Speaking the DINK and DINKY language


There are new segments in the marketplace: Dual Income No Kids (DINK) and Dual Income No Kids Yet (DINKY), two growing groups of Millennials and Gen Xers who are waiting to or forgoing having children.

Why are Millennials and Gen Xers waiting to have children or skipping this life stage completely? Some of this trend can be attributed to finances. Many Millennials were in the early stages of their career or nearly graduating college when the Great Recession hit. Gen Xers lost 45% of their wealth during the recession, which means they have a lot of ground to make up if having a family or retirement is in their future.1 As the country has recovered from the recession, Xers and Millennials have found jobs and rediscovered their independence, but are busy trying to catch up financially before starting a family. Even once they catch up, 34% of Gen Xers and 48% of Millennials are burdened by student loan debt that is preventing them from attaining major life milestones.2

Millennials and many Gen Xers are acutely aware of the potential impact of another economic downturn. They remember the sting of layoffs, watching their savings shrink and being in constant fear about their economic future. This heightened sense of awareness combined with the increased costs involved with raising children has given Millennials and some Gen Xers second thoughts about parenthood. Today it would cost a middle-income family $284,570 to raise a baby through age 17, while a couple in the highest income group can anticipate spending $454,770.3

So how do you, as a financial advisor, guide this group toward investing and planning for their future? Taking the time to understand DINKs and DINKYs and learning some unique ways to talk to them about finance and planning will give advisors an edge when communicating with these groups.

Dual Income No Kids (DINKS)

DINKs are looking to capitalize on their healthy, younger years by doing things such as traveling, living in different cities, or possibly starting a business based on a passion. Research indicates the difference between Millennial DINKs and the DINKs of previous generations is that Millennials want this period of life to last longer and are potentially willing to sacrifice having a family to get there.

The traditional approach to financial planning may be a turn-off to DINKs. After all, retirement seems far off or unattainable. When meeting with this demographic, remember many Millennial DINKS started their careers and relationships later than other generations. The thought of retirement, building a family and long-term financial commitments can be frightening, stressful and far-fetched. Many Millennial couples are looking to ensure they can continue their lifestyle for years to come, and are not as concerned about an early retirement. Gen Xer couples are looking for security in a plan; they need to make up for lost ground and want to feel like retirement is a possibility. The fear for Gen Xers who have decided to forgo having children lies in their ability to retire comfortably, deal with their aging parents and care for themselves if they become ill.

For Millennial DINKs, the advisor should initially focus on how to support the client’s current lifestyle, and then ease into conversations about longer term planning. For Gen X DINKs lay out the facts and don’t sugarcoat the trajectory they are on. Beginning this rapport by demonstrating the advisor understands DINK values can go a long way in establishing a long lasting relationship.

Dual Income No Kids Yet (DINKY)

The DINKY faction is also looking for the opportunity to capitalize on their healthy years, but they have decided that kids are on the horizon, but not quite yet.

When approaching DINKYs consider that the Great Recession taught some to be frugal, but many Millennials are not willing to give up freedom to ensure future financial security. Most Millennial DINKYs are choosing to wait to have children so they can use their shared income in ways that will accentuate their lifestyle. When it comes to Gen X DINKYs, many are simply not confident enough in their financial health to start a family. They are protective of the institution of family and want to be sure they can fully support having a child before moving into parenthood.

Advisors that help their clients balance between saving for eventual parenthood while still promoting ways for DINKYs to enjoy and experience their present situation will be the most successful with this group. The key here is to show DINKYs you understand and support the path they have chosen. However, managing expectations for the future is key to ensuring the financial advisor role continues to be important and impactful to the client. Life can be more financially free to some degree without children, but being realistic about what is possible once DINKYs do decide to have kids will set your clients up for success. Help DINKYs pinpoint things they are willing to sacrifice to be financially healthy once they bring a child into the picture.

1 Retirement Security Across Generations. (2013, May). The PEW Charitable Trusts.

2 Three Generations Survey (2018, September). AARP.

3 Expenditures on Children by Families, 2015. (Revised March 2017). United States Department of Agriculture.

This information was prepared in part by an unrelated independent third party, BridgeWorks, and is provided for informational purposes only. Ivy Distributors, Inc., believes the information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided.