Tag Archives: Practicing Kindness

FINANCIAL PLANNING. WHO NEEDS IT?

You do. If you are a parent of a new born, school aged children, teens, or adult children dependent on you for financial support, this is a good topic.  This is also some food for thought for those parents who are facing retirement, and want to  place as small a  financial burden as possible on their children.

As with all knowledge, you need to tailor it or even ignore it when it comes to your life, your children and your experience.  Still it is a place to start.

What Every New Parent Needs to Know – Forbes.

The author  makes the practical suggestions  that as a new parent you should update your will, make sure you have enough  life insurance, make sure your children are listed as your beneficiaries so taxes can be avoided, re-arrange your budget to take into account the additional expenses involved in raising a child, think about saving to send the kid to college, and finally, start teaching your children to be wise about money. This last is the focus of this post.

First, and as usual, a few of my cranky quarrels with the Forbes article.  The audience is the Forbes audience and so it is biased towards those lucky enough to have the money needed to accomplish most of what he suggests.  Wills can be written cheaply without the benefit of a lawyer—there are plenty of internet sites telling you how to write a basic will—but to be fairly foolproof a lawyer probably should eyeball and lend his or her expertise.

Insurance is a stickier problem for many.  The capacity to have adequate life and health insurance  separates the working class poor and in my mind puts them more squarely than most  in the Western World’s  99% contributing to the 1% living in wealth.

My parents were less than wealthy and did not have either life or health insurance.  My false teeth tell that tale.  No dental care.  When we left our full time jobs to become were foster parents, we became insurance poor.  When I went back to work we had adquate coverage, but with retirement came an end to life insurance.  We have pre-paid our burial expenses, have medicare and at the moment affordable supplemental insurance.  At the moment.  Many parents today face a far worse situation.

PARENT ADVICE

Parents have do to the best they can.  One thing almost every parent can do is follow the advice in the article’s final paragraph.

It’s never too early (or too late) to start learning the habits that can help shape a person’s financial life. While they might be too young to learn about balancing a checkbook, just learning something as simple as how to resist eating a marshmallow can make a huge difference. As they grow older, you can help them further develop the discipline to delay gratification and eventually plan and save for their own future. After all, watching them grow into responsible adults is something you really can’t put a price on.

So here are my tips in terms of age and stage:

1. Think about what really matters.  Know the difference between your child’s actual needs and how you may want things for your child that are not needs . I found this on Pinterest:

Cute, I agree, but it costs $250 dollars and baby could care less.  Unless parents emphasis material things, pre-school aged kids rarely care.

2. The time to start thinking about fads and fashions is when school mates become fashionistra’s and your child might need at least a few of the latest fashions to fit in.

3. The above goes for birthday parties, visits to theme parks, and most of the toys too many think of as must haves.  Such parties for one year olds are for the family to celebrate, the kid is mostly confused.

 4. Start encouraging saving and giving to charity at a young age. This teaches what matters.  My grands at age two both loved putting coins in a piggy bank.  That was an introduction to saving and giving to others.  As with many Jewish homes, we have a Pushka or charity box.  The grands have been taught to put some coins in the piggy bank and some in the Pushka.  “For you” was said when the money went into the piggy bank; “For others” when it went into the Puska.

5. Once kids start going to places where there are requests to support various charities (Think the Ronald MacDonald boxes at Micky D’s), they can help put change in those boxes.  “Let’s give some to help others” is all you need to say to start building a giving heart. Go to church each Sunday? Make sure child has some coins to put in the collection box.

6. At about six, children can start getting an allowance and can be taken to the dollar store to buy anything they want that is safe and healthy.

7. All allowances should be divided in the following ways:

  • “Love  money.”  Always something just because you are loved.
  • More for good behavior and doing assigned chores.
  • Part of the allowance should go to others including charities but also should be saved to buy presents for loved one’s birthdays and such.
  • Part should go to saving for something special the child will enjoy buying.

8.  Chores begin as soon as the child can walk.  At first it will be Mom and Pop doing the work but with help from the youngster.  By two years a child should be able to put his dirty clothes in the laundry basket, trash in the trash basket and put their toys ways minimally at the end of the day.  Other chores can be added yearly.

9.  By age eight focus efforts on the rules needed to make it in the real world: getting along with others–i.e. good manners, the willingess to work and particularly to do the jobs no one really likes doing, continuing to learn and keep learning in school, from life, and from one’s mistakes.

10. When the teens begin the time has come for the child to get a job.  Parents should continue to supply, food, shelter, a basic wardrobe, school supplies, transportation to school and a small love allowance;  the teen should pay for all recreational activities and extras she wants.

Discouraged?  Sound too hard?  Yes. It is, but worth thinking about and doing what you can.  Life is hard, getting harder and your child will fare better if he is given less and earns more.

