Thursday, January 31, 2008

ROI of a Vasectomy

Sorry folks, playing catch up from vacation. Will show you the pictures later. In the meantime here's a "Best of the Captain."

It was determined a while ago that Captain Capitalism would not sow his seed for despite high demand by the ladies, a little Jr. Captain Capitalism would wreak havoc upon my life and no doubt be turned to the Dark Side by the public schools requiring a kind of Obi Wan Kenobi versus Anakin Skywalker ultimate showdown in the end, where no doubt I would surely win for I am on the Good Side of the Force and he would be a product of the public schools.

Having said that, it was determined a while ago that Captain Capitalism would have a vasectomy and his friends in St. Paul got the brilliant idea of having a "Vasectomy Fund Raiser Party" where the theme was akin to "He doesn't want to breed, and the World doesn't want him breeding either! Save the World! Donate to Captain Capitalism's Vasectomy Fund!" Alas as the time nears, it got me thinking, "how much am I going to save by having this vasectomy?"

Or more specifically, "what kind of rate of return am I going to realize on a little snip-snip?"

So with a little number crunching and research I figured that by plopping down $1,200 for the vasectomy, and assuming I would have had the 2.08 children that is the US average, I would save about $577,000 (or $945,000 if I was stupid enough to pay for my 2.08 childrens' way through college). This translates into a whopping total Return on Investment (ROI) of 48,177% (or 78,762%, respectively).

Of course, not everybody has 2.08 kids. Some are microscopically wiser only spitting out one. Others are complete morons producing 5 children and no doubt requiring me to subsidize them. Thus I calculated the total ROI's for varying levels of children as a handy dandy reference guide for those of you pondering having children;

I also annualized these rates of return so that you may compare them against the performance of your 401k/403b funds, and even that of the seemingly "unbeatable" S&P 500 (and no, it's not a mathematical error that paying for college results in a lower annualized rate of return).

Look out Warren Buffett. There's a new sheriff in town.


Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

$1200 for a vasectomy??? Shop around, you should be able to get one for half that! Unless medical care is really expensive in your area or something.

Captain Capitalism said...

Two things;

1. Economists are always conservative, thus to make my point I assume the highest possible cost that way nobody can argue against me.

2. If the Lil' Captain is on the line, then I'm willing to pay top dollar to make sure I get a doctor with steady hands and isn't prone to slipping.

JTapp said...

Only a woman would tell you to shop around for a cheaper price for something involving your manhood.

Diane said...

Dude, for a vasectomy, pay retail. That’s your little man. Extra money doesn’t always mean a good doctor, but it is a great indicator. This is not something you want to skimp on.

And you are lucky you are not female. I’m mostly infertile, I’ve *hated* children since I was *FIVE* (my mother ran a daycare), and I am married to a man who (bless him) agrees with me. My friends joke about taking up a collection to tie my tubes but were too lazy to follow through.

Will the doctor remove my uterus? Nope. Even though the damn thing has given me more trouble than it’s worth, he’s convinced I will “change my mind.” Stupid paternalistic gynecologist. I’d have to “work at it,” and possibly take fertility drugs in order to get pregnant! But the jerk wad insists on having me keep the useless organ. He’s the third doctor I’ve gone to with this problem. They smile, pat you on the knee and tell you not to worry your pretty little head about it. You’ll change your mind eventually. . .

I’ve never met a man who had the level of trouble that I’m having. And you wonder why so many women want children. We’re treated like freaks of nature when we admit we don’t want them. I’ve been called a monster and “not a real woman” when I truthfully respond to a question they ask.

As for raising one “so it knows the truth,” I’d much rather convert a child to my lifestyle of self-centered hedonism for the overall benefit of humanity away from a democrat who’s done the hard work of raising the damn thing.

And before you ask why I don’t make my husband get a vasectomy: I’m the one who has a violent aversion to children. My husband isn’t fond of them, but he doesn’t get a head-ache in the presence of one after five minutes.

The really scary thing is that most children *like* me. *shudders*

Captain Capitalism said...

Ahhh yes, I call it the "Cat Syndrome" where if you don't like it, it likes you. Happens to me all the time with cats, but also children and women.

Well don't worry about the kids thing, I'm estimating you're in your younger thirties if the doctors are thinking they can decide what's best for you. In another 15 years your friends with children will be so poor and have such miserable lives, meanwhile your husband and you will have the house paid off, perhaps another rental property or cabin, vacations, good food, you'll still have your figure.

