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.
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.
A Happy Birthday Poem
Happy Birthday Marcus Moore
I wish you birthday fun galore
That stays with you throughout the year
Blessing those you love so dear
It’s not easy getting older, unless you count it wisdom
Unless it makes you bolder. To stop you, what is there?
Celebrate each day of life you share with your son and wife
You bring great value to the world, touching others through The Gift of Life
Happy Birthday Marcus Moore
Don’t count this day as getting older
regardless what they may have told you
(…See the troubles you’ve gone over?!)
Preemie families are glad to know that someone like you stands with them
That they have someone on their side who’s been through what they’re living
They look upon their child so small and hope for a miracle
When you testify about your son, beating the odds is seen as realer
Happy Birthday Marcus Moore
Receive the great things in store
See many more decades of life,
You and your wife
I hope you liked my little poem (though I sometimes am off rhythm)
When someone asks about The Gift of Life, I’m glad to say, “I’m with them”
Giving love to preemie families only makes you richer
May countless others hear your story and give to further the mission.
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.
Getting ready for the big day to leave the hospital is so very exciting, but it is normal to feel nervous when you think about the tasks that the nurses have supported you with while the baby was in the hospital. Now you have to complete those tasks on your own.
Depending on your baby’s medical diagnoses, it is possible that feeding your baby may be a bit more complicated than you originally had imagined. Here are some potential scenarios that you may be faced with but remember, you are not alone, and someone else has been through a similar situation. And Gift of Life is only an email, a message or a phone call away!
Although it is not common for a preemie to be discharged from the NICU on tube feedings, sometimes it is necessary. A small flexible tube may be inserted into the mouth or the nose that passes down into the stomach and may be used for continuous or intermittent feedings. Sometimes this is used if the baby is not strong enough to be obtain adequate nutrition directly from the breast or a bottle.
Healthcare professional recommend feeding babies breast milk. In order to meet the unique needs of a premature baby, in addition to your baby nursing on the breast or taking your breast milk from a bottle, often it is recommended use a breast milk fortifier and/or supplement you breastmilk with formula.
Your healthcare provider may recommend adding a human milk powder fortifier or a powdered formula to your pumped breast milk in order to add extra nutrients that your premature baby may need to continue to catch up in growth and development.
Many mothers may choose to use a combination of formula or breast milk or exclusively use formula to meet the nutritional needs of their premature infant. Special formulas have been designed for the premature baby to use at discharge.
All of the above feeding scenarios have enabled your baby to be discharged so that you can care for your baby in the comfort of your home. With your love and the support from others, as well as the nutrition you will be feeding your baby, will allow your baby to grow and thrive!