Posts Tagged ‘children’

4 Financial Planning Steps Every New Parent Needs to Take

4 Financial Planning Steps Every New Parent Needs to Take. Having a child is a wonderful experience with incredible responsibilities. Make sure your child is safe; take these 4 simple steps to assure baby is always healthy and warm.

4 Financial Planning Steps Every New Parent Needs to Take

For Christmas Eve I have a special guest post for you, kind readers. Back in August Lucille Rosetti helped us with financial and legal issues for those helping seniors. These are issues I haven’t had to deal with personally so my advice is based upon an incomplete worldview. 

Today Lucille gives powerful advice for young parents. One point needs to be made before you read ahead. Lucille discusses life insurance needs for young parents. (See note in comments section for more.) While this community tends to refrain from life insurance, I don’t consider it worthless. There are times life insurance is a good idea. I’m not a fan of cash value life insurance with (very) rare exception. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be considered, however. Your facts and circumstances will determine your insurance needs.

You can read more of Lucille’s work on her blog, The Bereaved. She is also the author of Life After Death: A Wellness Guide for the Bereaved.

 

4 Financial Planning Steps Every New Parent Needs to Take

Lucille Rosetti

When you become a parent, another person’s life is in your hands. It’s scary and exciting all at once, and you only start to feel confident in your new role once you have a few years of experience under your belt. However, there’s one big step you can take now to ease your fears, and that’s handling your financial planning.

Financial planning is about more than funneling money into a retirement account. When you have a family, you need to take steps to provide for your family if you pass away. Without safeguards in place, a single unfortunate event could put your family’s security and well-being at risk. If you want a financially secure future for your children, these are the four things you need to do.

 

Write Your Will

A will does more than distribute your property after you pass away. If you have children, your will is the vehicle for naming the person who will care for your minor children if you die. In addition to naming a guardian, your will allows you to appoint a person, known as a trustee, to manage money left to your children until they become adults.

If both parents die without a will, the courts appoint a guardian for minor children. Babycenter warns that in some states, an administrator is appointed to manage your children’s money until they turn 18. If you prefer to name someone you know and trust to look after your children, a will is a must.

Update Your Health Insurance

Most health insurance plans require a new baby to be added within 30 days. If you miss that window, you may end up with an expensive gap in coverage. If you and your spouse have insurance through employer-sponsored health plans, compare plans to determine which offers better coverage for the price. If you’re unhappy with your current health plan, you can also use this time to switch plans because having a baby qualifies for a Special Enrollment Period.

Buy Life Insurance

Life insurance may not have been on your radar when you were child-free, but now it needs to be. A life insurance policy pays a cash benefit to your surviving family if you die during the coverage period. This essential financial support allows your family to make up for the loss of income and keep a roof over their head if the worst happens. Stay-at-home parents should purchase life insurance too, because the high cost of childcare poses a significant financial burden if the primary caregiver passes away.

Don’t just purchase the cheapest life insurance policy you find. There are different types of life insurance policies, and it’s important to understand the difference so you can purchase the right policy for your family. While many parents opt for a term life policy because of the lower premiums, spending more on a whole or universal life insurance policy lets you accrue cash value, turning the insurance policy into an asset that you can sell for cash in retirement.

 

Pre-Plan Your Funeral

You don’t need to pick out flower arrangements and headstones when you’re still young, but you should have a plan to pay for your funeral. If you don’t, you could put your family in the unfortunate position of struggling to pay for a funeral while beset with grief. At a typical cost of $7,000 to $9,000, that’s no small burden. There are several ways you can set aside funds for a funeral. You can name your spouse co-owner of a joint savings account, create a payable on death account and name a beneficiary, purchase funeral insurance or pursue another pre-pay option. Do your research to select the option that makes the most sense for you and your family.

Thinking about life’s what-ifs may not be pleasant, but it is necessary. If you fail to plan for the worst-case scenario, you could leave your family in a difficult situation without the necessary resources. Make these financial planning steps a priority when your child is born to protect your family.

Image via Unsplash

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Credit Cards can be a powerful money management tool when used correctly. Use this link to find a listing of the best credit card offers. You can expand your search to maximize cash and travel rewards.

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Side Hustle Selling tradelines yields a high return compared to time invested, as much as $1,000 per hour. The tradeline company I use is Tradeline Supply Company. Let Darren know you are from The Wealthy Accountant. Call 888-844-8910, email Darren@TradelineSupply.com or read my review.