Although, I would think if you went into a doctor and said, "look mac, don't give me none of this high and holy crap and just remove the damn uterus." The only reason I can see them not doing that is if it was too invasive of a surgery and that it would just be safer to have your husband have a vasectomy or have your tubes tied.

Either way you're in an immensely superior position than your peers.

RexChap said...

I respect anyone who chooses not to have children. Furthermore, I do not believe that you must have a child to "complete" your life. However, why do you choose to slam those responsible parents who can afford 1 or 2 children who you are not having to pay for? Maybe you were trying to cheer up Diane but to automatically infer that those with children will be poor and miserable is terrible insight on your part. You see I plan on having both children and excellent financial security. They are not mutually exculsive. Furthermore, my kids will be paying for your social security so be nice to them! I have an idea- why don't you post a ROI on the love of a child. What is the dollar value of a child making you a card or making you proud by EARNING a scholarship into college? Again, I respect those for not wanting children can you do the same for those who do? If your post was a tongue-in-cheek humor- sorry if I didn't notice sooner. If your post was serious- I will feel sorry for you when you are old and alone. This is a rare time I don't agree with the captain.

Jack said...

Okay, I agree, you may not get much of a financial return by having kids, but, for me, our 3 kids have brought me more fulfillment out of life than 20 big-screen TVs, 2 vacation condos, or 5 BMW could ever have.

Kids are an emotional investment that never stops giving, assuming you are a good parent.

Diane said...


I’d believe you when you said:
“I respect anyone who chooses not to have children. Furthermore, I do not believe that you must have a child to "complete" your life. However, why do you choose to slam those responsible parents who can afford 1 or 2 children who you are not having to pay for?”

If you hadn’t finished that with a long rant about how he’ll be lonely and miserable when he’s old, and how your children will be supporting him. You couldn’t resist finishing off with a bashing of those who wish to not have children. That says something.

The truth is that even if you manage to finish life with a decent retirement fund, you won’t be as well off as a person who hasn’t had children. And even if I manage to surround myself with nieces and nephews and neighborhood people to love, I will have always missed out on any benefits of motherhood and grandmotherhood.

As far as I’m concerned, my line of choosing is better. I can’t see the benefits outweigh my choices. I’m not attacking your line of choice when I point out the reasons for my choice. Only the insecure would interpret it that way. The best and happiest parents I’ve met respond with a merry laugh and say “yes, you have a point, but I like ‘em. . .” and we agree to disagree.

And no matter what, I am forced to pay for your children. Tax cuts to parents, public school systems, and so forth mean that your children are somewhat supported by me. I don’t resent it. I believe that the continuation of the species is a good thing, but I do have the right to resent them and criticize parents who are doing badly. As for social security: Do you honestly think that we are counting on *that* to support us in our old age?

As for who will visit us when we are old, I know a woman who has twelve children fifty grandchildren, over a hundred great grand children and so on. She has three visits a year in the nursing home. All from a woman who isn’t related to her. Having children doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be lonely. Where as I know a lady the same age who never married and never had children and she is constantly visited in her friends retirement home. Not having children doesn’t mean you’ll be old and alone.

I’m not running down parenting. I’m certain people enjoy it, and there are benefits. I’m just saying that if you want to defend it, try a different tack. This one is not really working for you.

RexChap said...


You are right about my last comment-sorry it's the parent in me-it's instinctual to be defensive about our kids. However, it was uncalled for. I really do believe that not everyone "needs" to have kids. About social security- it was a tongue-in-cheek comment as I am fully aware of viability problems of social security. In general- your comments were balanced and more neutral all of which I certainly respect/understand. Regarding paying for children via taxes, yes you do mainly in the forms of property taxes and to a lesser extent minor tax breaks. That being said the tax code has wrongy been used for many social issues/behaviour/changes for far too long (paging Steve Forbes..Flat Tax!)

To Captain-

1- I should of known that your piece was a parody of sorts- sorry if I over-reacted. Furthermore- if I lived/worked where you did- I would endorse vasectomies. Hell I work in Corrections- you don't think I would endorse mandatory vasectomies where I work? 34 year old grandmas...25 year old males with 5 kids with 5 different Moms.

