“The New Parents’ Guide to Financial Independence” with Mom and Dad Money

The new parents' guide to financial independence with Mom and Dad Money

With Baby #2 almost here, people are already asking whether this is it (particularly if we have a boy) or if we want more kids. Some also feel the need to comment on the cost of college, diapers, childcare, braces, etc. I get it. Kids can be expensive. And while it’s hard to ever be 100% ready for another baby, I’ve also heard the saying that “every baby comes with a loaf of bread.” Meaning every baby comes with temporal, spiritual, and yes, financial blessings. And we’ve been preparing for this. (Fiscally Chic’s tagline is “saving money with style,” after all!)

See Exhibit A: My recent post on the Brightwater Financial blog explaining the real purpose of saving money: “If Saving Money is Wrong, then I Don’t Want to be Right.” This was in response to Elite Daily’s piece “If You Have Savings in Your 20s, You’re Doing Something Wrong.” (I’m 31, so apparently it’s OK for me to be boring now.)

Also, there’s the saying that “it takes a village to raise a child/family.” This village includes extended family, neighbors, friends, the babysitter/nanny/daycare, and possibly the occassional visit from a housekeeper or lawn service. From a financial standpoint, your village can include your spouse, a trusted friend, and/or a financial adviser. Personally, I know that I don’t know every single financial topic in the world, so I’m constantly learning. That’s why I was so excited when Matt Becker sent me a copy of his ebook “The New Parents’ Guide to Financial Independence” to review.

Matt is a fee-only financial planner at Mom and Dad Money. His goal is to help new parents build happy families by making money simple. Matt and I first met at FinCon14, when I first considered becoming a financial adviser. And at FinCon15, Matt won the Plutus Award for Best Financial Planner Blog. We’re both members of the XY Planning Network and he’s been more than helpful as I get Brightwater Financial off the ground. The Mom and Dad Money blog was also named the Best Blog at XYPN15.

Both Matt and I started our firms as a means of gaining financial independence and spending more time with our families. But what is financial independence?

According to Matt,

Financial independence is the freedom to make decisions based on what makes you happy instead of what makes you money.

The end goal of financial independence is to eventually have enough money that you never need to work again. Not that you will definitely stop working, but you have the option to stop if you so choose.

[F]inancial independence can also simply mean having enough money to temporarily give up income in pursuit of something you care about.

In his guide, Matt does a fantastic job in helping you determine what you’re working towards and what financial independence look like to you. The rest of the guide shows you how to create an investment plan that you understand, as well as helps you reach financial independence along the timeline you want.

Being a bit of a nerd, I enjoyed tinkering around with his financial independence calculator. Matt’s focus was on keeping the calculations and inputs simple, with the focus being on how much you save each month. If you want to play around with other financial independence spreadsheets, you can do so at this post from Budgets are Sexy.

Overall, Matt does a great job at explaining the sometimes complex topic of investing, breaking everything down into easy to follow steps. I also learned a few new financial tricks, which is why even financial planners have financial planners. He’s also very encouraging.

This guide is a great resource for someone who wants to learn more about investing and start working towards financial independence. If you’re looking for an overly complex investment strategy or get rich quick schemes, you’ll need to go somewhere else. Because as Albert Einstein says and is quoted in the guide,

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.

Fiscally Chic was sent a copy of the “The New Parents’ Guide to Financial Independence” to review. All opinions are my own.

All the Feelings

Baby Belly 2 CollageI’ve been feeling a bit emotional lately. Summer has ended and we’re down to the last few days (or weeks) as a family of three. I can’t believe we’re about to embark on a new adventure with two kids! I know we’re not the first parents to have a second baby, but I still wonder if we’re ready and if my heart is big enough to love two children. (Spoiler alert: you’re never 100% ready!)

And since we’re chatting, September seems to be a big a season of change for me. Even more so than New Year’s:

Beyond the life changes, I like to overanalyze things and occasionally bottle up my emotions (sure reminds me of the phrase “conceal, don’t feel” from Frozen). Add a few pregnancy hormones and a little bit of sleep deprivation and it sounds like a great combination, right? So I’ve decided to write things down and hopefully let some of my anxiety go. This post might be more for me than you, so feel free to move along.

Read More »

Hospital Bag Essentials

Friends….it’s the final countdown! Apologies in advance if the 80’s song is now stuck in your head. It’s 4 weeks or less until Baby #2 is here…eeek! Which of course means I should probably pack my hospital bag.