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

PeerSteet is an alternative way to invest in the real estate market without the hassle of management. Investing in mortgages has never been easier. 7-12% historical APRs. Here is my review of PeerStreet.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

cost segregation study can reduce taxes $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregations studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

 

Jordan Peterson, Identity Politics, MGTOWs and the Rising Hate of Women

The personal finance killers: divorce, child support, alimony. #familyfinance #personalfinance #divorce #MGTOW #jordanpetersonYou were probably exposed to Jordan Peterson the same way I was: a viral YouTube video. Prior to Google determining my unknown interest in such a “Gotcha!” moment I was preaching some of the same material as it pertained to financial matters.

Once a taste was received I was primed for more material. Peterson has an addicting style of speaking and teaching. He thinks before speaking—something an unnamed blogger still needs to work on. The amount of material to watch is extensive. There is less reading material, but Peterson’s work is powerful and has the tendency to consume a day in thought.

Peterson is misunderstood, many times intentionally. YouTube thinks I might like other similar topics regarding identity politics and feminist bashing. I don’t. By the time my research expanded to MGTOWs (men going their own way), incels (involuntary celibates) and other narrowly defined groups, I grew more and more disturbed.

Most disturbing of all was that I agreed on some issues of these narrowly focused groups while categorically disagreeing with their mentality and overall philosophy. From what I gather, they harbor an intense hated or dislike for women. The misogyny takes the breath away. And the movements seem to keep growing. This is a serious societal problem.

It’s also a massive financial minefield. If you don’t think divorce, child support and alimony aren’t serious financial issues you need to review the world around you. Divorce can take half or more of your hard earned net worth. Child support payments are not deductible and divorces finalized after 2018 will find alimony payments non-deductible too. Men pay almost all child support and alimony payments and men also face a greater risk of losing their children in divorce. With these issues I agree. However, the MGTOW solution of a life devoid of intimacy is no solution at all. Treating women like a piece of meat doesn’t deserve any respect. Period.

The problems have grown acute in Western society. The line between intimacy and rape is blurred by the newscasts. (I am against all forms of violence against women. Don’t read this as a reluctance to protect women.) Men risk loss of freedom, property and future income when interpersonal relationships are involved. Roles have been reversed. Until the last 50 years or so, child birth was a serious risk. Women on average lived shorter lives than men due to death during child birth. Modern medicine has reduced this risk to background noise.

At the same time medicine reduced risk to pregnant women another development occurred: birth control. Birth control was sought after for eons. Ancient Romans and Greeks went to great lengths to enjoy sex and avoid pregnancy. By the 1960s medicine provided a reliable and safe way for women to take control of their reproductive choices.

Prior to the 1960s men had less risk. A man could deny involvement or disappear leaving the woman with a serious problem. Society judged women who had children outside marriage. Roles have reversed. DNA testing easily identifies the father of the child and society honors the strength of the single mother. Women have greater control over their reproductive choices and the medical risks of child birth no longer cause serious concerns.

Society has decided to reverse the risks and the consequences are growing. The stable structure of the family and marriage developed over vast periods of human history and worked extraordinarily well is being abandoned. The old system reduced violence (under the one man, one woman policy of marriage, it meant most men had female opportunity thus reducing violent tendencies), fostered community and provided a stable child rearing environment. But all wasn’t well. In many cultures men were deemed to own his wife and children. Women’s rights were muted, to say the least. Something had to change and it did.

Advice for Men, I Mean Women

A year before I ever heard of Jordan Peterson I was in Gainesville, Florida attending a small early retirement conference. I offered consulting sessions with all proceeds going to charity. (The National Special Olympics received the funds.) One of my consulting sessions was with a young female doctor. She amassed a sizable (seven figures) liquid net worth and was considering an interpersonal relationship, i.e. marriage. I quizzed her on her fiancé and quickly realized the advice she needed to hear: get a prenuptial agreement. Shortly afterwards I published on the topic.

She didn’t feel comfortable with my advice, but I convinced her of the importance of a prenuptial agreement in her situation. After her consulting session she joined the group back at the campfire while I started my next session.

The next morning I realized I caused a huge commotion. The lady I consulted took my advice to the group for their opinion. Opinions were strong on both sides, but it was eventually decided I was right. Whew!

I don’t want to make light of this important subject. Men with money are usually aware of gold diggers. Women who accumulate serious net worth aren’t always as cognizant of the male gold-diggers lurking about.

People reading this tend to be from the FIRE community. With a higher savings rate and net worth, these people need to take extra precautions. Not all women are gold diggers, but if you are a man with money, the gold diggers will be attracted to you. The opposite is just as true! Not all men are gold diggers, but women with money will attract the gold diggers.

Marriage Contract

Marriage is a legal contract between two people. You even go to the court house to get your document. There is nothing unromantic or disturbing about getting a marriage license so why are people so afraid, so offended by the requirement of a prenuptial agreement? Marriage is a wonderful institution. There should be societal and personal rules involved preserving the contract between the two parties.

