Achieving financial success in the face of great adversity

Written by
Peter Dunn

I'm about to tell you, what happens to be, my current most favorite financial success story. It's a bit of an unorthodox success story. Two "bad" things happen. Then two amazing thing happen. But like I said, this success story is initially disguised as one of the most stressful life/financial situations a young couple could possibly face. I discussed this story on my radio show last week. You can listen to the audio once you read this post, if you like. Oh, and you can start listening to my podcast too. It just makes sense, homey.

Who wants to talk about procreation? Awkward. I was the only one raising my hand. Oh well. Who wants to talk about being financially responsible when starting a family? Ah, there are the hands. Recently, some clients of mine became the poster children for children-makers. Wow, this is getting a bit weird. Stay with me.

Herman and Bertha were a young twenty something couple that wanted to start a family. They were financially sound, and had made relatively good decisions with their money. Although it should be noted they made a less than ideal housing decision early in their marriage that left them stuck in a house in a neighborhood where all of the homes were exactly the same. This was a bad thing, especially when the housing market busted. Fortunately, Herman and Bertha were a position to make a wise real estate transaction, and get into a different house. This win was certainly a product of their financial discipline.

Anyway, Herm and Bert, as I got to calling them in my mind while writing this blog post because I changed their names to protect their anonymity, were ready to start their family. But, things weren't quite "happening". Like many couples, they were faced with some fertility issues. As I've previously discussed, fertility issues can have a ton of financial ramifications, and they also create an unbelievable amount of stress .Herm and Bert, as you can imagine, were quite disappointed and dismayed. Fertility issues weren't in their plans. They settled down for the long road ahead. And they quickly realized that the road ahead was going to cost an incredible amount of money they didn't have.

Let's digress from this story for a few minutes to discuss the 30,000 ft view. Let's strip away many of the particulars from the story and look at the situation for what it really is. It's a terribly stressful situation that sucks very badly. Not only does it suck, but in order to possibly seek a resolution, a great deal of money must be spent. And even then there are no guarantees.

Do you know what Herm and Bert did? They decided they weren't going to let this situation ruin their financial life together. They decided to set out on a mission to save as much money as humanly possible to fund fertility treatment. In many instances, fertility treatments can cost in upwards of $15,000. Herm and Bert were going to sacrifice for a year, and then start fertility treatments this January.

On New Year's Day of this year, Herm sent me a text message. It was an ultrasound photo.

"Um, Herm, your treatments don't start until next week."


After years of trying, Herm and Bert were going to have a baby. And they didn't need the major fertility treatments that were due to begin this week. And guess what, they had well over $10,000 saved for the procedure. They saved enough money in one year to purchase a decent used car. They saved enough money in one year to get the treatments they needed to start a family. They didn't need the treatments, after all. And now they have $10,000. They can use this money for college for their new babe, and they have learned the skills necessary to save copious amounts of money. And as we discussed yesterday, saving money is really freaking hard sometimes.

The moral of the story is this: planning helps, even when the plans don't work out exactly as you plan. You need to plan, especially in the most stressful moments that you encounter. These plans will allow you regain control once again, and sometimes you will even find serendipity. Congrats, Herm and Bert. You're going to be amazing parents. By the way, everybody always says that, but in this case it's true.

Step up your financial wellness game.

Stay up-to-date with the latest in employee wellbeing from the desk of Pete the Planner®. Subscribe to the monthly newsletter to get industry insights and proven strategies on how to be the wellness champion your team wants you to be.