Category: The Readers Corner


While adults inevitably need to pay close attention to their finances, this becomes even more of a concern when kids enter the picture. After all, your cost of living is bound to rise as your family grows. Moreover, you also have to think far ahead into the future and ensure that your family is taken care of in case you get sick, lose your job, or worse.

Indeed, there’s no question that financial planning is an indelible part of parenting. Here’s how you can start.

Buy instead of rent.

Shelter is counted as one of the most important human needs, and it is your responsibility as a parent to make sure that your entire family is safe and comfortable in an appropriate home. This then begs the question of whether to buy or rent. Zillow explains either option does have its own virtues, buying your own home still comes out on top. Not only do you enjoy the flexibility and privacy of having a home of your own, but there’s also a sense of accomplishment to it, too.

And of course, your own home is an asset, making it a great investment. However, there are also some considerations to think about before you take the leap and purchase a property, such as your down payment.

Get to know the basics about down payments. For instance, conventional loans normally require 20 percent down, while an FHA loan may ask for as little as 3 percent. Moreover, mortgage insurance will be required for down payments of less than 20 percent. With a clear understanding, you’ll be able to determine how much you need to save and what kind of loan you can expect when you invest in a home of your own.

Save for the future.

It’s a fact that your child’s college education will be one of the most significant financial hurdles you will ever face in life. In fact, Forbes notes college costs are rising 8 times faster than wages. Needless to say, it’s a very smart move to start saving up for your children’s education as early as you can. You can even go beyond the normal savings account and consider the many methods in which you can save for your child’s education.

Equally important is your own retirement savings. This may be something that’s not at the forefront of your mind when you are young, but it’s highly recommended that you start putting away money for your retirement as early as your 20s. This ensures that your future care and health care needs are met when the time comes without putting an undue burden on your children. Do some number crunching and make sure you are where you need to be.

Invest in insurance.

Of course, life insurance is always a staple when it comes to financial planning. This becomes particularly valuable when you become a parent as you can never guess what life might have in store for you and your family. Having life insurance will ensure that your surviving dependents will be taken care of in the event of your demise, so as Business Insider points out, it’s something that you need in your portfolio, even if you think you don’t.

Furthermore, life insurance is also another thing that you shouldn’t put off for later in life. When you buy insurance young, you are not only covered longer—and, by extension, enjoy valuable peace of mind—but young and healthy applicants can lock in lower premiums.

Suffice it to say, your responsibility as a parent does not end in providing for your family’s basic needs and wants at the moment. Rather, it extends far into the future. So when you become a parent—or even long before—it’s high time to start financial planning.

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Photo Via: Unsplash.com

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“7 Educational Activities Kids Can Do Indoors”

Whether it’s a blustery day in the fall or a snow day during the winter, poor weather means your kids are going to be indoors looking for something to do. However, instead of letting them veg out in front of the television, steer them toward educational technology or hands-on activities where they can keep themselves busy with fun ways to learn about different subjects.

Teach on a Tablet

The latest technology makes it easier than ever for kids to learn a variety of subjects in a fun way. For example, kids can access educational apps on the Apple store — like music composition or language learning — then download and use them on a tablet like the Apple iPad 10.2. Some of these apps take on the form of augmented reality, so your kids can learn about subjects with the use of advanced technology. Though a tablet is smaller than a computer, it’s just as powerful and is more portable, allowing your kids to learn and play anywhere.

Career-Based Learning

Even if choosing an established career is way down the road, children can learn a lot of practical knowledge that’s applicable in everyday life — like teaching kids about real estate. Real estate is a complex field that requires skills in math, science, English, social studies, and home economics. By incorporating real estate-based lessons into your curriculum, you can help students gain valuable skills in practical math application, presentation giving, forming a persuasive argument, earth science and so much more. Furthermore, studies show that career-based learning prompts youngsters to be more motivated students.

Hands-On Experiments to Learn Science

There are numerous benefits that come from kids performing science experiments. Some of the educational advantages include learning about safety, drawing and writing to hypothesize results, problem-solving math skills, predicting, understanding cause and effect and discovering why a chemical reaction occurred.

