A Portrait of Logic and FIRE - Childfree Wealth

Oct 4 / Jay Zigmont, PhD, MBA, CFP®

37, Male, Married, Virginia
Bachelor’s in Accounting
Corporate Accountant

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

Greg and his wife are accountants. He is an accountant for a financial firm, and she works for a university. He and his wife have a plan to FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) at 45, and they are well on their way. They have been married for 12 years and enjoy their life with their dog Penny. While it may be a bit of the chicken and the egg as far as determining which came first, it is evident that both Greg’s life and work as an accountant are very logical. Even their choice to not have kids has a very logical sound to it:
“I think neither of us were ready to give up our careers to make the commitment that having a kid would require. I know people who work and have kids, but I couldn’t see that working out for us. We start work at eight in the morning and end at six or seven at night. It’s like, how would that work with the kid? So that was a big factor. Some financial things come into play as well. Even if we were able to keep our income the same, having kids is an expense. I guess some people can do it without spending too much, but I think in general, it’s a fairly hefty financial commitment in addition to the time.”
The choice to be Childfree isn’t only about time and money for Greg and his wife:
“I think for us, just having the freedom to do what we will and what we’re already doing is enough. Maybe our plates are full without kids. I know people talk about how kids bring meaning to their lives. I feel like I would want my life to have meaning first and then have kids. It feels like kicking the can if kids give your life meaning. Like, then it’s their problem [kids] to figure out what the meaning of life is. I don’t know if there needs to be a meaning to life or if there is, or what it is, but for me, that was something that I’m like, why would I have kids?”
Greg is happy with his life and his progress towards FIRE. He is willing to put in the hours it takes, and not having kids helps the plan. However, he sees the biggest benefits of being Childfree as freedom and the financial impact:
“I think freedom and finances are probably the biggest benefits. In theory, we travel whenever we want. In reality, we can travel whenever we can get away from work. So we don’t have that extra restriction of the school schedule, who will watch the kids, or whatever. And then the financial impact. We’re 37 and hoping to be done working at 45. I think that would get pushed out a couple of years if we were taking care of a kid, funding college, or whatever.”
Greg does not have any regrets about being Childfree and sees it as a different path:
“I wouldn’t say regrets. I think, you know, there are times when our friends come over, and they have kids, and their kids are cute and whatever, but I think that’s fine for them, and this can be fine for us. But, you know, it would be a different path. I don’t think it would necessarily be a better path for us. So I’m going to say no to regrets.”
Greg and his wife are on their path to Financial Independence (FI). The bonus of FI is that you get to do what you want to do. It does not necessarily mean the traditional retirement, but it is a different way of life. Here is what Greg envisions their FI life to look like:
“I would not work at my current job. I’m not sure exactly how not working would impact me. I know that for many people, you work hard for many years, and then you stop working, and it’s not what they expected. So, I could certainly see myself doing something like a part‑time job. I think we would both enjoy volunteering more… Volunteering more, maybe with something like Habitat for Humanity or a local soup kitchen. Maybe being a bigger part of our neighborhood community. Travel would be a big part of our lives.”
Greg has built in giving to charities as both a goal and part of his FIRE plan:
“As part of our current financial goals, we are saving enough to be able to give more than we are now. Giving generously is certainly something I’d like to do. I’m currently planning that when I get to our FIRE number, I will work one more year and bank all of that for charity... I want to be able to have an impact that’s noticeable on my community.”
Greg has always had FIRE as a goal:
“I’ve always been interested in retiring early since I started working. When I started, I think I had 55 as a goal, and that was like from day one. I found the Dave Ramsey group first and then ChooseFI. I didn’t spend very long in the Dave Ramsey group. I’m not sure how I found it on Facebook and never felt like, oh, this is the path I’m following, but it did bring me to ChooseFI, which has been more beneficial.”
Greg credits his parents with setting the best foundation for him. They came to the U.S. as immigrants, and he shared:
“My parents did all the work and made the sacrifices. As a result, I’m getting the benefits. Growing up with that sacrifice and their thriftiness is part of my background and my focus on saving.”
In the end, is Greg happy with his life?:
“Yes. Overall, I am happy with my life. I am looking forward to being able to be generous with our time and money in the future.”

About the Author - 
Jay Zigmont, PhD, 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.