Mormon's are just the opposite, the more education the women have, the more children they have (his mother and mother inlaw both have masters degrees and 26 children between them, several adopted).

I asked him if there was a Mormon plot to take over the world through increasing the population base. He laughed.

-murray
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"The costs of raising a child, monetarily, emotionally, and time-wise, is a fact. Whether or not someone actually makes the calculation of whether the value of that money and time is worth, the fact is still there. I guess some people feel the need to play ostrich to avoid making the "is it worth it to me?" calculation" - CK


I once asked my baby sister (age 45) why women choose to have children. She has two teenage sons that are wild as chimpanzees. She said that when women are contemplating having children they only think of the good things, like the baby looking up at them smiling, lovingly, happy, clean, smelling nice, etc. They don't think of diarrhea, vomit, screaming and crying, illness, and the rebellious teenage years, the cost of diapers, food, clothes, wrecked cars, increased cost of car insurance during the teenage years, etc. I was the 5th child. I was forced to take care of many of my nephews and nieces when I was 13-14 years old, and I KNEW it wasn't all goo-goo sweet smiling. I'd done it all and knew that having children was a tremendous amount of work. And, what I hated the worst was that demanding screaming & crying, refusing to be ignored. The frustration of trying to figure out what the heck is wrong. No thanks! I like my peace and quiet. It boggles my mind why any sane human being would choose to have a child. They're obnoxious demanding, self centered parasites. The world will be a safer cleaner more humane place when the population is finally depleted to less than 2 billion people. - Art
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"I've been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding..."

- Harvey Danger


I can't hardly think of any of the world's serious problems that are not attributable to over population. Malnutrition, starvation, wars, pestilence, depletion of resources, pollution, etc. are all attributable to too many people. We live in a finite island, and the time is fast approaching where we are going to come to a crisis that will lead to a large percentage number of the world's population is going to starve slap to death. - Art
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"I asked him if there was a Mormon plot to take over the world through increasing the population base. He laughed."

-murray


So do you think they'll be willing to share the food when the oil runs out? Within 50 years all the known oil reserves will be gone. Fifty years is not long. I have numerous nephews and nieces that are still teenagers and younger. They will be here when it happens. It's not going to be a pretty sight.

By the way, I've seen many parents who are in a hurry for their children to grow up. They subconsciously push their children to grow up quickly. And, they also resent their children once their children reach the teenage years. Both parents work and the children are left to their own devices. - Art
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But I wonder if any of the FIREs on this board actually said to themselves, "if I have children, I won't be able to retire early; therefore, I won't have children.

I'm actually having exactly this conversation with my fiancée. For me, it's linked with other anxieties about being a parent. It pretty much boils down to this:

1. I'm not particularly excited about having kids;
2. Being a parent is hard enough when you're excited about it, so if you're not excited about it, you probably shouldn't even think about it.

I'm selfish enough to fear that I'd resent my fiancée (or even worse, the kid) for delaying my ability to take a hike from work. Until I get that worked out, it seems foolhardy to run the risk of mangling a child's mental health due to my own goals for myself.

dan
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A had a lot of friends who had kids when they were young (early 20's) while I remained childless. I had variations of the same conversation with each of them, some multiple times. Basically, they'd say: I love my kids, wouldn't trade them for anything. But it was a huge mistake to have them. Don't make the same mistake I did.

Probably some of that was normal frustration bubbling over. But I've heard it a lot, and continue to hear to this day.

I noticed this especially for people in their late 20s and early 30s. You're done with college so you're working and have a bit of cash for the first time, yet its still really fun to have big parties or go camping with a big group of friends for the weekend. And go out and see bands or even a movie. The couples with kids didn't get to do any of that. Or if they did they felt guilty as hell.



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<<I noticed this especially for people in their late 20s and early 30s. You're done with college so you're working and have a bit of cash for the first time, yet its still really fun to have big parties or go camping with a big group of friends for the weekend. And go out and see bands or even a movie. The couples with kids didn't get to do any of that. Or if they did they felt guilty as hell.
>>


Heh, heh!™ Of course, it's really irresponsible to be spending money and having fun when your IRAs and 401Ks aren't fully funded and you are a paycheck away from financial disaster.

Childless people in their 20s and 30s have the ILLUSION of having a bit of money, but that's often because they aren't funding the needs of the future, including future children they'll probably have.


Seattle Pioneer
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Most of the parents I know had children because they really wanted them, and I know of only a few that regret it.

I don't know one single parent who regrets having children. All my friends and people whose opinion I care about express their great joy and satisfaction in having children, which is as it should be.

If I ever knew someone who actually expressed regret at having children, I would counsel that person to never say that in front of the child, for cryin' out loud. (Yes, "counsel" because that person needs help.)
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It boggles my mind why any sane human being would choose to have a child. They're obnoxious demanding, self-centered parasites. The world will be a safer, cleaner, more humane place when the population is finally depleted to less than 2 billion people.

You go first. :-)
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By the way, I've seen many parents who are in a hurry for their children to grow up. They subconsciously push their children to grow up quickly.

But do you agree there are many parents who savor every day of their child's growing up. I sure did. I used to tell my son, "There's not a day goes by that I don't just love being your mother." When he was little, I'd say to him, "You...you stop growing! Stop growing right now!" Always made him laugh.

They grow up too soon, in my book.
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Until I get that worked out, it seems foolhardy to run the risk of mangling a child's mental health due to my own goals for myself.

I agree. People should have children WITHOUT reservation. You're wise to reflect, and if your fiancee is enthusiastic about it but you're not, look out below.

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I have two children who I fully expect to grow up to be outstanding citizens of this world. I also expect that they both will have good chances of getting full scholarships to college, but that is yet to be known.

I also fully expect to be FIRE'd by age 50. Not as early as some, but not as old as others.
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I used to care a lot about what people thought of me about being childfree. These days, I just don't care. They have their lives to live, and I have mine. We've all made the best choices we know how with our own lives. I just think it's presumptuous for some parents to think that they've made a better choice than me.

