The Money Moment That Made Me Realize I'm a Dad

The Money Moment That Made Me Realize I'm a Dad

Last month, in honor of Mother's Day, I presented a collection of stories from real moms.

I asked them to share the “aha” money moments that changed their money lives. Now, it's Dad's turn. This time I asked four fathers of varying ages, and here are the moments that made them say, “Ah, fatherhood!”

See how adding a bundle of joy has impacted their finances, or, sometimes, just how they see themselves now.

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Tom, 63, step-father of Josh, 35

I got married, for the first time, later in life—about 20 years ago. My wife had been divorced for a long time and had been raising her son on her own. Now I had a ready-made family.

I didn't know about being a father. I never thought I would be one. My wife had done an amazing job, and her son is a great kid. But soon it was time for Josh to learn to drive and it was while we were out practicing that it hit me: Hiked up insurance premiums, extra gas and maybe even a second car! That's when I smiled and thought, "Ah, fatherhood!"

Derek, 40, and Mark, 38, fathers of A.J., 4

Mark and I had been together forever, and when it became possible—legal—for same-sex couples to get married, we did. We always knew we wanted to adopt a child or two, and our dream finally came true.

One night, after A.J. came into our lives, we were talking about how it was before we became a family ... how we took grand vacations and had been carefree. That's when we agreed that our former "Vacation Fund" would officially become the "A.J. College Fund." Because that's what dads do.

"We agreed that our former 'Vacation Fund' would officially become the 'A.J. College Fund.' Because that's what dads do."

RELATED: Saving for College 101

Connor, 34, father of Molly, 6, and Jill, 2

My beautiful wife went into the hospital to have our second daughter and never came home again. The day after Jill was born, my wife had some sort of blood clot and that caused her to have a massive heart attack. I was in shock. I know people always say that, but I really was. I couldn't process what had happened, and I couldn't function. How could this happen? She was so healthy!

My older daughter, Molly, wanted to know when mommy was coming home with her new sister. I could barely speak. Someone cut in and said that mommy had to stay in the hospital with the baby for a couple of days. I knew we had to tell my daughter the truth, but I was glad to have a day to try to work up to it.

The next day, my new daughter came home. Our families were making funeral arrangements. Everyone was at my house. I took Molly into the bedroom to meet her sister and to break the horrible news. As I was sitting there with the 4-day-old in my arms and the 4-year-old on my lap, I explained that mommy was with the angels now, but I would always be here to take care of them. That was also when I realized that along with mother and wife, we had also lost half of the family income.

RELATED: How Life Insurance Saved Our Family

Bill, 26, father of Emma, 4

At 17, I went into the army to serve my country, learn a trade and secure a good future when I got out. I had a plan. I did my time in Afghanistan—that's where I was when my kid was born. I was lucky enough to get home safely and got out of the military when my time was up. I wanted to be with my wife and daughter.

After eight months I was sitting on the couch every day because I couldn't get a job. My wife is a teacher and she was working, but not me. Eventually I realized that the best way to provide for my family was to go back in. I've been lucky to be state-side for the past year, but I'm sure I'll be going back overseas. I have to take care of my baby girl.

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