Alison – A Portrait of Freedom

Jay Zigmont, PhD, CFP®

This Portrait of Childfree Freedom is one of 26 in our new book, “Portraits of Childfree Wealth.”  The book is currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, and everywhere books are sold.


22, Female, Single, Missouri

Bachelor’s in Creative Writing

Semi Truck Driver

Alison was on the road in Illinois headed to Texas when I spoke to her. She loves what she is doing, but her dream is to marry her current boyfriend and be a “lady of leisure.” She has been to seven countries already and wants to keep traveling and learning. She has a list of goals a page long, but the bottom line is to do “whatever else I feel will make me happy.”

So why did Alison choose to be Childfree?:

“There wasn’t a reason behind it. It was just more from growing up. It wasn’t very fun to be with children, even though I was a child as well. I kind of watched my aunt, who was young enough to be my older sister, grow up and go through high school. Then, she got pregnant at like 24, or 25. She turned from a really fun, really cool person that would take you to monster truck rallies and all that fun stuff like that to a stay-at-home. She was a mom who took care of three kids and was bored all the time. Then my summers turned into, instead of going out to like tractor pulls and fairs and stuff with my aunt to just like taking care of the kids. It wasn’t, like, awful, but it just wasn’t very appealing. I guess that would be like the main thing.”

Her long-term boyfriend is also good with being Childfree. Was being Childfree part of the dating process?:

“Yeah. That’s one of the first things they bring up. If they want kids, I just don’t see them anymore. The funniest part is that during the dating process, I would be all like, oh, so how many kids do you want? You know, just kind of like poke the bear. So that way they answer me, like, oh, I don’t want any or whatever. The answers from guys were crazy. I had a few guys that go: I want six to eight kids. I want 12 kids, and they’re making like $25 an hour. So that was another thing. It was just like men just don’t understand, like the consequence that having a child brings upon women and our bodies and the monetary expense of it all. It was just kind of crazy. What a lot of guys would want and expect from a woman was also just a massive turn-off. They were just like, my dad worked four jobs, and my mom stayed at home taking care of 12 kids. And I’m like, no, no, no.”

So did her current boyfriend’s answer that he did not want kids to push him to the top of the list?:

“No, he wasn’t the only guy I had found that didn’t want kids. I went to college for creative writing. A lot of the people that I was in there with didn’t want kids and had no plans of having them. If they did want kids, it was a very far-off thing. Like, you know, after their careers had been established and they bought a house settled down somewhere like in their thirties. So, it was just kind of easy to find other childfree people, especially in college. But it was different when I was in college, like working food stuff and retail. I was a salesman. I worked at Popeyes. A lot of the people there get paid minimum wage and have a lot of kids. So that’s something that I’ve noticed a lot.”

How did Alison go from creative writing to truck driving?:

“Well, the money truck driving makes me is quite good. I make about $1,000 a week, which is great. But like all of the internships that I was finding after college were trash. They were like, oh, we’ll pay you nothing. And you get to bring us coffee. So I was like, never mind. 
So, I was like, I’ll just get a job that lets me travel. I have a journal that I’m writing about all my experiences in trucking and traveling. I do try to make time to stop at really cool places and check them out. I really like roller coasters. There are a lot of amusement parks. They even have a special place to park there. It’s enjoyable.”

Does Alison plan on sticking with trucking for life?:

“Funnily enough, I know people don’t like this answer, but my long-term plan is just to be a stay-at-home wife.”

How does she plan on getting to that life?:

“Well, my boyfriend, he’s going to get a job that pays very well, better than mine, like three times. And I get paid $1,000 a week. That’s not bad. That’s not great either, though. But yeah, it should be fine. I don’t like to talk about it because it makes me nervous when I talk about it. I feel like a lot of people that we know make a lot of money, but they’re also disabled in a way. So, all of their money goes towards medical bills. So, he’s nervous that even though it might work financially, there are other considerations. We both are healthy people, for the most part. We don’t engage in anything problematic. We’re not drinkers or smokers. We eat vegetables. We’re active.”

The way Alison grew up may have shaped her relationship with finances:

“I grew up really poor. So like, it’s just been like a high that I have money now. I have new shoes instead of wearing clothes from elementary school, which I still have. It’s hard to break old habits. It feels weird, but when I got money like I just started spending money on more experience-based things.”