Actually, I would be surprised if many of the with-kid folks think they made a better choice than you. I think the friction you feel from them actually is jealousy. I think many women have kids because that's what their parents and society expect, or just as an excuse to quit their jobs and stay home. This isn't to say that are unhappy with their choice, just that it wasn't really a choice for them. They felt that had to do it, either to get something else they wanted or to satisfy others. CK, you threaten them, and that's just to darn bad for them.
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<<Actually, I would be surprised if many of the with-kid folks think they made a better choice than you. I think the friction you feel from them actually is jealousy. I think many women have kids because that's what their parents and society expect, or just as an excuse to quit their jobs and stay home. This isn't to say that are unhappy with their choice, just that it wasn't really a choice for them. They felt that had to do it, either to get something else they wanted or to satisfy others. CK, you threaten them, and that's just to darn bad for them.
>>


My observation post on this syndrome is my sister in law, a nurse-midwife who's delivered more than a thousand babies in a hospital setting over the past 25 years, and has a hard realism about childbirth.

She clearly values my two nephews, age 11 and 14. At the same time, she has regrets about being confined in the role of mother for a large part of her life ---she has other things she would have liked to do as well.

As I intrepret what she has said over the years, I would characterize it as a blessing, but a mixed blessing.

My brother, by contrast, enjoys his children although he has oftenb been consumed by work. I've never heard a word of regret or doubt from him. Being a father and husband are just parts of who he is.




Seattle Pioneer
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I don't know one single parent who regrets having children. All my friends and people whose opinion I care about express their great joy and satisfaction in having children, which is as it should be.

Jeffrey Dommer's mom and dad.

Golfwaymore
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Jeffrey Dommer's mom and dad.

Well, of course Jeffrey Dahmer's parents are probably consumed with regret. I was talking about people I personally know.

I'm glad I asked this question, but for a selfish reason. It's made me realize how blessed I am, not only because I have a child whom I love to smithereens, but that I haven't experienced one single moment of regret is surely God's gift to me.

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Wow, Catherine. Thanks for bringing up such an interesting topic.
I can imagine that many people do take expenses into account when considering having children. It's expensive to have kids (so I understand).
We don't have kids yet, but expect to in the coming year or two. We're just starting into a process similar to Murray's. We've tried to 'be prepared' for the extra expenses by LBOM and saving. But, as I have also heard repeatedly, you're never fully prepared.

I had to mention, though, that that MSNMoney article was really problematic for me.
In the breakdown of expenses, half of them were things you'd pay for even if you didn't have kids-- housing (33% to 37%) and transportation (13% to 14%). For me, then, the article becomes more of a gripe session or socialist propaganda than anything of helpful value to its readers. This kind of 'information' turns into urban legend and then becomes justification for more government aid programs.
Sure, kids are expensive-- it's like adding a whole other person to your family. :-)
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clairence writes:

I had to mention, though, that that MSNMoney article was really problematic for me. In the breakdown of expenses, half of them were things you'd pay for even if you didn't have kids-- housing (33% to 37%) and transportation (13% to 14%).


I don't think you read the article carefully enough. They seem to be talking about the additional costs because of children. Note that their suggestions include not buying a bigger house.

A one-bedroom apartment will do for a couple; would you seriously consider such an arrangement long term once you have children?

Kids require extra transportation, too, unless you are going by their school/daycare, anyway, on the way to work, you don't take them to birthday parties, soccer practice, piano lessons, don't buy them a car, etc. Those are perfectly acceptable choices, but will you do it?

For me, then, the article becomes more of a gripe session or socialist propaganda than anything of helpful value to its readers.

That's OK. Bad news can always be cast in the proper light so that one can ignore it. ;-)

-
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CatherineCoy writes:

I don't know one single parent who regrets having children. All my friends and people whose opinion I care about express their great joy and satisfaction in having children, which is as it should be.

By contrast, I know of a number of people who had children without thinking about it. They had them because, well, "everyone does it, so I should, too." Most of them end up being happy about having children, thank God.

If I ever knew someone who actually expressed regret at having children, I would counsel that person to never say that in front of the child, for cryin' out loud. (Yes, "counsel" because that person needs help.)

My experience suggests that the vast majority of people with children do not take kindly to "suggestions" from friends without children. ;-)

-
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I'm glad I asked this question, but for a selfish reason. It's made me realize how blessed I am, not only because I have a child whom I love to smithereens, but that I haven't experienced one single moment of regret is surely God's gift to me.

Ditto.

On this, we agree.

Golfwaymore
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tmeri: <I don't think you read the article carefully enough. They seem to be talking about the additional costs because of children.>
I read it, and found their assumptions to be exhaggerated and atypical.

<The table assumes that for each child you have, you're going to add 100 to 150 square feet of living space to your home. By definition, that means you're either going to renovate your existing house or buy a new one. Go against the flow and figure out how to use the space you've got.>
The key assumption is that you need to add space, which is not always accurate, and thus skews the estimated expenses of raising a family. Yes, one recommendation was to not move to a larger place. This would reduce the $250,000 figure by 1/3. That's all I'm saying.

<This includes the purchase and finance charges of vehicles, repair and fuel expenses and insurance.>
Again, why a car purchase? Why not use the one you've already got?

tmeri: <A one-bedroom apartment will do for a couple; would you seriously consider such an arrangement long term once you have children? Kids require extra transportation, too, unless you are going by their school/daycare, anyway, on the way to work, you don't take them to birthday parties, soccer practice, piano lessons, don't buy them a car, etc.>
I don't know many couples who live in one-bedroom apartments or one-bedroom houses. Maybe it's just that way in the town where I live. In these places, the second bedroom can be made into a kid's room without the major repurchase or remodel expenses.
And, while I agree that you need to drive your children to more places than you'd have gone without them, the transportation expenses in the article include "purchase and finance charges"-- by far the largest chunk of that 'added expense'.

My later point was that it's no big stretch to expect to hear some elected official declaring that no "hard-working American family" can expect to be able to pay $250,000 to raise their kids and the government needs to step in and pay them $xx more dollars. If they are going to make such a claim, they need to use 'real-world' numbers, not 'worst-case' numbers.

Clearly, just my opinion.

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I just think it's presumptuous for some parents to think that they've made a better choice than me.

