Can you imagine the feeling of looking into your child’s face and realizing that you have brought them into an uncertain world? I did not always have that feeling when looking at my son JR, but on a certain day in October one particular year I did. Before that day I looked at him filled with pride. Everything was going according to plan. I had a “stable” career, was married, had bought a home, then as an added bonus JR came along.

He was my joy and I would do anything for him. The year he was born I remember driving three hours to an outlet with my friends to shop Black Friday. He was a month old and I found myself spending $300 in Carter’s on clothes! As a new mom with money from my bi-weekly paycheck I had temporarily lost my mind! Guess what? I took all those clothes back home and didn’t think nothing about the amount of money that I had just wasted on a one month old!

During that first year of his life I was on track to give him and any children after him the world and I didn’t care what it cost. All I did at the time was justify the cost in my head. For example in my head I told myself “JR is going to keep growing so I must buy $300 worth of clothes and shoes for him to wear.” Common sense like “he is a child who will end up crawling in the dirt with those $10 jeans” never crossed my mind. Give him the world. Give him the world. Give him the world is all that mattered to me.

Until that world started to collapse. The day I was laid off and found out about the $50,000 of debt my vision of what his future should look like started to change. No longer did it look like buy this, buy that. It became how can I create a financial foundation that his great great grandchildren will benefit from. For two years he went through the process of paying off debt with us. During that time and even after I taught him money lessons that he could take with him the rest of his life.

We became debt free as a family and then our family grew again. Jocelyn arrived to a debt free family with a debt free mindset. They both came to understand that we don’t go after the shiny object, but instead we use our money for a seven day trip to Costa Rica. We don’t care about the latest fashion trend, because we want to travel to Jamaica. My new mission is not to give them the world, but instead live a life financially where they see the world.


When I leave they will have plenty of money to build upon for their children.

I now know this is what creating the life you want looks like the “children edition.” It was really evident when we went to Disney World recently. I had been planning this trip for two years and this was the perfect time because they were the perfect age to ride the rides and hopefully remember it. They thought I was only in Orlando for my business trip, but they were pleasantly surprised when they found out I was not coming home because they were coming to join me in Orlando. The day after they arrived they learned they were going to Disney.

The smiles on their face was confirmation that I was creating the life I wanted for my children and that this was only the beginning. While at Disney I still taught them money lessons and helped them understand the cost. This instilled thankfulness in them and helped them understand that money does not magically appear. It helped them understand that they can save up for what they want.

That day in October I felt like I had failed JR, but I needed that day to push me to where I am today. To push me to the create the life I want for them. The life I want for us.


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International Financial Literacy Speaker and Author

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