Creative Art Classes

One of the benefits of art is that it can have a calming effect, so it’s a great activity to suggest on a day when your kids are squirrely. Digital art classes offer unique and interesting projects such as creating a bouquet of mixed media flowers, learning how to draw accurate facial features, beefing up photography skills, and much more. Some of these projects are also good for adults, too, so consider arranging a time when the entire family can engage in an art project together.

Online Book Clubs

There are numerous online reading courses for kids that offer opportunities for boosting their reading comprehension skills. After reading the story — or having it read to your child by famous performers or actors — there’s the opportunity to engage in Q and A sessions, activities like hands-on projects and even donate to charity.

Get Moving with Dance

Believe it or not, you can find lessons for almost every type of dance style online — many are catered to kids. Along with having fun, your kids will stay fit in the process. Dancing is an ideal activity that sneaks in exercise. About 17 percent of children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese, so teaching good fitness habits early on is important for long-term health.

Don’t Overlook Hiring Some Help

Here’s a trick you may not have considered: hiring a local sitter to help you during these rainy or overheated days. If you have several children, or the neighborhood kids tend to gather at your home, bringing in a babysitter to help wrangle everyone will make the day a little less stressful.

Online learning is a bit like going back to the basics, but with the benefit of digital technology to make activities more robust than ever before. Encourage your kids to mix things up so they don’t become bored. They don’t have to be perfect at everything, but trying new projects will help them discover their strengths.

 Photo Credit: Pixabay

Written By:

Julie Morris

Life and Career Coach

julie_morris@juliemorris.org | juliemorris.org

 

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A Fulfilling Distraction: Advice for Budget-Minded People Who Need a Hobby

Are you the kind of person who needs to find a way to relax but has a hard time just sitting still and taking it easy? Some people need to find a distraction that keeps them moving or feeling as though they’re accomplishing something positive — that’s what makes hobbies so ideal. Once you’ve found one you enjoy, you’ll find it relaxing and stimulating at the same time, and it should allow you to work off frustrations and generate positive feelings. It’s an important form of self-care because it contributes to your sense of well-being.

Best of all, a hobby doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition to be enjoyable, and there are many you can enjoy along with friends if you choose. Here’s how to get started.

Music

Learning to play an instrument is one of the most satisfying and rewarding hobbies, and it’s a skill that benefits people in many ways, such as improving memory, cognitive functioning and motor skills. Music is a unique form of communication and entertainment, and learning how to play it can instill a powerful sense of self-esteem and achievement. There’s no need to pay for expensive lessons when there are free lessons that can be found on the internet. If you have a piano or guitar at home, then you’re all set to learn music. If you need to purchase an instrument, opt to start with a more affordable one, consider renting one through a music store, or watch for discounts, rebates and promotional offers on equipment.

Sports

You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to take up sports as a hobby. All you really need to enjoy golf, tennis, or bowling is desire and a little equipment, which can be found at affordable prices by watching for coupons or online promo coupons at a retail store like Dick’s Sporting Goods, plus you can dig a little deeper to find cash back on purchases. What sport you decide to take up as a hobby may depend on whether you prefer to play as part of a team or compete as an individual. Either way, playing a sport is a great way to get some exercise while enjoying an activity that takes your mind off your problems.

Drawing

If you’ve always had a creative impulse, try turning it into a fulfilling hobby. Or, you can enjoy learning the basics by dialing up an online tutorial, such as Drawspace, and learn in the comfort of your own home and at your own pace. It’s an enjoyable hobby, and it’s one that allows you to share with others the results of your efforts. Make it a group activity by inviting friends to join with you. To get started, search weekly sales and discounts through hobby stores like Michaels.

Arts and Crafts

Crafting is a hobby and creative outlet for millions of men, women and children who enjoy creating things with their hands. Crafting gives you the means of making unique presents for others and, depending on your skill level, taking part in crafting fairs and competitions and even launching your own business venture. It’s also an excellent way to stay involved with other people whose company you enjoy and who share your enthusiasm. Save money when searching for supplies and look for online discounts at stores like Hobby Lobby.

A hobby can be a life-changing activity that opens up new avenues of learning and achievement and creates new friendships. It can be the means of developing an existing skill or learning one that’s always interested you. Most importantly, it’s a form of self-care that can recharge your emotional and psychological batteries.

Written By: Julie Morris

Life and Career Coach

julie_morris@juliemorris.org | juliemorris.org

Image courtesy of Pixabay.com