Born Again DINKS

by Kristina on August 31, 2010 · 5 comments

cabbage patch kidI learned from the comments on our post DINKS: Smart or Selfish? that many of our DINKS readers are Born Again DINKS.  They are parents who have adult children whom have moved out of their home; the parents now live in a dual income no kids (at home) relationship…again.

Born Again Dinks are referred to in the financial world as “empty nesters”.

This is the stage of a person’s life where they may be nearing retirement, or they may have already retired.  They may be mortgage free or close to it; and they may even be considering downsizing to a smaller home, now that all of their children have moved out.

The Empty Nesters have spent their lives accumulating their wealth, and now they are enjoying it.  Since my boyfriend Nick and I are in our late twenties and early thirties, and we don’t have children, we are definitely not Empty Nesters.  I have a question for our Born Again DINKS…Is it better the second time around?

Young families are in the accumulation stage of their lives.  If you are in your mid twenties to mid thirties then you may be in this stage. This is the stage when our mortgage outweighs the value of our home, and our accumulated total savings are less than a year’s salary.  We may also still be paying off student loans and still making car payments.  Imagine how costly this could be if we add the expense of one or two kids into the equation!

I honestly don’t know my parents remained financially stable during the accumulation stage of their lives with myself and my sister Tara.  We went on family vacations every year, we always had food in the house, and we were never deprived of toys.  I was born in 1980 , and if you remember Strawberry Shortcake, He-Man, Cabbage Patch Dolls, and Pogo Balls, then you are also an 80’s child.  I look at my life now with Nick, and I can’t imagine adding the cost of a child or two into our monthly expenses.

During the Empty Nest stage of a person’s life they don’t have a lot of the same expenses as they did in the accumulation phase of their lives.  In the Empty Nest stage of a person’s financial life they are not building up their retirement savings, they are topping it off.  In many cases they are no longer paying off their mortgage; they are only paying their monthly bills.

In theory, Born Again DINKS should have a lot more money the second time around then they did the first time they were DINKS. I would like to know if this is true.  I recently asked my Dad if he enjoys not having kids at home.  He took the safe route, and responded “No Comment.”  My Dad (and other men) often use this neutral tactic to stay out of trouble when speaking with women, regardless of whether it’s his sister, wife, or daughter.

Please, Born Again DINKS let me know…Are you enjoying your life as a DINK the second time around?

Deciding to have children may not be the lifelong commitment that I thought it was.  Apparently…Once you go DINK you can go back!

(Photo By LisaSchaffer)

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lola August 31, 2010 at 8:41 pm

The hubs and I have been full empty nesters for just over a year, but it was a gradual process. We had several kids in college at one time, and some came home for their summers, but some worked in other cities or went abroad, etc.

My short answer is that this second go round as DINKS (we were married a few years before we had children) is very enjoyable. Certainly there’s less expense, as all our kids are not only out of the house, they’re out of town. All the kids have a college degree, sustaining jobs, and little to no debt. They’re doing worthwhile (or in the case of one, at least we can say interesting) things, and we’re very proud of them. I have to say I do miss them, though. I wish we could have a few times together through the week, but they’re all over the place and it’s hard to get everyone together.

We had a wonderful time bringing them up and it was fun re-living some of own childhood through our kids’ experiences (especially lots of the great books of youth!). The hubs and I made a conscious effort to make our marriage the center of our family, and we’ve always enjoyed being with each other, now more than ever. We both really grew in our own right as individuals, too, strange as that may sound. Parenting really tests your strengths and your weaknesses, and you have to make your own choices based on what’s right for your family.

None of the kids are married yet, but we think we might have one “announcing” very soon (but being excellent parents, as we’ll tell you ourselves, we certainly don’t ask when). I foresee becoming grandparents in maybe 5 to 10 years, and I know we’ll enjoy that, too!

For now, we do lots of fun things. Money is very adequate – we’ve done well with the hubs’ quantitative investment strategy. The hubs sort of retired at the beginning of this y ear (well, took a voluntary reduction) and is working on some projects that are forming the base of his consulting business, and I work at a sweet little job that I like a lot. We’re active in our church and various organizations, and we have a core group of friends – we go out quite a bit to dinner, to movies, sporting events,etc. We’ve never been much into shopping, clothes, changing the home decor, etc. but we’ve got the stuff we want.

So that’s our story – it’s pretty nice!

2 Jason September 1, 2010 at 9:39 am

I think you have made a few assumptions that might be more of the exception than the rule. I would say that now a days its more likely that “empty nester’s” haven’t “accumulated wealth” and are far from mortgage free. They have spent most of their lives spending beyond their means, using their home as a personal piggy bank and enjoying easy access to credit/debt. I will post a link below but it talks about the number of people with less than 25K in savings is over 50% of the working population. Doesn’t sound like they are really ready for retirement. Thats lucky to cover an emergency fund let alone 20-30 years of retirement.

Not that this changes your question about better the second time around or not. I don’t know wont have to worry about being an empty nester by staying a DINK.

3 Donna Freedman September 1, 2010 at 10:07 am

I had my daughter at 20 and was an empty nester for good — i.e., she didn’t come home during summer vacation from college any more — about 20 years later.
It felt odd at first but it was nice not to have to think things like, “What time does she have to work? Should I drive her or let her take my car?”
Now I’m divorced and in my early 50s — and I’ve never been happier. I love living by myself.

4 Kristina September 3, 2010 at 11:39 pm

My Dad and I talked about this again today. He loves it when my sister and I come to visit, but I’m sure he also loves it when we go home…although he would never admit it. He has been an empty nester for some time now, and he is recently retired (June 2009). He just bought a dog (with my soon to be step mother) and he told me that taking care of the dog is more trouble than having two kids.

5 Sandy L September 11, 2010 at 5:42 am

I am not sure there will be as many born again dinks when we are ready to retire. Most of my friends didn’t have kids until their late 30’s, so by the time the kids are out of school, we’ll be close to retirement age.

I definitely liked being on firm financial ground before I had my children, but my predicted downside is that if we retire at about the same time as the kids are out of the house, that is 2 HUGE changes at once.

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