I personally agree with you--the decision about procreation is such a personal one that no one should judge other people about their decision. But it helps to look at both sides of the picture--from your point of you I totally understand how you made the decision that you did. It seems logical and rational.

now I don't want to turn this into a religious bible-bash session, but just consider the fact that some religious people still believe the commandment to "multiply and replenish the earth" is still in force. From their point of view, you can see how they disapprove of someone who makes that decision--but that still gives them no right to judge you about it.

sillyduck
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When my wife & I talked of the children question before & during the early years of our marriage,RE never even came up.The fact that we never had kids definitely accelerated the time of FIRE.I love kids but could have gone either way in having my own.My wife did not feel comfortable in assuming the role of mother.When all was said & done,it was decided not to venture into parenthood.Next subject,how to confirm that we stayed in a childless state.Since it was less involved for me,I voluntered to make an appointment......SNIP.SNIP....Mission accomplished.Later that day,with the cat laying in my lap,the doorbell rang.The cat got startled & leaped off my lap.Unfortunately,her point of foot traction was not the best for my ongoing comfort.You could have heard my scream 3 doors down.It was almost 2 weeks before I would allow the cat to get within 10 feet of my lap.
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snip>When my wife & I talked of the children question before & during the early years of our marriage,RE never even came up.The fact that we never had kids definitely accelerated the time of FIRE.I love kids but could have gone either way in having my own.My wife did not feel comfortable in assuming the role of mother.When all was said & done,it was decided not to venture into parenthood.Next subject,how to confirm that we stayed in a childless state.Since it was less involved for me,I voluntered to make an appointment......SNIP.SNIP....Mission accomplished.Later that day,with the cat laying in my lap,the doorbell rang.The cat got startled & leaped off my lap.Unfortunately,her point of foot traction was not the best for my ongoing comfort.You could have heard my scream 3 doors down.It was almost 2 weeks before I would allow the cat to get within 10 feet of my lap. <<snip>>

Since I started to tell of this episode,I might as well tell the whole story.The week that I had my surgery was the week of my wifes birthday.(Some birthday present I gave her..huh).The person who rang the doorbell was a friend of my wife,who was dropping off a tin of cookies & a card for her.When the cat jumped off my lap,I screamed for almost a minute while involuntarily assuming a fetal position on the couch.
She started to bang on the door,yelling "whats going on in there!".When I did not answer right away & was still yelling,she said that she was going to call the police.I had to do something.I used my left hand to support my "necessaries" & tried to stand up.I advanced toward the door in a near prone position,while maintaining support where it was needed.When I finally hobbled to the door,I gripped the doornob with my right hand & forced myself to open it.My wifes friend took a double take back one step when she saw my chalk-white complexion & Quasi-Moto posture.She looked at me & stammered out ,"whats going on?,is everything allright?" The best I could do is make a croaking sound & try to smile.It came off more of a grimace.I finally managed to say that I slipped & excuse the language that she heard.She said that she would call my wife later & proceded to try to hand my the cookies.I was having enough problem holding onto my own cookies.I had to decide which hand to free up,the right one on the doorknob that was needed to keep me standing,or my left one.I gritted my teeth & extended my left hand,substituting my cookies for hers.
Its a day that I will never forget.


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Catherine, just checking to see if I understand your logic.

I don't know one single parent who regrets having children.

In other words, no one has told you they regret having children.

All my friends and people whose opinion I care about...

Okay, only people of (presumably) similar opinion.

...express their great joy and satisfaction in having children, which is as it should be.

Ah. So it's not possible to regret a decision, and still feel enjoyment or satisfaction? You can't enjoy a situation, while not regretting making a choice that you could have improved on? Regret is only possible if there is no redeeming value whatsoever? I can't order the chicken, see you get a much more appealing steak and regret my meal choice, even though it's still a very good dinner?

But the more important part from this statement is the section I emphasized. You are clear in that expressing regret is unacceptable. That deviating from the "joy and satisfaction" party line is not just unusual, or a different opinion, but flat-out wrong. In fact, you then say:

If I ever knew someone who actually expressed regret at having children, I would counsel that person to never say that in front of the child, for cryin' out loud. (Yes, "counsel" because that person needs help.)

You seem to have two situations conflated here; expressing regret in front of a child (which I can understand, especially with a younger one) and expressing regret at all. From the rest of the context (such as the first sentence), I'm going to assume that you would "counsel" anyone who expresses regret.

So, let's put out the thought experiment:

Your friend regrets having children. For whatever reason. They also derive satisfaction from raising their children, and do an acceptable job, but they do regret having these children.

They consider telling you this. Assuming they know you well, and assuming that I haven't totally misunderstood you, they can predict the following response:

- You would consider their statement to be wrong. It is not how it should be.
- You would assume they are receiving no joy or satisfaction from their parenthood.
- You would "counsel" them in the attempt to change their mind. Somehow.

Why, for the love of Pete, would anybody tell you they regretted having children? It doesn't sound like they're in for anything positive, really.

Suppose you were gay, and read a message posting like this:
"I don't know one single person who regrets having a heterosexual relationship. All my friends and people whose opinion I care about express their great joy and satisfaction in having a heterosexual relationship, which is as it should be.

If I ever knew someone who actually expressed regret at having a heterosexual relationship, I would counsel that person to never say that in front of the SO, for cryin' out loud. (Yes, "counsel" because that person needs help.)"


Would you be in a big hurry to come out to that person?

Kevin :)
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There are more mindless breeders than non-breeders in this world. The child free people I know tend to be more sensible, lead more balanced lives, and have more fun. The breeders I know are always complaining...
Breeders tend to see having kids as a duty (probably due to some wacko religious reasons)..
Breeders are much more likely to be judgmental of the child free than vice versa because they want others to join them in their misery. The breeders tend to be very subtle in thier attacks on the child free...


Whew! Those darn "breeders" sound so judgmental! And those attacks you speak of...they sound TERRIBLE! They probably even make up obnoxious names for "child free" people, like whatever the opposite of "breeder" is. Those darn judgmental and attacking people should be ashamed of themselves.

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Would you share your thinking on this subject?

I disagree with the guy's numbers. If I take the average cost per kid, times four, then my four kids are costing me more than I make. I suppose the articles that get any attention are the ones with the most provocative numbers.

