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Momentary sacrifices and financial independence

baby feet

This past weekend we visited good friends of ours that just had a baby. It was incredible seeing a 4 day old baby that was so tiny and so adorable. Looking at Baby T, who is almost 16 months old, it seemed eons ago when he was that small. It is absolutely mind-blowing to me how much Baby T has grown. If you look at him now, with his chubby cheeks, chicken drum stick like calves, and Buddha like belly, you would never have guessed that he lost almost 14% of his body weight the first week after birth and had weight gain issue throughout the first few months of his life. When I saw my friends’ baby, I recalled a very special and hyggelig moment that I shared with Baby T when he was only a few days old. I still remember holding a swaddled up Baby T in one of my arms at 2 AM in the morning so he could continue sleeping. I was sitting in the den room, trying to stay up by browsing the internet on the computer. The room was cold and was only lit by the dimmed computer screen as I didn’t want to have any lights on to  disturb Baby T. In the bedroom next door, Mrs. T was trying to get few hours of sleep before the next feeding time. To not feel left out, T Cat jumped on my lap, made herself comfortable before falling asleep. I was amazed that Mrs. T and I made such amazing little being. While sleeping, Baby T looked so content, so innocent, and so happy to be in this world. At one point he woke up, looked at me with his big round eyes for a few seconds, then fell back to sleep. For that brief few seconds that stared at each others’ eyes, I felt completely connected to him and I felt that I was part of him. I will never forget this kind of special moment with Baby T for as long as I live. It was then I realized that as a dad I would do anything and everything for him because I love him.

 

“When you get married, not much changes. But when you have a kid, everything changes!”

 

My friend said the above quote while in his extremely sleep deprived state. He was 100% correct! When Mrs. T and I got married, nothing really changed. We had been living together for a while and we simply got a piece of paper stating that we are now husband and wife. It was always weird whenever my friends asked me how married life was and I would always answer, no different than before. When Baby T was born, however, our lives changed forever.

 

Although my friends were extremely sleep deprived, they were extremely happy to be parents. I could see it in their smiles and I could hear it in their voices. The dad, whom is one of my closest friends that I’ve known for over 12 years, was holding his 4 day old son and his facial expression said it all. He just couldn’t hold back his joy. Of all the years I’ve known him, I’ve never seen him like that.

 

“Ohhhh he’s SOOOO cute and SOOO small! Can we have another one please?” Mrs. T asked me this question a few times while we were visiting.

“Maybe when Baby T is a bit older,” was my reply……

 

Before becoming a dad, I never understood why people say raising kids is one of the most rewarding things in life. Now I completely understand. As a parent you make a lot of sacrifices, like waking up multiple times in the middle of the night, changing poopy diapers (and sometimes clothes), missing fun social outings, and changing your lifestyle completely. But all these sacrifices are temporary. These momentary sacrifices will eventually lead to lots of happiness and rewards. Baby T is at an age that he’s learning new things on a daily basis. It brought smiles to my face seeing him learning how to feed himself with a spoon the other day. It also brought smiles to my face seeing him making the sign for pear (we’re teaching him sign language) and saying a word that sort of sounded like pear. Now he makes the pear sign and says the word whenever he wants to eat pears. How cute is that?

 

Moments like these are priceless and they are so priceless and valuable because of our momentary sacrifices as parents.

Does this sound familiar to you when it comes to achieving financial independence?

This momentary sacrifice idea is no different than what we do as we work toward achieving financial independence. We live below our means and have a frugal lifestyle so we can save as much money as possible to invest. This often means delay gratification or not purchasing certain items. While it’s nice to drive a new BMW, eating at a fancy restaurant every night, and have all the shiny new expensive electronic gadgets, these “cool” items will not lead you to financial independence. In fact they will only delay your financial independence and often may completely prevent you from achieving it.

