A Financial Planner may be your Best Gift to Yourself
There are many ways in which you can plan for your financial retirement. The first step in making the right moves is always the step that involves actually creating a plan of action that you can follow as a family. Many people focus too much on the now or too much on the later and have a great deal of difficulty when it comes to creating a happy medium for savings and investing.
Throughout our lives we will have both long and short-term goals that need to be assessed, addressed, and often revisited. Whether you need to find a way to pay for your children to attend college, home improvement projects, or a method for saving for your retirement you can find information and assistance for all these things and so much more if you seek the services of a qualified financial advisor.
A good financial advisor will help you find that balance that so many people and families lack. He or she will also help you assess your means in comparison with your long and short-term needs in order to see where your funds would experience the greatest return in order to suit your specific needs with minimal risk. It is important to remember that going with a financial planner or advisor does not eliminate the risks that are an integral part of investing but it does help you learn to better calculate those risks.
Investing is a risky business. Learning how to weigh the odds and go for the prize is the best way to earn the biggest possible return on your investment no matter how modest your investment may be. We are all starting from different means, isn't it amazing to know that we could all end up with very similar abilities when all is said and done and we are living out our 'golden years'?
Good financial planning is the key to success when it concerns your financial retirement. With so few people around the world adequately prepared to retire it is great to know that there are options and assistance that is available to help you get started on your retirement no matter how late in the game it is. Even better is the knowledge that limits are lifted a little once you reach the age of 50 and retirement is much more eminent. This allows those who got a late start on their retirement planning or who have hit a speed bump or two along the way the opportunity to 'catch up' on their investing and work up to the place they need to be in order to establish a more comfortable retirement for themselves and those they love.
401 (k) plans offer some of the best retirement benefits your money can buy at the moment. They certainly allow you to make the maximum possible investment for your money. If you aren't taking your company up on their offer to match your investment in a 401(k) then you should seriously rethink that thought. Seriously, you're throwing away free money.
When it comes to the murky water of retirement investing it helps to have a guide to get you through. Utilizing the services of a financial planner may be the best move you've ever made in your life when it comes to the financial health of your family and your retirement.
By Laura Dunger
In the many types of photography you may have to do as a photographer, baby shots may be the most difficult. Even if you are not a professional photographer but you are trying to get a great looking portrait of your own child, getting them to cooperate is a major undertaking.
The first rule to live by with baby photography is that, as a matter of face, they ARE the boss of this shoot. The entire process has to be built around that fragile mood of this child. But there are a couple of tricks of the trade you can use, professional or amateur to get the best shot of that sweet baby.
Baby’s respond well when they are fed and rested, with people they know and trust and when they get all the attention. So right off the bat, you as mom and dad can see to it that the shoot happens when requirement number one has been met. Now, that is not always easy. If you have an appointment to take the baby to the get his or her portrait made at the local photography studio, that mood may not be the way you want it to be.
That is why, if at all possible we would discourage taking the shots in a studio. If you can set up a shoot at the baby’s home, where there is a comfortable setting and much that is familiar around, you have many more opportunities to get that smile that will make the portrait of a lifetime there. Now that calls for a “house call” by the photographer but if he or she is a photographer that wants only the best shot of the child, they will work with what you want.
Another advantage of scheduling the shoot at home is that you know when the baby usually is at his or her best so you can schedule it when that time of day is just right. In fact if the photographer can show up during nap time, there is plenty of time to stage the shot before the angel awakens. And by eliminating the car ride to the studio, you take away a huge risk of that fragile mood going south en route.
A second tip comes from the fact that babies like people they know. So if the photographer has time to meet the child, play with him or her and get a rapport started, then they will be more receptive to playful direction to get the shot you want. You will have to be clever how you introduce the camera as it can either be an object of fear or looked upon as a toy and the baby will want to play with it.