I sure hope that nobody's making the decision to have kids or not solely based on the fact that children cost money. The time and attention aspect is at least as big as the money side.

There's no reason to encourage the people who don't want children to have some. That said, children are blessings to those who do want them. And yes, the money drain will certainly delay FIRE. However, as much as I'd like to not have to work for money, I wasn't put on the earth to retire early. RE is (for me) a state that will be a part of the overall scheme, but not the goal.
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CK, You are so right. In my case, not having children was not a conscious decision, but rather the result of a series of other factors (two short, unsuccessful marriages). You would not believe how many times, after saying I am single and have no children, I have been asked if I am gay. (Down here in the conservative South, I imagine 10 people thought it for every one that asked.) On a dating site I belonged to, several women dismissed me out of hand because I didn't have children. I have been accused of being selfish for not having kids. (What was I supposed to do, go knock somebody up? Marry the first fertile woman I met just to do my procreative duty to society?)

As far as benefits, I see both benefits and disadvantages to not having had children. I am not overly concerned that there will be no one to carry on the family name. I don't care that there will be no one to bury me. I do wonder whether there will be someone to help look out for my best interests in my waning years, but I know plenty of people who got ZERO help from their progeny, so I'm not obsessing about that either.

I really empathized with your words (eloquent as always), CK, and I thank you for writing them. I hope some who read them will be pursuaded to be less judgmental the next time they encounter a childless person, be they single, married, or divorced.

GG


==================================
CK said: I think that procreating is a very personal choice based on myriad factors, too many to list in one post. I've chosen not to have children. Early retirement is one of many, many factors that went into that decision, but the primary reason I don't want kids is that I don't have the desire. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I chose to be childfree the same way most people "choose" to be heterosexual. Having money for FI/RE is a side benefit that I've decided to take advantage of.

What galls me is how some (luckily, very few people in my own life, which unfortunately did NOT include a former ob-gyn of mine) people feel the need to make all sorts of judgments about my personality or my character from that one little fact. No, I wasn't abused as a child (I have great parents). Sure, I could use more fun in my life, but having children will NOT do that for me. Selfish? Career-oriented? Well, if that kind of label makes people feel more comfortable around me, sure, whatever.

I used to care a lot about what people thought of me about being childfree. These days, I just don't care. They have their lives to live, and I have mine. We've all made the best choices we know how with our own lives. I just think it's presumptuous for some parents to think that they've made a better choice than me.
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I am a kidaholic. I love kids. My roommate in college had a 3 year old son and I couldn't get enough of him. We would play together all the time. One of my employees brings his son to work for the last hour everyday and I can help but go in and talk to him every few days. Kids are fun.

Part time is not the same as full time.


Kids are expensive, and I have no fantasies that my wife will enjoy living at anything other than a pretty comfortable standard of living.

You have to factor in the possibility that a child of yours could have something wrong with it. Living with a dying child can destroy finances and marriages.
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"multiply and replenish the earth"

There were two publications put out in the late 60s or early 70s entitled "The Power of Print." Advertising agencies were asked to produce slick, full-color ads on social issues (or non-existant products) that demonstrated how powerful graphics and ad copy could be.

It's been years since I saw that publication, but two of them really stuck with me.

One was a checklist paraphrased from Genesis including such things as subjugating the animals, and so forth. The next-to-last item was "Go forth and multiply..." and the last was "...and replenish the earth" Each of the check boxes had a check in it except for the last: "...and replenish the earth." The photo on the page was an inflatable desktop globe, deflated.

We as humanity have done a much better multiplying than we have replenishing the earth.
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It boggles my mind why any sane human being would choose to have a child. They're obnoxious demanding, self centered parasites.

Depends on the way the family raises the children. I've known some children who are indeed obnoxious and self-centered. I've known others who are delightful and outgoing and considerate.

Raising children well does demand a lot of energy, attention, and time.
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I don't know one single parent who regrets having children.

I know several parents who have told me of regrets, joys, problems, delights, frustrations, unexpected rewards ... you get the picture. No, of course they don't tell me about their frustrations with the kids in front of the kids.

But good grief -- children are not an unmixed blessing. Raising kids is hard work -- problems that you never thought you'd encounter, sorrows and satisfactions both.

Did you begin this thread just so that you could inform respondents that they were bad rotten persons if they ever thought a single negative thought about their kids?
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RiverCityFool asks,

<<I don't know one single parent who regrets having children. >>

I know several parents who have told me of regrets, joys, problems, delights, frustrations, unexpected rewards ... you get the picture. No, of course they don't tell me about their frustrations with the kids in front of the kids.

But good grief -- children are not an unmixed blessing. Raising kids is hard work -- problems that you never thought you'd encounter, sorrows and satisfactions both.

Did you begin this thread just so that you could inform respondents that they were bad rotten persons if they ever thought a single negative thought about their kids?


I suspect this is another attempt by the "behavior modifiers" to effect "real change" in the Retire Early population.

It has little chance of working. <grin>

intercst

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Kevin, what I meant was, among my friends, no one has ever said the thing that seems to be so pervasive among the friends of some posters here--that is, that they regret having children. I'm certain there are people who regret having children, because people right have said it (about themselves or someone they know), but I do think it sad. To regret someone's very existence is sad indeed!

Yes, if I had a friend (certainly not a stranger or a mere acquaintance) who said, "Man, if I had it to do over again, I'd never have had these kids!" I might say, "It's natural, dear, to have regrets about some of the things we've done in life, but I think you'd agree that this regret is best kept to oneself, and not shared with the regretee, no?" Just ask a child--even a grown-up child--how they felt when they overheard a parent say this, and see what such "candor" meant to them. Worse yet, how unsettling, to say the least, to be raised by someone who harbored these feelings.

Think about it, which would you rather hear from your parent, even as an adult?

(no matter how tenderly said) "If I had it to do over again, I would not have had children." OR

(even if a wild exaggeration) "I've enjoyed being your parent every single day."

I once read a book about children's self-esteem* where the author made a distinction that has stayed with me my whole life. ALL parents "love" their children--just ask 'em--but only a few know how or care to "cherish" a child with words or acts that celebrate their existence. Personally, I think all children deserve to be cherished.

