There, I said it. I am a late twenty something woman with no maternal instincts, no desire to have children, and no, your children aren’t cute. (And no I probably won’t like the photos of your kids on Facebook. Why do you post so many??? But get a puppy or kitten and I’ll like ALL of those photos. Because puppies are awesome, but I don’t want the work right now, so please do get puppies and post all the photos.) And I’m not sorry for saying this. I will congratulate you on the birth of your child because life changes are exciting and you are so excited about it. I will also get excited when your kids start learning math and you talk about that, because math is cool. Or when you talk about your kids doing things that I can remember doing as a kid. But that doesn’t mean I want kids.
Don’t tell me that I’ll change my mind. I know that you can change your mind on almost anything in life, later on. Maybe that’ll happen. But for the last 10 years, I’ve been confident that I don’t want children and I don’t see that changing any time soon.
Getting into my late twenties has been interesting, watching friends get engaged, decide to have kids on a specific timeline, and also quit their jobs and travel the world. Everyone has a different idea of what their ideal life looks like and there are so many options! There are people who have retired in their 30s and 40s and those who kept working and have donated good chunks of their income. It’s been pretty scary watching people make all of these life decisions as I’m a planner and I don’t have any timeline for my future like my friends do. It’s freeing in another way though as I have decades of life ahead of me to learn, to experience the world, and to enjoy life.
A lot of people buy into the American Dream of going to college, getting a good job, getting engaged, getting married, buying a house, popping out 2.5 kids, and then working hard until they retire at 65, all in that order. A lot of people aren’t just buying into it – it honestly seems to be what they want. But for those who start to question it, how much of it do you question? What path do you want to follow?
I don’t want to have kids.
I don’t want to quit my job and travel around the world.
I don’t want to work at a startup, unless it is my own and even then only maybe.
I don’t want to move to a small-town to downgrade my cost of living. I like how accessible living in the city is.
I don’t feel closed in by owning a condo already. I don’t mind having so much of my net worth locked up in either my condo or my retirement accounts because I don’t want to move. And if I did, I could sell my condo.
I don’t want to be self-employed. I like the routine of my job.
I would like to have more vacation time than I do. It does sound like it might be possible to get extra unpaid time at my current company, which would be pretty sweet.
I don’t want to live in a house. At least not any time soon. Maybe when we get a dog at some point in the future though and a yard would be cool, but there are parks nearby and off-leash dog parks.
When I was in my early twenties, a coworker told me that he missed being my age, that it was fun times. He spent his twenties partying it up, barhopping and checking out the latest clubs. Now he lives in suburbia with his wife and two small children. I don’t want either of those pictures – him in his early twenties or him in his early thirties.
So many people told me not to buy property when I did (at 23), that I would regret it. That I would regret tying myself down. I don’t, one bit. Buying this condo was an excellent decision and I love this place so much. I am super glad I bought a two bedroom condo with plenty of space for two.
As I’ve watched friends quit their jobs and go traveling for a year, my first thought is how cool and fun that looks (if I’m interested in the places they’re going) and after some reflection, I realize that that life of spontaneity isn’t really me. Our month-long trip to New Zealand this year was pretty fun, but I’m a homebody and by the time we left, I was looking forward to not moving around as much. It was so nice to come home to internet, our home, friends, and our city. Slow travel might be okay in my books, but too fast of travel isn’t. I don’t have much of an interest in traveling for months throughout Southeast Asia, which then makes travel more comparable in costs to living at home. I’ve had good luck in the past with working while traveling (e.g. an internship/study abroad type thing) as it gives me something to occupy my days and also allows me to immerse myself in the local culture and travel.
So what do I see my life looking like in 5 years? I see myself living in my condo with my boyfriend, working at a job, having my Master’s degree, and having knocked a few more items off of my travel bucket list. I’m not particularly concerned over when/if we get married, especially with the marriage income tax penalty we would incur and the fact that due to our incomes and asset levels (hello me being a half-millionaire at age 26 and our combined annual household income being around $300-400k – I love being able to check off the “other” box for household income now) would result in a pre-nup with marriage and a decent separation of his and hers accounts, maybe even of post-marriage assets. I would probably feel differently about marriage if I wanted kids.
Looking at the above list of all the things I don’t want, most people would then see no point in saving. No future goals? No reason to save. That’s not how I look at it. (Thanks to nicoleandmaggie for this tip several years ago – you can just save for the sake of saving and that buys you freedom later!) I can live a pretty luxurious lifestyle on $30k/year plus travel ($18k/year+travel if you take out my mortgage payments) and still manage to bank ~$100k/year. Keep in mind too that vacation time is more of a limiting factor in how much I can spend on travel than money too. Those savings will buy me options in the future for when I do end up making goals that I didn’t have the time to save up for (see grad school that I kept trying to save for, then never applying, and using the money for something else like mortgage pre-payments).
This isn’t an early retirement blog. That isn’t my plan. I’m just living the lifestyle I want, which happens to be relatively-frugal for my income level, and saving the rest.