Men avoid marriage today like the plague. The reasons are clear. Marriage is expensive and the “wife’s” day. Men come along for the ride. (This isn’t completely true, but women generally dictate how the wedding will be conducted.) This is NOT a bad thing! Historically marriage symbolized a bonding with intentions of bringing children into the world and as we’ve noted earlier, this was a risky proposition for the female. Also, marriage was the moment when the woman left her family to live with her husband. It was a major life event for the bride. Things have changed in recent times. Cohabiting prior to marriage is common. Child bearing has fewer medical risks.

Identity politics is killing your retirement. #retirementplanning #divorce #identitypolitics #familyvalues #retirement #jordanpetersonMen view marriage differently. They now have an obligation. They have a wife to support. Oh, wait. That was historically. Today women freely enter the work force (a good thing) and have a large range of opportunities (another good thing). In the past the man provided shelter and food for the family. A man knew his worth. He provided and found satisfaction in knowing he was a good head of the household. Today men don’t find that satisfaction as much. The wife can earn and support herself just fine with or without him. It’s no longer a need, but a convenience to keep the man around.

This sounds horrible when I say it the way I did. MGTOWs make great fanfare over this. “Women,” they say, “no longer respect a man’s role. Women take advantage of men and use men.” I think this is a massive oversimplification of the facts.

I’ve been married for over 30 years (to the same woman). While Mrs. Accountant could find a job and support herself, there is something more satisfying to all parties involved to work as equals. Mrs. A doesn’t have to worry about the breadwinner getting sick or dying; serious issues in times past. She can enter into contracts should I become incapacitated or unavailable. I don’t own her! We are a team!

The rules have changed, no doubt. Identity politics have taken over. We can get mad, pointing to people with different political views. That doesn’t help. It’s not their fault; yours either. Society has changed radically and we are still searching for our sea legs. Birth control gave women control of their reproduction. This is arguably one of the most, if not the most, radical event in human history. It upset several hundred thousand years of human societal evolution.

All is not lost; at least I don’t believe it is. My relationship with my wife is powerful and growing. I can’t imagine life without her. She is not one of the rare unicorns MGTOWs talk about. She is a normal woman who had the great misfortune of being noticed by a crazy accountant. Our secret is we talk, respect each other’s opinions and space, communicate constantly our thoughts and share quality intimate time together. In short, we are growing old together, experiencing all the joys of life with our best friend, each other. There is no room for politics of any kind and certainly no room for hating women for whatever imagined reason.

Still, the problems remain. Child support and alimony hit men disproportionately hard. Divorce is a financial body blow sure to wound the strongest of us. Women file for around 70% of divorces. Men are disproportionately separated from their children. The new world order makes this possible and seems to many men punitive for the crime of loving a woman.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We can wait for society to change—don’t hold your breath—or you can take positive steps to create equality in the relationship where all parties win, especially the children.

Romance is alive and well!

Solutions to the Intractable Problems

Jordan Peterson tells us about what makes us tick; what men women are attracted to. He rarely talks about the financial issues involved.

MGTOWs and similar designations men use to identify themselves are not helping. Quitting society is an unworkable solution. Men, as much as women, need intimacy. In some ways I’m more passionate than Mrs. Accountant. She has the romance parts locked, but I love snuggling in. Yes, guys need (NEED!) touch, too. This is more than sex. Sex is a fun guttural act designed by nature to be really fun so little humans can be produced. Nature also created us to respond positively to closeness and touch; something that can be engaged in for much longer periods of times. A hug should never be a crime because it is such a basic need of humanity. That is why you must hug your significant other and kids every day. It’s the most powerful act I can think of. I personally give my parents (yes, even Dad Accountant) a hug every time I see them. The day will come soon when that opportunity will be lost forever. I’m not wasting a single opportunity.

The rise of misogyny. Stop hating women. MGTOWs. #incel #MGTOW #interpersonalrelationships #familyandchildren #jordanpetersonMen must stop hating women! Misogyny is a vulgar display. Women are different from us, guys. I know. Different is good. (Actually, really, really good.) Women have a different worldview and biological history. The birth control pill doesn’t change millennia of evolution. It also takes time for society to adjust.

We can’t force society to change any faster. We can’t stop the craziness we see in the newsfeeds. The courts will continue to express bias against the men in child support and divorce proceedings.

The fear is real, guys. I understand. I’ve consulted with more clients on this than I care to count. If a guy cheats on his wife he ends up in divorce court and gets what he deserves. If the wife cheats, the guy ends up in divorce court and pays his wife (rewarding her) for her infidelity. Yes, I hear it all the time, but it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a better option.

