You and your coworker were talking about your tax returns (you owed a lot this year, ugh), and afterward she called you a DINK—a mysterious term you’ve never heard before but one that sounds inherently condescending, if not outright mean. Before you file that HR complaint, here’s what it really means to be a DINK (and heads up, it’s not as salacious as you probably thought).
DINK is an acronym that stands for “Dual Income No Kids.” The term is applied to partners (both married and unmarried) who both have jobs and don’t have kids. See? We told you it wasn’t that exciting.
OK, why is there a name for this? The term originally popped up in 1980s vernacular, alongside yuppie culture (young urban professional), but it actually has had even more relevance in recent years, especially following the 2000s financial crisis when more couples were choosing to hold off on having kids or not having them all.
So, what does it mean for my finances? For every person (and couple) it’s completely different. Some DINKS are able to retire by age 50. Others have the flexibility to take on more financial risks and entrepreneurial ventures. Some might be struggling to pay rent—there is no cookie-cutter DINK because it’s a broad term that includes all kinds of people, with all kinds of incomes, all living in different geographic locations. Think about it: the price of living in Topeka is different from that in South Beach, and the incomes in those two cities vary as well. Either way, it’s important to understand how your money (retirement savings, estate planning, basic budgeting, taxes etc.) might work differently as a DINK than, say, a single dad with three kids.
Wait, is this why my taxes were so high? Ding, ding, ding. You may not be spending money on childcare, which means more disposable income (hello, week-long vacation in the Seychelles!), but tax law actually knocks off some points for that. Higher income and no kids mean fewer deductions and more money owed to good ol’ Uncle Sam. It can be total bummer if it hits you unexpectedly. So, talk to your accountant or financial advisor about smart ways to offset this. For instance, becoming a homeowner can lead to a nice, fat tax break.