A Portrait of Getting Started as a Childfree Person

Aug 23 / Jay Zigmont, PhD, MBA, CFP®

25, Single, Female, Texas
Associate’s Degree

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

Maria is 25, loves cooking, travel, and making YouTube videos, and is originally from Japan, but grew up in Florida. She works as a translator and interpreter for healthcare and schools. So why did she decide to be Childfree?:
“One of the reasons is because you have more time for yourself and you can focus on the things you’d like to do and things you enjoy, especially with work. If you want to travel, you don’t have to worry about childcare. And you don’t have to worry about making enough money to support yourself and your child. I just think that I want to focus on myself right now, and I just really don’t see how I can, like, manage to take care of the child and myself and manage my time efficiently. Life just feels hard. Even after college, I sometimes find it hard to manage time, but I can’t imagine what it would be like if I had a child. I had a dog before, but you know, having a child is completely different from having a pet.”
Was there a moment when Maria decided she did not want to have kids?:
“It was maybe like two years ago, I was talking with a friend. She doesn’t have any kids. We were talking about our future, and the topic came up. I guess we both were working with minimum wage jobs at the time, both in school and all. And it was just thinking about our future and what we want to prioritize. Do we want to prioritize our careers, or do we want to have a family? Even do we want to keep relationships as well? I mean, unless you find your soulmate, it is hard. So I guess that’s when I realized I want to just focus on what is important, my work and my life.”
What does Maria see as the biggest benefit of being Childfree?:
“Well, I wouldn’t say less stress because you would always have stress either way. So, I would say just having the flexibility to do things on your own time and being able to help your friends when you are on short notice. You don’t have obligations other than work and having to pay bills and all that.”
Does she have any regrets about her choice?:
“At the moment? No. Maybe, like, in a couple of years, like when I’m, like, 30, I might like to revisit the question.”
Maria’s dream is to start her own business. What type?:
“I would say either a hotel or a nail salon, like a beauty salon. I’m interested in beauty, and hair and nails make all that stuff. I enjoy making people feel beautiful. Help make their hair nice and all that. Or I would make a hotel that’s kind of like a cruise where you can do a bunch of stuff and go bowling. Like an all‑inclusive hotel, or you can do anything you want that’s travel-related or maybe something like that.”
When I asked what she thinks she needs to be doing differently now, Maria shared:
“I guess one thing is to budget. I haven’t been good at that the past year, but yeah, I guess I would say to budget and try to save more money. I need to try to spend less on things I don’t need.”
What does she need to spend less on?:
“I guess, like, one thing would be like playing games on your phone.”
It may be surprising to some, but spending money on games is a common area that can be cut back on. Maria thinks she could save $200 per year, but it might be thousands for others.

So what is holding Maria back from achieving her dreams of opening her own nail salon?:
“I don’t have the finance, the money to start one yet, I guess. But I know about marketing, starting my own business, and all that. So, I guess I will have to invest.”
Maria says she is about one-third of the way towards what she needs and plans to save until she is about 30. She does not have any debt and does not want to take out a loan to start the business. This is a good plan. In general, you should try to start a business “at the speed of cash.” That means launching and growing at the rate you can afford without borrowing.

Maria is working hard at getting started towards her goals. Is she happy?:
“I think it’s all up to you to be happy or not. It’s all up to your actions and how you take on different situations in your life. It depends on how you interact with people and what kind of people you surround yourself with. At the end of the day, it’s all up to you. It’s up to you who decides like, oh, if you’re happy or not”
What advice does Maria have for others?:
“You don’t need to have a child to know what true love is. Having a dog and giving your attention and love is also possible. Not everybody has motherly instincts, and children are very expensive, and you will have a better chance of saving your money if you don’t have kids. If you don’t have kids, you can focus more on your career goals and self-care since you will have more time and money to spend on yourself and save money along the way.”

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.