I alluded to the solution about. Deciding to have children is different today. I hope we can agree on that much by now. Women (and men) have great control over reproductive choices which removes a lot of uncertainty in interpersonal relationships. This is a good thing. And as long as children can now be planned, doesn’t it make sense to lay down ground rules in advance? Deciding to have children is something men and women can both enjoy. Children are hard to raise while still such a joy to have. They are an endless blessing. If a prenuptial agreement can solve many problems before they occur, a child agreement—a legal and binding document—can protect both parents. Men (and women) no longer need to fear disenfranchisement from his children unless he poses harm to them.

A prenup might sound unromantic, but an agreement for having a child shouldn’t carry such weight. The act of creating the agreement will expose differences in child rearing ideology. Best to iron out those differences before a child is involved. Some of this can be handled in a prenuptial agreement. Each state is different so consult an attorney experienced in such matters.

Marriage is a contract and always has been. There is nothing wrong—and a lot right—with planning your marriage more than you plan the wedding. Remember, the wedding is a day; the marriage is a lifetime. A prenuptial agreement solves a lot of the problems MGTOWs complain about. A child agreement solves issues surrounding kids you have. No more blaming and hating women! My wife and daughters are awesome people. Never forget that.

Guys, women love a man with a plan. Coming to a relationship with an action plan is powerful. Women are still biologically wired to want a man who will support them. They tend to marry up. This is natural and normal due to historical standards. A plan can make you more desirable to women. And you have to put aside shyness and ask. If you see a woman you are interested in, ask her if she would like to join you for a cup of coffee. If she responds poorly you didn’t want to spend time with her anyway. There are lots of really good ladies out there. Really! Check out a Peterson video if you want to know and learn more of what women want.

Men, you should feel less stress about relationships! Not so long ago you carried a heavy burden. You worked the fields and mines (dangerous jobs) and if you got hurt or died your wife and children suffered horribly. Instead of the responsibility of carrying all the weight of supporting your family, you now have an equal, a partner. It’s better that way. Honest.

 

Note: If you haven’t read Jordan Peterson’s latest book you need to fix that ASAP. Normally I would say check it out at the library, but that isn’t good enough this time. Your copy of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos will be more worn than an evangelical’s Bible. You’ll refer to it that much.

 

Note: I understand this is a difficult and contentious topic. These are serious money issues people need to consider. Some of my personal opinions and biases developed over my lifetime I’m sure slipped in even though I tried hard to keep opinion out. Please use this as a starting point to think about the subject matter. I empathize with men dealing with the host of issues; I also empathize with women trying to make their way in this world. Both genders are working hard to figure it out. No vicious attacks in the comments. You can disagree with me, but treat other commentators with respect. Thank you.

 

More Wealth Building Resources

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Side Hustle Selling tradelines yields a high return compared to time invested, as much as $1,000 per hour. The tradeline company I use is Tradeline Supply Company. Let Darren know you are from The Wealthy Accountant. Call 888-844-8910, email Darren@TradelineSupply.com or read my review.

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. QuickBooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

A cost segregation study can save $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

Teach Children to Follow Their Dreams

This isn’t your parent’s China. China is an ultra modern society with the people curious about the world at large.

From a young age I knew exactly wanted to do. Then I changed my mind.

Such is youth. My dad had different plans for me. My childhood was spent on the family farm and it was an awesome life. My dad owned an agricultural repair business and the plan was in place for me to slide right into the company. There was only one problem: I hated the work.

My children are now adults. One is in China while the youngest just graduated high school. My fondest hope was that at least one of the two would be interested in tax and accounting work. No dice.

Forcing your children into a family business is always a bad idea. The kids might love the work and they should then be welcomed with open arms if they do. But most kids don’t want to follow in their parent’s footsteps. Their dreams are different. Most often they follow their parent’s path because they don’t know where else to turn.

Rural areas face the same issue. When few career opportunities exist young people must either leave the area or work in the coal mine. It’s the perfect recipe for unhappiness.

Heather, my oldest, is spending a month in China teaching a 5-year old girl English as a second language. The host family is treating Heather great.

Brooke, the youngest, prefers working in dirt. She works for my dad’s company landscaping. She also has a few side jobs working for people in town clean their yard and garden.

Both my girls are happy. I couldn’t ask for a better gift. I never forced either of my girls into living my life. The goal was to always help them follow their dream. The only constant from dad was the endless indoctrination of personal finance advice. As a result my girls are handling money better than 99%. I guess that means they’ll be the future 1%. Good for them.

Nothing to Lose

Steve Jobs said “you have nothing to lose” in his Stanford commencement address in 2005. Jordan Peterson has said the same thing in many of his videos. What both mean is that in the end we are all dead. Nothing we say or do will change that. Knowing someday you’ll be dead is a humbling attitude you can channel into productive projects. You have nothing to lose by following your dreams.

