Ray Dalio’s life arc is a great frame work to use to plan out one’s life and create shorter term 5year goal and longer goals as well as understand where they are in relation to their loved ones. Here is the visual representation of the arc. I will also introduce a framework for thinking about life which I find helpful as well later in this article.
You can mark off the things you have accomplished on the diagram to get a sense of what things are left over and then ask yourself how much you want to achieve those things to help prioritize where you invest your time and energy.
Understanding this typical progression through time for people helps to think about where demand is going to increase/decrease over time when you look at the demographics of the country you are in. Here’s the population pyramid for the United States. A few key observations
- Average life expectancy is 76 years. This is 4 years less than Ray Dalio’s Life Arc Diagram shows
- There are more males vs females up until Age 45+
- Current retirement age is around 66-67 yrs old. That gives the average person 10 years of life to enjoy before the pass away.
The following charts were taken from Wikipedia
The life arc is a great starting point but I think it can be improved by segmenting it out by Male vs Female life arcs. For example females have a shorter fertility window vs men. Knowing this they should plan accordingly if they want to have children during their life.
Expected number of births over a woman’s lifetime
The thing that’s missing from this chart is the % of women without any kids over time. This is because the average also includes those who have zero children so if we look just at those who have kids what is the average number of kids they have and what percentage of people are actually having kids.
Why are women having fewer births? There are many possibilities however I think the biggest factor of them all is quite simply birth control. Birth control is great at the individual level for having control over when to have a pregnancy and the choice to abort if desired. These abilities have not been in existence forever and easily available to the population.
Condoms have existed in some form and fashion dating back at least several centuries. Latex condoms were invented in the 1920s when the material was recognized as better quality than rubber condoms.
The first commercially available birth control pill was made by an American chemist called Frank Colton in 1960 (source). Looking at the prior chart above the dip in expected births per woman happened right around this time. I am sure this is just one of many factors causing the change.
So even though it is possible to have children at a later age for a woman the likelihood is a lot lower. Similar to airplane crashes, they are over shown on TV when they happen but in reality they happen a lot less than car crashes.
The other thing with the birth rate is segmenting it by location - below we see that lower birth rates are mostly in the developed world but in most of Africa birth rates are very high. So this brings up an interesting question of why? Do Africans not use birth control as in other areas of the world? And if so why?
These are the main 3 phases
How to plan for your family