The dual income, no kids (DINK) lifestyle gains popularity - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

The dual income, no kids (DINK) lifestyle gains popularity

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Two Madison area DINK couples; Shannon Tervo & Jason Weiss (L), Austen & Laura Portz (R) Two Madison area DINK couples; Shannon Tervo & Jason Weiss (L), Austen & Laura Portz (R)

MADISON/FITCHBURG (WKOW) -- The 'childfree by choice ' lifestyle has a funny nickname -- DINKs.  It stands for "dual income, no kids." A term coined in the 1980s, the name and the lifestyle may be gaining more and more popularity now.  

Laura Portz of Fitchburg, started the DINK lifestyle when she married her husband, Austen, three years ago.  

"We're first time homebuyers for a couple of years now," says Laura.  Besides their home, they've also been able to make some more fun purchases, since they're not spending money on kids.  "We like toys! We like the boat. We like motorcycles," says Laura.  "We just got back from a trip to Mexico in March which was a lot of fun."

For another DINK couple, their opposite work schedules mean a quieter DINK lifestyle for Shannon Tervo and Jason Weiss of Madison.  They do enjoy opportunities to have dinner together, just the two of them, and go on trips to concerts and music festivals.  "We like to go to live music events and we've been to quite a few. We've still got a few more coming up," says Jason. 

"We can leave for three days and it's fine," says Shannon. 

"You don't have to make arrangements for anyone, but yourselves," agrees Jason.  

More and more couples are choosing to wait to have children, or not have them at all.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2014, 47.6-percent of women ages 15 to 44 had no kids.  That is the highest percentage since the Bureau started keeping track in 1976.  

"The biggest difference [between DINKs and couples with kids] is finances and time," says Crystal D'Orazio, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Madison.  She sees all kinds of couples; plus, she and her husband have three kids.  "I definitely feel the stress," says D'Orazio.  "Couples that have kids, often it costs more money. They don't have as much time together."

Our DINK couples have chosen one of the best places to spend their time together.  Estately.com, a website with home-buying advice, rated Madison the 13th best city for child-free living.  

"There's so much to do. There's so much activity life and groups and organizations and things for DINKs to get involved in, and so I think Madison is definitely a great place for that," says D'Orazio.  

For Laura though, the DINK lifestyle may not be the be all, end all. "When the questions like, 'when are you going to have children, are you ever going to have children?' come from those closest to us, it is a little bit frustrating," says Laura.  

She and Austen have been feeling the pressure to expand their family, while Jason and Laura are content as is.  "I just never wanted to be a mom, and I think I always knew that," says Shannon.  

"It's a very overwhelming concept," agrees Jason.  

D'Orazio has some advice for anyone who is thinking about having kids.  "I want them to look at, what's it going to look like with a financial restraint, how are we going to manage extra stress?  Who's going to do what task?  How are we going to try and tackle the day to day, routine activities in the household?  I really want people to be on the same page and feel like they're making the right decision together," she says.  

While DINK couples may appear to have it easier with more time, money and energy for each other, numerous studies have shown, they actually have a higher divorce rate.  You can read more about that at these links:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vicki-larson/are-childfree-couples-doo_b_913051.html.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700169249/Childless-couples-still-divorce-at-a-much-higher-rate-than-those-with-children.html?pg=all

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