Living the DINK lifestyle is trending today, but what is it, and should you be a part of it?
If you’ve scrolled TikTok or Instagram lately, you’ve likely come across the hashtags #DINK or #DINKlifestyle and wondered what the hype is all about.
Keep reading to learn about this trending term to see how it fits into your life.
Table of Contents
What Is a DINK Lifestyle?
The DINK lifestyle simply means a dual-income household with no kids. Both partners in the relationship have an income, whether they work outside the home or from home, but they live a child-free lifestyle.
If you’ve seen advertisements or posts promoting the lifestyle, you’ve likely seen happy couples traveling the world and living a luxurious lifestyle. Don’t let the marketing fool you.
What Does the Acronym DINK Stand For?
DINK stands for dual income, no kids. It’s synonymous with the term’ yuppie,’ used in the 1980s to describe young, urban professionals.
However, there wasn’t a distinction regarding whether yuppies had kids; some did, and some didn’t. However, those living the DINK lifestyle are dual-income couples who do not have kids.
Why Do People Choose To Be DINK?
So why would someone choose to be DINK? Like any decision, it can be personal, but here are some common reasons:
- Raising children is expensive; the latest studies show it costs an average of $310,605 to raise a child to 18
- Traveling is easier, especially for couples choosing worldwide travel and immersing themselves in other cultures
- There is no desire to raise children in today’s society with political and social injustices
- Inability to have children due to infertility issues and not being able to spend money on IVF or adoption for financial or religious reasons
- Couples don’t want to sacrifice where they live to be able to afford the higher cost of raising children
The Rise of “Dual Income No Kids” Couples
The increase in the DINK life isn’t because young adults are selfish. Instead, it’s a wise and frugal choice by many couples to decide to remain childless because of the rising costs of having a family.
The increase in childless couples began with the pandemic and the high levels of economic uncertainty.
Since then, a Pew Research study reports that 7% more adult couples state they will remain childless, totaling 49% of adults versus 37% that said they would not have children in 2018.
Also, according to the US Census Bureau, there’s been a 10.6% increase in married-couple households without children from 2010 to 2020.
What Are the Benefits of a DINK Lifestyle?
With the DINK lifestyle trending, you probably wonder, what are the benefits of this lifestyle? Here are some common ways adults living with no children and two incomes benefit.
Childless couples with two incomes don’t have the pressure of spending $310,000+ per child. If you have two or three children, that’s $620,000 to $930,000 in a child expenses.
Without the high expenses of raising children, couples have more financial freedom.
They can focus on investing for their future, retiring early, or doing things their life and pocketbook probably wouldn’t allow if they had children.
Managing a family and a career simultaneously can be tiresome and challenging for the entire family.
Couples who choose not to have kids can focus on their career ambitions, climbing the corporate ladder faster without worrying that they ignore children who need their attention.
Couples living a child-free lifestyle may be more capable of starting their own business or pursuing lifelong career dreams that would be challenging with children.
Childless couples often have more flexibility and can say ‘yes’ to the craziest things at a moment’s notice.
This could include moving cross-country because one spouse received an incredible job offer or one partner wants to return to school to change careers.
Without having school schedules, friends, and activities to worry about leaving behind, couples can focus on themselves and what they want the most for their lives.
Pursuit of Individual Interests
Couples with children must put the children’s needs first before their own. This forces many parents to put hobbies or interests off until the kids are off at college; at that point, the desire has usually passed.
All parents know is how to raise their children, leaving them feeling lost when they are gone.
Couples living the DINK lifestyle can pursue their interests and shape their lives and marriage how they desire. You can find different ways to create joy and happiness while caring for yourself and your spouse.
Early Retirement Planning
According to Vanguard, the average retirement savings balance is $141,542, and about half of American households have no retirement savings.
This is largely due to the rising costs of raising children and the effects of the pandemic and economic recession, making it more challenging for families to save.
Dual-income no kids households, however, may have more flexibility when investing funds, being able to save a much larger percentage of their income for retirement.
Whether choosing to live off one partner’s income and saving the other, or some variation, many couples work toward retiring early and living life to the fullest while not having children.
What Are the Disadvantages Faced by DINK Households?
We’ve covered the benefits of having a dual income, no kids lifestyle, but there are some downsides to consider.
Social Expectations and Pressure
Our society expects couples to have children, often asking couples at their wedding when they’ll have children.
The pressure you may face when discussing your choice to remain childless can be uncomfortable or even put a wedge between you and your family members.
Aging and Care Concerns
As much as 42% of caregivers today care for aging parents. Couples without children lose the support of children growing up and caring for them in their elderly years.
There is peace of mind knowing you’ll have family caring for you, and it decreases the financial burden you’ll experience if you must hire professional caregivers to take care of you.
Financial planning can be more challenging if you don’t have children. It sounds somewhat backward since you don’t have the cost of raising children to consider, but it also creates more room for irresponsibility.
With fewer financial obligations, some couples may carelessly spend and neglect to create a financial plan, finding themselves in a deeper hole than they might have if they had children.
Loneliness in Later Life
One of the greatest rewards when having children is the repayment when they are grown and become your best friend versus a child you’re raising.
When you don’t have children, you don’t get to see the fruits of your labor in that sense, and once you retire, you may have little to no sense of belonging, which can be detrimental to your mental health.
Estate and Inheritance Considerations
Besides leaving your estate to your surviving spouse, you may not have anyone else to consider leaving your inheritance to when you die.
You must carefully consider how you’ll use your estate and what legacy you want to leave without children.
