April Men’s Room

Dad vs. Financial Planner


ason Wheeler is a new father and a certified financial planner with Pathfinder in Wilmington.

My first-born child arrived on Feb 17 due to the hard work and endurance of my beautiful and powerful wife, Ashley. I am now a smitten father of a daughter. I have told myself and my wife that she will always come first, but Merritt is already a very close second.

As most readers can attest, a father/daughter bond is stronger than steel, and we are already there. But what I didn’t realize is that I would have to separate a little from myself to let this little angel in.  

The struggle started when my wife and I were discussing an upcoming christening for a friend’s son. The conversation went:

Ashley: “I need to get a new outfit to take Merritt to Max’s christening.”

Me: “Why don’t we put her in the (expensive) outfit that we got for her to come home from the hospital?”

Ashley: “People have already seen her in that outfit.”

Me: “Only family. She only wore it one day.”

Ashley: “But I put the picture on Facebook.”

And then it hit me so hard that I am still in shock.

Some internal voice said … “She was right!”

Wait, who just had that thought? I am a financial planner. I don’t like to spend on discretionary items, especially expensive clothing. I would rather put money into a college account for her.  Plus, we get a tax deduction for funding the college account.

Internal voices: “But that will be the first time she gets to see lots of our friends, and I want her to look cute.”

Huh, where did that thought come from?

Now that I have a daughter, I have to pay for college and most likely a wedding!

Not to mention that I want to provide her with summer camp options. I want to take her on trips throughout her youth to give her a diverse educational experience. And I am probably going to have to plan for a new boat since ours does not have a top on it to protect her from the sun. These are all items that are in the financial plan before we ever conceived.

There is one other facet to this new struggle that I didn’t mention. My wonderful wife married a financial planner. Her famous line is, “Why does everything have to be about money to you?”

I haven’t had much sympathy for her since she owns a business and does well financially. It’s been my role in our marriage to also be the financial planner. 

After this is published, she will have something in print that says, “She was right!” about spending on Merritt, and I will never be the same again.

So when I sit down to update our financial plan this year, I am going to have to add a new line item to our budget – Merritt’s wardrobe.

I can only see that line item growing over the years. 

Now, how am I going to break that to my financial planner?

To view more of illustrator Mark Weber’s work, go to www.markweberart.blogspot.com