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
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
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.