Pros and cons of being a DINK (double income no kids) couple
Working couples without kids (DINKs) are not an unfamiliar sight in India nowadays, not in metros at least. The acronym may be outdated (couples who voluntarily opt to be childless), but their tribe is increasing. And why not! They enjoy a lifestyle that is far more luxurious than their counterparts with children.
An interesting survey by the Associated Chamber of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) on “Changing Consumption Patterns of Delhi” shows that DINKs are high spenders. They eat out more, in fact almost every day! But it’s just eating out. They do it all and far more than the other groups – be it frequenting fitness centres, buying books and music, shopping for consumer durables and personal care items!. They also spend a lot on entertainment and on vacations. They don’t just have double the money than the singles, they have more time than parents.
Take a look at this table from Assocham:
Other interesting facts about DINKs from the survey:
- 35 percent of couples (in metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore) spend more than half a lakh on travel and travel-related expenses every year.
- 60 percent travel out for short breaks (week-ends) every two months.
- 45 percent use a substantial part of their income for loan repayment like EMIs which can add up to over Rs 20,000 a month.
- 45 percent spend about Rs 5,000-10,000 on non-essential items.
- 65 percent are fully aware that it is being without children which is giving them the financial freedom.
In contrast couples 65 percent working couples with kids tend to spend their leisure time indoors with their child. They tend to go on holidays less, about twice in a year and during school holidays like Dassera and Diwali and during the summer. Their budget is approximately half of that of the DINKs and can amount to be Rs. 30,000/- .
Are there really that many DINKs in India?
Well, as a group they are indeed small, but no statistics are available. However, it is believed that their tribe is increasing, although it is nowhere near the number of DINKs in developed countries. But they exist in significant numbers and that probably is why marketers in India are targeting this group, a group with a high disposable income.
In India childless couples face social disapproval
What is a little surprising that the number of DINKs are increasing in a country like India where being childless is not approved of. In fact women often face social stigma unless they have a child within a couple of years of marriage. True, this prejudice is less pronounced in the metros, but it does exist. From my observation I have noticed that couples who choose not to have children usually live away from their families, away from ‘home.’ This makes their decision easier as there is no one to remind them that they need to have kids, not on a daily basis. Also their financial freedom gives them the clout they need to make their own decisions. As mobility increases, there is no doubt that the DINKS and the DISKs (Double Income Single Kid) will increase. However it is important to distinguish DINKs from those who are unable to have children as DINK couples often do have a child in later years, although many of them opt to have just one.
Does being a DINK couple help in the long-term?
Well, DINKS do not usually remain DINKs forever so in the long term it doesn’t make too much of a difference. It does enable them to ‘enjoy’ their life in the early years of marriage, but whether it helps them to carve out a better future (more savings) for themselves in the long term is doubtful. Their savings are only marginally more than working couples with children as this chart from Rediff.com shows.
Why do Indian parents opt to be DINKs?
This site has some answers:
- A dislike of children
- A feeling of being unprepared
- A desire to save enough money for the child
- A desire to be ‘free’
- Fear and revulsion towards the physical condition of pregnancy or childbirth
- Memories of a traumatic childhood
- Desire to wait until there is more time to devote attention to the child
- Concerns regarding over-population
I think that in India the decision to not have children is not so much because of the financial freedom it offers or even because the couple doesn’t like children, but because the couple feels that they will not be able to manage both career and children. So it may be due more to practical necessity rather than a real desire to be free of children. And mostly the decision is to simply postpone a child anyway, not to not have kids, ever. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Indian society is such that even if a couple feels this way they will not say so openly because they cannot withstand society’s judgmental attitude.
Related Reading: Do children add to the happiness of married life?