Childfree? Three Steps to Getting Your Affairs in Order

Child-free adults should plan carefully for old age.

Posted Sep 22, 2014

For those of us who are childfree, there are a few things we must consider about the future that are unique to us as compared to our peers who are parents. Below are some questions to ask yourself to see if you’re set for things to come.

1. Who’s going to take care of you in your old age? We all know that it’s a fallacy to believe that children will always be there for their elderly or ill parents. But if you don’t have children, it’s a certainty that you’ll need to arrange for this time in your life. So, just how do you do this?

First of all, set aside some funds just for this purpose. You may find at some point that you’ll need to hire some help -- someone to drive you around, do household chores, or even be a caregiver. Being childfree, we have the opportunity to earn more by being more focused on our careers, and we don’t have the huge cost of raising a child, now at over $245,000 for a baby born in 2013.

2. Do you have a healthy support network? I’m talking about friends who might drive you to the doctor or someone you can count on to pay your bills if you’re away for several weeks. In my book, Complete Without Kids, I interviewed a childfree man in his late forties who told me about a time when he suffered a back injury and had to ask his secretary to come to his house to help him out during his time of recovery. It certainly reminded me how essential it is to nurture and sustain healthy relationships. We never know when we may need to reach out to someone for a helping hand.

3. Have you done your estate planning? Making decisions about what will happen when you die is especially important for childfree folks. It’s critical to make a will so that you can identify who will inherit your possessions. My own will is quite detailed, with friends or relatives named as beneficiaries of jewelry, art, pets, and, of course, assets.

Can you think of other areas of planning that are unique to childfree adults? What steps can you take today to be prepared for the future? 


Photo courtesy Flickr user Etienne (

Ellen Walker, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the author of Complete Without Kids: An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living By Choice Or By Chance.