 

Isn’t it better to be conscious about your grocery bills and use the saved up money to invest?
Isn’t it better to bring lunch to work instead of buying lunch and use the saved up money to invest?
Isn’t it better to cut your cable subscription and enjoy spending that time with your family and use the saved up money to invest?
Isn’t it better to not keeping up with the Joneses and only benchmark yourself?

Having an major investment will be the catalyst to early retirement/financial independence. and this is why we started dividend investing many years ago.

 

Momentary sacrifices are totally worth it if it means we can achieve financial independence in our 40’s. To me, I believe momentary sacrifices and financial independence go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. However, at the same time, it is important to learn how to enjoy the moment and enjoy the finer things in your life. Things like love, relationships, talent, creativity and individuality are very important. You cannot continue living if all you think about every minute of your life is money. If you do that, your life will suffer. This is the same as raising a kid. If you don’t put in the time to be a good parent and make the necessary commitments for your kid, you will not understand and cherish the rewards that your kid will bring to your life. You cannot live day to day regretting having a kid, or not spending any time with your kid. You need to cherish the time that you spend with your kid. I suppose this is why I am more appreciative to my parents, now I’m a parent myself.

 

What’s your stance on this topic? Do you agree with me?

 

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36 Comments

  • Reply
    Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom
    February 18, 2015 at 5:03 pm

    We were living together before we were married too and I did notice some differences before and after the wedding.

    The change after becoming parents was more than we could have imagined. Our whole world turned on its head and now revolves a two year old little girl.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 19, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      Hi Emily,

      Interesting that you noticed some differences before and after the wedding. We sure didn’t. 🙂

  • Reply
    Dividend Mantra
    February 18, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Tawcan,

    Good on you for enjoying fatherhood thus far and taking the responsibility seriously. I personally lack whatever “chip” people have that makes them desire children. I spent last summer up in Michigan and was there for the birth of my first niece. She’s beautiful, but I have zero desire to have a child of my own. I guess it’s good that it’s that way or I’d really regret getting a vasectomy last year!

    Appreciate the mention there. I personally don’t find much sacrifice in the journey to FI. In my mind, the big sacrifice is working at a job until you’re 65 years old. That’s the real sacrifice. 🙂

    Best regards!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 19, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      Hi Dividend Mantra,

      Sounds like you had a pretty good idea about what you want to do in life. Some people just don’t have any desire to have a child. No shame about that. I guess when I said “sacrifice for FI” it really depends on how you see it. I don’t think frugal lifestyle is a sacrifice either.

  • Reply
    FrugalitytoFinancialFreedom
    February 18, 2015 at 8:22 pm

    Tawcan,
    I can relate with you in regards to raising kids as I have a nine year old daughter and a new born daughter, the many sleepless nights and sacrifices but the reward of being a parent is priceless.
    As a parent aiming for financial freedom, thats one of my top priority to teach my kids, right now I am opening my daughter’s eyes on investments and savings so she can have an idea along the way.
    FFF

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 19, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Hi FFF,

      It is great that you’re teaching your daughter about investments and savings. We plan to teach Baby T when he’s a bit older as well. Education comes a long way.

  • Reply
    Roadmap2Retire
    February 18, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Tawcan,
    Good to hear that you are enjoying fatherhood. Thanks for sharing – I thoroughly enjoyed that post.

    R2R

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 19, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      Hi R2R,

      Glad to hear that you enjoyed reading the post. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank
    February 19, 2015 at 1:49 am

    Momentary sacrifices as parents! That’s good to know that you’re having fun to be as parents, Taw. It feels like you have a full control over your finances and life. Good luck Tawcan.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 19, 2015 at 12:44 pm

      Hi Jayson,

      Thanks! It’s nice to have good control over your finances and life. Seems like you do as well. Congrats.

  • Reply
    weenie
    February 19, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Great to read about you enjoying fatherhood, Tawcan.

    I’m like Dividend Mantra – I’ve never desired to have any of my own although I love kids and have a lot of time for them.

