Financial Freedom and Parenthood

Last week I finally got to meet the most beautiful girl in the entire world:

I’ve only been a parent for a matter of days and am actively suffering from sleep deprivation, but here are some thoughts which I can revisit later and probably laugh at my own foolishness and naïveté. :) I look forward to the adventure!

How does the arrival of children affect my journey towards financial freedom? Of course, having kids means I want to spend time raising them as opposed to paying someone else to, so not having to work would definitely help with that. However, I also imagine that when the kids are at school then I’ll have at least a half day free for other pursuits. We’re definitely talking more about a scenario where we both work about half-time. In fact, that day may be coming soon. Health insurance remains a concern here, I’ll have to report back on my search for self-employed health insurance.

The cost of raising kids. In general, I think my philosophy on raising kids will be to teach them how to fish as opposed to giving them fish. So I’ll spring for lessons for things like swimming and musical instruments – and even world travel in hostels with kids – but I’m fine with being the weird house with no cable TV, no video games, and instead having lots of books and a vast board game selection. Is it hard just to temporarily subscribe to cable once every two years only for the Olympics?

As for baby time, we plan on trying a few things to save money. Breast milk is obviously cheaper than formula. (Breast pumps are covered by health insurance now, as part of the Affordable Care Act.) As she grows, I expect her to eat pretty much what we eat, perhaps either blended or pressure-cooked. Cloth/reusable diapers seem to save money over disposable ones, especially if you can stretch them across at least two kids, and we do plan on having more children. We’ve got a ton of clothes as gifts, some hand-me-downs, and new grandparents itchy to spoil her, so we’re not worried about that part just yet.

College tuition? Seems so far away. I’m personally okay with them taking on some student loans, but Mrs. MMB got a lot of parental support for college, so she wants to pay that forward. Actually, we already started a 529 years ago ironically due to a credit card, I just have to switch the beneficiary once her Social Security number comes in. Let’s hope that the tax sheltering lets compound interest do its thing.

Comments

  1. Congrats dude! Top of the world, isn’t it? :)

  2. Amazingly, it’s even better than I thought it would be. I feel so blessed and grateful.

  3. Congratulations, Jonathan!!! She is beautiful.

  4. Congrats! – it is the best feeling in the world. There is only upside from this point on – don’t let the sleepless nights get you down. It only gets better and better!

    Kartik (Dad of two lovely girls)

  5. Congratulations!

  6. Wonderful news! Having a child is such a rewarding experience, so enjoy the ride, and don’t miss a moment because they grow so fast. Congratulations!

  7. Congratulations!!! You will probably get less sleep than you could ever imagine and it will also be more rewarding than you could ever imagine.

  8. Creditcardfree says:

    Congratulations!! She is beautiful.

  9. Congrats. Life changes for the better. Being a Dad is the best job one can ask for. Enjoy every day with her and your wife.

    Don’t hesitate to reach out to fellow dads for help & advice.

  10. Father of 3 says:

    Congrats, but no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy. Jonathan, reread this entry in four or five years for a hearty laugh.

  11. A Diffferent Dan says:

    Congrats and just went thru this myself. So, here’s the best tip we recv’ed: Sleep when they sleep.

  12. Congratulations Jonathan! Parenthood is definitely an amazing and rewarding experience. Perspectives for me have definitely changed a bit since becoming a parent.

    The 1 thing I will pass in regards to the journey to financial freedom is time (or lack there of). That has likely been the biggest challenge for me so far. Its a lot hard to be frugal when you no longer have the time to trade for savings, etc. If you can get to the point of working half-time though that may help keep things in balance quite a bit.

  13. Congratulations on your new daughter. You are in for a lot of fun and change. This will be the best time of your life.

  14. Congrats! Definitely lots of new financial challenges with the new addition, but it’s all worth it. Enjoy this time…

  15. Congratulations! The fun has just begun.

  16. Congratulations!

  17. Congrats!!!

  18. Congratulations Jonathan! She is absolutely precious.

  19. Congrats! So happy for you both!

  20. Great news and congrats!!

    “but I’m fine with being the weird house with no cable TV, no video games, and instead having lots of books and a vast board game selection. Is it hard just to temporarily subscribe to cable once every two years only for the Olympics?”

