A Portrait of Childfree Options

Aug 9 / Jay Zigmont, PhD, MBA, CFP®

21, Female, Single, Idaho
Bachelor’s Student in Business (Marketing)

This portrait is one of 26 real life stories presented in the book, Portraits of Childfree Wealth. You can download a free copy here.

Mirena grew up in rural Idaho and is currently finishing up a Bachelor’s degree in business, focused on marketing. In addition, she works as an intern at her university, helping with social media. In her personal life, she practices witchcraft and loves to pick up random hobbies (and changes her hobbies regularly). She recently got sterilized (via bilateral salpingectomy) and is looking forward to all the options her Childfree life gives her. Mirena doesn’t know what the future has in store for her, but she’s excited:
“I’m a passionate person about pretty much anything that I get into. I enjoy working, and I want to work, and I look forward to working. Whatever I do, I hope to go into a lucrative career field. I don’t know exactly what that is yet. I’m exploring sales as a possibility… Over the holidays, I saw family, and they all asked me, ‘What are you going to do once you graduate?’ I have never had a definite answer to that question.”
While Mirena does not know what the future holds for her, the one thing she is sure about is being Childfree. She has known she has been Childfree since 15:
“I have this distinct memory that I identified as a Childfree person for the first time at 15. I was in our U.S. history class with this teacher whom I hated. He was talking about manifestos, but everything was revolving around [a discussion of] ‘all you girls when you go out and have children,’ and I was like, Nope, I’m not putting up with this. I am not having kids. It’s not going to happen. And he was like, ‘well, you don’t know what you want because you’re 15.’ And I was like, no, I know what I want. So, I think that was the first time, like in my life, where I had been outspoken about it.”
Mirena has a wide variety of reasons why she decided to be Childfree:
“I have a general aversion to pregnancy. It grosses me out, and I never want to ever go through that, which is why I got sterilized a couple of weeks ago. I also couldn’t raise somebody else’s kids. So I don’t really have an affinity towards children. I don’t hate them, but I also, like, would never want to raise them.”
Mirena has no regrets about her choice to be Childfree and only sees benefits:
“Biggest benefit, in general, is freedom. When I graduate, I plan to put everything I own in a suitcase and move to some big city. I don’t know which one yet, but you couldn’t do that with kids. So I can do kind of wild things like that in my life. What else is good about being Childfree? I enjoy my peace and quiet. It’s nice. And I don’t have responsibilities.”
Mirena also sees being Childfree as being connected to being a feminist:
“I’m very much a feminist. Another awesome thing about being Childfree is that I’m not supporting the patriarchy—things like patriarchal imbalances, the wage gap, and all that kind of stuff. A lot of the burden [for raising children] falls on women and not on men as much… Some feminists have kids, but I do think I’m a better feminist because I don’t have kids.”
Mirena would probably move to Portland, Oregon, and start her own coven in a dream world. Her coven (a group of witches) would be focused on community service, possibly based around a soup kitchen. I would not be surprised if Mirena did one day start a coven. She is currently looking at a career in sales as it pays well and is fairly secure.

The one sure thing is that Mirena will move to a big city. She grew up in rural Idaho and is ready for a change. But, to Mirena, the location is more important than the job she is doing:
“I think the location does matter more. I would never go live in a super rural area again. I would never do it. You can’t drag me back to a rural area.”
Mirena is looking for both a better level of services (including internet, banking, healthcare, etc.) than are usually found in a rural area, but she is also looking for a different culture and group of people:
“In rural places, I think people are very closed-minded in general. You will find exceptions, but I want to maximize the number of open‑minded people. There’s no diversity like everybody’s the same. They all follow the same life script. They all look the same. They all eat the same. There’s no diversity, and I need to go see things and experience things that aren’t everything I grew up with.”
Mirena is at a crossroads in her life. She knows she wants to move to a big city, but beyond that, who knows?: 
“There’s just so much uncertain about my future. Like everything is in limbo. I tell people don’t buy me anything of value right now for Christmas because I’m probably not going to own it in a year or two… How am I going to know if I got to the right place? If it fits my criteria that I don’t have to own a car and have a job that I can enjoy, that is okay. I need a job that challenges me for sure. I need a job that’s, like, going to, like, stimulate my brain.”
Mirena has thought through her options. She works in her university’s career center, and everyone has seemed to offer her options. After that, it is just a matter of picking the right choice:
“I thought about the Peace Corps. And I’ve known people who did it, and I’m sure some of the programs are good. Where I work, we have a Peace Corps/AmeriCorps person. AmeriCorps is like the Peace Corps, but specifically within the states. And they do a lot of, like, education initiatives. The people I worked with have also talked to me about doing that kind of thing. So, I thought about it for some time. And then I was like, yeah, but I’d rather chase money. They live off a really low stipend. So, you live in poverty for a couple of years, but I want to experience financial freedom.”
I asked Mirena about what financial freedom means to her and what it would take:
“How much money do I have to make to experience financial freedom? I tend to say over a six-figure salary, but I know that that’s not true. You can subsist off less than that. A lot less than that. But like I think, having a six-figure salary is my goal
Where did the need for money and financial freedom come from?:
“I didn’t grow up, like, poor. My parents are middle-class, rural Idahoans. My dad’s a fish farmer, and my mom’s a librarian, so they’re not making a killing. My mom had insurance, so we never went without medical care. I mean, my dad was a very cheap person. So sometimes he’d be like, do you have to go to a doctor for that? It’s like, no, I should go to the doctor for this, Dad. I didn’t grow up without. Where did this desire for money come from? That’s a really good question. I think part of it is, I do see money as a security thing.”
Mirena doesn’t have a set plan besides graduating and moving to a big city. However, she knows she does not want to work in chemistry (which is where she started) and is looking at business because it has more options:
“I got involved in chemistry and worked for the department chair. He was like, ‘You’re going to have to go to school for eight years, and you don’t have options in this, and you don’t have options in that.’ So I was like, oh shoot, I need more options for that. What if this doesn’t work out, and this isn’t what I want to do? That’s why I like business. It has lots of options.”
Mirena is clear that being Childfree is the way for her. It allows her to explore, and it does not matter that her family is not supportive of her choice:
“No one in my family fully approves of me being Childfree. The least pissed-off person is still pissed-off that I got sterilized. None of them are wholeheartedly accepting of that.”
But, that’s okay for Mirena as she will live her life, and who knows where it will take her.

About the Author - Jay Zigmont, PhD, MBA, CFP® is the Founder of Childfree Wealth, a life and financial planning firm dedicated to helping Childfree and Permanently Childless people. Dr Jay is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Childfree Wealth Specialist, and author of the book “Portraits of Childfree Wealth.” His Ph.D. is in Adult Learning from the University of Connecticut.