Another day, another trending financial acronym. Now people are using terms like DINKs, DEWKs, SINKs, KIPPERs, SINBADs, GLAMs, and PODWOGs to describe different socio-economic profiles and realities. These acronyms aren’t just cheeky – they mean something about how various generations are responding to the current state of the world and shaping its future. Here’s what you need to know.

What do all these financial acronyms mean?

  • DINKs: Dual Income No Kids
  • DEWKs: Dually Employed With Kids
  • SINKs: Single Income No Kids
  • KIPPERs: Kids In Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings
  • SINBADs: Single Income No Boyfriend And Desperate
  • GLAMs: Greying Leisured Affluent Married
  • PODWOGs: Parents of Dinks Without Grandchildren

Profiles of the financial acronyms

The hashtag #DINK has over 278 million views on TikTok, so let’s dive into that one first – if you understand the rise of this lifestyle, you’ll have a better grasp of all the other ones in the list above. A 2021 Pew Research Center poll revealed that 44% of people aged 18 to 49 say it’s “not too likely” or “not all likely” that they will have kids someday, which is a 37% increase since 2018.

From the hefty cost of raising a child – a Credello report showed that by the time you send your kid to college, you’ll have spent over $100,000 – to the fact that people are finding different types of fulfillment in life and also have concerns about raising children in an increasingly unstable world, there are different explanations for the increasing number of DINKs.

Some DINKs are delaying children but do plan to have them one day. One thing is for sure: financially, having two incomes and zero kids frees up a whole lot of funds that can be invested or spent on various life pursuits such as dining, shopping, and travel.

“When it comes to DINKs and SINKs, we’re looking at situations where people either choose to exclude children-related expenses from their future or are in the process of preparing for it. Since saving for college, childcare, pregnancy-related medical expenses or back-to-school shopping aren’t a priority, single or double-income houses can technically afford more luxuries, travel more, invest, save for retirement, or explore more costly hobbies,” says Jill Gonzalez, an analyst at WalletHub.

There is an edge in terms of income potential too. DINKs may be more inclined to be in the workforce and focus on their careers as a top priority. DINK households earn an average of $138,000 annually versus $129,000 for DEWK households, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS).

Gonzalez notes that on the flip side, these households could potentially end up spending recklessly or losing sight of bigger financial goals without a budgeting plan. When you have children, you tend to think more long-term.

As for DEWKs, this is the typical household as we used to know it. Except the world has changed in the past couple of decades, and they are facing the same high cost of living as people with no kids, but with extra mouths to feed. In other words, they have less disposable income and more responsibility. This may affect their geographical location and drive them to the suburbs or cheaper states and cities, especially if remote work is thrown into the mix.

What about single people in all of this? While SINKs are not child-rearing, they only have access to one income, so buying a home may need to be delayed by a few years compared to their DINK counterparts. However, some of them aren’t interested in home ownership, or they plan on pursuing alternative lifestyles such as living and traveling in an RV, according to a Reddit thread on the topic.

SINBADs, which are the Bridget Jones’ of the world, have an unfair moniker (Single Income No Boyfriend, And Desperate.) Perhaps their desperation lies in the fact there is both a “singles tax” and a “pink tax” – things like cars and homes cost more when you’re a single woman.

Let’s talk about KIPPERs and older parents

Now let’s talk about KIPPERs. “They are quite common and refer to a living situation which many adults nowadays are either forced into or simply choose to be in,” says Gonzalez. The pandemic pushed several millennials to move back home to pay down debt and catch a breath financially.

“Some parents find it natural or pleasant to live with their adult children, even though it could cause a strain on their budget for both basic expenses and retirement savings. However, this situation is an opportunity for younger adults who have a job but cannot afford to live on their own,” adds Gonzalez.

While parents of KIPPERs may start dipping into their retirement savings or even delaying retirement to help out their kids, there are the GLAMs (Greying Leisured Affluent Married) and PODWOGs (Parents of Dinks Without Grandchildren) of the world who are living their best life with plenty of disposable income and few family commitments.

What does this mean for the economy and retirement?

If you’re wondering what all of this means for the economy and retirement, there are a few things to keep in mind. DINKs will have an impact on the housing market in the years to come, according to Gonzalez: “DINKs have a higher disposable income, which can lead to big purchases such as houses or cars. This factor alone affects the housing market since DINKs are willing to invest in homeownership and demand is higher.” They may just be driving prices up for everyone else. There is also more flexibility to choose your retirement age when you’re a DINK – early retirement and semi-retirement are viable options.

“On top of that, they can save more and accumulate wealth over time through good retirement plans. This means we might see more double-income American households plan their retirement ahead of time, including relocating to a different state for better retirement conditions or investing in their futures,” says Gonzalez.

On the other end of the spectrum, KIPPERs might not focus as much on future investments and may direct their income towards house expenses or debt repayment, whether we’re talking about a student loan, mortgage, or credit card debt, adds Gonzalez.

However, they may gain a financial advantage over time if they pay down debt or expand their skills to get a higher-paying job. If they don’t carry on the cycle of depending on others – Gonzales notes that KIPPERs typically invest less in retirement and might end up being financially dependent on their adult children.

Bottom line

It sure seems that all the DINK hype is justified – they have it pretty good as far as all the different financial profiles go. Don’t forget that, as insightful as diving into some of these acronyms can be, it’s also important not to generalize. People end up in similar situations for completely different reasons.