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.
With family comes tradition. And those who cherish the practices that are passed along to them often do so because of how they make them feel. It’s like when the delightful aroma of fresh pine, apples and cinnamon or the mouthwatering flavor of turkey and stuffing reminds you not only of the holidays but of home and of childhood.
It’s these heartwarming, cherished, grounding kind of memories we desire each preemie to live to have. We want the preemie parents to have those sweet Christmas mornings where their once-one-pound child is now eagerly ripping the wrapping paper apart, the often under-appreciated, invaluable chance to give their family’s newest little blessing their first taste of pumpkin pie.
Traditions. Holidays. If you consider them rightly, birthdays are both. Birthdays are a gift at every age, from one to 100+. And in my humble opinion, the bigger the number, the greater the gift – the present, of course, being life. The Gift of Life.
But I’ve been proven wrong before. In fact, I’m finding my own position arguable just now because….
Because I remember them. I remember the preemies I saw in the NICU, how tiny their diapers; how fragile their paper-thin, translucent skin. Though every year of life, every birthday is a blessing, sometimes it’s that first one that can feel like the greatest gift of all.
At least to the parents that is.
And Marcus Moore is a proud dad who knows this a bit all too well. His son Kaleb was born a preemie and given seemingly-hopeless odds to survive.
But survive he did! What a blessing! What a miracle! And that Kaleb…what a personality! What a guy! We absolutely love and are inspired, motivated by just how much he absolutely loves life!
And life is a gift….
So today is Marcus Moore’s birthday and what gift shall we give him? For what does he ask?
Won’t you support The Gift of Life?
We’re a family and that has become our tradition. Our bond is not by blood but by the common valuing of life and deeply ingrained care for the smallest of us all and those who love them (aka the preemies and their families).
See, preemies are “the forgotten children” during times of tradition. Visit the hospital around Christmas and you’ll likely find tons of gifts and donations flowing to the children there – as long as they’re not on the NICU side that is.
But their families didn’t forget them. Neither do we. Nor do we forget their families. Spending any holiday in the NICU worrying over the life of your preemie is often one of the loneliest (and scariest) places to be.
And that’s just one reason why this year our September gala has a Christmas theme ( did I mention we’re having it at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort?). Let’s celebrate the warmth and love of family. It’s tradition. Let’s celebrate life.
Today, on Marcus Moore’s birthday, won’t you share in the love? Won’t you join in on the celebration? How about giving yourself a gift on his birthday, one that cheers his heart as well?
Buy yourself a ticket to the gala. And if you really want to celebrate, buy a table of 10 and fill it with your friends.
You see, each donation and every ticket sale allows us to do that much more for the preemies in the NICU. It allows us to fulfill our mission of providing them with hope, encouragement, love and support. It helps Marcus Moore, a founder, achieve what has long been his deep struggle and deepest heart’s desire to do.
And what better birthday present could there be than that?
Happy Birthday Marcus! From your team, friends, and family: The Gift of Life.
Happy Thanksgiving 2018. Today is a day of feasting, family, friends, and making new fond memories. For many, it’s all about food. Passionate home chefs show off the best of their cooking skills. Passionate eaters show off their ability to put it all away.
For some, it’s a spiritual time as they reflect on goodness and count their blessings. The patriotic, philosophical, and political minded look to history to justify the day’s significance. To the lonely and the heartbroken this and any holiday that’s all about gathering is just another reminder of their sorrows. Their state is an opportunity for a miracle.
Extending love to someone that’s hurting can enrich your own joy this holiday season. At the Gift of Life, we extend love to the family of preemies in the NICU. It’s difficult not being able to bring your newborn home for the holidays. It can be heart wrenching to spend Thanksgiving in the NICU, hoping but not certain that your beautiful brand new baby will survive.
Such an experience tests faith, character, and family bonds. To these parents we offer love, encouragement, and support. They find hope in founders Rosie and Marcus’ testimony about their son Kaleb, who now thrives but was given less than a 10% chance of survival at birth.
Won’t you join us in celebrating life and love this holiday season? Give a financial give to The Gift of Life. Help us help others.
Happy Thanksgiving from The Gift of Life family to yours!
Wouldn’t it be great if everything always went as planned? Enterprise level organizations seem to get it right. They plan out bold visions, take action, and multiply success. Effective time management skills are a driver for achievement.