As far as the camera goes, think about the kind of equipment you will utilize to get that perfect baby portrait. You want it to be portable, so you can do those on location shots that work so much better. It should be small, both for portability and to not alarm the child. Digital is best because you can shoot lots of shots and never have to reload. But make sure it’s a good quality piece of equipment that will shoot at a high resolution so when you get that prefect shot, it will transfer to a portrait printing nicely.
By setting up the room with the kind of backdrops that will create a good portrait, you can then have the baby begin to play with her or her toys and interact with parents, siblings or the photographer in a happy way. Before long that sound of the camera clicking and even the flash will become familiar and the baby won’t pay it any mind.
The best shots are of the baby laughing. Try to get on the same level with the child as he or she plays. Mom and dad know the notices or games that always get a giggle so exploit their inside information extensively. The baby will enjoy getting to know you and hearing those familiar games coming from you should do well at getting that sweet laugh or smile you want.
By learning the baby’s personality and how to get in sync with the child, you can coax pictures from the shoot that might other wise be impossible to get. And that is what you want if a portrait of a baby that you want to last a lifetime.
Brought to you by simplerx
When you first have a baby it is sometimes hard to take care of him or her full time, while at the same time trying to lose some of the weight that you have gained when being pregnant. A good way to accomplish both of these things is by combining them. You could find ways to work out and lose some weight, while at the same time involving your newborn child and spending some quality and bonding time with them. Here is how you can incorporate walking, dancing and exercising to lose weight with your baby right beside you.
Take a daily walk. Walking can be extremely beneficial and it is a great way to lose weight all around your body. Walking is also healthy for your heart and will improve your body's performance. You could strap your baby in a stroller and push them with you as you exercise. Or secure your baby safely in a body carrier/wrap.
2. Mother Baby Exercises
Another way that you could lose some weight while bonding with your newborn baby is yoga exercises with your baby facing you and in your presence and sight. For these exercises you would want to place a yoga mat on the floor. If you do not have access to a yoga mat, a nice and soft blanket will work as well.
The first one of these yoga exercises that you can perform while involving your baby is called the butt tightener. The butt tightener is performed by laying on your stomach and placing your baby in front of you. Curl both of your feet up towards your head as far as you can. Hold this pose for no more than ten seconds at a time. You could also do pulses and slowly move your feet from the front to the back.
Another yoga exercise you can do with your baby is called the front squat. Sit your baby in a carrier in front of you and facing you. Then, you should squat as you normally would. Hold the squat for about thirty seconds at a time or so, or just do about twenty to thirty in each sitting.
A great exercise for your stomach is the tummy time. This works hard on your stomach, which is great because that is where most of the weight gained goes when you get pregnant. Lie down on your yoga mat or blanket, and place your baby in a carrier in front of you as you perform this. Lie down on your stomach and place your arms out to the side of your body. Put your legs straight. Lift your head, arms and legs as if you were an airplane and hold this position for up to thirty seconds at a time. This will tighten your stomach and legs, while at the same time allowing you to be with your baby.
Dancing is a great way to bond with your baby and probably one of the things that you will enjoy the most. While your baby is close by in a carrier, dance in front of your baby for thirty minutes or more a day. This is a great and fun way to lose some of that baby weight while bonding with your newborn. And maybe give your baby a little giggle watching mom!
These simple ideas are great because when you first have a child, you never want to leave their side. At the same time, you want to get back to the size you were before you were pregnant. Talk to your baby as your doing these and it will keep your mind off of the fact that you are exercising!
On The Road To Success by Homer Livez
In order to develop a successful strategy that helps you save money every month, you need to begin by defining your priorities.
Begin by writing down the most important aspects of your life, as well as what you want for your family. Priorities are similar to goals except rather than defining milestones, you simply create an overview of what you are hoping to achieve.
Once you have listed your family priorities, you then determine your goals.
With goals, you are defining a specific amount of money that you'd like to save within a certain time frame. Setting goals is incredibly important, because it keeps you on track while giving you the opportunity to see your progress every step of the way.
Make sure your goals are reasonable ones! You want to set yourself up for success, not failure and so it's important to truly evaluate your income and come up with a reasonable amount you can save each month.