2- As I said to Diane- my last comment was a cheap shot and I apologize. Not trying to lecture, but as a parent (especially a responsible caring parent) you get defensive about the benefits of children. Think of it as a coping mechanism for all the work parenting can be!

3- I certainly agree that way too many children are born to parents who have no business having them. I understand that you hate paying for them. I feel the same way with health insurance costs with my "good" health habits paying for fat lazy slobs creating increased health costs (sounds like a good captain post!)

4- Long live the Captain!

Frank said...


Why don't you go to a new doctor and tell him/her that you "don't want to have any more kids". At least that way you won't be lying :)

Here, get the "Thankyou for not breeding" bumper sticker:
(scroll half way down the page)

Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"Why don't you go to a new doctor and tell him/her that you "don't want to have any more kids". At least that way you won't be lying :)"

Do you REALLY think it would be a good idea to have surgery performed by a doctor who was too incompetant to even tell whether a woman had ever had children or not after examining her???????????

Frank said...

Oh... yeah... didn't think of that one ...

Hang on, i got an idea! uh, no i'd better not :)

Anonymous said...

Mother Told Me to Never Play With a Loaded Gun...

I have a very strong aversion to being cut. I can’t even watch a surgery on TV. Many times I have told friends that if I were ever assaulted at knifepoint, I’d ask my attacker if didn’t have a gun to use instead. Hell, I’d even help the guy procure one!

I tried for 3 years to find a urologist who would re-plumb my works under general anesthesia. (I figured I could endure almost anything while unconscious.) Nary one would consider it even though I was quite willing to pay the bill out of pocket. All said the anesthesia was more dangerous than the procedure ignoring the impact on my mental health.

Then I met a doctor at a cocktail party (no pun intended) who is legend in our fair city. Seems this chap performed his own vasectomy! He told his wife that if he didn’t emerge from the bathroom in 30 minutes, to call the paramedics. Well, he convinced me that it really wasn’t that bad. So, after much anguish, I made an appointment and loaded the future date and time into my PDA.

At 2:00 on a Tuesday afternoon, my PDA beeped me and informed me I was to be at the doctor’s office at 3:00. Damn! I had forgotten about the appointment and had not “prepped” my self before leaving for work that day so I sped home to shave. When I got there, I hurriedly grabbed my Norelco and went to work.

As you can imagine, the little swirling blades that worked wonders on my beard were pubic-powerless. So I popped open the attached sideburn trimmer thinking if I could knock down my thatch to mere stubble, I’d be home free. Topside, all was going fairly well till I tried to get at the hair located at base camp… right between my testicles and penis. I needed a mirror but had only two hands. So I bent over and with my left hand, I pulled up on my buddy and made little sweeping strokes with the razor in my right hand.

That’s when things went wrong. The trimmer blades made contact with the soft skin of my undercarriage. Sweet Jesus, weapons of mass destruction! Those tiny innocent looking little trimmer blades grabbed onto my skin and begun chewing away. That’s when both of my feet left the floor. Man, did that smart! So I decided to slow it down a bit. If I was a few minutes late, I’m sure they’d fit me into their schedule. So I took a couple of slow deep breaths before renewing my attack.

When I bent over and pulled up on my organ, I could see red. Shit! I was seeping blood in the holeyest of spots. But time being of the essence, I sucked it up (emotionally, that is) and began again. With God as my witness, I snagged the bag again! Again, I vevitated. This was not working as planned so I decided to use a safety razor. Living in a house full of women, there were always one or two perched on the side of the bathtub but on inspection, these were obviously in poor condition… an the verge of rusting. I searched among all the drawers and cabinets containing innumerable female personal care products… there were several bags of cotton balls and countless cotton pads for applying makeup not to mention the umpteen jars of facial creams, astringents and moisturizers. But there was not one new safety razor to be found.

So I lathered up, grit my teeth and used one of the girl’s pink razors… you know, one of those with a really neat ergonomically shaped soft rubber handle, an aloe strip to sooth your skin only the aloe had disappeared long-ago leaving nothing but three -- count them -- dull and rusty blades. I think more hair was plucked than cut but it was a lot better than meat-eating Norelco!

Soon, it was like I had taken a trip back in time. Gee, I kinda looked like I did when I was in the fourth grade only bigger.

I sped back to the doctor’s office and where they were anxiously waiting for me. I must have been viewed as a mortgage payment or something because they sent me directly into an examination room and said they do the paperwork afterward.