IMAGE BY: Gifttree com

SAFE DRINKING RULES

WHY THIS?  Holidays mean fun, games, food, and drink; followed for some by driving. So I thought I would be a Cranky Old Lady, reminding people not to have too much to drink.  She loves her vodka straight up, but also loves life and so these are rules she follows .

IMAGE BY: CRANKY OLD LADY

WHY THESE RULES?

  1. The first three rules keep you from damaging your liver, but mostly from making an A– of your self or doing things you shouldn’t do–over eating,  having un-protected sex, popping someone between the eyed or on the nose, thinking you can out race a cop so you won’t  get a DWI, telling your in-laws who pay your rent to bug off– things like that.
  2. These rules also help you not over-dose on alcohol.  A number of kids and that includes college age kids and chronological old folk kids chug-a-lug their liquor.  Too much alcohol consumed too fast can mean bonkers.  One of my foster children died that way a few years after leaving our home.  I am thinking that is how I might arrange to stop prolonging my death.I’d drink Katherine’s Martinis and smoke pot. Lots better to my cranky being than too much time spent on life support without being able to communicate.
  3. The fourth rule keeps you from building tolerance and keeps your liver safer.  Doesn’t make the liquor sellers happier.
  4. The fifth rule  is also designed to keep you alive.  Mixing drugs and alcohol speeds up the process of losing control or damaging your liver.  Pot in particularly keeps you from throwing what you drink up and out of your body when it is reaching the kill-you-level. Pot suppresses nausea in cancer patients, good for surviving cancer; not so hot for staying alive.
  5. The sixth rule needs no explaining, but is one reason I don’t like to be out on the roads on  holidays.  I may abide by the rules, but many don’t.

I don’t usually post on the weekends.  But holiday weekends are dangerous on the road weekends.  So this will be out there Tonight, tomorrow, and Monday and shame on me I didn’t think to post it Friday.

Hope I have not made you cranky, my intent is to keep you and your children safe.  So if this makes you a bit cranky. Tough.  Suck it up Buttercup.  The life you save could be yours or one you love

PARENT ADVICE

Post these rules, particularly if you have teens who drive.

AS ALWAYS, PRACTICE KINDNESS

Be kind to me,  like this post or share it.  You will be helping me stay strong and maybe some others as well.  With this particular post, you may keep some people live.

You will also be practicing one of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises.  Click here to view all Daily Emotional Fitness  Exercises.If  regular practice of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises does not improve the quality of your life, more might be needed.  That is the time to think about therapy.

Good luck, life is a struggle,  caring relationships matter must but are difficult as well as wonderful. Despite all the bad,  life holds many feasts.

Katherine 

MY WEEKEND READ

One way I spend “Me-time” is reading for pleasure.  I like books with a message.  This week’s read was the Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent.  It is a fictionalized version of the Salem Witch Trial’s.

She learned the difference between abuse and tough but good enough love.

I posted a review on Amazon, although she has all she needs.  But I am trying to practice kindness in my internet efforts and posting reviews is a kindness to the author and possibly others.  Here is what I said in my review:

This was my weekend read and kept me reading to the end. As another reviewer noted, it is about love not easily seen or felt. Many loving parents are vilified unfairly in today’s world. As do wise children, the heroine eventually learned to see that are often abusive mother was–loving and strong and wanting the same for her daughter. The abuse was mild for the times and strengthened the daughter. Not that I am for abuse, but I also not for confusing good enough parenting with abusive, should be arrested parents.

I gave her four stars.

I reserve my five star reviews for great literature or great non-fiction reads.  That means novels like Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cohlera,   a great read about the motivating power of unrequited love and a book I was sad to finish.

Or on my non-fiction my five star list books like Tracy Kidder’s  one about Paul Farmer,  Mountains Beyond Mountains.  Farmer was a trailer park kid who became a doctor, stayed hands on in Haiti while become a world leader in combating Aids.  Tears and inspiration.

Hope your Me-time was at least 4 star.  Stay strong, I am trying.

Five star books are those  I put on my read again list.

PRACTICE KINDNESS, like this post or share it.  I need all the caring I can get. Not only will you be helping me stay strong but perhaps a few others as well.  Moreover, the karma of kindness will see you given kindness in return.

You will also be practicing one of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises and strengthening your emotional fitness.

Click here to view all Daily Emotional Fitness  Exercises.  If  regular practice of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises does not improve the quality of your life, more might be needed.  That is the time to think about therapy.

Good luck, life is a struggle, caring for children harder than you expect AND despite the struggle, life as a parent is also wonderful.  

Katherine 

TAKE A BREAK

WHY THIS?  Friday means time for a Take A Break reminder.  Stepping back  keeps you emotionally strong. Emotional Fitness Training is about knowing when to step forward and when to step back.