    FYI – most of us start out with these lofty ideals as a new parent, I for one forbid soda, TV’s in the kids rooms, really limited sweets and no beef. Easy to enforce when the kids are small then peer pressure makes it harder as they get older. But give them a good basic foundation and they’ll be set for life…. Good luck.

  21. Congrats on the new addition sir! Hope mom and baby are doing well. All the best!

  22. I appreciate the opportunity to learn from you, Jonathon, and I could only suggest you learn about Deschooling & Unschooling… before you subject your kid to public or private school; because really the mainstream school system, and even the “good” public schools, are worse for children to go thru today than ever before. Its not a healthy way to raise a child. And me, I don’t have kids but I went thru the school system from about 1985-1997 before i dropped out of high school.

  23. Let me join the chorus by saying congratulations! From one papa to another, those first few days and weeks are unreal. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the non-screaming parts tremendously!

  24. Congratulations Jonathan.

    I didnt know breast pumps were covered under the affordable health care law. Thanks again for the info.

  25. Like the name you picked out! Congrats!

  26. Congratulations, Jonathan! Enjoy every moment and hold her as much as you can.

  27. Congratulations! Raising kids is the best (job) in the world, but the hardest too!

  28. Congratulations! She is beautiful!

  29. Congrats. I remember that feeling well as I have a 2 year old son. Enjoy every moment because they pass quickly and they’re off to the next stage of life before you know it.

  30. Congrats! We had a baby girl (our first) back in February. I can’t wait to see your thoughts on part time work. My current line work wouldn’t accommodate part time and I don’t think I’d even want to with this line of work. Oh yeah just wait until all the bills start coming!

  31. Congrats dude!

  32. congrats!

  33. Congratulations! Many blessings

  34. Congrats! Welcome to the PF Bloggers new daddy club!

  35. Congratulations, Jonathan! Welcome to the club.

  36. Long time reader, first time commenting. :). Congrats and welcome to the club. Nothing prepares you for the changes that kids present to you. One piece of advice, I never understood “it takes a village to raise a child” until I had one of my own. So true!

  37. Michael Bogle says:

    Congrats!

    I went ahead and lump funded my kids’ 529′s earlier this year (hopefully with an amount that, assuming a decent return, will pay for college in 16/18 years), moving money over from investments, and taking the immediate tax credit, which in South Carolina, is 7% of the entire amount. I debated this versus putting in smaller amounts every year, but couldn’t think of a reason not to tax shelter the whole thing.

    Congrats again! Enjoy!

  38. Huge congrats to you, Jonathan! May blessings continue to rain down on you and your sweet family.

  39. Congrats Jonathan, shutterfly has 20 free birth annoucement cards and other photobooks extra…rest when she sleeps!

  40. Congratulations! You’re holding the best thing ever, and money can’t buy it. Soak up every moment – it goes so fast. It seems like yesterday, I was holding my daughter like you in this photo. Now she’s two going on five…

  41. Congratulations.

  42. Congratulations!

    “So I’ll spring for lessons for things like swimming and musical instruments – and even world travel in hostels with kids – but I’m fine with being the weird house with no cable TV, no video games, and instead having lots of books and a vast board game selection. Is it hard just to temporarily subscribe to cable once every two years only for the Olympics?”

    This sounds just like the household my husband grew up in (plus they had no refined sugar). Be careful what you wish for! They were definitely the weird family in the neighborhood, having two PhD educated scientists as parents. The family was given a TV by the grandparents, and my husband’s father programmed it so that it would only display PBS. The kids eventually learned how to access the other channels, the father, not willing to admit this, offered to rent a TV which could view the Olympics. He asked “Is this the commercial television event you want to watch for the year?” So they rented a TV for this, if only for the principle. The kids would read the TV guide section of the newspaper to keep up with latest TV shows, so that they could fit in at school and pretend that they knew what the other kids were talking about.

    The kids were not allowed to have video games, but my husband earned one during a school fundraiser event – which was not an event foreseen by the parents! He opted to hide and play video games in a tree rather than swim, during the swimming lessons his parents were paying for.