A friendly young girl who might have been all of 23 years of age led me to a room and instructed me to undress and put on a paper gown and said she’d return shortly. From the front, the paper gown might best be described as being “miniskirt length” but from the back, it looked more like the curtains at the Fox Theater where the stage play “Ass” was currently being performed.

Soon, after a brief knock at the door to honor my privacy, the young girl entered and asked me to sit up on the table. As she unfolded a square of sterile paper at my feet, she asked me to lie back on the table. I’m sure at this point, my miniskirt gown did little to cover my embarrassment. All I could think was it must look like a proboscis monkey is peeking out from underneath my gown. She then raised my paper gown up to my chest and covered my midsection with the paper square. It was all done very professionally with the greatest attention to preserving an air of dignity. NOT! Then the doctor entered.

He introduced himself and asked me if I had remembered to shave. As he said this, he smiled faintly and brushed the back of his fingers against his cheek. Every profession has its own particular brand of humor and I’m certain his little joke it is a big hit in urological circles but rest assured, it was lost on me. He then proceeded by saying, “Well, let’s get started.” He reached down, grabbed a corner of the paper square covering my midsection a snatched it away like a magician who has just made a rabbit disappear and wants everyone to see the magic of his trick.

“Good job!” he exclaimed. “Did you do this by yourself or did your wife help?” I’m not sure what I muttered in response but I do recall what I was thinking. It became apparent to me that I had likely wounded my pride unnecessarily… a lick and a promise probably would have sufficed.

At this point, I could see he was preparing a hypodermic needle and I began to feel faint again… the way I felt after I had bludgeoned my pee-pee. It had to be no more than 62 degrees in there but I could feel droplets of sweat running down from my hairline into my ears. This was not going to be good.

The doctor then explained that he was going to give me a “little shot” to deaden the area. His young assistant reached over, grabbing a hold of Mini-Me as casually as if she'd been doing this for many more years than she had been drawing a paycheck. She gently positioned him on his back, thus exposing my undercarriage.

“Oh, my” I heard the doctor say under his breath. “You’ve roughed up the very spot where we’re headed! I guess you really did do your own prep.”

I have been stung by bees only twice in my life... make that three if I include the pain killing shots I was to endure. Had I been in my bed, I am sure I would have kicked the footboard loose from the posts. From this point on, I don’t remember too much other than a tug here and a tug there. The assistant keep an eye on me and would reposition me whenever she felt it necessary. As I was being sewed back up, I was told I had to return in 3-4 weeks with a sample to make sure my tubes didn’t reattach on their own accord... so don't go getting fisky without checking to make sure everything was okay. Before moving on to the next whatever, the doctor told me to go home and ice the area down and he gave me a prescription for some sort of pain pills.

I dressed and as I was leaving, the front office gal asked me to take a few minutes to complete some of the paperwork normally done before one sees the doctor. I was anxious to leave as my groin had began to feel noticeably warm but we still had to navigate (between numerous phone calls and interruptions) the issue of my insurance coverage and how much I’d have pony up on the spot as a co-pay. Finally, my account was settled and I headed for my car. If I hurried, I thought, maybe I’d miss the rush-hour traffic. No such luck!

About the time I reached the highway 270/40-64 interchange (at an oh-too-slow speed, mind you), my crotch felt as if it were on fire. I almost made it to Lindbergh Boulevard (named for Charles "Lucky Lindy") when the hot pulsating pain in my groin was intermittantly replaced by an unbelievably horrible staccato-like pain. The shots I had gotten an over an hour ago were nothing in comparison. Now I was thankful that the traffic was moving at a snail's pace. I might have lost control of my car. I recall, with each stabbing pain, instinctively thrusting my buttocks high up off the seat... grabbing my groin with one hand; trying to steer wth the other. It felt like a hornet was trapped inside my tighty-whities and was stinging me every 30 seconds or so. I noticed the woman in the car in the lane next to me was looking at me with a furrowed brow. I guess I looked pretty bazaar thrusting my crotch toward the top of the steering wheel while howling like a stuck pig.