Common Misconceptions About DINK Couples
There’s nothing wrong with being a DINK couple, but society created many misconceptions that could make more couples rethink their decision not to have children.
Unlimited Financial Wealth
Not having children doesn’t automatically make a couple wealthy. Every couple has financial responsibilities, no matter how much money they make.
Childless couples may have just as much or even less disposable income than families with kids; it depends entirely on the lifestyle chosen and income earned.
Some people view couples without children as selfish, but that’s not the case.
It’s a personal decision not to have children, and sometimes it’s even a forced decision that has nothing to do with priorities in life but, instead, the hand a couple was dealt.
Endless Leisure Time
Couples without children may have more responsibilities than families with kids because they have more time to give back to the community or to invest in their careers.
Many couples without kids have less free time than people with kids because those with kids must schedule free time to be with their children.
Lack of Responsibility
Like free time, some couples without kids have more responsibilities than those with kids.
Yes, having kids is a major responsibility. Still, millions of other areas of the world could use the focus that childless couples may focus their energy on, taking on more responsibility.
Loneliness or Isolation
Some couples don’t need children to identify who they are as a couple. Many couples are perfectly content with their little partnership and don’t need anything else.
Tips for Couples Pursuing a DINK Lifestyle
Pursuing a DINK lifestyle is something to be proud of, but it also comes with challenges. Here are the top ways to make it the best time of your life:
- Maintain a work-life balance: Not having kids is one thing, but you still have a partner and yourself to consider when working. You should still enjoy life, hobbies, activities, and each other while pursuing your career
- Fuel your friendships: Some friends may not understand your desire to live the DINK life, and that’s not for them to understand. However, you will need more effort to maintain friendships as they build families. Find ways to connect with your friends, maintaining other commonalities to avoid losing friendships
- Don’t overspend: DINK couples choose the lifestyle for one reason or another, but it’s not an invitation to spend more money than necessary, putting yourself into debt. Keep a strict budget and focus on your long-term financial goals to avoid making financial mistakes
- Get creative: Fill your free time with creative things that challenge your mind, body, and soul. Make sure your life and marriage are complete with things that make you feel like you’re living your best life, no matter what others think
What Is the Average Income for DINKs?
According to the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, DINK couples make an average of $138,000 annually.
Is the DINK Lifestyle a Permanent Choice?
The DINK lifestyle doesn’t have to be permanent.
Of course, once you reach a certain age, having children may not be medically possible, so it’s important to set a cutoff age for you and your spouse to decide if you want to make the DINK lifestyle permanent.
Is the DINK Lifestyle Becoming More Common Worldwide?
The #DINKlifestyle hashtag is reaching viral proportions, and more people are discussing it.
Still, only time will tell if the trend continues and more couples decide not to have children. It’s a popular trend in the United States and worldwide, but whether or not it will lose steam is yet to be seen.
What Do DINKs Spend Their Money On?
DINK couples have more freedom to spend their money, but they aren’t unlike couples with kids who spend money on material things, savings, real estate, investments, and retirement accounts.
Some DINK couples are extremely frugal and plan to retire early; others are liberal with their spending and don’t have a financial plan.
Is It Essential for DINK Couples To Hire a Financial Advisor?
DINK couples need a financial advisor as much as couples with kids. Everyone needs to plan for the future, and everyone’s future looks different.
If you don’t have kids, you have other things to save for, and if you do, you need to save for the well-being of the children.
Is DINK Worth It?
There is no right or wrong answer to whether DINK is worth it. Some couples prefer the quieter lifestyle, and others want the opposite.
Since it’s not a permanent decision, anyone can change their minds and pursue parenthood in the way that works for them, even if they cannot have children.
How Can DINK Couples Build a Support Network for Their Later Years Without Children?
Everyone needs a strong network, including families with kids who become empty nesters.
Living the DINK lifestyle makes it a little more challenging because you don’t have immediate family to care for you in your elderly years.
However, networking, nurturing relationships, and continually meeting new people can ensure you have a strong network.
How Do Dink Couples Manage Their Finances Effectively Together?
Working with a financial planner may help you effectively manage your finances as a DINK couple.
The key is to be intentional about where you spend your money and how you budget. Even though you don’t have children, you still have to worry about saving for your future goals, including retirement.
How Do DINK Households Deal With Criticism About Their Lifestyle?
Since it’s the norm to ask couples when they’re having kids, having a united front with your spouse about how you’ll handle questions and concerns about your chosen lifestyle is important.
It’s a personal decision that no one has the right to question, but being prepared is the key to handling difficult questions that are bound to come your way.
What Is Double Income, No Kids With a Dog?
If you have a double income with no kids and a dog, you are living the DINKWAD lifestyle.
Is the DINK Lifestyle Right For You?
Choosing the DINK lifestyle is a joint decision between you and your spouse. It’s becoming much more common for dually employed couples not to have children and live the life they design by choice.
Deciding if it’s right for you is a personal decision that doesn’t have to be permanent while still in child-bearing years.
Samantha Hawrylack is a personal finance expert and full-time entrepreneur with a passion for writing and SEO. She holds a Bachelor’s in Finance and Master’s in Business Administration and previously worked for Vanguard, where she held Series 7 and 63 licenses. Her work has been featured in publications like Grow, MSN, CNBC, Ladders, Rocket Mortgage, Quicken Loans, Clever Girl Finance, Credit Donkey, Crediful, Investing Answers, Well Kept Wallet, AllCards, Mama and Money, and Concreit, among others. She writes in personal finance, real estate, credit, entrepreneurship, credit card, student loan, mortgage, personal loan, insurance, debt management, business, productivity, and career niches.