    I love my sisters’ children, I see the wonderful relationship they have with them but still, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything, or that it’s something that I want.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 19, 2015 at 12:45 pm

      Hi Weenie,

      I didn’t have a strong preference to be a dad nor a strong preference not to be. Looking back I’m glad that I decided to go down the path of becoming a dad. I guess we all go through a stage in life where our preferences may change. 🙂

  • Reply
    Even Steven
    February 19, 2015 at 8:45 am

    I have had feedback from other bloggers that tell me it’s not sacrifice but rather it’s making cutting back be part of your normal routine. While this statement certainly has merit, I’m with you and believe it’s sacrifice that gets you to financial independence.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 19, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      Hi Even Steven,

      It’s really how you see it, cutting back is part of the normal routine but to someone else it may seemed like a sacrifice. Look at the professional athletes, they wouldn’t have got where they are without spend hours practicing and improving their skills. To them they might be just doing their normal routine but to others, the athletes may seem to be making sacrifices.

  • Reply
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply
    February 19, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Great read…I can totally relate. My son is about 19 months now and time really flies. I definitely wouldn’t want to miss those precious moments because I’m busy working! And so true that having a baby changes everything. I do think that sacrifices and hard-work are necessary…but anything that ‘s worthwhile usually requires it. But, I’ve also found that what may seem like sacrifices aren’t always that. Sometimes the simpler things in life are free and often more rewarding. Not having cable television…if you think about it is not much of a sacrifice. At least that’s the mindset I try to keep when cutting certain expenses.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 20, 2015 at 11:25 am

      Hi Andrew,

      Isn’t it amazing to see the little one growing up? It really puts you in perspective in terms of work-life balance. 🙂

  • Reply
    Brian @ Debtless in Texas
    February 19, 2015 at 4:32 pm

    The wife is about to pop in 5 weeks with the first and I can’t wait for these 3am exhausted kinds of moments. You explain it so well, this was fantastically written.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 20, 2015 at 11:26 am

      Hi Brian,

      Wow congrats to you and your wife. You two must be excited to meet your little one soon. Thanks for dropping by.

  • Reply
    Dividend Hustler
    February 19, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Great article Tawcan. I’m glad youre enjoying fatherhood and I can relate because I have children of my own. I love them. My goal is to pay for their education. Whatever cost that’ll be. I’ll teach them frugality and how to live below their means and invest the difference. I want to teach through setting examples because talk is cheap. I wanna make them proud.
    Keep up the great work my friend.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 20, 2015 at 11:28 am

      Hi Dividend Hustler,

      Thanks. Our goal is to pay for our kid(s)’ education as well that’s why we’ve already started RESP for Baby T already. We also started a dividend portfolio for him as well (https://www.tawcan.com/creating-legacy-dividend-portfolio-kids/). It will be very important to teach frugality and money. It shocks me now that there’s no PF or investment classes available in elementary school and high school.

  • Reply
    Adam @ AdamChudy.com
    February 20, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    I always enjoy the personal posts. I don’t have kids yet, but they all say the same thing. Nothing changes until you have the kids.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 24, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks, I enjoy writing personal posts. This is my way of differentiate myself to other financial blogs out there. 🙂

  • Reply
    B
    February 21, 2015 at 1:26 am

    Hi Tawcan

    I feel very connected to your post because like you I had a 10 months baby which brings me tremendous joy every day.

    Having a kid means you lose that bits of freedom as an individual but you get to gain so much more in life. We are thinking of creating the second one but financial senses tell us to wait a little. Sometimes it helps a lot in waiting a few moments and just letting your financials get better first.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 24, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Hi B,

      Totally agree that you gain so much in life when you have a kid. A second kid would be awesome but you’re right, need to consider the finances first. Good for you to be responsible and wait a bit for the 2nd one.

