Children Change Everything

Kids Playing at Childrens Playground Ship

Image by via Flickr

The following is a Yakezie Blog Swap by Joe Edward.

Growing up, my parents always taught me and lived their life to be financially responsible. When I got out of college, I just did what I was taught. When I got my first job, I lived below my means, saved and put money in my 401K. I never was frugal, but almost every purchase was planned and when my car broke down or I received an unexpected bill, I always had money to cover it. This was taught how to act, now I know I was just going through the motions all through my 20s.

I did not know what it meant to be financially responsible until I had a family of my own. I have been married for 10 years and have three great boys. Eight years ago, we had my first son. I remember that like it was yesterday. I had just started back at school to receive my MBA, we owned a home with a mortgage, had two car payments and we were paying off student loans. We were not living paycheck to paycheck, but we were not building much wealth. When I held my son for the first time, I told him not to worry that I would take care of him and his mommy. That’s when everything changed for me.

I decided right then and there to start on our journey to build wealth to become financially independent. I guess I finally understood why my parents taught me to be financially independent. Over the next days, I wrote down a plan to move along the financial independence path as quickly as possible. That was eight years ago. We had two other boys since then and with each one we became more intense with our financial goals.

The last eight years have been focused on financial independence by living within our means and making extra money in pursuit of the life that we wanted to achieve. I worked to finish my MBA, worked hard for promotions, started side businesses, sold on eBay, had garage sales and traded options and currency. I worked hard for my family to make us financially sound. My wife stayed home with our children to make sure that we had a strong foundation of home life.

My 30s brought many changes to our financial well being. We have focused on our debt to be able to be in a position to make choices in the future. We have paid off all debt…all of it! We have no mortgage, car payments or any other debt. We have saved and have our children’s college education fully funded. In the last few years, we pay cash for cars, take a vacation to tropical places at least once a year, and don’t buy things unless we can afford it. We are not rich, but financially focused on how and where to spend our money.

As I am about to enter into my 40s, I am happy what we have accomplished. We are on a path to be asset millionaires by the the time I turn 41. We have reached the goal to be in a position choices on what to do next. I now want to focus on creating a business to be able to spend more time with my family. I want to travel less for work, be able to coach my kids in sports, and spend more date nights with my wife. I ponder many business opportunities, but you can bet that I won’t go into debt to do it.

Joe Edward is in pursuit of creating wealth for financial independence. Joe believes the right focus on five key areas are a way to financial independence:

  • Maximize Career
  • Save, Save, Save
  • Debt Free Living
  • Invest, Invest, Invest
  • Create Multiple Streams of Income

Joe is well on his way to be an asset millionaire by the time he turns 41. He started to help others achieve their own paths to financial independence. Follow him on Twitter:@smartmoneyjoe. This post is part of the Yakezie Blog Swap. All posts in this blog swap can be viewed at the blog


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  1. says

    Congratulation on your success! :)
    I disagree that children change everything. We have been saving and investing for 10+ years and just had a baby this year. It’s been great, but I am just not convinced that the kid will change us that much. We were on the right track and we’ll continue this way. I think that’s one advantage of having a kid a little later. I’m getting close to 40 as well.

    • says


      I agree that children are not the catalyst for most people but for me that was the point I got serious. I had the motivation from that moment on. Congratulation on the baby and good luck continuing with your financial success.


  2. says

    What a great success story! I’m glad you flipped the switch when you had your first kid. Unfortunately, from reading a lot of the other posts, a lot of parents don’t flip that switch and provide a good financial example for their kids.

    • says

      Hey Kevin,

      We keep at it everyday. I like to think that my boys will be the same way. They are young and we teach them about financial responsibility with there own money.

      Take Care,

  3. says

    Keep it up! Financial responsibility is no different than taking responsibility in general. I don’t know if I learned responsibility or I am genetically predisposed to be responsible, but the rewards are many. I was able to do all the things I wanted to do such as start businesses, raise two successful children, great vacations and retirement. What keeps me motivated are the rewards of being responsible and the experiences I was able to share.