*Your Child's Self-Esteem by Dorothy Corkhill Briggs



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Did you begin this thread just so that you could inform respondents that they were bad rotten persons if they ever thought a single negative thought about their kids?

Of course not. I wondered if anyone said, "If I have kids, I can't retire early." The responses confirm that most aspiring FIREs are not so one-dimensional about it and, like CK for example, consider it only one factor in the decision.
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I suspect this is another attempt by the "behavior modifiers" to effect "real change" in the Retire Early population.

Actually, intercst, I'm the one being changed by my participation here. I hope that's OK with you.
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The child free people I know tend to be more sensible, lead more balanced lives, and have more fun.

Of course they do.

They are not exhausted and driven to insanity by their own little Angels of Destruction.

peace & choices
t

who is exhausted, nonsensical, unbalanced fun parent.
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I have 3 children, two biological 19 & 18 and one that is adopted at 8. Financial considerations never fit into the decisions at all. In fact the 1st two just happened while thinking about only one thing if you know what I mean. We were young and foolish. I would prefer to have waited until around 30. As it was, I had my 1st child at the age of 21. My wife had her tubes tied after our 2nd child and 2nd "c" section because the medical thinking at the time said we should not have it done more than twice. After adopting our 3rd, we realised that 3 were almost more than we could handle.

The adoption was done privately and cost a total of around $1500 which is very low.

When we were young, we talked about having enough kids to field our own basketball team. I would not trade the 3 we have for anything but I'm glad we did not have anymore. My wife and I our laid back but all 3 kids are strong-willed.

I anticipate ER by the age of 51 (41 now). No doubt it would have been sooner without kids but ER is not that high on my priority list.

decath
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Sure is interesting reading this thread. Very touchy subject.

My parents probably should not have had kids at all. Both were selfish people that worked 50 hour weeks and left me to be raised by the cheapest day-care providers they could find. They spent Zero time with me on the nights and weekends but they sure did pay attention if I would step out of line in the slightest way by severely punishing me. I was an only child.

I vowed to raise my 3 differently and did so. Wife has been a SAHM most of our marriage. I play with them, coach their sports teams, teach them, read to them and discipline them when needed.

This past weekend we all had a blast! My oldest was home from college. All 5 of us played horse shoes, 4-square, basketball, swam in the pool and worked around the house. I would not trade weekends like that for anything. Neighbor kids will often come over to join us as well.

We have had some ups and downs, especially with my strong-willed older daughter who went through a rebellious stage for a couple of years. She has been my life's greatest challenge as we have worked through most of her struggles together as a family. She has great potential to make a difference in other peoples lives with her tremendous outgoing and loving personality.

I view children as arrows that we get to shoot out into the world for either good or bad. Make each one of your arrows count for the betterment of man and the approval of God.

Side note! Mom and dad unexpectantly had a 2nd child after I left home when mom was 40. As age often brings wisdom, they have done a better job with her!

decath
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Choosing to FI/RE and have children is a daunting task for sure!

I want both and had to make a lot of tough decisions, especially once they got into the teenage years! An additional financial frustration for me was to do it while my wife was a SAHM while I earned a decent salary but by no means excessive.

Both of my oldest are very popular, athletic and good-looking (athletics from dad, looks from mom). They have always been under pressure to have the best clothes, a car and a generous supply of cash on the weekends to go out and party. I refuse to do any of it and required them to work at the age of 16 for spending money.

Very few kids work these days and in the rich suburbs and towns North of Dallas, every parent tries to give there kids "everything" so they don't look bad to their peers.

We have 2 cars, 1 for wife and 1 for me. Both used hondas with lots of miles. Kids-no cars and won't get one unless they buy it. I provide a very nice home with a pool and 1 1/2 acre of land. They have all their needs and every piece of sports equipment they need. I pay for their braces and piano lessons but none of their fluff.

We tried to be like the other parents for about 2 years and ran up credit card debt. I Stopped and put the money crunch on all of them despite their wailing. They learned and so did I.

My financial sanity is intact but the side benefit is that my kids are growing financially savy. They are choosing to spend their earnings wisely and saving themselves. My oldest daughter came home from her 1st year of college and avoiding applying for a credit card. She is working full-time this summer and saving every penney.

My son umpires and hauls hay. He has a rich girlfriend but has told her that their dates will be low-budget. He is saving for a car.


decath
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but that's often because they aren't funding the needs of the future, including future children they'll probably have.

HA! All us childless couples are funding the future of those couples with children! We pay for schools, higher taxes, etc. and we don't use those resources.

The tax inequality is idiotic.

C.
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There are more mindless breeders than non-breeders in this world.

Breeders are much more likely to be judgmental of the child free than vice versa because they want others to join them in their misery.

The breeders tend to be very subtle in thier attacks on the child free. They look askance at the child free and tend to belittle any reason a child free person may have for not wanting to have children.
Their resentment of their kids usually manifests itself in subtle attacks on those who choose to remain child free.


You are talking about the band "The Breeders" right?
http://launch.yahoo.com/artist/default.asp?artistID=1003574

I have heard that word before, and even used it sometimes, but I don't recall it ever sounding so ignorant, so bigoted, so like many other racial, stereotyping words.
Rats! Another word I'll have to remove from my vocabulary because someone else ruined it for me. (Just like that redneck at work who says "F"ing this, "F"ing that, "F" him, "F" that, "F" you. I really enjoyed using the "F" word until I heard how stupid it could sound, now I have to censor myself.)

Anyway, I am childfree by choice and the majority of my friends have children. When I go out with them, it is certainly different from going out with my childfree friends, but the fun level is relative to the person, not their children.
I have had friends go through IVF because they wanted children and they really are happier now. Really! I have also had friends get pregnant by accident and they are resentful, but of the situation, none of them actually resent their children.
Anyway, my whole reason for replying to this was to point out how very angry and bitter you, the fun, care-free, child-free guy sounds.
Is it jealousy?