I was fairly convinced Monica was going to be born early (she came 1 week late), but I didn’t have my bags packed until maybe 3 weeks before her due date. See Exhibit A for an entertaining conversation with my dad:

Apparently I could sense she would be a week late.

This time around, I’m getting my bags packed a little sooner. Not because I think the baby will be born early, but because I don’t have the luxury of time to procrastinate and do everything last minute. I’ve been taking care of things a little bit at a time. Plus, I’m feeling (or maybe just noticing) some extra twinges earlier than I did when pregnant with Monica. And I’m more tired, even after taking iron supplements.

This is what I plan on bringing to the hospital, as well as items I brought last time, but didn’t need. This is based on my experience of having a C section with Baby #1 and hoping for a VBAC (but also preparing for a C section) with Baby #2. Obviously there are some items that need to be put in the bag last minute, like toiletries:

For Mom

  • Clothes to wear home, including a nursing bra. Maternity clothes will be the most comfortable.
    • Some new mamas wear a maxi dress home, but I plan on bringing a T shirt and full-panel leggings. The full-panel helps suck everything in and won’t rub on a C section incision.
  • Flip flops. Very important for the shower! The hospital provided non-slip socks.
  • Toiletries and makeup, be sure to include:
    • My sister-in-law recommended bringing face wipes instead of face wash and it was super convenient.
    • Lip balm
    • Hair tie/headbands
    • Contacts or glasses, if you wear them.
  • Pillow and a pretty patterned pillow case
    • It will add some color to your hospital room and distract people from looking at your puffy face. Though the baby does a pretty good job at that too ;)
    • Plus, it helps make sure your pillow doesn’t get thrown into the hospital laundry.
  • Light weight bathrobe
    • Especially good when walking the halls so your butt isn’t hanging out.
  • Nursing (boob) pads
    • While it can take 2 to 5 days for your milk to come in, my milk came in fast and furious while at the hospital. Since I had a C section, I was there 4 days after birth and feeling like Dolly Parton by the time we left.
    • I have an Amazon subscription for the Lansinoh ones.
  • Phone and camera with chargers
  • Lamaze breathing tips and birth plan
  • We are preregistered at the hospital and I need to bring a copy of my ID and insurance card.
  • Insurance and FMLA information
    • Have Dad or another family member make the insurance phone calls while at the hospital.
  • Extra empty bag to bring home extra diapers, gifts, etc. from the hospital.

For Baby

  • Going home outfit
    • For Monica, I brought newborn and 3 month sizes since I didn’t know how big she would be.
    • For Baby #2, I just picked up this 0-3M gender neutral onesie from Baby Gap. Even if the baby is on the smaller side, there will be a little extra room for the cord stump.
  • Other onesies, socks, jackets, mittens (particularly to prevent scratching), etc. depending on the weather
  • Swaddle blankets, bows, headbands, and/or hats for newborn pictures
  • Nail clippers
    • Fortunately, Monica’s nails didn’t need to be trimmed while at the hospital.
    • I also brought emery boards, but found the nail clippers to be a little easier to use.
  • Car seat with the base already installed in the car

For Dad

  • Phone, camera, and iPad with chargers
  • iPod and docking station
  • Snacks. Our hospital also provided some.

Things I wish I brought the first time

  • Razor
    • I was in the hospital from Thursday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon, so I felt a bit European by the time I was discharged.
  • Sleep mask
    • Since they monitored the baby and me throughout the night, the screens were a little bright and distracting
  • Baby book or something to put footprints on
    • They gave us an unofficial birth certificate with footprints and a hat with her footprints

Provided by the hospital, so I’ll leave at home (check to see what yours provides)

  • Hospital gown
    • I know some ladies bring a fancy gown, but I was too tired to worry about how I looked.
  • Birthing ball
  • Hot packs for labor/recovery
    • Though I plan on bringing some Pariday TendHer Perineal Packs, which can be used during labor or to help with recovery after a natural birth or C section.
  • Food for mom and some snacks for dad
  • Breastfeeding/diaper log
    • We later downloaded the Baby Connect app when we got home. Totally worth the $5!
  • Electric breast pump and bottles to pump into (and bottle nipples if going to feed baby with bottle)
  • They also provided a manual, hand pump which I was able to take home, even though I didn’t use it at the hospital
  • Pillows to prop up baby for breastfeeding – a boppy wouldn’t have been comfortable with the C section
  • Lanolin (boob cream) – helps soothe sore nipples
    • The hospital provided Medela lanolin and I ended up preferring that over the Lansinoh lanolin.
  • Ibuprofen and other pain medications (if necessary)
  • Mesh undies
  • Giant pads
  • Spray bottle
  • Stool softener
  • Diapers/wipes
  • Nose sucker
  • Pacifier
  • Hair dryer

