Being a DINK: A Necessity or A Choice?

by Kristina Tahnyak on July 2, 2010 · 9 comments

blue house

Happy Friday my fellow DINKS.  This week we are discussing our DINK status.  We are all in dual income relationships with no kids.  But, is it by choice? Or by necessity?  If your partner was independently wealthy, would you become dependent?

I would like to believe that I would answer no, but when the money hits the fan, I am just not sure what I would do.  Since we all do not have any children (yet) we wouldn’t become “Housewives” or “House Husbands” if our partners suddenly hit the jackpot.  So what would we do?

Maybe some of us would consider having children. I use the term having children instead of the traditional “start a family” because I don’t personally believe that children define a family.  My immediate family right now consists of my boyfriend Nick, my parents, and my younger sister Tara.  She is 26 years old and she is also a DINK.  Just because we don’t have kids doesn’t mean that we aren’t a family.

Maybe some of us would continue working. I am 29 years old and I have been working two jobs since my parents got divorced when I was 18.  I have never known a life without work; therefore, I don’t think I would be able to walk away from employment.  I might be able to walk away from full time employment…but not wave good bye all together.  My career does not define me as a person, but it does sort of give me a sense of being, and belonging.

There is also the question of contribution into the relationship.  If you are not working, and you are not contributing equally into your relationship finances, would you feel undervalued? Men and Women contribute different ways into their relationships. But would chaos break out if the black and white contribution lines of our relationships suddenly became grey?  I have to admit, it may be very tempting to have a nice big house without the expensive mortgage payments!

Here is some financial news that we have rounded up for your reading pleasure this week. Enjoy and Have a Great Weekend!

(Photo by RGallant)

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Early Retirement Extreme July 2, 2010 at 10:16 am

Well, there are other ways of contributing into the relationship than money. However, seeing as this bears directly on my situation, I have a lot to say on it.

When DW are I met, I was very close to being financially independent. DW on the other hand was not. Since I had sacrificed hard, we decided to keep our savings separate. On the other hand, for tax purposes, we decided to split our income. We were both still working, but I was making substantially more than DW, so suddenly I was saving less than I could have done, while she was saving more. After 3 years, I called it quits and retired. I now make substantially less and we still split. (I figure once, we reach parity in our contributions I think we should stop splitting. I feel like I’m holding her back from saving. On the other hand, I didn’t feel I was being held back when I was the high earner).

Now, back to the first sentence. I think it’s important that both people live a purposeful life with or without employment.This does not necessarily involve raising a child. Also, I’d prefer my spouse to be unemployed rather than having a purposeless employment (boring, frustrating, disenfranchising job, for example). Being at home all day I do seem to have taken over most of the house duties, but that’s just because that’s convenient. I certainly don’t feel like a househusband.

2 Red July 2, 2010 at 10:23 am

Even if my husband made enough money to pay off all our debt, I don’t think I would leave the workforce. I mean, I have goals for our lives, the achievement of which I would like to contribute. And I couldn’t deal with the “allowance” system. (You know, here’s your money for the week, honey.) My grandparents do this, but I need to have my own money from my own efforts to feel like I “deserve” to spend it on frivolous things (or even important things).

I just don’t think I could stand the power tip that would be involved with one person earning all of the money in my relationship. I like to think of us as equals, but if I was just cleaning all day or doing laundry, I doubt I’d feel like I was contributing as much. (I know housewives definitely contribute to their marriages. It’s just not for me.)

3 James July 3, 2010 at 1:41 am

Interesting…but the optimal question is not what would you do if you got rich, rather the question should be: how do you get rich?

4 Kristina July 5, 2010 at 6:49 pm

I love the concept of a House Husband! It’s role reversal at it’s best.

5 Honey July 6, 2010 at 2:25 pm

I would probably start doing charity work – for a cat rescue, most likely.

Currently, my boyfriend makes more than twice what I do. He has significantly more debt, though, so it doesn’t give him *absurdly* more expendable income than me, though he definitely has more. However, he works almost twice as many hours per week than me (I have a regular office job and he is an attorney with billable hours) – so he pays whenever we go out anywhere (and if I feel like I’m not being taken out enough I am free to request dates) and I do almost all the household chores and the cooking. I am a hobby cook, so that part I would probably do anyway.

6 Kristina July 6, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Charity Work. What a great idea. It is always nice to give back. I agree that there are several different ways to contribute into a relationship other than money. However, some may agree that money is power. I couldn’t imagine asking my boyfriend Nick for money every time I wanted to buy something, or justifying my purchases to him.

7 Honey July 6, 2010 at 3:04 pm

There are definitely things that I thought of as my responsibility – my absurdly expensive shampoo and conditioner, haircuts, etc. – that I have been foregoing while paying off debt. It didn’t even occur to me to say anything about them to my boyfriend because it obviously wasn’t a shared expense. I was very surprised when, upon finding out about some of this stuff in casual conversation, he said to just tell him when that kind of thing happened to me and he would be happy to pay for those things so I wouldn’t have to go without. Not something I would have assumed at all!

8 Stephanie July 6, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Oops, I think I wrote a comment but it didn’t go through.

Even if I was financially set, I’d still want to work. At 25 years old, I’m not ready to retire! I really like my current job, and want to continue on this career path. I like what I do, and I enjoy the daily intellectual stimulation as well as my friendships that I’ve built with my colleagues. If I were to lose my job (heaven forbid!) or decide to leave, I’d still want to do things. I’d either be raising kids (if I have those) or volunteering, either for environmental work, or encouraging/educating students in math and science.

I’d also feel like I’d need to contribute financially to the relationship…even if I’m contributing in other, non-monetary ways. At least that’s how I feel right now.

9 July 19, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Thanks so much for the link Kristina…Believe it or not I just figured out what the ‘linked to’ on my site meant. Isn’t this pathetic….In my defense I must say that I am a computer idiot and I am trying to navigate this internet planet by myself and sometimes I don’t always get it. Anyway, better late than never right? Thanks again!

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