Things work out differently on the family level. Many don’t run their homes like businesses. The team isn’t made of paid employees. People are far more irreplaceable at home than in the workplace. And sometimes those irreplaceable people experience extreme challenges. When the person you depend on is suddenly thrown into chaos, some of it is bound to rub off on you; there’s no way you’ll be left completely unaffected.
Consider the case of an expectant mother who never thought her new baby would come as anything other than full-term. She plans as many new mothers do, building the layette, designing the nursery, and perhaps even lining up a few babysitters. She could not foresee the demands and challenges that arose as a result of her child being born too soon.
Having a preemie is not the only challenge that can make effective time management more difficult for families but it is a good example. Often, families have to learn a completely new lifestyle when their premature infant finally gets clearance to go home from the NICU. The health challenges preemies experience can result in a rigorous and demanding home schedule. Many new preemie parents find keeping pace to be a real struggle.
Never give up
Family struggles can make the ability to set and follow a schedule seem like an elusive dream. Just when you think you’ll be on point, another unexpected hurdle appears to throw you off track. And the emotional impact can make focus difficult to muster when you do find time to dedicate to a task. These effects can trickle through the entire family, transforming even the most well-oiled machine to a rusty old axle.
The frustration of consistently having your time management efforts torn apart by chaos can be depressing. Creating a schedule can seem pointless. Compound these effects with those of important tasks going undone and a sense of hopelessness may arise. Though the struggle is worthwhile when you are helping a loved one through a difficult time, the knock to your productivity can seem devastating.
Never ever give up hope that you can reclaim mastery of both personal and household time management and productivity. You will find that your persistence leads to evolution. You’ll gain experience and character as you work through hard times. As you grow stronger, you’ll feel the burden become lighter. And the good spirit of your dedication will have a beneficial influence on all those under your roof.
Practice makes perfect
Practice, practice, practice -sometimes we’d rather not hear that bit of advice. We think to ourselves, “please don’t let me have to go back to the drawing board yet again”. But what better way to show your dedication to hope and persistence for achievement than to put forth consistent effort? When you and your family face steep challenges, approaching the rough parts of life as lessons meant to improve your abilities can help to reduce stress and keep you moving forward.
Even if you were a very organized person before the waves of life struck and threw you off balance, it’s now time to approach personal and family time management as a skill you are working to acquire. Separate the chaos of the day from the act of planning, thereby alleviating any fear of the unknown. It goes like this: You plan out a day, things don’t go right. The next day, plan again. Celebrate your successes and meditate over what didn’t play out as hoped.
As much as possible, make your goal to succeed in the planning session itself. Set aside a time every day to get at least this one thing done. Over time you will see that your strong devotion to doing this one thing at an established time will have a positive influence over how the rest of the day goes. It doesn’t matter at this point whether other family members cooperate. Give them and yourself time to adjust as you work towards a brighter future for all.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
People experience and respond to stress in different ways. Everyone has a coping mechanism. Differences in coping mechanisms can sometimes cause friction within a family. Somehow you all must get on the same sheet of music. The first milestone to restoring a smooth-running household is to strengthen communication.
When one of your own is going through a challenge, now is the time when forgiveness must be paramount. Freedom is safety. If a person in your family fears self-expression with other members it can easily have a negative impact on communication. Issues that are brought to the table are more readily dealt with than those that are hidden. Over time you may find that unexpected turns of events become fewer, allowing your plans to stick.
This is time management for families in the real world
In an ideal world everything is perfect, predictable, and yields to your plans. Projects go as projected. Nobody ever shows up late. All the work gets done in the time allotted to it. No key task or commitment goes undone. But this is the real world. It’s a world in which imperfection is a key part of perfection. It’s a world of learning more than of mastery and the things we think we know are often proved invalid. We live in a beautiful world.
So much of the hardship felt by families who are going through hard times is centered on the unavoidable stall in organization and productivity that results from their situation versus the situation itself. Many preemies, like our own Miracle Kaleb, get to live far beyond the NICU, becoming remarkable human beings. When Kaleb was first born, Rosie and Marcus, his parents, were forced into an adjustment period. Today, they are founders of The Gift of Life and Rosie is a successful author in addition to Mrs. Windermere International. Kaleb is a healthy young boy with a dynamic and admirable personality of his own.
If your family is going through a struggle and time seems hectic, know that we at The Gift of Life have your back and that you can make it through. Even with all their many idiosyncrasies, unpredictability, and challenges, families are the center of love on the face of the earth. With time, practice, and patience, yours can come to run smoothly again.