What Is Dual Income, No Kids (DINK)?

"Dual income, no kids" (DINK) is a slang phrase for a household in which there are two incomes and no children. Couples living in a DINK household frequently have more disposable income because they do not have the added expenses that come with children. They also often spend less per person on housing than singles because of their ability to share kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms.

For related insight, contrast DINKs with DEWKs, a living arrangement wherein both partners work and are raising children.

Key Takeaways

  • "Dual income, no kids" (DINK) is a slang phrase for a household in which there are two incomes and no children.
  • DINKs are often targets of marketing efforts for investment products and luxury items because they usually have higher disposable incomes.
  • There are several main categories of dual-income couples with no kids, including new couples, empty nesters, gay married couples, and other childless couples.

Understanding Dual Income, No Kids (DINK)

The lack of dependents in the household can allow for more income to be put toward savings or spent on other interests. Dual income households without children do not automatically become rich or even upper middle class. The salaries of the partners still limit how much they can spend and how often they can spend it. However, DINKs are often targets of marketing efforts for investment products and luxury items, such as expensive cars and vacations.

Costs for food, clothing, and long-term education associated with raising one or more children are eliminated from the household. Without children, the partners can save that money or spend it on creature comforts for themselves. That could allow the couple to increase their expenditures on meals. They can also buy articles of clothing that might otherwise be deemed too expensive. Sellers of consumer goods, the travel industry, and other companies may also target this demographic.

The couple would also not require as much living space to accommodate themselves and their needs. In other words, they would not need to look for housing that includes bedrooms for children to occupy. That could allow them to rent or purchase less expensive dwellings with smaller spaces. Furthermore, they save money compared to singles by sharing goods and services. For example, DINKs usually only need one kitchen and typically share hotel rooms during their vacations.

Sharing with each other is what gives DINKs more disposable income than singles. On the other hand, DINKs have more disposable income than couples that are married with children because they don't have to share with kids.

The availability of more disposable cash also creates the possibility for further exploration of investment opportunities. The money that might have been spent on children could be put into stocks, bonds, or other investment vehicles. Investing even a few thousand dollars per year can make a substantial difference in the long run.

Types of DINKs

There are several main categories of dual-income couples with no kids. They have different advantages and disadvantages for the partners and those trying to market to them.

New Couples

Whenever people first combine their households, it frees up funds for other purchases. This effect can be magnified by other events, such as graduation. Suppose a couple waits until graduating from college to get married and move in together. They could go from making $20,000 each per year to a combined annual income of $80,000 or more. New couples like this are deciding how they are going to live their lives. Naturally, it is a good marketing strategy to focus on these consumers and try and win them over.

Everyone has a plan for these new couples. Financial institutions will want them to start investing in mutual funds and ETFs. They will have all sorts of charts and graphs showing how money the couple saves now will benefit from compounding. Real estate agents will encourage new couples to go ahead and buy large family homes. They may claim real estate is a better investment than stocks or bonds, and now is the time to start preparing for kids in the future. Others will try to sell sports cars, vacations, and other luxury goods to new couples.

Empty Nesters

After the children have grown up and moved out, couples may become part of the dual income, no kids demographic again. This time, the money they spent on kids is freed up, and they might also gain funds by selling their house. Empty nesters are usually in their 40s or 50s and might need to start getting serious about saving for retirement. If they already have substantial savings, it could be time to start taking more vacations before the couple gets too old to enjoy them.

Gay Married Couples

Gay married couples are a relatively new DINK category, but they are important to marketers for a variety of reasons. First, gender income inequality means that men usually make more money than women. So, gay married men have even more disposable income than other dual income couples with no kids. Secondly, gay married couples often remain DINKs forever because they are less likely to have kids.

Other Childless Couples

Although this group is sometimes overlooked, many couples cannot have children or decide to remain childless. These outcomes are particularly likely when trying to have or adopt children might be too risky or costly. By staying in the dual income, no kids demographic, these couples continue to enjoy the benefits of higher disposable income.