Failing is part of the process. As much as failure hurts, we know it will all be forgotten someday as the hands of times sweep all our actions into the depths of history. Nobody remembers the details of the numerous failures of Thomas Edison as he worked toward the light bulb. We just remember the one that worked.

Starting a business or side hustle is the ultimate leap of faith. Failure will be displayed to our embarrassment. Or will it? If I didn’t share my many business failures over the years none of you would know! I share the mishaps because that is where learning takes place. Success is a poor teacher so I show where things went wrong.

Go East, Young Girl. Far East

I tried to ingrain the “you have nothing to lose” attitude in my girls. I drilled the lessons into their heads daily without remorse. Early on I was worried they may not be getting the message. Then, as the years progressed, it became obvious they were listening after all.

Heather at a jewelry expo in Beijing. She always loves her art.

Heather worked in my office for a short while and still fills in periodically. She worked in my office at first for the same reason many kids work in the family business: it’s an easy option. It didn’t take long to learn she wasn’t interested in the tax or accounting life. Personal finance was as far as she wanted to go in the accounting world. Dad took a deep breath and allowed his sweetie to cut her own path. It was the right thing to do.

From high school on Heather was interested in East Asia. She built plans to go to college in Thailand and South Korea. Later she learned she could teach English as a second language in countries around the world. Good grades and an unrelenting drive made it a reality. Fundraising and financial tricks learned from dad gave her the chance to see China as an insider rather than a tourist for practically no money!

Her host family is awesome! Heather is seeing China from the perspective of a Chinese family. She lives with her host family, tutoring their five year old daughter, Dora. Dora is such a sweetheart. WeChat allows us to communicate without cost. Dora speaks good English and is a bundle of energy. Heather will be heartbroken when she has to return home. She will always have memories (and friends) in a land far away. The modern world makes it easy to stay in touch.

In middle school you would never have guessed Heather would take the path she did. On a family trip to South Dakota Heather was so anxious we had to stop at every turn off for a bathroom break. We even created a few new rest stops along the way. It was bad. (Heather will probably read this while still in China. She’ll be embarrassed when she does. Consider it dad’s revenge for making him stop every quarter mile.)

Heather inherited the early travel anxiety from dad. I’m crazy when I have to travel. It always sounds like a good idea until the departure date approaches. Mrs. Accountant can tell you many stories of the strangle behaviors I’ve undertake when on the road. I travel for business with rare exception. I keep myself hyper busy so I can control the anxiety. If I’m not chatty, running my mouth a million miles an hour, I withdraw into my own fantasy world. The best non-business trip I ever took was to Costa Rica. My parents invited Mrs. Accountant and me. This allowed for some normalcy with more family around. Still, I didn’t say much during the trip as I mentally withdrew.

Heather and Dora. The world is an awesome (and smaller) place.

Heather outgrew her travel anxiety. Thank god for that. Heather is there, in China, learning their culture and teaching at the same time. The world is much smaller now.

I get to see the world through her eyes and from the perspective of her host family. They seem a lot like people here. They have strong family ties and enjoy time together. They are interested in the world around them. More people speak Mandarin as a native language than any other; English in number three behind Spanish. Still, Heather traveled to China to teach English, whereas Chinese people speak English when they come to the U.S. Strange how they are such an enlightened society as not to demand everyone conform to their culture and language.

The activities Heather enjoys with Dora make me smile. They do so many fun things together. She sends pictures every day. Dora is a well-adjusted young lady. When we video chat Dora keeps hopping in and out of the camera view. We are just normal people to her. Our smaller world reminds us we are all normal people, regardless of culture.

Imagine if I would have demanded Heather work in the family business? All this would have been lost. Heather would have felt a longing for a different life while I dealt with an employee unhappy with her job.

As much as I want to point my girls in a certain direction, I can’t. There was no way I could have guessed Heather would end up where she is. She is better for it too. She called yesterday (about 9:30 p.m. in Beijing) because her car overheated in standstill traffic. I talked her through it. She eventually contacted her host family. The dad stayed behind to handle the auto repairs while mom brought Dora and Heather home. I am so proud of how Heather handled the situation. She really has grown up. She grew up because I allowed her to fly.

The Ground is the Same over Here

Brooke took a path I didn’t expect either. She never even tried to work in my office. She did stuff tax organizers into envelopes over the holidays each year. But her heart was never in the office—any office.

Brooke is interested in computers, but schooling is something she wants to put off for a bit. She has a few coins saved so she has time to decide the path she wishes to travel. In the mean time she likes working in the ground. Heather is traveling land in China while Brooke turns dirt in the backwoods of Wisconsin. It’s a living. And she enjoys it!

Brooke left the door open for college a year or so down the road when she is more certain she wants to learn more about computers. Landscaping and nurseries are acceptable ways to fill a day and gain an income in the mean time.

