Connect Motherhood

HerMoney Podcast Episode 197: Living Childfree And Making Empowered Decisions Around Motherhood

Kathryn Tuggle  |  January 22, 2020

More women than ever are choosing the childfree life. This week we dive into what their decisions mean for their lives and finances.

We live in a world where women can choose to do and become anything we want… CEOs, engineers, cops, military generals, second-act career-starters, the list goes on. And in the same way that women are intentionally choosing and celebrating the things they want to become, they’re also intentionally avoiding what they don’t — and one of those things is motherhood. 

The birthrate in the U.S. hit a 30-year low in 2018, dropping to 3.8 million births, according to The National Center For Health Statistics, but that number just punctuated what many of us have known anecdotally for years — that there is a growing chorus of women who are happily choosing the childfree life. This week’s guest, Maxine Trump, is an award-winning writer, producer and director of the feature film, “To Kid or Not To Kid,” which confronts the societal expectations around motherhood. 

Maxine explains how, in 2020, more women than ever are able to “consider what makes us happy and pursue that.” Jean and Maxine tackle why society may be so late in approaching motherhood as a choice, and why the choice of motherhood may still feel like a taboo subject in some circles. 

The pair also dive into when “childfree” came into the vernacular, and how it compares to “childless.” They also discuss the growing number of women who are choosing to live childfree, including the women who are part of the #birthstrike movement, who have concerns about bringing children onto a warming planet. They also touch on how financial questions are coming into play for many would-be mothers who have decided that they simply can’t afford the monetary commitment of raising children, as well as women for whom their careers are the priority. “Fundamentally, it’s about what you want. Every woman should be allowed to choose what they want, to have children or not. It should be a decision that we’re all empowered to make,” Maxine explains. 

The duo also explore the life cycle of childfree women, and how we can best prepare for retirement and beyond, and leave a legacy behind. Maxine explains how one of her reasons for not having children was her passion for filmmaking, and how she didn’t want to have to sacrifice her ability to make movies in order to have a child. 

Maxine explains how, in our society, it seems we’re always congratulating women for their decision to have children (at baby showers, gender reveal parties, and more) but never do we think to congratulate women on their decision not to have kids. But this is something we should adopt in order to be more inclusive to the growing number of women who are childfree. 

Then, in Mailbag, Jean and Kathryn tackle questions about investing while keeping required minimum distributions in mind, making catch-up contributions, and the decision as to whether to pursue home renovations or move. Lastly, in Thrive, Jean dives into the secret “consumer score” that many of us have, which is the score that takes into account our consumer activity and may impact our customer service experiences in future. 

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