How to approach wealth building if you're not going to have kids?

I am in my early 30s, I have had a successful 9 years working in Investment Banking, always being a top performer and getting top reviews. Over the past 3 years I have successfully transitioned to the most "sales" part of the job, getting a lot of face time with clients and building strong relationships with key partners. Given my track-record, I am confident to say that I will most likely become MD in a few years.

Outside work, I have always been extremely disciplined with money. Coming from a lower middle class background, I have always valued the money I was earning.

Some examples of my discipline include:
- Expensing 90% of my weekday meals (I spend my $40 late dinner allowance to get both dinner and lunch for the next day)
- I shared apartment with 3 people until I was a 2nd year VP
- I spend very little when I go out (I don't drink alcohol and I don't like fancy modern cuisine)
- I have never own a car
- I avoid exotic locations for my holidays, spending most of my PTO visiting my parents, actually I have only travelled abroad 4 times (2 times for work purposes)
- I avoid the classic cash traps in which many banking professionals fall for (Equinox memberships, Starbucks lattes, Netflix and Hulu subscriptions, Knicks tickets...)
The only luxurious thing I have bought myself is a $25,000 Rolex, which actually has appreciated in value.

As you could imagine, over these past years I have manage to save a massive portion of my pay checks and the entirety of all my bonuses, which I have invested wisely. Because I work in banking, I was not allowed to invest in single-name securities, but I made a lot of money on ETFs and mutual funds, getting very high returns. I have also built a solid residential real estate portfolio, I already own 3 "buy to rent" properties, and I will probably buy my 4th property by mid 2023. A career in banking together with a lot of sacrificed have really made me a multi millionaire in very few years.

I am a person who really don't like kids, I can´t just stand them, and I honestly never envision myself being a father. Becoming a parent is not only a massive responsibility that I don't want to have, but kids are also a big liability until they become adults (food, doctors, clothing, education, leisure...)
I am fortunate that I have found a life partner that also shares this view, so I am pretty sure I will never have any descendent.

Although I really enjoy growing my fortune, accumulating assets, and escalating in the social ladder, lately I have been starting to question my life choices. I have spent nearly a decade living like a broke student when I was actually making 5 or 6 times more than the average American. I have sacrificed a lot of pleasures and fun, just to build up my wealth, when the sad truth is that I will have no legacy at all.
One day I will be gone, and all these properties, all these financial assets will become just useless. But at the same time I have developed a mindset in which I can't stop investing, and I feel guilty for every unnecessary expense.

Currently, I am on the path to becoming "the richest man in the cementery", and the more I think about it the more depressing it becomes. It is not like I am going to have children now just to give some purpose to my wealth (as I said before, I don't like children, and having kids around would really make unhappy), so I would like to know if someone in this site is in a similar situation, and I would like to know how do you approach that balance between becoming rich and enjoying your well deserved money.

Comments (34)

Funniest
8d
LMMorrisLB, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Well, it's a good think you avoided the oldest banking scam in the book… Netflix.

Seriously. Time to loosen up the purse strings a bit and start to experience life while your body is young. Travel, see the world, experience varied landscapes.

When you're 60, with chronic back issues from a life in this industry, you'll be left with regret and a cash stack to buy whatever useless collectibles that people buy when they're 60.

Most Helpful
8d
mikeAL98, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you want my opinion, congratulations on your success but I really think you have totally lost perspective in life. What is the point of working so hard and being so successful if you live like the poor and you don't reward yourself? 

I think people take authors like Robert Kiyosaki or Kevin O'Leary too seriously. Dude, you already made it. You´re in your thirties, you have a great job and you got your life solved. You are literally a walking example of the American dream. Now is the time to reward yourself, I am not telling you to blow all your wealth in one week, but you should stop that toxic attitude. The fact that you're giving up on having children makes your lifestyle even more pointless.

Visit Europe, buy a Porsche, get your girlfriend her dreams wedding, do whatever makes you happy. You only live once so don't spend your precious time building a fortune that will end-up in the government's hands when you die. You should aim at dying broke AF.

7d
Username_TBU, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Nice comment. 

My question is what's your goal and why? Is it a number because that number will make you feel good you think? Do you like banking? Why are you working it? For the money? What's the plan for the money, especially with no kids?

This is easy - either you would gain joy by spending some more money or you wouldn't, and if not, you should leave banking (btw maybe you have enough for an early retirement anyway)

8d
miquelarnau95, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Estimate how much money is enough to guarantee your well-being until you die. You will have no one to take care of you when you're 80, so make sure you have enough money to pay a top elderly care home.

Once you have got this number, just chill and enjoy life. I think the biggest advantage of not having kids is that you will be able to retire earlier, you should do it, and as some chimp mentioned above, start rewarding yourself.

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4d
eloquence, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Good catch. Also posted 6 mo ago saying he's an analyst and his GF dumped him... terrible shitpost

Array

8d
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Wow

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 1
8d
qwertyuij, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I don't get how you've worked in the industry this long and being as frugal as you say above haven't just had enough to retire yet...is NYC really that bad? 

Array
8d
vclear, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Along with the other advice on this thread, also suggest seeing how you could anonymously be of help to people in need. Agree that you should also have a will and perhaps will a chunk to multiple charities.

7d
ConfusedGuru, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Jesus dude….now don't get me wrong, I'm pretty penny-pinching myself despite having a high income but damn. You're worried about a Netflix subscription? I mean why not just work retail at that point. 
 