Three minutes later, I was pulling into my subdivision weaving in and out our speed-horses like I was at Lemans. All I could think of was ice, ice, dear ice. When I opened the freezer door, the ice bin was completely empty. There I was with my pants down around my ankles and one of my girls had left the arm on the ice machine in the up/off position. Great balls O’ fire! I started to panic when I spied a large bag of frozen peas. I grabbed it and we became very close friends. Within a couple minutes, the sharp intermittent pains had at last ceased. Thank you Green Giant!

I never did go back and submit my "sample" but I often thought about doing so... lugging one of those huge pickle jars you sometimes see in a deli only this one filled about a third of the way with a gallon of buttermilk.

Loaded or not, just don't play with guns. You'll save yourself a lot of money AND pain as well.

Anonymous said...

To Diane: A word of caution before you have any major organs removed. My wife had her uterus removed due to other medical problems. She now says her orgasms just don't have the same kick they used to have.

Based on the comments here it reinforces my belief that the only cure to overpopulation in economic development. I wonder when the tree-huggers will finally figure that out.

Anonymous said...

Interesting numbers but I would like to point out if there are too many people like the Captain we will certainly see aggresive taxation on those who choose not to create the tax payers of the future.

However, with 2.08 kids and immigration this may not be an issue in the immediate future but the trends of Europe and Japan point in this direction at some point.

Anonymous said...

"I have an idea- why don't you post a ROI on the love of a child. What is the dollar value of a child making you a card"

Cards cost about two dollars.

"Kids are an emotional investment that never stops giving, assuming you are a good parent."

Or taking, as often as not. The thing to remember is that kids are just people, and people are bastards.

Anonymous said...

I found your site via Instapundit. Some interesting reading. I'm glad this post avoids the sometimes overweening smugness of those who don't choose to have children. As an economist what do you think of the 'free rider' way of looking at childlessness?

I like how your post and your discussion brings out the fact that the overwhelming cost of raising a child does come down on the parents (as it should.) I do get amused at folks who complain about how their tax dollars go to other people's children. I wonder if those folks ponder the fact that it's other people's children who are going to be changing their bedsheets in the home, or managing their portfolio, or running the companies that the retiree's own stock in and are depending on to make a profit. Without a good education system and other people's children to keep the system running all those 401Ks and savings and investments won't mean squat...

Doogie said...

Cap'n... I'd challenge you to re-calculate your projections based on the economic power your hypothetical 2.08 kids would bring to future generations.

Especially because you'd obviously raise them as honest, hard-working capitalists.

Anonymous said...

Have your read Mark Steyn's "America Alone"?

If you love Western Civilization, Capitalism and the United States you had better think twice about not having kids.

It is in your enlightened self-interest to have at least three kids. You could be selfish, self-absorbed and a misanthrope, but I suspect a good conservative like you is actually compassionate, charitable and willing to do the work that is required to keep our civilization going.

So do your bit and breed for the USA, you might find that kids give back far more than they ever take, besides they are fun to make!

Anonymous said...

What they don't tell you about a vasectomy is that it reduces the amount of fluid (combined) that you produce for an ejaculation. While this is of little import early, it creeps up on you later. Less fluid means less profound climaxes. Sound like fun?

So, a word to the wise, don't do it.

Dante said...

Interesting. It would also be interesting to see over-all societal "costs". Macro analysis is far more difficult because societal dynamics are not a closed system.

some factors to consider:

As someone who is a member of the educated strata of society, your probability of raising long term contributing members of society is highly enhanced. Your actions are so anti-Darwinian, that there will surely be a cost in the dilution of well functioning future adults

I'm not sure if birth rates in the US are sustaining the population or whether the US requires immigration like most of the western world. What is the costs associated to increased crime rates and overall settlement costs of new immigrants that are needed to sustain industry?

How about pension plans? If the population is aging, is the pension system set up like a Ponzi scheme? If it is, society would surely suffer when it can no longer support it's old people.

Chip Ahoy said...

$1,200 for a vasectomy? Nonsense. Do it yourself Home Vasectomy Kits available on eBay.

Anonymous said...

I find it amusing how overintellectualized and defensive any discussion of this sort gets. I got married at 27, had kids at 28 and now have a grandson (I'm 55) We didn't overthink, overplan, we just got on with life. Btw, the "patronizing" doctor is simply basing his thinking on anecdotal evidence from his practice. It may very well not apply to you, but a large number of women do "change their mind"

Anonymous said...

Perfectly illustrative. An economist is indeed a person who knows the cost of everything but the value of nothing.