Having a child is one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of life. However, it’s also stressful and expensive. There are so many costs that go into starting a family; from diapers to college tuition, your children will dip into your pocketbook more times than you’ll ever be able to count.
That’s why it’s so important that parents take control of their finances. There’s no better time than now to start managing your money in order to secure your family’s future. Here are a few financial moves all new parents should start on as soon as possible.
Will, Life Insurance, and Other End-of-Life Plans
When you have a child, you absolutely must also have end-of-life plans; otherwise, your family will not be protected when you die. Everyone wants to assume they’ll have a long life and plenty of time to plan, but the truth is that you simply never know. Wills allow you to ensure your loved one’s financial situation, as well as assign guardianship in the event of the worst.
Moreover, life insurance policies are always more generous and inexpensive the younger and healthier you are when you take them out. These will cover lost income, funeral and medical costs, as well as some debts after you’ve passed. When you live that nice, long life, you’ll be glad you took out insurance while you are at your peak physical state.
Prepare for Retirement
Too many people don’t properly plan for their golden years. Today’s young adults are particularly unprepared, with few on track to reach their retirement goals. When you have kids, a lackluster retirement plan doesn’t only affect you. With too little money set aside for the future, you run the risk of becoming a financial burden on your children.
So, closely evaluate your retirement needs and set up accounts to ensure you can reach them. One great tool to use is any retirement account set up through your company, particularly if there’s any match. Invest the full amount to reach the maximum match your company will offer; otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table.
We all want the best for our children, and ensuring they’re able to afford education after high school is one way to provide that. Look into the 529 plan options available to you. These savings accounts can go toward college, trade schools, and other educational expenses such as dorm fees and books. Even if they don’t cover the full costs of your kids’ education, they’ll go a long way toward lessening the financial burdens of pursuing their dreams.
Once you have savings goals set, it’s time to figure out your monthly budget. There are several tools you can use to track your spending, from using a phone app to jotting information down with a pencil and paper. You can even go with envelope budgeting if that works best for you.
Explore the different options and try things until you find what works. There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to money management. The important thing is finding a system that encourages you to save and spend mindfully so that you’re in control of your money.
Financial Parenting Techniques
Taking control of your money isn’t just good for you; it’s also good for your children. Very few schools include financial literacy as part of the required education. As a result, many students enter the adult world with little understanding of how to manage their money. By including your children in the process, you give them a head start on learning how to be functioning adults.
Keep kids involved in age-appropriate ways. For example, you can give them an allowance and help them come up with and use a budget for that money. Encourage them to set savings goals and track their spending to reach them. This will allow them to practice their own money management skills in a safe environment.
Managing Your Business
If you own a business, you’ll still have plenty to take care of after you bring home your new baby. Some of the things you’ll need to do during this time include taking time every day to manage and look over your business’s finances, as well as make sure you’re up to date on your tax payments. If you fall behind on taxes, you could find yourself facing a slew of penalties, including late fees and interest charges. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the world of parenthood, but don’t forget that your business still needs your attention as well!
Taking these steps will make money less stressful and more useful for your family. There are so many joyful experiences in your path as you become parents. With the right planning, there’s no reason money needs to get in the way of fully experiencing that joy.
Who would have thought six months ago that we would be going through a pandemic that would limit or pretty much stop all our in-person family visits for support?
Our NICU families are already going through a crisis with having a baby being born prematurely, but in addition to that, being socially distant from those that can support them, adds another layer of stress.
While so many people are using zoom to chat with people and connect, our world of preemies, is a bigger concern. We are required to use HIPAA compliant telehealth services. We have to be careful of the information that we receive and share through our devices.
Our technology through the years has been advancing to provide parents with mentors that can support them through the telephone and through field visits in the hospital while the baby is in the NICU. With the recent pandemic that has spread throughout the globe, more than ever the field of telehealth has become important.
This is the reason that The Gift of Life has decided to partner with Akos Connect to bring that emotional support in a secure and HIPAA compliant way for our NICU families. Having a telehealth mentor allows parents the ability to follow up when they are not able to meet face to face. It also allows for a team approach to provide referrals to other service providers that can help the parents in the journey through the NICU and beyond.
One important time that parents benefit from our telehealth mentors is post-delivery when the baby first gets admitted to the NICU and just before being discharged home. These are scary times for parents and knowing that they have a mentor to contact them and offer emotional support and referrals to other services when available, brings much-needed comfort and a decrease in their stress level. This year with this pandemic of COVID-19, our families have been struggling more due to the forced social isolation, financial struggles, and fear of the unknown outcomes. Akos Connect is a revolutionary telehealth platform that allows mentors, case managers, and nurses the ability to provide support from their smartphone, tablet, or desktop. With flexible, 24/7 access, their cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant platform allows remote access so our mentors can virtually consult with parents anytime, anywhere.
In it’s broader definition it’s an avenue of healthcare implemented via telecommunication technology.