And then you randomly buy a watch that's worth more than a lot of cars, yet you are proud of yourself for not buying a 5 dollar coffee. I just don't get it at all. 
 

Sounds like a miserable existence to me. I mean if you're happy, who am I to say anything, but I just don't get the point of busting your ass off in banking and being a top performer if you can't enjoy life a little. 

7d
WolfofWSO, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Did anyone else check the post history and see this is user full of complete BS?

Array

  • 1
4d
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Troll GIFs | Tenor

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

7d
Gucci Loafers, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You came from a lower middle class and you focused on financial stability. It's impressive and admirable, everybody who tells you that you're a sociopath or are hating wouldn't want to be in your place in the same way as you don't want to be in their place. But now, what was the next goal once you planned to become a millionaire? I mean, money is a commodity and it doesn't bring happiness or satisfaction. Was your goal "I want to have Z million worth of commodities" for the sake of it or was there a "because" after that? What went behind the "because" could be a starting point to understand what you appreciate about life.

6d
ironman32, what's your opinion? Comment below:

First, I'd say congrats on deciding to not having kids if that's what you want to do. I think a lot of problems that we have in America (if that's where you live) are because people are bad parents, and we have to try to make laws/rules around people being bad parents. To me, its better than people who are on the fence about having kids, have them, and decide they put themselves in a situation they don't enjoy. 

Second, I'd say, ask yourself what you really want to do, and whats important to you. For example, I don't really have a fascination with cars, but I like golf. So I'd be more wiling to spend $100K on a golf membership than on a car. So, don't just spend money on trips or possession just because you feel you need to. I think we have a lot of people buying say a 7 bedroom house when they really only need 3 bedrooms, just because they can. 

On the flip side, don't skimp out on things to save a dollar. Right now you have a lot of money, so your most precious asset is time. Try to buy things that save you time. I get the Netflix example you gave. Does it make you seem cheap not paying ~$15 a month for streaming? Its more about a drain on time, and you'll be okay in life if you dont' watch Stranger things. 

It also doesn't mean just be stupid with your money. Using your expense hack for meals is smart. However, if you spend $40 on breakfast/lunch/dinner at McDonalds and you hate it, find a better way.  

Also, don't worry about living like "a broke person". That's what people say who impulse spend or don't know how to budget. The same people who YOLO are also the same people who complain about being broke. Live to a standard you enjoy, and don't make everyday a hassle. Look at someone like Warren Buffet, very rich, but doesn't really spend on anything, but I don't think he yearns for anything; however, don't be the guy worth nine figures who makes his own coffee everyday but hates it. Find a balance. 

Lastly, and this is hard to do because you dont have control, figure out which way you want  your life to go. Meaning, some people are fine sitting on the couch all day eating microwave food. Some want to live it up everyday. Some would rather do what they want (say like destructive behaviors) and not live past 68, but others want to live to 100. They're all different lifestyles. 

P.S. - and this is just me, don't call someone a life partner. Girlfriend/boyfriend, fiance, husband/wife, those are the titles. Life partner sounds too beta to me, but also who am I to judge. 

6d
ironman32, what's your opinion? Comment below:

FWIW, I wouldn't describe myself as a liberal or New Yorker. I also don't know why you immediately jumped right to that off the bat. 

By saying we need better parents, if parents take an interest in their kids and do what they should do and raise them correctly, think about how much less crime, homelessness, and personal insecurity among other things we would have in society.

6d
Angus Macgyver, what's your opinion? Comment below:

You should look up a recent Freakonomics podcast about this topic. There is a dichotomy of views between "traditional" financial advisors, and economists' approach. You are taking the traditional view, which is smoothing your savings rate. Save more now, spend more later (while you are earning more, so overall savings are more even, especially taking into account investment growth). The economics-based view is that you should smooth your consumption rate, which means you should save almost nothing early on, but keep your consumption consistent and save more in your later years.

I think the economists' view discounts somewhat the comfort of the certainty that you have dollars in hand, as opposed to spending future earnings. But there is something to be said for not being too much of a penny-pincher.

6d
BobMerkin, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I have a lot of the same thoughts - though I've taken a path that hasn't quite gotten me to your position yet, thanks to blowing money on b-school, I have a similar mentality. Grew up in a frugal family, and my favorite thing about money is watching it pile up in my bank account instead of spending it. Don't have the taste for luxuries that most of my peers in the industry do. 

Maybe look into effective altruism as a means to find your "why"? We are privileged enough to be a position to create outsized personal wealth, which enables us to do a lot of focused good in the world if we so choose. Something I'm exploring right now.

6d
BatrickPatemen, what's your opinion? Comment below:

My man went from an analyst with no girlfriend at the start of the year to a few years off MD.

Check post history, this guys full of it.

5d
pineapplechipmunk, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Along with a lot of the advice of loosening up your spending habits, I would also recommend giving back to the community in some way. Not trying to put myself on a pedestal, but I try to be intentional about giving away a portion of my income every month to different organizations I feel passionate about. For me, I think it helps me live more generously and ends up extending into other areas of life too (e.g., finding more joy in getting a nice gift for parents, treating friends to dinner, etc.). In addition, it does help me think about how my income can be used for more than just investing and covering expenses (not that there's anything wrong with that). Anyway, just something to consider.

5d
Chucks Feed n Seed, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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4d
Isaiah_53_5 💎🙌💎🙌💎, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

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