As I type this my nearly three-month-old son is sleeping next to me on the couch. Oh boy, has our life changed over these past three months! We are stoked to be parents and amazed that we were able to create another human being. We are excited to guide our son into adulthood over the next 18 years. We look forward to experiencing the world with him. There are still so many firsts ahead.
Mrs. GYFG and I had always been on the same page in that we wanted to wait to start a family until our thirties. We knew early that in order for us to be the parents we wanted to be that we would first need to reach certain milestones in our financial and professional lives. Being the super planners that we are, we were determined to be prepared – as prepared as we could be. Most of the unsolicited advice coming our way was that it was better to have kids as early as possible and that we could never financially be ready for a baby but that we would just “figure it out.” However, that might be true for some but not for us.
It’s not impossible, but it is definitely a lot harder to pursue career goals aggressively with kids. We witnessed that first-hand through friends and acquaintances who had kids in their early twenties. When you are responsible for raising another human being, your choices change. You either choose to be involved in your kids’ life, at the sacrifice of spending that extra time building a career, or you continue aggressively building your career at the sacrifice of spending time bonding and raising your kid.
In translation, this might mean one parent staying at home to raise the kid(s). I’m not saying this is right or wrong, but it does come at the expense of that parent’s career and financial contribution to the household. The impact of remaining a “dual income no kids” (DINK) household is significant. The other way this plays out is both parents work but don’t have the ability or the energy to put the extra time in to put their career on the fast track.
Mrs. GYFG and I knew that these were not sacrifices we were willing to make. We wanted to live a certain lifestyle and wanted to raise a family from a position of strength. We agreed to wait until we were thirty before we even thought about having kids. Ultimately we ended up with our first child at 32. We’ve been together for almost 14 years and graduated college almost 11 years ago. We’ve spent that time building our relationship, our careers, and an impenetrable financial foundation (through strong earnings and high savings).
The past eleven years has been instrumental in allowing us the time we needed to build a seven-figure net worth by 32. It allowed us to climb rapidly in our careers. It was enough time to grind our way to a place among the top 1% earners. And it’s allowed us to pay our mortgage off before our son’s first birthday. Most of all, it has allowed us to enter parenthood from a position of strength. We don’t have the stress of trying to make ends meet from a financial perspective. We don’t have the stress of trying to decide whether we should spend extra time at work to build our careers or to sacrifice career advancement to spend time raising our son.
By waiting, it has allowed us to build up enough career and financial capital to have optionality. There is no way I would have been able to manage the 70-90 hour work weeks I sustained over the last ten years in order to make it to the C-Suite by 30. We lived our life like most wouldn’t in our twenties so that we could live the rest of our lives like most can’t for the remaining of our days.
Today, we have shifted our time allocation significantly. I have since built a team since reaching the C-Suite and no longer have to prove myself by grinding out the long hours. I’ve got my weekly workload down to a manageable 40 hour schedule. When Mrs. GYFG went back to work, she limited her schedule to four days a week.
From our current vantage point, we will continue to gain more optionality in how we spend our time. By the time our son starts school, we will have reached Financial Independence – stage five of the five major milestones. We don’t have any plans to stop working as that is an important piece of our individual identities and will help us instill a strong sense of work ethic in our son. However, we will continue to demand more and more autonomy in who we choose to work for and when we choose to work.
We have the time and the money to raise our son in the way we envisioned. Some may think we were late to this whole parenting thing. That’s ok – you can call us late, just don’t call us late for (family) dinner!
Waiting was the right choice!
– Gen Y Finance Guy
p.s. this post was written five months ago as our son is now eight months and I’ve since put in my notice to start my own business – gaining even more autonomy over my time.