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HippeauFlip:

You are talking about the band "The Breeders" right?
http://launch.yahoo.com/artist/default.asp?artistID=1003574

I have heard that word before, and even used it sometimes, but I don't recall it ever sounding so ignorant, so bigoted, so like many other racial, stereotyping words.
Rats! Another word I'll have to remove from my vocabulary because someone else ruined it for me. (Just like that redneck at work who says "F"ing this, "F"ing that, "F" him, "F" that, "F" you. I really enjoyed using the "F" word until I heard how stupid it could sound, now I have to censor myself.)


I'm sure when you use the word "breeders," your intelligence and open-mindedness come shining through. Please don't change your behavior on my account.

What other "racial stereotyping" words did you formerly use until someone else ruined them for you? And why did you bring racial stereotyping into this? My post was merely about people that have kids versus those that choose not to. What about that is stereotypical in regards to race?

BTW, it's too bad you no longer use the "F" word. I bet it sounded totally cool and radical when you said it.
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HA! All us childless couples are funding the future of those couples with children! We pay for schools, higher taxes, etc. and we don't use those resources.

The tax inequality is idiotic.

C.
------------

I hear this argument a lot, but I don't buy it. Imagine how this society would have evolved with a largely illiterate population. A well-educated society provides benefits to everyone, childless or not. I'm not making an argument here about the quality of the public school education, just that paying for it provides an overall societal benefit.

If someone didn't owna car, they could gripe because general taxes pay to pave the roads. They may not derive any direct benefit from the Interstate, but without it, how would groceries get delivered to the store?

tutone
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The tax inequality is idiotic.

I hear this argument a lot, but I don't buy it. Imagine how this society would have evolved with a largely illiterate population. A well-educated society provides benefits to everyone, childless or not. I'm not making an argument here about the quality of the public school education, just that paying for it provides an overall societal benefit.

I certainly agree there is an over societal benefit. But the original poster said ther was a tax inequality. A couple with two children recieves a substantial tax break over a couple with no children, all other things equal. Yet the couple with children costs the government substantially more. Shouldn't they pay more? Even if its a little bit?


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I certainly agree there is an over societal benefit. But the original poster said ther was a tax inequality. A couple with two children recieves a substantial tax break over a couple with no children, all other things equal. Yet the couple with children costs the government substantially more. Shouldn't they pay more? Even if its a little bit?

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Depends on the goal of the tax code. IIRC, you tend to come down on the left side of the political spectrum. This is one of those "fairness" issues that the left loves. Is it fair for a family with children, and all of the expenses associated with them, to pay the same tax rate as DINKs? Logically, they should pay more, since they consume more govenrment resources. But "fairness" dictates that families deserve a break because of their extra expenses. Rich DINK's can "afford" to pay more in taxes.

If I were writing the tax code, I would make it essentially flat, and eliminate most deductions, including home mortgage interest and the the dependent deductions. I wouldn't use tax policy as a social engineering tool.

tutone
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"Did you begin this thread just so that you could inform respondents that they were bad rotten persons if they ever thought a single negative thought about their kids? "

My mother had 6 kids. She told me she wanted the first three and my father wanted the last three. She told me she didn't want the last three. I was number 5.

My baby sister told me that if she knew how hard it was going to be she wouldn't have had kids.

One of my older sisters, who was manic depressive and schizophrenic had four kids. The oldest is is on SSI due to the fact that he's also schizophrenic and manic depressive, the next oldest was depressed till he killed himself by shooting himself. The next girl is epileptic, and the last I heard the youngest girl is in a mental hospital.

My brother has four kids. His next to oldest daughter has chronic rage syndrome. She starts screaming and yelling for the slightest thing. Her face turns red and she absolutely cannot control her anger. My father had it also. She was a National Merit Scholar and had a full scholarship to the University of the South in New Orleans. She dropped out after the first year and married a boy she met in college. She immediately had two kids, then got divorced. She is now with a guy who is a druggie jailbird, living in Colorado, and has two more kids with him. She now smokes cigarettes, has tattoos and is smokes pot.

My next oldest sister has a beautiful teenage daughter that is a "cutter." She took knives and started cutting herself because she was depressed. Depression runs in our family. Her daughter is on Zoloft and sees a psychiatrist. Even though health insurance helps with the cost, it doesnt' pay 100%.

My oldest sister had four kids. The three oldest were all born with defects in their hearts and had to open heart surgery. The last one was born with some kind of immune disease and had to have her spleen removed.

Is it any wonder that I was reluctant to have children. Thank God for vasectomies. And as far as that "multiply and fill the earth" thing. I think we've all ready done that.

- Art
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I'm sure when you use the word "breeders," your intelligence and open-mindedness come shining through. Please don't change your behavior on my account.

Soooo....are you saying you realize what a jack-ass you sounded like, or are you sticking to your guns.

BTW, it's too bad you no longer use the "F" word. I bet it sounded totally cool and radical when you said it.

Radical???? Oh, that's so 1985. Are you still matching your socks to your shirt too?

What other "racial stereotyping" words did you formerly use until someone else ruined them for you?

I never said I used racial stereotyping words, I said you were throwing the term "breeder" around as if it were a racial slur.

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But "fairness" dictates that families deserve a break because of their extra expenses.

Well gosh, If expenses are the measuring stick of a "fair" tax rate, I could think of all sorts things to spend money on and increase my expenses.

People who have kids have extra expenses so they deserve a tax break. Therefore:
People with big houses have extra expenses and deserve a tax break.
People who take fancy vacations have extra expenses and deserve a tax break.
People with big cars have extra expenses and deserve a tax break.





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I hear this argument a lot, but I don't buy it. Imagine how this society would have evolved with a largely illiterate population. A well-educated society provides benefits to everyone, childless or not. I'm not making an argument here about the quality of the public school education, just that paying for it provides an overall societal benefit.

If someone didn't owna car, they could gripe because general taxes pay to pave the roads. They may not derive any direct benefit from the Interstate, but without it, how would groceries get delivered to the store?


I was actually referring to the "inequality" of the taxation. Childless couples pay MORE for said services than couples with children.

I don't have issue with all paying something - it's the fact that I pay more than my neighbor with 2 kids - for services they use and I don't no less.

C.
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Here's an article about the cost of raising one child. It got me thinking: would anyone seriously not have children because it could potentially delay their desire to retire early?