  • Reply
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life
    February 21, 2015 at 6:28 am

    I recently watched a documentary called 112 weddings that interviewed couples who’d been married for various periods of time. They all seemed to have that- when you get married, not much changes, and when you have a kid, everything changes- but it was actually really negative. Almost every couple who had children was either divorced or in a really bad place. It freaked me out.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 24, 2015 at 4:45 pm

      Hi Stefanie,

      I can certainly say that when you have a kid you might not have as much time to spend with your spouse. This could in term cause your marriage to deteriorate. That’s why Mrs. T and I believe that we need to continue working on our marriage each day and continue spending quality times together despite having Baby T in our lives.

  • Reply
    No More Waffles
    February 22, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Tawcan,

    This post put a smile on my face, even though I’m not too fond of children myself. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    I don’t think “sacrifice” is the right word in this context though. Yes, you give up a lot, but you also get a lot in return. As such, it’s more of an investment in my book.

    Glad to hear you’re such a happy parent!
    NMW

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 24, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Hi NMW,

      Glad to have put a smile on your face. I suppose “sacrifice” might not be the right word. It’s more about choices you makes… although some people can argue that they are sacrifices.

  • Reply
    Holly@ClubThrifty
    February 23, 2015 at 6:40 am

    Having kids gave my life meaning in a way that nothing before has. I am so happy with the money and time I’ve invested in them. They make living worth it!

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 24, 2015 at 4:48 pm

      Hi Holly,

      I can’t agree more. It’s amazing seeing Baby T developing new skills every day.

  • Reply
    A Frugal Family's Journey
    February 23, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Nice article Tawcan…with two kids under our belt, I can definitely relate to the momentary sacrifices. Glad to say that our second is close to leaving the diaper phase and things are slowly getting a little easier. Well, at least until my daughter becomes a teen…I hear girls are most difficult in their teens! 🙂

    Although I consider our stock investment portfolio as still in it’s infancy stages, I can certainly see the parallel paths that raising a child is to investing. Once compounding effect takes place, things should continue to get a little easier. And through each and every experience we continue to learn and grow into better investors and parents.

    Thanks for sharing. Best Wishes!! AFFJ

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 24, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Hi AFFJ,

      Oh man I’m looking forward to the days that Baby T doesn’t need diapers. We just started doing some research on potty training but I think we’re about 4-6 months away on that still.

      Good stuff on you noticing parallels in raising kids and investing too.

  • Reply
    Petrish @ Debt Free Martini
    February 24, 2015 at 6:04 am

    Being a mommy is the best job ever and it has changed my life so much. My daughter is a bundle of sunshine and from a couple of months old she always woke up smiling until today. She is one of the best things that has ever happened to me and yes…..they do change everything.

    • Reply
      Tawcan
      February 24, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      Hi Petrish,

      Totally agree, every time I see Baby T smiles I can’t help but smile as well. Kids do change everything.

  • Reply
    MP
    February 25, 2015 at 12:33 am

    Hi @Tawcan,

    Interesting correlation you analyze in this article.
    I would go even further in the thinking: before having children and being into the early retirement mood, I was too much into possession and consumerism as a way of satisfaction.
    Now that I entered these two new worlds, I see how much they have changed me. They were eye-opener: things in life that bring more pleasure are often the ones that are free, the experiences. And not the stuff.
    For my children, I found that when playing games with them or when laughing out loud for whatever reasons.
    The same goes with financial independence: when I started cutting unnecessary things and then began to enjoy more of life experiences and less of materialism!

    Regarding your point about children, I can’t agree more. You can’t realize how much you need them until you have them!

    Enjoy being a daddy bro!
    MP

  • Reply
    BeSmartRich
    February 25, 2015 at 4:59 am

    Thanks for sharing. I totally agree and my wife started seeing the benefit of being frugal and invest for the future. We don’t dine out often. We made a rule of dining out only once a month to a mutually agreed restaurant. 🙂 I pack my lunch every day. I don’t buy coffee outside. I don’t drive a luxury or brand new SUV etc.. but solid used car that requires minimum maintenance etc… All those add up and will make my family’s future brighter. I am totally up for that!

    BeSmartRich

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