Author: Charles Crowley, CFP®, AIF®

Billfolds and Babies

A baby changes the game in so many ways. I think back to the first time I heard my little boy say “peeeez, Daddy.” I would have handed that little guy nearly anything he wanted with little remorse just because of how cute it was. It makes me think about how as parents, we naturally want to not just meet, but exceed the wants and needs of our children; however, accomplishing that can be quite a challenge. With so much time focused on getting ready mentally, spiritually, and physically for a new baby, it is also fact that soon-to-be parents can especially end up feeling a bit unprepared financially because it is so tough to judge how expensive life as a growing family will be.

Knowing personally and professionally that the fiscal changes associated with parenthood are a gracious plenty, I’ve laid out a few things below that will hopefully make the experience of welcoming a new baby less of a learn-on-the-fly education.

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Who Said Budget Is A Bad Word?

We’ve all experienced this in one way or another: the paycheck lands, we think that we have recommitted our mind to being thrifty and frugal, but then something (or someone, reflection in the mirror included) happens to derail the process. We know it is necessary. We understand the benefits. But it isn’t fun! YOLO, right?! Sure, denying ourselves today the zeal of instant gratification is NOT enjoyable, but it IS responsible.

Whether you are just beginning the “adulting” journey and are trying to get a handle on what having personal, financial accountability means, or you’re a cashflow veteran and you’re pushing forward with a much needed over-haul of your money management repertoire, these 5 tips are essential to remember when taking command of our favorite 6 letter curse word… the BUDGET…

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Retrospective – Practicality and Money as a Young Adult

A few weeks back, I was sent on a bit of a wild goose chase through our garage. We were turning one of our guest rooms into my son’s new “big-boy” room since the arrival of our second child would soon be evicting him from the nursery. I was looking for a specific can of paint so that we could do some touch up work and, as I’m rummaging through cabinets, I come across an old box of DVDs. I couldn’t help myself. Instead of continuing to look for the paint, I start going through the box of movies instead. Near the top was Back to The Future.1 For those unfamiliar, the plot of the film involves a 17-year-old kid named Marty going back in time in a machine built by his eccentric yet insightful scientist pal, Doc Brown. It’s a fictional concept, but it got me thinking. If I had the opportunity to go back in time and mentor a younger me, what would I say? Then it hit me. I’ve actually written this down before.

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“Honey, I shrunk the tuition… burden”

It is that time of year again where school years are coming to a close and many parents are gearing up for a bitter-sweet high school graduation or are celebrating their child being one year closer to a hard-earned college diploma. Whatever the case may be, it is hard to deny the heavy lift education costs can be. You may not be able to shrink the bottom-line cost of attendance any further, and you surely can’t impact how fast many costs are going up, but, you can reduce the weight this line-item carries within your financial plan by remembering these 5 things:

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Proper Margin

I was recently asked by a cousin during a New Year’s Day lunch conversation, “If you had to name the one key to starting a good financial plan at my age, what would it be?” My reply came without hesitation – “Margin.”

To provide context as to how the question arose, he and his wife are in their late 20’s. They married fairly young, have already survived some incredibly difficult life events together, purchased their first home, adopted two dogs, and are now expecting their first child. He understands the value of a dollar, the meaning of hard work, and is, quite frankly, one of the most principled men I know. So, what he was really asking was simply this: If we are looking to REALLY start getting our act together financially, and begin to put ourselves on a path to build wealth, where should we start? By the look on his face, my cousin was expecting something quite different in response, but quickly caught on to what I meant as we continued to chat.

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