I will state absolutely that there are people who would take that as a major factor leading to a decision not to have children.

After all, there are over 200 million people in the US alone...
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I hear this argument a lot, but I don't buy it. Imagine how this society would have evolved with a largely illiterate population. A well-educated society provides benefits to everyone, childless or not. I'm not making an argument here about the quality of the public school education, just that paying for it provides an overall societal benefit.

If someone didn't owna car, they could gripe because general taxes pay to pave the roads. They may not derive any direct benefit from the Interstate, but without it, how would groceries get delivered to the store?


Yes I own a car, and in my state I pay taxes for owning a car and part of the money goes to upkeep of the roads (and some goes to the school system and I don't even have kids).

I don't have a problem with car owners paying more for the upkeep of roads. This is why some states have Toll roads, so that those who use them pay for them.

But I've yet to hear any parents say "Please raise my taxes as long as the increase goes to my child's school".
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Instead of giving tax discounts to households that increase as the "kidcount" increases, I think big tax credits should be given to those who've taken the same path as you.

It would be no more unfair than the current tax law.


Here are a few quick facts for you.

(1) It's the kids in those households with lots of kids who, in your later years, are going to be driving the economy.

(2) In almost all industrialized nations, there aren't enough of them - the birth rate is below replacement. The US is, barely, an exception.

(3) As the developing world develops, birth rates are declining.

We don't have a global population problem yet. But Japan has a serious problem TODAY. Europe has a bit of a problem, because it's getting enough immigrants to keep its population up - but anti-immigration sentiment is growing. The US has a minor problem, because the birth rate among immigrants and their immediate children is enough to keep the overall birth rate above replacement - but the grandchildren of immigrants aren't maintaining that pace.

What we need to do, rather than penalize people for making very-long-term indirect investments, is find a way to make having children economically sensible over a reasonably short term - something less than 40 years.
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But I've yet to hear any parents say "Please raise my taxes as long as the increase goes to my child's school".

Happens all the time out here. My community has a special property tax assessment that is strictly used for capital improvements to the local schools. The high school has a new science and math building, new tennis courts, and a couple of other new buildings coming.

tutone
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I can't hardly think of any of the world's serious problems that are not attributable to over population. Malnutrition, starvation, wars, pestilence, depletion of resources, pollution, etc. are all attributable to too many people

Why sure.

They are also attributable to malevolent aliens in UFOs. Want proof? I'll so attribute them.

Evidence?

Malnutrition and starvation: most countries with severe malnutrition problems are rather thinly populated. They are also characterized by a lack of respect for property rights. Every famine in the last twenty years has occurred in a country that, over the 20-year period, produced more than enough food to feed itself for 20 years. However their interference with property rights decreases their capacity to transport, preserve, or trade food, so a single bad year in the midst of an era of plenty causes starvation.

Wars: the middle east is not densely populated. There's a war between densely populated India, and relatively thinly populated Pakistan - Pakistan is trying to take Kashmir, which has an intermediate population density, away from India. Morocco is occupying Western Sahara; both countries are just big chunks of desert. Meanwhile most of the world's most densely populated countries are in Europe, which over the past 50 years has not only not conquered anyone but has VOLUNTARILY surrendered most of its colonies.

Pestilence: AIDS started in thinly-populated Africa. The world's most deadly diseases are, with few exceptions, the most severe in thinly-populated Africa.

Depletion of resources, and pollution: the proven reserves of oil, divided by annual consumption, continue to increase - as they have for more than 20 years. Resource after resource has been declining in real price for decades. Meanwhile, the poor, thinly-populated countries just south of the Sahara continue to convert their farmland to desert. And there is a strong correlation that the more thinly populated a country is, the more ecological damage it does per unit of economic output.

As you can see, the case for UFOs as the cause is looking as solid as the case for overpopulation as the cause.
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art:
My mother had 6 kids. She told me she wanted the first three and my father wanted the last three. She told me she didn't want the last three. I was number 5.

My baby sister told me that if she knew how hard it was going to be she wouldn't have had kids.

One of my older sisters, who was manic depressive and schizophrenic had four kids. The oldest is is on SSI due to the fact that he's also schizophrenic and manic depressive, the next oldest was depressed till he killed himself by shooting himself. The next girl is epileptic, and the last I heard the youngest girl is in a mental hospital.

My brother has four kids. His next to oldest daughter has chronic rage syndrome. She starts screaming and yelling for the slightest thing. Her face turns red and she absolutely cannot control her anger. My father had it also. She was a National Merit Scholar and had a full scholarship to the University of the South in New Orleans. She dropped out after the first year and married a boy she met in college. She immediately had two kids, then got divorced. She is now with a guy who is a druggie jailbird, living in Colorado, and has two more kids with him. She now smokes cigarettes, has tattoos and is smokes pot.

My next oldest sister has a beautiful teenage daughter that is a "cutter." She took knives and started cutting herself because she was depressed. Depression runs in our family. Her daughter is on Zoloft and sees a psychiatrist. Even though health insurance helps with the cost, it doesnt' pay 100%.

My oldest sister had four kids. The three oldest were all born with defects in their hearts and had to open heart surgery. The last one was born with some kind of immune disease and had to have her spleen removed.

Is it any wonder that I was reluctant to have children. Thank God for vasectomies. And as far as that "multiply and fill the earth" thing. I think we've all ready done that.


Good grief Art! I would not want kids either with that kind of family history.

As I have posted before, I am a work-out fanatic and an extreme health nut that eats mostly raw fruits and veggies. I started doing that to recover from some old sports injuries and found out that it completely changed not only my athletic potential but also my mental and spiritual health as well.

While I was researching nutrition, I would often read how people who had poor diets would also have depression and a host of other psychological problems. These people were usually obese. The current medical profession often attributes these problems to genetics but cutting edge nutritional research says it has more to do with the fact that most people eat and cook the same foods that their parents ate. There parents tended to eat the same as their grandparents and so it goes.

According to this thinking, blaming it on genetics is the easy way out.

I don't know what your family eats or if they are obese but in many of your posts, you mention that you are overweight and eat a lot of unhealthy food. Could this be a family trait that has plagued them over the years?