Again, if I would have forced the issue, requiring Brooke to take a path I thought appropriate for her, she would have been miserable. There is no way a parent can know what will appeal to their children.

There is a way we can help, but is takes a lot of fortitude.

The Guiding Hand of Parents

You can teach your children how to follow their dreams. Engage them. Require them to think about the things they want to do in life. Pay attention to their interests and encourage them to pursue their dreams.

Heather and Dora rollerblading in the middle of Beijing at night. Those two are having a great time and are the terror of China. They’re both cuties.

That doesn’t mean the kids get a blank check to do what they want. Quite the contrary. My girls had to earn whatever path they choose to walk. I didn’t pay Heather’s way to China.

College wasn’t a free ride either. Heather struggled with getting to college. I didn’t support her attempts at several higher education ideas financially. She had to earn her way before I stepped in and helped. Once she buckled down and got serious about full-time college she was able to raise the funds necessary to attend school without selling investments to get there. She got so close before she couldn’t do it anymore. I immediately stepped in and provided the rest. For the record, my contribution was very small, a few thousand dollars. Think about that. Heather will leave college with a degree, no student loans, no debt and dad will still be solvent having invested less than $5,000. And Heather got to travel to China (Netherlands next year). She also has a job tutoring people in China from home (online) while she finishes school. She has a bright future!

While Heather is starting to create a path she is likely to travel most or all of her life, Brooke is just starting out. She is 18 and experimenting with her choices. I can’t say as much about her because her story is only beginning. I see the same pattern in Brooke that I saw in Heather. The only difference will be the ultimate path taken.

Parents worry about their kids. It’s only natural. Here is what I did:

  • Provide a supporting hand.
  • Be consistent.
  • Freely offer advice and guidance without doing it for them.
  • Let them explore the available options.
  • Don’t force them into the family business.
  • Let them fail. Failure is the only way to learn.
  • Let them fly. All the way to China, if you must. Your heart will eventually begin beating again.
  • Love them regardless their choice.
  • Share your stories, your wisdom.
  • Use humor.
  • Hug them. It matters.

Most of all, always welcome them home. It’s hard letting go. It is for the best. It is so much sweeter when they return.

 

 

Wealth Building Resources

Personal Capital is an incredible tool to manage all your investments in one place. You can watch your net worth grow as you reach toward financial independence and beyond. Did I mention Personal Capital is free?

Medi-Share is a low cost way to manage health care costs. As health insurance premiums continue to sky rocket, there is an alternative preserving the wealth of families all over America. Here is my review of Medi-Share and additional resources to bring health care under control in your household.

QuickBooks is a daily part of life in my office. Managing a business requires accurate books without wasting time. Quickbooks is an excellent tool for managing your business, rental properties, side hustle and personal finances.

A cost segregation study can save $100,000 for income property owners. Here is my review of how cost segregation studies work and how to get one yourself.

Worthy Financial offers a flat 5% on their investment. You can read my review here. 

Stalking the Accountant at the Finish Line

 

I see what you’re up to. Don’t even think about it.

Thursday this week was the due date for calendar year S corporations and partnerships. We are in the heart of tax season and your favorite accountant is feeling the strain. Stress is okay as workflow is moving reasonably well with a few notable exceptions I intend to rectify. The April 17th deadline looms.

 

Money was handed out this week: $100 to a subscriber and $100 to commenter.

Brett S. from Lake Havasu AZ is our subscriber winner. He took the PayPal cash transfer. Congratulations!

As a side note, Brett is a really lucky guy. He was the third person chosen, not the first. The name pulled out of the random generator hat would have been our first non-U.S. winner, but he/she had unsubscribed. The second name pulled also unsubscribed within the last few days. Yikes! Ya gotta be a current subscriber to win the subscriber drawing.

 

Our second winner is “Jason E. of Providence, RI (originally from Minnesota….and hope to get back to the Midwest soon)”. He took the Amazon gift card.

There were 186 comments in the last 30 days; Jason’s was number 117, the number the random number generator called as the winner. My comments are excluded from the drawing for obvious reasons. (Hey, look everybody. I won so I get to pay me!)

Here is the blog post with the winning comment.

This is the short and simple comment that put $100 in Jason’s pocket:

Thanks for the find. I will definitely be reviewing this within a short period of time.

Consider using an Amazon link from this blog with the winnings as it helps fill the coffers used to fund future drawings and gifts to charities.

 

What I’m Reading

An interesting short book I enjoyed this week is The Lessons of History by Will and Ariel Durant.

 

What I’m Watching

I’ve never been a Suze Orman fan and this video didn’t help me think better of her. Of course, take anything you see online (actually anything from anywhere) with a grain of salt. It’s easy to manipulate facts in our modern age.

 

Every so often I go back and review a documentary on the 1929 stock market crash. It was such a fascinating time.