    One of the first large purchases my husband made after leaving the nest was a huge TV, which he didn’t tell his parents about for some time. He also is completely lost when it comes to pop culture references, never having watched shows like Fantasy Island, I Dream of Jeannie, A-Team, etc. He is also a sugar addict now. In general he has turned out well, graduating from college and working as an engineer, loves reading and has a natural preference for healthy food. However, I feel he has less impulse and self control that most of our peers, and feels the need to buy things, possibly to compensate for material things lacking in his childhood – even though it was rich with educational stimulus in a very loving and affectionate environment.

    I understand parent’s desires to limit access to TVs, screens, sugar, etc, but I also think learning moderation and impulse control is also valuable. Consider reading the book “Bringing up Bebe” by Pamela Druckerman. It provides good examples of different parenting styles and the effects of teaching kids moderation.

  43. Hearty congratulations Jonathan. I have three kids – a son and two daughters. They are a little older now and in hindsight all I can say is that the years fly by so enjoy every minute!

    Regards,
    Kevin

  44. Congratulations! Can you imagine the decisions you have to help her with? Stanford vs. Harvard, Toyota vs. Ford, Vanguard vs. T Rowe Price, that guy vs. that guy

  45. Congrats! So happy for you and your wife. :)

  46. Woo-hoo! Congratulations!

  47. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager says:

    Congrats!

  48. Congradulations!! You’re entering the most frightening and scary time of your life. It’s also the most rewarding and gratifying time of your life. Nothing else you do will have the impact of raising your own child. Enjoy!!

  49. Congrats!!!

  50. Woo hoo! She IS gorgeous. Congratulations to you and your wife, Jonathan!! Enjoy the adventure!

  51. Congrats Jonathan! She’s so cute!

  52. Congratulations proud daddy !!

  53. Beautiful girl! Our third was also born just a few weeks ago. One thing we’ve learned about kids and finance- there’s no ‘perfect time’ or scenario that they fit into. You just have kids and plow ahead, and that’s all part of the fun. The money (along with prudent choices like you’re making) will work out.

  54. Vijaianand says:

    Congrats man! Welcome to dad’ club. Just enjoy these days when they are so small, cute and cuddly.

    Have fun and start adding new memories to your family album.

    Vijai

  55. missliquidl says:

    congrats! my husband and i have been married almost 6 years. still not ready to make that jump but so happy for those that do.

  56. Congrats .. She is awesome.

  57. Jon

    congrats first of all. I would suggest that you cant live like hermits. I am of a completely different philosphy than you. Once you have children its not longer about yourself…… Its about providing for your family. You should spoil your kids occastionally and not deny them some enjoyment in life. (That sometimes means you will not hit your finacial goals as early as you liked…You can plan life out!!!) You and your wife are great financially, its not goint to hurt you to, watch some tv or splurge on a hotel room. (Hostel with kids….really) As the above poster, talked about….Being “cheap” vice fincially smart can sometimes have opposite effect on your children.

  58. Congrats, Jonathan. Welcome to Cute little one. :)

  59. Congratulations!

  60. Congrats! Being a dad is the greatest/hardest job in the world!

    I always laugh when I hear about new parents that are going to use cloth diapers. In my experience, approximately 0% of them have followed through with it for more than a month or two. A don’t know a single couple that could stick with it.

  61. Congratulations! And incidentally, I grew up in a household with lots of books but no tv -I’m forever grateful to my parents for giving me that great start!

  62. Congratulations.

    Any buy disposable diapers. It’s worth the money.

  63. Parenting is a tough job with long hours and no pay and at the end of you get a smart ass telling you how you screwed his life.

    – Homer J Simpson

  64. Congratulations! Wonderful news!

  65. Welcome to the Club! The fun and exhausting club…

    I know you live in the Northwest… Wasn’t sure if it was Washington state. They have a great program called GET (Guaranteed Education Tuition.) You buy credits for college at UW or WSU now, and whatever the price increase is, they will give you that amount toward college ANYWHERE… As tuition has gone up faster than the stock market (8% vs. 6.2% after inflation) it might be a good deal if you live in Washington.

    Wow, I got sidetracked there… Congrats again! : )

  66. Congratulations! Enjoy the ride.
    If you’re going to do cloth diapers, may I recommend getting a diaper sprayer that you hook up to your toilet. It’s worth it.