IMAGE BY: Dreamstime

Feeling like you are being pulled down by things? All the media encourages buying.  Even I would like you to buy my E-books; at least they are electronic and take up space on your hard drive, not your book shelves.

I have moved 9 times during my adult life; I probably will have to move several more times.  Each time I moved, I let go of stuff;  by the time the next move came I had always acquired more stuff  than I left behind.  Moving from the Bronx to Colorado lead to a major getting rid of stuff.  But our garage is slowly filling up once again.

No, I’m not a major hoarder.  David is better at that; moreover, every time he suggests getting rid of stuff, it is my stuff he is talking about.

Anything not obviously trash in the a wastebasket gets a “Did you mean to throw this away?”

My mother always said silly questions deserve silly answers; so if having a bad mood day, I snarl my answer: “No, I meant to throw it at you and missed.”

Sharing keeps our marriage going, even the occasional sharing of insults.  Toughens us up.

Anyway, I read an article by Greg Mckeown called the Disciplined Pursuit of Less. He was writing for business managers;  if you read me, you know I think of parents as Power Leaders; all of us can from things successful businesses know and do.  One of my favorite parents books was Ken Blanchard’s The One Minute Manager. However, I degress. Back on track. 

Greg was talking about clarity in your life’s mission.  He points out that climbing ever higher on the ladder to success may not be wise.

Don’t know if you know Peter’s Principle?  I loved it early on when as an under thirty even as I moved into the older crowd.  As are so many have through out the ages,  I  worked under some pretty incompetent bosses.  Peter’s Principle claims that in the corporate world people are promoted to their level of incompetence.  Very true and very sad.

Anyway, Greg’s article is worth a read if you can spare the time,  but I’ve made the main point.  And again digressed.

The main point of this post is to  suggest that as you take a break this week end, think about not buying more stuff.

PARENTING ADVICE

Considering our consumer oriented economy, curbing buying is an up hill fight. For parents of most teens the climb is a Mount Everest challenge.

Still,  I have mixed emotions about telling people not to buy.  I want those who have gobs of money to spend; moreover, I want them to pay top dollar, tip well, and give lots to charity.  I am not opposed to their paying higher taxes.  I think none of us should be taxed to the point of having to lower our life style.  So if you won the Power ball or inherited lots, live it up, but expect to pay more taxes then I do. Also, think of taking me along on one of your yacht cruises.  A cruise is one of the items I have not let dropped from my bucket list.

Anyway, even the rich would do well to take a day away from spending.  Of course, the really rich don’t do lots of hands-on  shopping, they have assistants who do most of that.  And I have digressed yet again.   Onward to some tips for parents.

Tip one: Don’t add, replace. This is an old one, but oldies are often goldies. Buying a new fur coat? Give the old one away. And yes, I know we do need a some things. But do you really need 100 pairs of tennis shorts?  I once saw that in a friend’s closet.  Does your kid really need all the stuffed animals she was ever given?  Well, if they are taking up more room in her bed than she is, draw the line.  Otherwise, you are creating a hoarder.

Tip two:  Delay.  Have wish lists posted on the refrigerator and if a kid asks for a new toy, add it to the list.   You can do a number of things with the list that will teach your children to wait and be rewarded for waiting: use it to get birthday presents, just because I love you presents, rewards, and reward for saving.

Have the kid cross off things he has not gotten that he no long wants. That teaches a lesson also. Delay your wants until the wants get separated from the needs. Then you can also cross off some items.

Tip three: Declare a “Family Good Riddance Day.”  Good means something that can be sold or given to someone who needs it.   Start with a Good Riddance dump spot.  Our garage is ours.  Having a garage sale, posting some stuff to sell on Craig’s list is low on my to do list, but it is there.  And periodically, I decide to make a donation of some of my Good Riddance Pile to Good Will.

Tip four:  Make one day a week a” No Cash Paid Out or Credit Cards Used Day.”  Make ice cream or pizza as a family event instead of heading out to a quick food joint.

Tip five: Remember what matters.  Here is a quote worth thinking about:

The man who has no money is poor, but one who has nothing but money is poorer. He only is rich who can enjoy without owning; he is poor who though he has millions is covetous.

Orison Swett Marden

The grammar checker says covetous should be replaced with greedy.  But covetous makes that this writer was doing his think way back when.  In the early 1900’s.  His wisdom lives on.

PRACTICE KINDNESS, like this post or share it.  I need all the caring I can get. Not only will you be helping me stay strong but perhaps a few others as well.

You will also be practicing one of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises and strengthening your emotional fitness.

Click here to view all Daily Emotional Fitness  Exercises.  If  regular practice of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises does not improve the quality of your life, more might be needed.  That is the time to think about therapy.

Good luck, life is a struggle, caring for children harder than you expect AND despite the struggle, life as a parent is also wonderful.  

Katherine