 

The water dispenser died on my fridge. A YouTube video and I’m off to do it myself, saving some serious dough.

 

What I’m Listening to

As regular readers know, my youngest daughter reached the age of majority this week. I’m having mixed feelings.

Here are two songs I listened to this week to reflect my melancholy.

 

I also found this nugget. I like The Good, the Bad and the Ugly theme song. When I saw this scroll through I expected a laugh. Was I surprised! The theme song finishes with The Ecstasy of Gold, another excellent song.

 

Have an awesome weekend, kind readers. See y’all on the other side.

The Bittersweet Joy of Raising Children

Alone.

My youngest daughter turned 18 on Wednesday and while Mrs. Accountant and I are not yet officially empty nesters the handwriting is on the wall. High school needs to be finished and an adjustment into adulthood is in order before she leaves. The timing is the only thing undecided.

My oldest daughter (I have two girls) stuck around home milking mom and dad for all it was worth. At first the prodding was gentle. As the years passed the cattle prod was more insistent. It’s wasn’t about her behavior either.

Both my girls are well behaved and quiet. Neither took to drinking, drugs or promiscuous behavior. Brooke, the youngest, enjoys playing on the computer and working outside. Heather buries her nose in a book or online research. In many ways it was like they weren’t here.

Quiet and well-behaved doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy quality time with the girls. We spent many hours outside throwing Frisbee. “Puss arm!” and “Butter fingers!” were shouted often as we laughed away an afternoon. Walks to the creek or around the farm are all fond memories. Fire pits, cook outs, and farm animals filled the formative years of my girls. I hope it was enough.

Where Did the Time Go?

Intellectually I knew my children were growing up and working toward a life of their own. Somehow it never sunk in that it wouldn’t last forever. Still, I managed to sprinkle each day with my wisdom and sorted humor. It’s amazing my kids survived at all with a dad like me.

It was impossible to know if my lessons were sinking in. Advice on interpersonal relationships was hardest because your choice in life mate determines a serious percent of your wellbeing and happiness. A good marriage or dedicated relationship (or whatever they call it these days) is one of the most important decisions you will make in life. Money is important, but I can be very happy and poor with the right woman next to me. I was extremely lucky in meeting Mrs. Accountant. Very lucky indeed! She stood firm through the roughest of storms. We weathered a lot and grew stronger over the years.

Here I am with Mrs. Accountant, my girls and nieces at the Jingle Bell Run.

Money was also a common discussion. I kept repeating my mantras hoping something would stick. Instead of demanding my girls live frugally I repeated things like, “You don’t save money by spending it.” Of course I had to qualify the statement as they got older. Spending money on your health is usually a good investment. Changing the oil in your car is spending money, but it does, in a way, end up saving you a lot more.

The two areas you are told never to talk about in public—politics and religion—were common discussions in the Accountant household. We’ll skip the religious conversation for brevity and to allow time for a short detour through politics.

Remember, the original, and still primary, goal of this blog is to leave my children a legacy of my knowledge and experiences. You are here to observe and comment if you want (and do it respectfully). My political ideology is definitely centrist with mild detours to the left and right.

Ronald Reagan was president when I reached the age of majority. I liked Reagan and voted for him when he ran for a second term. It was my first presidential election. Age and experience have tempered my appeal for Reagan, but I still like the guy. The first Bush got my vote, but his performance and communications skills left me wanting.

I voted for Clinton twice. The Monica Lewinski thing didn’t bother me. I knew it was dirty politics only. Considering what we see today neither party is much concerned with ethical behavior when it comes to women. It’s a talking point until they get caught in their hypocrisy.

What I liked about Clinton was his understanding of economics and government finance. The Republicans cried about the deficit once a Democrat was in office. President Clinton knew exactly how to balance the budget and he did it! Clinton knew he could keep a strong economy with growing government spending and balance the budget if he kept spending increases to 1% below the inflation rate. A deficit at 4% of GDP was resolve in about four years on its own. I thought it was genius and few ever talked about it. I guess you have to be an accountant to understand.

Bush II never thrilled me and I voted for Gore and Kerry. My opinion of George W. Bush has improved over the years. I never disliked the man, but I felt he was ineffective and too much a puppet of the establishment right. I’d still sit and have a beer with the guy. I think he is an honorable man forced onto a very big world stage.

I liked President Obama. He was cool under every kind of pressure. I voted for Obama the first time around and would have voted for McCain f he’d have picked anyone else for a VP. John McCain would have been a good president. His just right of center ideology sat well with me. He also played fair with both sided of the isle. Something I admire as professionalism.

Trump is dangerous in my opinion and I’ve shared my thoughts personally with my girls ad nauseam on the subject. Leadership by tweet is not leadership in my world.