  67. Michael Bogle says:

    I’ll echo the cloth diapers thing. I’m cheap, but I’m not willing to do that. More power to y’all if it lasts more than a week :-)

  68. Super easy to stop and start cable.

    529 – yeah, we’re funding that like crazy. Kid number 2 arrives in December so now I’m staring down the barrel of one day dropping 2k a month into 529s. Yikes. Still I hated taking loans for undergrad and hated working 30 hours a week during undergrad too. I want my kids to enjoy college, do a year abroad and do internships. Those are things I didn’t do as I was struggling so much just to keep myself fed.

    Oh and we use cloth diapers. Giant cash savings using the ole bum genius (http://www.bumgenius.com/one-size.php) v. disposable. Especially with kid #2, cloth diapers are crazy good investment.

  69. Congratulations, new dad! She is amazing.

  70. Congrats Jonathan!!!!!

    I am so happy for you. Have been reading your blog for almost for last 5 years. Thanks.

    Hamdan

  71. ‘Sleep deprivation’

    ha, you’ll never sleep the same way again. Trust me. Mine are 11 and 7.

    Congrats!!

  72. Zhenyu Wang says:

    Congratulations

  73. Christopher says:

    Thank you for sharing. Have been reading you blog for about a year, love all the info. Enjoy the memories you’re making now, and good luck with getting some sleep!

  74. Congrats.

    I suggest getting “Your Baby Can Read” and a bouncer. Awesome way to get time to do things other than holding your baby.

    See if you have a “Once Upon a Child” or another baby consignment store. Thrift store are also good but take more time for similar prices.

    I am for the Bumgenius 4.0, they are good up to potty training. You may want to use some disposals at first because the kid will go through 20 diapers a day. We were doing wash every night, after a few months you can do it every 2-3 days. We do not have to sprayer but just use a bucket and spray it in the backyard. Also pick up some disposal gloves, totally worth it!

    We use the Ameda Purely Yours Breast Pump. It went out once and Ameda paid for a rental and replaced the unit.

    If you have am Smart phone, get some of the free baby apps, I paid for one and it was lame. You be surprised how awesome they are when the baby stops crying.

    Our baby is 7 months and we started food at 6 months. Don’t buy baby food, just mash or puree.

    Also take what ever safe cheap baby care you can get. Still working on this in our family but we are looking at $200 a week for 5 day a week day care. Currently we are trying to find someone two days a week because my wife and I are on shift schedules. We are need looking forward to $10,400 a year just for day care.

  75. oh Yeah Bumgenius 4.0, get the snaps not the velco. They last longer.

  76. CONGRATULATIONS! You are blessed!

  77. huge congratulations on a very rewarding experience.

    just in time for tax time :) financial freedom does help tremendously as it presents you with opportunities you wouldn’t have had, such as that to raise your child at home on your own. looking forward to more updates on this topic :)

  78. Congratulations Mr and Mrs Mymoneyblog! That is a great photo you posted.

  79. Thanks everyone!

    Yeah I now understand about the 20 diapers a day thing. That’s why I want to try cloth/hybrid! Operative word “try”. We are actually still on disposables right now as we have lots of them as gifts (diaper cakes!) to run through. Although at this rate it won’t take long…

  80. Stock Elf says:

    Congratulations! So many new personal and financial journeys await!

  81. Congratulations, Jonathan. I’ve read your blog for several years now and have a tremendous respect for your diligence, intellect and discipline. But please do read (and re-read) Edith’s well-thought out comments above…moderation and balance are everything. Congratulations again.

  82. Congrats! I expect some blog posts on your learnings/savings/experience with the kiddo!

  83. Congratulations! My wife and I just had our first too this May and boy has it changed our goals and paths financially. Yeah, bond with your kid! They grow and develop drastically day to day, you will miss it by working too much. Newborns will benefit soooo much from just love. We took 3 months off, some PFL some vacation money. But I don’t regret it, its been the best summer of my life! And now we are consider both part time careers. Sure we can kick ass and take names climbing to career success. But true hapiness in life is to balance love, wealth, and health.

  84. Congratulations! My “babies” are 26, 21 and 14 now. Kids cost a fortune, but are worth every penny. I could offer all sorts of advice, but the fun part is figuring the next 18 years out, as it happens. You’ll find that there’s no way to plan for everything, so just enjoy the ride while it lasts. And yes, they grow up fast!

