DINK: Dual Income, No Kids Lifestyle

Our DINK lifestyle: dual income no kidsDINK!
KJ: We’re DINKs! Seems offensive, doesn’t it? Well, a DINK isn’t as bad as it sounds. It is a relatively new term for two individuals living together who each have their own income and careers, yet they do not have any kids (Dual Income No Kids). That’s exactly where my wife and I are in this stage of our lives: a dual income no kids lifestyle.

How we got here
KJ: So many people around us during college had a list of plans to (1) graduate college, (2) get married, (3) purchase a home, and (4) establish a family (and not necessarily in that order…). We were faced with so many life changes at the time: we were moving back home for a few months while I completed my internship (a requirement for me to be able to graduate), trying to establish our own careers, figuring out where to live, and finding ourselves both as a couple and as individuals. I cannot even begin to fathom how anyone could toss in getting married, buying a home, and starting to have children all in one swoop. With all the change and stress of it all, it’s no wonder how young couples can have so many struggles – especially when you add on top of it that you are at your lowest pay point in your career and are subject to any whim of financial catastrophe that could strike: home repair, auto damage, a major (or even a minor) health concern…you name it.

Planning for our future
KJ: While probably a very different perspective for most people my age, financial responsibility has always been top of mind as one of my goals. Since I would want my children to have what I had growing up – the freedom to follow their passion and the opportunities that unfold if you work hard toward your goals – it has always been important for me to establish my career before starting a family. While you certainly can’t plan life (it would be futile if you did), I’ve believed that having one less uncertainty in the mix could help us focus on our lives together and the potential family we want to have. We can’t plan it all, but financial consistency can help provide a framework to get started on the next ten to fifteen years of our lives together and whether that includes a child/children (twins anyone?) or just our fluffy, neurotic, cute, crazy pets. It’s this DINK lifestyle stage of life that my wife and I find ourselves now.

An age and a stage
AJ: This post is a great example of how a husband and wife can be so aligned in life but have such very different perspectives! To me, being a DINK describes more of a current situation than long-term choice or a goal. The summer after we graduated from college we were invited to six weddings of friends who had been dating for varying periods of time (almost all of whom had been dating less time than Kirby and I had been). We both went to those weddings with cautious optimism, as we just knew that wasn’t the path that we wanted to head down.

Truthfully, starting a career was more important to my parents and to Kirby than it had ever been to me. I worked throughout high school and college and enjoyed making my own money (who doesn’t?) and being independent, but I would have loved to be that backpacking through Europe girl for at least another six months. For better or worse, an incredible career opportunity fell into my lap, allowed Kirby and I to live where we wanted to live, and began aligning a few of the key pillars that would become our future together.

In the last almost eight years of togetherness we have changed our minds about where we live, what we want from our lives, what we spend our money on, everything. Hopefully being DINKs will allow us to strategically enjoy and plan for the next phases of our lives, whatever they may be.

Building financial security
AJ: Both Kirby and I are extremely fortunate to have the careers we have which allow us the flexibility to plan our financial future together. I’m thankful that Kirby was more focused on laying a good foundation early on than I was, as it is now a huge focus of our lives. More thoughtfully planning our day-to-day spending along with the major tent poles that will define our lives means a more fulfilling, enjoyable lifestyle for us.

    Have you heard the term DINK before?
    Are you a DINK by choice or circumstance?
    Do you enjoy the double income no kids lifestyle?
    If you had it to do over again, would you choose to have children earlier or continue the dual income no kids – DINK lifestyle?

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7 thoughts on “DINK: Dual Income, No Kids Lifestyle

  1. I had not heard the term DINK, I guess that makes us DINGKs. When to have children is a tough decision, it is the most important thing in a couple’s life, and one we talked about but were never really prepared to do.. Financial stability is a must these days, kids are expensive, beyond the cost is the emotional stability to handle the life change. Being older helped us cope and we were in good financial shape and had a good benefit plan through my job, but also being older makes it physically a little tougher job so be aware
    that as you plan financially you plan mentally to have children and make it a collaborated effort, neither person can do it alone well. The joy I guess, whatever your situation is to watch your kids grow up, PRICELESS.

    • Such great insight. Many people are getting married later in life these days and thus are having children later. Each family should weigh the trade-off of physical health versus financial health when having kids. You’re not typically in a position where you can have your cake and eat it too, and as you mentioned with how expensive kids are today (particularly with college costs), it’s rare that someone would suddenly wake up to just say “today is the day I’m financially ready for this!”

  2. DINK is one of those terms used previously but has been forgotten (1980s anyone?) and is now making a much needed comeback! Of course, this blog is geared to the younger marrieds, but hopefully, you don’t mind a post from time to time from those who have been down a similar path. I was 28 when my first son was born, my husband was 30. We had been married 7 years. We had both established ourselves in our careers. We had a nice home, nice cars, a nice income. Nice enough that making the decision to put my career on the back burner to be a full-time mom was a viable option. I have always appreciated being able to make that choice. I loved having a good career I could return to. I loved even more having the flexibility of financial stability to choose to be a stay-at-home mom. Recently, there’s been a renewed debate about whether women can “have it all”. We probably can–just not at the same time. Enjoying each stage of your life and planning for the next is what leads to personal satisfaction as an individual and as a couple. And children grow up so fast–it’s important to treasure every moment if you are so blessed.

    • And here I thought it was a newer term…

      Great points though on being able to “have it all” but at different stages in your life. We all seem to get stuck in the here and now that we forget that life comes in cycles and stages, so the here and now will not be the same here and now for us ten years from now!

  3. Love that this is getting more popular. My SO and I created DINKlife.com just for DINKs like us. Feel free to reach out with any questions.

  4. When my husband and I were first married in 2005 our friends called us TINKS. Two incomes no kids. I think I like Tink better than Dink. We’re still Tinks and will be for life.

    • Tink does seem to have a little more of a positive connotation…haven’t heard that one before! But whether by choice or not, it certainly can have its benefits!

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