Back to “Where’d the Time Go”

Politics is an important discussion point to have with your children. Your children will pick up your position on the political spectrum and that isn’t a bad thing. They’ll stray when they’re ready, also a good thing.

Politics is important and an important part of this discussion because politic affects many money issues. Tax laws can help or hinder you on your way to financial independence. Retirement plans offer tax advantages. The level of advantage is an inducement toward solvency.

Enjoying an ice cream at Frogg’s in Sherwood, Wisconsin.

My disdain for Trump doesn’t cloud my judgment because no matter how much I like or dislike a political leader I know some ideas they have will sit well with me and others less so. For example, I agree we needed tax reform. I’m not as excited the final result will allow for a long-term lower adjustment in rates, but since my crystal ball is cloudy on all future events I withhold judgment. Trump’s willingness (and last I heard a soon to be real event) to have a face-to-face discussion with Kim Jong-un is something I highly approve of. I also think Trump is more qualified on this one issue (face-to-face with Kim) than any president to ever deal with North Korea. I’ll withhold judgment, of course, but am guardedly optimistic. (As I read this aloud to Mrs. Accountant and Brooke I was informed the meeting will not take place. I hope Trump reconsiders. This is his strong suit.)

And then we realize the years have got behind us and the kiddos are finally adults.

After a slow start getting off dad’s couch, Heather has shown real maturity as she gains new friends in college. She is heading to China this summer with future plans of living permanently abroad. I wanted her to get off my couch, but I didn’t think she would travel so far away.

Heather works most Friday’s in my office. She is starting to miss more and more as she continues to spread her wings. She was coming home every weekend. Now she misses some weekends. Soon she’ll be gone for a month or longer and then. . .

Yeah, I miss my sweetie. A good parent teaches and then allows, even insists, their kids build a life of their own. Mom and dad are always there as a sounding board. However, flying is a solo sport. I gave them the tools. It is up to them now. I’d be a liar if I said my heart doesn’t flutter as I watch.

The New Kid in Town

For the Accountant household there are no new kids in town. The kids are all gone. Brooke is an adult now as she reaches for high school graduation and big plans of her own. She has no plans of moving out at this time. But before long the call will be heard and eventually answered. It is the way life is meant to be.

The house feels emptier without Heather around most of the time. She stays up really late (midnight or later) while Brooke and mom go to bed early (around 8). My bedtime is in between. I love the quiet time and house to myself for reading and writing. Yet, there is an emptiness causing me unease. I doubt it will ever go away.

No Regrets

I don’t regret the path I’ve chosen. Mrs. Accountant was better at staying at home than I ever was. Sue raised our girls with incredible patience. She has been a guiding angel for our children and her wayward husband. I can only imagine what she feels as the house grows quieter.

Whenever the girls had an event I was there. Except for 14 months I was self-employed my entire life. The drive which pushes me incessantly also knows when to back off. When it comes to family nothing is more important. I’d rather be poor in cash and rich in family than the other way around. Money is something nice to play with and fill time, but family is the real meaning of love and happiness. Family is what makes life worth living.

Tax season keeps me in the office long hours. Early in my career the office was our remodeled basement. Since 1995 I’ve enjoyed a storefront to escape to when practicing my passion. For nine months a year I am home a lot. Tax season is a nice reprieve for the family from a crazy dad. Then it’s time for the prodigal dad to return home.

Alone, Naturally

The day is fast approaching when Mrs. Accountant and I can sit alone together and enjoy uninterrupted time. It’s a skill we haven’t had much time to practice. There is a sadness in the approaching moment.

No goodbyes, just good memories.

I’ve always idolized older people who have the time to satiate the lust for learning. The ability to while away a day immersed in books appeals to me. I do also understand it is better to want than to have. It may prove difficult to concentrate when my thoughts keep straying to the years when my girls roamed the house.

I hope I don’t second-guess myself. That would lead to misery! I made the choices I made because I thought they were right at the time. There is no value in torturing myself with paths I didn’t take.

The lessons have been taught. All that remains is gentle support and guidance. It is a bittersweet joy raising children. Never once did I dream I would feel like this. Honestly, I can’t remember a time when I thought about the instant my last child would leave our home to live her own life. I never prepared because I was unaware of what should have been obvious.

Still, I have no regrets. I brought two fine young ladies to adulthood. For all my flaws they turned out darn good. There is no doubt Mrs. Accountant had a lot to do with it.

Even Pinky, our cat, sits in the front window more now. She stares to the distant horizon and chirps with thoughts I can’t even begin to imagine. Pinky probably feels it’s time for her to roam free too. She might also want to consider the difference between wanting and having.

Soon the house will be empty. Then I can start dating that young lady again I met oh so many years ago. No kids. We can dream again of our future.

Forever.