Choosing to live childfree puts a new focus on your financial plans

Gugu Sidaki | 07 March 2023

Gugu Sidaki is an independent financial planner and co-founder of the financial planning and wealth management practice Wealth Creed. She holds the Certified Financial Planner accreditation and is an author and financial literacy enthusiast.

There is a growing number of men and women who are choosing not to have children. The reasons may differ but it is commendable that people make a decision with conviction when most of the world thinks we have a duty to find a partner and become parents.

Those who choose to be child-free – rather than those who are childless for health reasons or a lack of a partner - are often warned that they may be lonely.

However, parents can be lonely despite having a family – loving or not. And child-free people can be very sociable without having offspring. Loneliness probably has much more to do with your attitude to life than whether or not you choose to be child-free.

I’m meeting more women than ever before who are choosing to be child-free. All highly educated, and ambitious, they earn great salaries with no regrets about their lifestyle choice.  

Financial planning for them, however, is quite different to what it is for women or couples who have children. Read more: What should a financial plan include?

How does living child-free impact your finances?

Retirement, life expectancy and estate planning are all different when you are planning for life without children.  

  • There is a reduced need for life cover – life cover serves a very important role in the life of those with children. It is intended to secure the financial security of those for whom you are financially responsible, in the event of your death.

  • Disability cover, however, is very important for single people as they don’t have immediate family to care for them. Read more: Do I need disability cover?

  • Child-free people have less need for building up wealth for others – living child-free means you have the choice to build up wealth for your needs alone. You are not responsible for the financial security of others unless you choose to be.

  • Retirement age may be less relevant – as living child-free means it could take you less time to secure enough for your retirement, making your retirement age less relevant. Read more: How much do I need to save for retirement?

  • You have no need for typical assets such as a big house/car to accommodate children – living child-free means you acquire assets for your needs only.

  • You have an increased need for health insurance and frail care – living child-free means there is a higher need to plan for life alone in your later years. This is even more crucial for women, whether they have a partner or not, as women tend to have a longer life expectancy. The prospect of not having dependents increases the need to plan carefully for your retirement and beyond. Read more: What is a medical scheme? And What is severe illness cover?


What can you do to plan effectively?

  • Find a professional to help you with the following:

    • Understanding how much will be enough for your needs if you should ever fall severely ill, become disabled or live long enough to reach and surpass retirement age.

    • Drafting a will to suit your unique situation – you may not have children but you will have built up some assets you should plan to distribute on your death.

    • Sourcing adequate medical health insurance.

    • Exploring different frail care options and their costs, since there is a high possibility of you having to fend for yourself alone beyond retirement,

    • Putting measures in place to minimise the abuse that many childfree individuals experience from family members who expect unreasonable financial support, simply because they are childfree.