What does Alison see as the biggest benefit of being Childfree?:

“The freedom of it. I like being able to have this job and travel and not have to worry about diapers. I used to babysit, but I only like really smart kids who can speak a couple of languages. I could speak Spanish, and the kids could speak English, Spanish, French, Hungarian or Bulgarian, or whatever their dad was. They were so smart, and I enjoyed seeing them because they were so smart and were polite. But that kind of child is probably not the kind of child that I would ever have.”

Alison is looking forward to marrying her boyfriend. However, they aren’t ready yet as they have both a marriage and engagement checklist:

“It feels like there’s no rush. I take marriage very seriously. I don’t like just rushing to get married because something might happen. My boyfriend and I make the joke that we’re already both fat, so all we got to do is just grow old together. We have a checklist of things that we want to have done. Like we want to credit scores that are 725 and be debt-free. He wants to have already gone to the academy and have placement. I know checklists aren’t perfect, but we have things that we want to do before we get married and before we even get engaged.”

Getting out of debt is a great goal. In my research, I’ve found that getting out of debt (and staying out) is the first step to financial independence. Childfree people who have achieved FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) or FILE (Financial Independence, Live Early) did two things: 1. They got out of debt (and stayed out), and 2. They maxed out their retirement accounts. It is that simple.

Having a high FICO score does not mean you are in better financial condition, so why is it a goal for Alison?:

“Just because we would want to, like, either get an apartment together or get a house together. I recently went apartment hunting, and my credit score was a big factor in whether or not I got a nice apartment and how much it costs. So I just don’t want to have a crappy apartment.”

Alison seems to have a checklist and reason for everything. Does she have a financial plan?:

“I wouldn’t call it a financial plan. I did start a budget. I’m not sure how much I’m going to stick to the plan just because it’s relatively new, but yeah. I’m going to try to max out my Roth IRA this year and then try to get at least half of my debt paid off this year.”

A financial plan does not have to be complex. Getting on a budget, maxing out her Roth IRA, and paying off half of her debt sounds like a great plan right now for Alison.

What are her plans for long-term care?:

“I liked the idea of living in a retirement community. He doesn’t like the idea. I used to be a maid, and I got to come in on some of those ladies who lived there and their own, like, little retirement apartments. And they took a drink in their hand and just talked to all their friends, and it just seemed like a really good time. I would prefer that. You get a little house in a little retirement community. Like my great grandparents have that plan where they, like, have a little house and they have a little dog. There’s a golf course nearby, and they can just cart to it. It just seems like a great, awesome place just to get old, have friends you see, and you can just cart around all the places you need to go. But you know, like if there was a medical emergency, like, you know, like you got the community there.”

I’ve heard lots of variations of the retirement community for Childfree people. Some plan to have a community for single Childfree women, while others are more open, like Alison.

The question is, who will win the battle of where they are, Alison or her boyfriend?:

“I’m probably going to win.”

It is also common for Childfree individuals to be expected to care for their elderly family members and others. So who is counting on Alison to take care of them?:

“My parents want me to take care of them, but we are not that close. So, it’s kind of awkward. My sister likes to joke about the idea that I’m going to take care of her kids whenever she’s in her thirties and whatever. And I’m like, you can’t do that if I live cross country. I think my parents have finally realized that my sister and I are serious about not taking care of them just because they haven’t been very nice people to us.”

In the end, is Alison happy with her Childfree life?

“I love my life. I have a fantastic job that lets me travel all over the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. I make a lot of money which means I can afford a luxury apartment by myself and whatever other luxuries I want, like biweekly massages and monthly facials, regular trips to the salon, nice clothes, nice furniture, a reliable car, expensive skincare, and several vacations. I get 52 days off a year, not including PTO or sick pay. The only way my life would be better is if I get to marry my boyfriend, the love of my life and best friend, retire from the workforce, and then focus 100% on my hobbies as a Lady of Leisure. I’m okay not rushing through this part of my life, however. I like having my own home and getting paid to be randomly sent around North America delivering goods. I am enjoying my early twenties and enjoying being a single (tax-wise), childless woman. I know life will change when I get married, but I’m lucky as I’ve found a good, generous, kind, caring, handsome, and thoughtful man to spend the rest of my life with who will only continue to add happiness and joy to my life. There’s no rush to be married, either, which I like. I enjoy planning things, and my boyfriend knows this, and so we came up with large milestones we both want to hit before we tie the knot, which just makes me all the more excited to both marry him and continue living my best life.”