The old saying "you are what you eat" is more true than ever. You can't expect to put "junk" in your body 3 or 4 times a day and expect to live a long and happy life.

My 2nd child had miserable health for the 1st 7 years of his life. We spent thousands of $$$ on health bills, mostly anti-allergy medications. Not once did a medical professional suggest a food allergy. I was doing the nutritional research at the time and decided to start eliminating select foods from his diet to see if it was a food allergy. Bingo! Dairy products were it! We stopped eating all dairy products and all our health improved dramatically but he turned into a different child. He will be a senior in HS next year. He is 6'4", bench presses 260 lbs, runs a 4.6 in the 40, high jumps 6'6" and is a standout in football basketball and track. His sports achievements are too numerous to mention. He is steroid free and is still growing, perhaps hitting 6'5" or 6'6" soon! He also takes AP classes and has a high GPA. He is also an accomplished pianist. Before the diet change, he was slow mentally and sluggish physically!

I believe most people have so much more potential to achieve great things in life but are hamstrung by poor nutrition and I'm not talking about athletic just athletic achievements.

We are occassionally criticized for our diet and lifestyle (especially family members) but the proof is in the results! I am 41 and to date, there is not one family member (including 16 to 25 year olds with the some of the same genetics as me BTW) that can take me in any physical sport or competition, except my son of course.

Just some "food" for thought!<grin>


decath
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decath, what an inspiring post!!

What do you think of this theory of mine (unqualified, of course):

In the not-too-distant past, the world's growing plains were rich in vital minerals, enzymes and other naturally-occurring chemicals. Now, with repeated and unwise tilling and especially today's farming practices, our soil--no matter where you go--is "barren" and doesn't provide the chemicals necessary to bathe our collective brains in serotonin, the brain chemical chiefly responsible for well-being. All that SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) do is pharmaceutically restore these important chemicals.

Why people get so bent out of shape with the proliferation of the use of SSRIs is beyond me. If scurvy was prevalent, no one would mind if Vitamin C was passed out like Tic Tacs.

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Catherine Coy:
What do you think of this theory of mine (unqualified, of course):

In the not-too-distant past, the world's growing plains were rich in vital minerals, enzymes and other naturally-occurring chemicals. Now, with repeated and unwise tilling and especially today's farming practices, our soil--no matter where you go--is "barren" and doesn't provide the chemicals necessary to bathe our collective brains in serotonin, the brain chemical chiefly responsible for well-being. All that SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) do is pharmaceutically restore these important chemicals.

Why people get so bent out of shape with the proliferation of the use of SSRIs is beyond me. If scurvy was prevalent, no one would mind if Vitamin C was passed out like Tic Tacs.


This is the 1st I've heard of SSRI's but then again, I have done very little reading/research in this area.

I do whole-heartedly agree that the mass farming techniques take a lot of the nutritional content out of our foods. Modern fertilizing, pesticides and herbacides improve the quantity of our food supply but drastically reduces the quality. Buying or growing your own organic foods does wonders for both mental and physical health. Tastes better too!

decath
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I do whole-heartedly agree that the mass farming techniques take a lot of the nutritional content out of our foods. Modern fertilizing, pesticides and herbacides improve the quantity of our food supply but drastically reduces the quality. Buying or growing your own organic foods does wonders for both mental and physical health. Tastes better too!

I agree! But at the same time, people are claiming that we shouldn't have to worry about not being able to feed a over-populated planet because food technology will be able to create more food to feed more people. Again, the emphasis of quantity over quality. But that seems to be the American way when it comes to food.

CK
(just say no to off-season tomatoes)
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"What we need to do, rather than penalize people for making very-long-term indirect investments, is find a way to make having children economically sensible over a reasonably short term - something less than 40 years."

The population boom of the 20th Century was driven by Petroleum. Over population is the cause of most of the world's ills, wars, starvation, pestilence, pollution, using up limited resources, etc. If Telegraph is right (Hubert's Peak + I think he probably is - if you've ever driven down the expressway during rush hour in any city), and I don't believe we are going to be rescued by any Aliens or Gods, it would behoove us to work dililgently on reducing the world's population. There are really no alternatives to Petroleum based fuels, or at least not enough to support the current 6.3 Billion humans on the earth. The world's ocean are being depleted, and coral reefs are dying. I've seen it for myself, having gone diving in numerous locations. Fusion power is just a pipe dream, not anyhwhere near feasible in the near future. Wind power and Solar power are fun, but NOT feasible in many locations, such as where I live, little wind, and almost no sun! It stays cloudy many days of the year. Personally, I think we're up a creek without a paddle and the world is headed for some serious resource (food and energy) problems. - Art
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"Pestilence: AIDS started in thinly-populated Africa. The world's most deadly diseases are, with few exceptions, the most severe in thinly-populated Africa."

Last time I checked Africa had a population of 500 million people. A large part of the Africa is desert, hardly suitable for growing food. Africa i NOT thinly populated. The population of Islamic countries are exploding at an alarming rate, and many Islamic countries are also rocky, poor soil, deserts. Have you seen pictures of Afghanistan? It looks like the MOON! Saudi Arabia is a giant sand box. Iraq is only fertile near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The same is true of Egypt (Nile River), Libya is desert, Sudan is all desert. Ethiopia and Eritrea are mostly desert. Ethiopia has some semi-fertile areas in the south. North Africa is dominated by the Sahara, South Africa by the Kalahari. The world would be a much better place to live is the human population were kept below 2 billion. As far as I'm concerned we're more than 3X carrying capacity. In tropical climates the warm temperatures and rain cause the topsoil to be thin and low in nitrogen. - Art
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The REAL inequity is NOT that childless people pay the same taxes as the breeders (who, of course, use MORE in government services), the real inequity is that childless couples pay MORE in taxes while using LESS services (all the tax breaks go to breeders).

I can live with paying the SAME in taxes (even though I use LESS services), but being forced to pay MORE is just wrong- essentially, I am being forced to fund other people's children. Isn't it punishment enough that I have to tolerate the whining, screaming brats, er, "darlings"* in public?!

jb

* to be fair, this does not apply to the 5% or so of children who are well behaved...
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