  85. Eric Jacobson says:

    What a beautiful baby! Congratulations! The sleep issue, unfortunately, is hit-and-miss. The baby may decide to be a “good sleeper” or she may wake you up most nights for several years. We have two girls and ended up with one of each sleep type. Try to get her on your schedule as much as possible. Make sure you also try to get day time naps at least on weekends or you turn into a zombie and don’t even realize it until you start zoning out at work or while driving.

  86. Congratulations! Have fun with your kid and don’t let anyone tell you how to be a parent.

    That being said, one word of advice about cloth diapers… :)

    From roughly 1 month and older. If her bum is constantly red, irritated and in need of ointment, it’s not working and it’s not typical for kids using disposables. They are meant to be pink, not red. Do your kid a favor and switch to disposables – her bum will thank you!

  87. Congrats!

  88. Congratulations!! She’s beautiful! I had my daughter 9 years ago…best gift in the world. She was nursed for 1 1/2 years, so I highly recommend it. It certainly does save you some money, but more importantly, she rarely got sick.

  89. Mazel Tov. A baby puts everything – EVERYTHING – into perspective.

    Paying it forward is good wisdom. “Paying” can occur in many ways…

  90. Daisy Paige says:

    Congratulations!

    I used the Bumgenius cloth diapers with my first son for 20 months but had to stop because his daycare would only allow disposables. So I fell out of the habit and have been using disposables on my second son, who is already 8 months old. This post just served as a friendly reminder to go dig them out of the attic and wash them up to use again! Thanks!

    And I ditto the recommendations of getting the snap cloth diapers instead of the velcro ones as well as the diaper sprayer. Both really good suggestions.

  91. Haley Hill says:

    So exciting! I am due with our first child in December and we are also trying to have a child on a budget and not buy extra expensive or unnecessary items. We are going to cloth diaper and I have purchased the BumGenius 4.0 diapers after doing tons of research. I only bought 12 for now so I can try other types if we don’t like these. I think it will save a ton of money and it’s not as bad as people used to think!

    As far as the breast pumps, I asked my insurance about this and the fine print that I was given says that pumps are only covered for medically necessary reasons like the baby is in the NICU or some other reason. But after reading some more information, it appears the law does not state that. Does anyone know more about this? I will ask my insurance more about it as well. Thanks for mentioning it.

  92. @Haley Hill – I think the law literally changed on August 1st, so it’s very recent. The details are still being worked out as such, but for example now Target is getting a huge shipment of Medela breast pumps as they are now covered by many insurance and they’ll be selling a lot more. Good luck!

    “New private health plans must cover the guidelines on women’s preventive services with no cost sharing in plan years starting on or after August 1, 2012.”

    http://www.healthcare.gov/news.....2011a.html

    I don’t feel cloth diapers are as extreme as some people think they are, I suppose because I had cloth diapers as a baby myself and saw them in use on my sister. I do agree they are inconvenient but they just make so much waste for so little poop! But who knows, we might stick with disposables.

  93. Actually I was just thinking about the time I met this awesome Australian family when staying at a hostel that took the entire year off and went around the world. I wouldn’t try it with young kids, but for older ones meeting new people from around the world would be very educational in ways you can’t learn from a book. Many hostels are very family-friendly if you do the research beforehand. Otherwise, we’d probably rent a private apartment for long-term stays.

    Also check out the TV show “Travel with Kids” on PBS sometimes, also available streaming online for free. It helps make a daunting task feel achievable.

    http://www.travelwithkids.tv/

  94. Congratulations on little cutie MMB!

  95. Major congrats Jonathan! Hopefully you will still manage to find time to continue writing posts for your blog!

  96. Congratulations!
    It is life changing and something that I had to experience to understand.

  97. Congratulations! Our kids are almost7 and 9 now. We have many of the same views. We have tones of books and no cable. We did get an xBox connect last year and are having lots of fun planning together. Cloth diapers are great and they lead to earlier toilet training because kids can feel when they are wet. My only suggestion is a diaper service instead of buying them. We only bought the covers. Beleive me, you need and industrial washer to deal with the diapers and there are actually different sizes as the grow. Our diaper service in PHX was cheaper than disposables and both our girls were done with diapers at 18 months.

  98. Just catching up – CONGRATULATIONS!

  99. Congratulations! She’s beautiful!

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