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.
The Gift of Life loves to share stories from our very own families that we support because they are real and heartfelt. Today’s story explores what it is like to be a father of twin premature girls, from a mother’s eyes. We are so blessed to have Jen Labriola bring you this story today. Jen is the mother of twin preemie girls. She also dedicates her time to doing graphic work for the Gift of Life. Thank you Jen for all you do!
I have to hold back a laugh as I watch my husband fumble with putting a sandal on our squirming 1-year-old daughter. He’s confused by the straps, frustrated by a moving child, but does it because she wants her sandals on even though she’s still learning to walk. Of course, you have to do what she wants, she’s just too darn cute to say no to. I offer to take over so he can eat dinner since he’d let me eat in peace, away from our twin daughters. He happily obliges and I easily slide on her sandal with a laugh.
My husband and I have always been a team. We battled infertility, we struggled with a difficult pregnancy and then were warriors dealing with our twin girls in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Now nearly two years later, we’re still a team when it comes to parenting.
When I think of Father’s Day, I go back to our days in the NICU as our girls spent three months there, this part of our life is very much ingrained in us. The seriousness of these months left an unforgettable stamp on our life. I think for us moms, it’s a bit different since we carried our babies inside, thus we have a more intimate relationship with our children. Fathers, on the other hand, seemingly get tossed into reality once the baby (or babies) are born.
I’ll never forget my husband’s face during my C-section, it pretty much was shock, excitement, worry and “oh crap.” We saw our girls, and from then on were called “mom and dad.” I felt a pang of guilt as it seems I had to make all the decisions in regards to our girls – I got to hold them first, first kisses, first everything as dad watched on and happily took seconds on holding our girls for the first time. Now the girls are about to turn two, and as a dad, the girls absolutely adore him.
We have different roles in regards to their upbringing. We balance each other out, take turns when one of us is ready to pull our hair out and best of all, we watch out for each other. Even though I feel slightly jealous, both of our girls first word was “dad,” the joy on his face to hear his own children calling him that was priceless.
Having a dad is invaluable in a child’s life. The fact that you have another person who loves and cherishes you so much, to protect you and be there for you, is what we truly celebrate with Father’s Day. My girls and I are lucky to have him. So Happy Father’s Day to you rookie dads, veteran dads and for you dads to be. We love and deeply appreciate you not only on this day, but every day. Happy Father’s Day!
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Because Life is a Gift, We Treasure Each Moment….
Here at The Gift of Life we’ve established a tradition of celebrating birthdays by dedicating a blog post to the celebrant. Birthdays are extremely important occasions to us because their very meaning touches so close to home when home is what we’re all about; too many preemies don’t get to celebrate even turning one year old.
So we take a lot of joy when someone we know and love gets to celebrate another year of life. Today, we’d like to send out a very happy birthday greeting to our own Marcus Moore, co-founder of The Gift of Life.
Now Marcus is a special kind of guy, indeed. When his son Kaleb was born a preemie and needed special at-home care, Marcus stepped up and left his career to stay at home and take care of his newborn son.
Life is so precious that not one moment ought to be taken for granted, and Marcus realized this. Kaleb had defied the odds when he lived despite warnings from medical experts who said he wasn’t going to make it. And the sad fact is that a lot of preemies who have this prediction placed over them by doctors indeed perish, even if they survive a few years.
Marcus took it upon himself to oversee his son’s well-being firsthand. It’s rare to hear of a stay-at-home dad, but considering what it takes to take care of a preemie, Marcus took the position of stay-at-home dad to a whole other level – it’s what he wanted to do and it’s what had to be done.
And we can see the results of Marcus’ love and care for his preemie son. We have a living witness that serves as the evidence of this man’s prayers come true – Kaleb himself, who just so happened to have turned a whopping 7 years old last year.
In a world where broken homes and general brokenness is not uncommon men like Marcus Moore are of particular noteworthiness. No way would we at The Gift of Life let the day go by without extending to him our well wishes for Marcus’ birthday.
Happy Birthday Marcus Moore! You too are a gift of life.
Want to join in on the birthday celebration? Consider making a donation to The Gift of Life.
Like with most holidays, gift giving is often the first thing that comes to mind when Father’s Day rolls around. But the things that can be done to make this day extra special for dad aren’t limited to buying him presents – in fact, Father’s Day presents, for whatever reason, have a reputation for being quite awful. Of a truth, some gifts for dad are so bad that they’re just plain hilarious.
Men whose children have grown beyond toddlerhood are the ones most likely to suffer getting tacky neckties, musk-scented soap-on-a-rope, dress socks with “I heart dad” printed on them, or perhaps a toolbelt (so that he can remember just how much work is still lingering on his to-do list). Spectacular, isn’t it?
What happens when the only child a man has is still a baby, a newborn, by the time Father’s Day comes? What about if 2016 marks his first Father’s Day ever? How about those men whose child(ren) have passed on – such as if their baby was born a preemie and is either in the NICU or didn’t make it, and this is the first time this holiday has come since it happened? There’s no reason that any of these men should have to miss out on the celebration of their own fatherhood if they don’t want to.
4 Ways to Make Father’s Day Great for First Time Dads
- Ease His Burdens
The ability to enjoy less stress on his special day can mean a lot more to dad than any new trinket or tool. While he likely has responsibilities that nobody else can manage but him, finding any way to take the load off his shoulders for the day is an excellent way to show him love and appreciation. For example, you might not be able to attend that business meeting with his pushy boss for him, but you can pick up his suit from the dry cleaners and take care of his other household chores. Note, however, that giving him the day off from responsibilities without having the work covered is not an effective way of easing his burdens – he’ll know full well that the work will just be waiting for him, all piled up for Monday.
- Crown Him the VIP for the Day
Make his first Father’s Day, and every Father’s Day that follows special by treating him like a king. Let him have his way – even if only for this one day. Do those things that he’s been asking for but have yet to be done. Treat him like your very own VIP for the day. Giving dad this extraordinary care and attention may require laying your ego aside and biting your lip at times, but it’s worth it. He’ll feel the love and appreciation and you’ll have succeeded in achieving your goal of making his day great – hopefully, it won’t all go to his head!
- Give Him Understanding
It isn’t just women and moms who crave to be listened to; dads like to have understanding too. Although every day is a great day to give fathers understanding, it should especially be done on Father’s day. This is especially important for first time fathers, even if they are the silent type, because their newfound fatherhood means that some big changes have taken place in their lives recently. It might be so that men are not always open to sharing feelings or emotions, but it doesn’t matter much if the dad in your life is this way. Just spend some time with him – even if it’s watching sports with him when you are anything but a sports fan.
- Show Him Love
Real dads have earned their right to appreciation. They’ve earned their rest days, celebrations, honor, and respect – they give so much! They give according to what they have. It’s not the length of time spent as a father that matters, but the heart behind fatherhood that matters. Love is the best present that anyone could give, but sometimes the people that we love the most can go without feeling that love. On this Father’s Day, whether the man in your life is an experienced dad, a new father, or a dad whose child is gone, go out of your way to show him love and that will make this day one of the most special of them all.
If you’re really focused on buying dad a great present this year, consider making a donation in his name to The Gift of Life.