Things I brought the first time, but didn’t use

  • Lanolin (boob cream) – hospital provided
  • Socks – used the hospital’s non-slip socks
  • Hand sanitizer – hospital provided
  • Magazines – I didn’t really have time to read them. Instead, I watched some TV in the room, read blogs on my iPhone, talked with people, and tried to nap.
  • Lansinoh Soothies gel pads for boobs – hospital provided
  • Gum

Things I’d consider sneaking into the hospital, but won’t ;)

  • Wine or craft beer. Too bad alcohol doesn’t play well with pain meds.
  • Sushi. We don’t get sushi very often, but now that I can’t have it, I want it!
  • Eggs Benedict or a burger with a fried egg on top. Same as the sushi…I keep hearing the sweet siren song of runny eggs.

What was your must-have item to bring to the hospital? Am I missing anything critical?

maternity stitch fix review 2

Maternity Stitch Fix Review #2

In early July, I received my second maternity Stitch Fix (affiliate link!) in the mail. I debated whether I’d share this Fix or not since there were a bit more misses than my first Fix and I didn’t take individual photos of the pieces. Even if this Fix was a bit more of a dud, Stitch…

Read More »

fiscally chic pink flowers

Life Lately: The Importance of “Me Time”

A couple of months ago, when I was feeling a little down as a parent, I shared that Monica had started to tell us to go away. At the time, I was pretty upset and felt unsure of my parenting skills. With a little hindsight, I think I get it and am OK with her telling us,…

Read More »

Monica dino sheets

Orange you glad…

Monica loves orange. She has two coral-ish orange shirts she wears on a tight rotation, tends to build houses using only orange Magna-Tiles, wants John to wear orange shirts, and favors orange-colored popsicles. I’m hoping these peach swing dresses from June & January get restocked in either 2T or 3T because I know Monica will gladly wear…

Read More »

life lately - third trimester

Life Lately: Third Trimester

Hi, friends! What’s new with you? I’m roughly 10 weeks away from my due date…eek! Of course we have all sorts of things to do before the baby comes, but I’m not terribly stressed since we already have most of the essentials and Amazon Prime can deliver diapers in two days ;) One of the…

Read More »

Brightwater Financial website launch

Launching Brightwater Financial

Hi, friends! I hope you weren’t hit too hard by the post-holiday weekend slump. At least now that we made it to Wednesday, we’re that much closer to the weekend! Woo! As for me, this is an exciting week since I finally launched my fee-only financial planning firm Brightwater Financial! I started hinting at this…

Read More »

Carne Asada Quinoa Bowl

Carne Asada Quinoa Bowl

Dinnertime (ok, most meals) with a toddler can be a crap shoot, hence the introduction of toddler tapas. The meal they devoured this week might be thrown on the floor when it’s offered again two weeks later. And of course some meals are better than others depending on how other meals went during the day,…

Read More »

toddler tapas birthday dinner 2

Toddler Tapas

Eleven summers ago, I studied abroad in Madrid, Spain. One thing I brought back with me is an appreciation of sangria and tapas. Every so often we’ll have dinner at a Spanish restaurant or, even less often, make paella for dinner. And lately, we’ve been trying to be better about only buying the groceries we…

Read More »

maternity stitch fix review

Maternity Stitch Fix Review #1

Hi friends! I just wrapped up my first maternity Stitch Fix (affiliate link!) and thought you might want to see how everything worked out. I received a Stitch Fix gift card from John’s sisters as a birthday present. This was shortly after Stitch Fix announced they now carry maternity clothes, so I was beyond excited…

Read More »

Monica's 2nd birthday Collage

Happy 2nd Birthday, Monica!

Today is Monica’s second birthday and I can’t help but feel a little extra mushy. This little girl made us parents and in a few months, she’ll be a big sister. As a bit of a numbers nerd, she turns 24 months old when I’m 24 weeks pregnant. While there have been some challenging moments as…

Read More »

hot pink dress

Pregnancy, Self Confidence, and a Hot Pink Dress

Over Memorial Day weekend, I was feeling a bit down about my maternity wardrobe. Monica was born on June 8, so I didn’t need very many warm weather clothes while pregnant with her. I think 95% of my maternity wardrobe is either black, black and white, gray, gray and black, or navy, which sometimes feels a little too…

Read More »