    • says

      Hi Krantcents,

      I often wonder if people have the innate ability to be financially responsible. I think that it is more environmental. People tend to do what they learn. It is nice to hear from someone like you and know that my goals are possible because you have done it!


  4. says

    I’m in the camp that kids change everything. I was in graduate school la la land when my first was born. He got me out in the work world. I can say that that each of my kids got me to do something in life I wouldn’t have. Because of my son I took a plane ride to a glacier on Mt. McKinley (Denali), my oldest daughter studied architecture in Italy and my wife and I visited her and had an awesome experience in Venice, and my younger daughter lived in the lower 9th ward in New Orleans as she was working as a pastry chef in the French Quarter. Kids are the best! I wish they were back in the nest.
    Also, enjoy coaching their teams. It also is the best.
    Nice post…brought back some great memories.

    • says

      DIY Investor,

      My kids motivate me. I hope to see my children grow up to be successful like yours. I have had the great advantage to live and work in Asia with my wife and children. It was great to stand on the Great Wall and swim in the Indian Ocean with them. I hope to take them to Europe this year. Great memories!

      Have a great weekend,

  5. says

    Joe – That’s a great feat to be debt free in one’s 30s. Good motivation!

    I guess my rental properties are like my babies, and that flipped the switch when I was 24-25 years old to stop messing around.


    • says

      Financial Samurai –

      Whatever motivates you. My kids, your properties as long as we do it, right? Being debt free has really allowed my family to make choices on our next steps in life. Maybe property is in the cards.

      Thanks for the note,

  6. Mike says

    Hi Joe,

    Congratulations on your success. Millionaire by 41 is great. I can remember when I made “that” decision to be financially independent.

    There is a decision to be made, sacrifices, process or steps to follow, new behaviors to implement – and ultimately it IS worth it! I have found that as I’ve stuck with my discipline things have become easier.

    Take Care, Mike

    • says


      Thank you for the note. We are very proud at what we have accomplish and what we plan to do. Sticking to a plan has made it possible for us.


  7. says

    Congratulations on your success as well. I am also aiming for financial freedom, and willing to make the sacrifices to make that happen. To me, it’s try to get rich, or die trying

    • says


      I was thinking about writing a post of being rich. Getting to a million is great but is it rich? It is all relative to what one wants with their money. I have lived in South East Asia and a million would go a long way, but in my current city not so much. But we keep going. Good luck with your pursuit….remember to enjoy the small things in life.

      Take Care,

  8. says

    Nice! I’ve seen a recurring theme and it’s that kids are a huge financial motivator. I guess it’s because you realize that now you have to take care of a new human being completely, without thinking of yourself first.

    • says


      I can’t imagine not having my three boys. They take so much, but return so much more. I want them to have great opportunities in life. I want them to see and experience things at a young age to be tolerant of others and reach their goals. The only way I knew to do that was to be able to show them first hand. Money make it possible.


  9. says

    Thanks for sharing your success story. I was not taught how to handle money and be financial responsible but find I am teaching myself as I go. I decided to learn and change how we handle our finances with the birth of our children. I hope to someday be a success story as well.

    • says


      Good luck with your goals. I think that it is great that you are teaching yourself how to be financially responsible. Teaching your children will be one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Keep at it and you will get there one day.


  10. says

    I’m definitely more risk averse after having children. Being in debt was definitely a risk that I could easily control and we buckled down more after my children were born.

    I don’t do as many risky sports anymore either. As much as I like mountaineering, you won’t find me on a 20,000+ foot mountain anytime soon for a variety of reasons.

  11. says

    Thanks for sharing your story, Joe. You are doing very well, and being free from debt is great! Your three boys will benefit greatly from the wisdom that you are able to pass on to them.


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