As we approach Mother’s Day and you start to think about what a mother is, what your mother did for you and how you can make someone’s mother day special, this letter came to my mind shared by a fellow NICU( Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit) mother to another. After going through this experience myself, I know how both mothers feel.
I recognized you the other day. You came out of the NICU, your husband right behind you. You walked slowly, like maybe you had a c-section last week, but you didn’t still look pregnant. You were both crying softly.
You looked exhausted. I knew that look. My baby and I had to meet someone in a NICU waiting area at our city’s children’s hospital for a research study. You saw us sitting there in the waiting area. You looked at me. I smiled a sad smile at you and you returned it.
What I wanted to say, what I tried to say in that sad smile, was this:I know how it feels. I was you eight months ago.I have cried those quiet, uncontrollable tears – on a good day by NICU standards – as I put my tiny son back in his incubator after a kangaroo care session, carefully juggling wires and tubes, nestled him in, put a fleece blanket over the box to keep the light out. Watched the monitor to make sure the numbers indicated that he was comfortable before I left. I, too, hesitated before I smoothed the last corner down, peeked through the plexiglass and choked up as I whispered – goodnight, my baby, I love you, I will see you soon.
I have walked that slow, heart-wrenching walk, away from my sweet tiny baby. Pain in my abdomen, where a baby should still be, halting my steps. Crying, not sure if I’m embarrassed for a stranger in the hospital to see my tears, or if maybe crying in a hospital is what people expect, or if I don’t even care.
I am so sorry I am here with my healthy infant, confronting you right here as you leave your baby behind for now. My gargantuan baby (to you anyway, I know) weighs 15 pounds and 10 ounces today. Five times his birth weight exactly. He is healthy and normal for his adjusted age. No more oxygen, no more wires, no medications.
He didn’t even go to the doctor at all in April. I know he looks like a freak of nature to you. Sometimes even I can’t believe this is the same baby who could curl up into a little ball under my cupped hands. That I watched with delight and thanksgiving as his stick-like limbs got chunkier and his little belly became roly-poly and his eyes went from murky blue-gray to clear blue and his ears grew cartilage that makes them stick out.
Your little baby is perfect. How big is your baby? I want to ask. Actual and adjusted age? How is she doing today? Were you able to hold her?
When I smile at you, holding this giant baby, I want to tell you that I hope with all my heart that your baby will be fine too. That the fear slows down as time passes. And if your baby does need oxygen, wheelchairs, braces, monitors, tubes, I want to tell you that a gift of the NICU is that now I can look past the medical devices. If that is what your child needs when I see you in public in a year or two, I will see your beautiful child, not his equipment.
New NICU mom, in the glance we shared, I just wanted you to know that I’ve been there. This healthy baby on my lap has been where your baby is. We know how much it hurts. It’s okay that you’re crying, NICU mom. Your journey is hard. Sometimes you have to cry. Let me share your burden for a moment. I know how to carry it.
– A recent NICU mom
This letter just brings tears to your eyes. This is what The Gift of Life is trying to do for NICU moms and dads and the healthcare workers that day in and day out take care of that precious bundle of joy.
There are some studies conducted on premature babies that indicate certain body language that is indicative of pain. In the study that was done by Dr. Martin Schiavenato, they used newborn babies undergoing a circumcision to determine what their expressions were at the time of a circumcision and neonates getting a heel stick. It was noted that there was not a difference in the way that the babies exhibited pain, they both showed it in their eyebrow movement and in their mouth. The neonates had a wider open mouth during the heel stick. This was one study done to show how pain was exhibited during a routine procedure. In this instance this is where the nurses can find ethical dilemmas because although the heel sticks are necessary for routine lab work, the neonates have such thin skin, that at this point the heel would be very raw and painful after multiple heel sticks throughout the day (Schiavenato, Butler-O’Hara, & Scovanner, 2011). Another sign is the hands up. It may look cute because we do not know what the sign means initially, but it does mean stop I am in pain. So these preemies are very smart despite their premature birth in letting staff know that they are in pain.
Zakk Slater radio personality from K92.3 shares his story about Baby Olivia who was born prematurely. He joins The Gift of Life in supporting World Prematurity Day by asking his listeners to wear purple to help raise awareness for premature birth.
1 in 10 babies is born prematurely according to the March of Dimes statistics. The Gift of Life provides emotional support during the crisis that the parents are enduring while they are in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Being in the NICU as a parent is a stressful time and having parent mentors to give you encouragement during that time is one of the services that the Gift of Life offers to families. This is why it is important to recognize premature birth on November 17 by wearing purple and making donations. Not everyone knows what it is like to endure premature birth, but imagine this…..having a baby so small that he fits in the palm of your hand, being born 13 weeks early, and weighing 1lb and 10oz. That is the story of Rosie and Marcus Moore founders for The Gift of Life, but this is not just their story; many others endure this crisis.