A Portrait of Getting Started in Childfree life

Nov 8 / Jay Zigmont, PhD, MBA, CFP®

26 years old, Single, Female, Texas
College Courses in Information Technology Implementation Analyst

This portrait is one of 26 real life stories presented in the book, Portraits of Childfree Wealth. You can download a free copy here.
Aurora is 26 and has recently chosen to be Childfree. She is working through what that means to her as she finds her place in the world. Her passions include sewing, crochet, gaming, baking, cooking, and alone time. Her most significant influence in choosing to be Childfree was watching her mom struggle, and it became a concrete choice to her at 25:
“It became concrete when I had a pregnancy scare at 25. I’ve calmed down from that, and it’s like, in the moment of thinking I was pregnant, I realized I don’t have a support system. I don’t make enough money. I don’t have a decent co-parenting partner because he was, like, a deadbeat. Then I was, like, there was a way for me not to have to experience this fear again, and it’s just being Childfree. My heritage and my upbringing are African-American. So, most of the time, from a place of not addressing trauma, we fall into this cycle of, oh, I’m just living to pay bills. I broke that mindset in December of 2021 [approximately four months before the interview]. Now I’m starting to figure out what I want to do and where I would like to go and my career and stuff like that. And I don’t want just to mess all that up when I’m just getting started.”
What does Aurora see as the biggest benefit of being Childfree?:
“For me, it gives me my time. I get time back because for a while in my life, for like four years, I was working the third shift. Now that I’ve started my career, my first step is a day shift job. The switch from overnight to daytime is like night and day. I have so much time that I don’t know what to do with the time. I’m working on a decent productivity schedule because I’m going to school in April. I’m working on getting some IT certifications and teaching myself coding. So I just basically get to do whatever. And I get to take my time doing it. I’m not under any type of stress unless I give myself a deadline.”
Does Aurora have regrets about her choice to be Childfree?:
“Heck no, not yet.”
Aurora is looking into sterilization but faces some challenges:
“I’m looking into sterilization, but as a bigger woman, it’s more of a push for me. The first doctor I’ve tried is pushing me to get weight loss before I have the surgery. I was advised by the wonderful support group of women that exist in this world just to try and get a different doctor. The issue with birth control is that it causes weight gain. So how are you going to lose weight on something that causes weight gain? And I don’t want to come off because I don’t want to be at risk.”
Aurora’s experience is relatively standard. There are all types of stories of women having difficulty getting sterilized for various reasons. That is why the Childfree community maintains a list of “friendly” doctors. It’s sad that we have to keep a list, but good that we know who supports our community.

Does Aurora have a financial plan at this point?:
“I just know that if there’s something I want, I will sacrifice and save up for it. If I don’t want anything, I just focus more on saving… The first plan is an emergency fund. I depleted it last year when I dealt with some unexpected changes. So I have to rebuild it, and then I’m saving up for a trip to New York and car repairs. I have opened two investment accounts. Nothing’s written down. I just came up with numbers to try to automate. I like to automate my finances as much as possible.”
Aurora had shared that she was in debt (including auto and student loans which are very common), but getting out of debt wasn’t mentioned as part of her financial plan. Why?:
“I didn’t write the debt part down. That’s not written down now because I chip away at it like you’re making a sculpture, but I don’t have a definite plan to attack it. I never have because that’s the thing that caused me stress. I didn’t figure out until the summer of last year that creating a definite plan to attack it causes me stress. So instead, I’m just focusing on, okay, we’re going to attack this one this year, and then next year, we’re going to attack this one.”
Debt is stressful to most people. The challenge is that debt is stealing from your future. In most cases, you will be better off paying off your debt before investing. Paying off your debt is effectively a risk-free, guaranteed return. The problem is that debt can be overwhelming. When you are in $10K of debt, adding another $500 of debt for many people feels no different. Aurora is focusing on investments because the debt causes her stress. Her goal is to have $2 million to retire.

What advice would Aurora give to others who are just getting started?:
“Find friends and ask questions. Find friends, try to have constant reminders within yourself about why you want to be Childfree. So for me, subconsciously, I’ve established friendships with multiple moms. So, I continually have reminders that I don’t want to deal with this. There have been times when I’m just lying in bed and lonely right now. I wish I had somebody that I could, like, talk to. I know I can’t talk to them. They’re always busy doing something. I’ve managed to have one Childfree friend. I am still looking for other friends, and I prefer them to be single.

Find friends, ask questions and join online Facebook groups. They are the safest place that I’ve found so far. So join the Facebook groups and, if possible, use Meetup.com to find people near you, other groups, or interests that you want to explore. So that way you can explore with other people. And you’ll never know who in those groups is also going to be Childfree and just seeking the same thing. So you’re thinking simple friendship.”
I asked Aurora what the most significant benefit of the Facebook groups is:
“Safety, especially like non-biased emotional safety. That is brand new to me. That’s something I’ve never been given before. I’ve never had people tell me all the time: you can come to talk to me. So, to just make a Facebook post and have, like, so many kind words and advice given back to me, that was, that was brand-new and made me cry.”
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.