Your goals could also include making future purchases or payments. For example, your goal could be to save 10% of your monthly income for a child's college fund.
Limit your goals to 2-3 per priority. You want to maintain focus and be able to stay on track without feeling overwhelmed.
Once you have determined your priorities and goals, it's time to work towards reaching them! Your entire family will need to get involved in this, so it's time to have a family meeting where you discuss the benefits of setting goals and budgeting as a family, highlighting the rewards so that your family is focused on the same goals that you are.
Track your progress, communicate with your family every step of the way, and maintain a system that allows you to quickly monitor your progress (and success!)
Make it easy for your family to save more money by always being on the lookout for ways of reducing your spending without sacrificing the most important things in your life.
Consider the frequency in which your family eats out, examine your commute for more efficient driving, pay larger bills in portions throughout the month, rather than all at once, and shop based on weekly specials.
Once you get into the habit of making more conscious decisions about your spending, you'll find it easier to save more money than ever before.
Best of success!
Cutting Down Costs by Homer Livez
Even if you believe you're fiscally responsible and you're simply unable to cut costs down any further, ask yourself –
How often do you grab a quick coffee on our way to work? How many times do you eat out a week? How often do you buy snacks, magazines, or little personal items each week? While it might not seem to matter much when you're only spending a couple of dollars here and there, add it up over the course of a month and you'll be surprised at just how much more money you are able to save.
Budgeting does require some sacrifice, but if you're willing to make the commitment to saving for your family's future, even small changes will go a long way. Consider packing lunches for work, brewing your own coffee and subscribing to online versions of your favorite magazines. Not only will you get the information faster, but it's often far more affordable!
One of the greatest expenses every family has is the grocery bill. Depending on your family size, this could range anywhere between $150 - $300 a week, but even with having to make sure your family has what it needs, there are still ways you can cut down on your grocery bill.
For starters, you should consider planning out a week of meals at once.
Doing this will make it easier on you to get everything you need in one grocery trip, but it will also get your family involved in making decisions based on different meals of the week.
Better yet, planning out meals will cut down the costs of "last minute lunches" such as through take out restaurants or over-buying. You should also consider lower cost meals every other week. Write down 10 different meals that you can make for under $20. This could include pasta dishes, and lunches that are not only easy to prepare but feed everyone - with leftovers to spare!
You'd be surprised at just how much you can decrease your grocery bill with just a bit of meal planning and preparation.
To save more money, you should get a copy of the weekly flyers in your area, paying attention to special coupons and deals that are available at your local grocer. Many supermarkets offer "buy one, get one free" days or "double coupon days", where you can stock up on supplies and adjusting your meal plan based on current specials.
You should also look for store brand products, rather than major brands, as they are almost always cheaper, while still offering the same quality!
Shop in season. Fruits and vegetables are far more affordable in season than when buying out of season so keep this in mind when planning your family meals. You should also consider shopping in the evenings as many stores will reduce the cost of perishable items before closing as well as on weekends.
Think about your buying habits. Do you visit the supermarket several times a week? Do you buy more than you plan to? Planning meals and thinking ahead will reduce unnecessary spending, and help your family get into a healthy routine where you not only eat better - but it costs less!
Apart from your family's grocery bill, consider other ways that you can save money, such as by shopping at bargain shops, dollar stores and farmers markets. Not only will you be doing your part to recycle, and contribute to local businesses, but you'll be able to save money in areas that you never even thought about!
If you have school age children, consider buying school supplies off-season. You'll find that school supplies are much more affordable in summer months than in the fall. Consider shopping at outlet malls. Not only are they are more affordable but they often carry the same styles and fashions as the larger malls!
Take a good look at all of your household expenses. Is your power bill higher than usual? Turn off appliances when not in use, and pay more attention to what is running throughout the day. Consider replacing your lights with fluorescent lamps as they consume less energy while providing the same amount of lighting. Take inventory of your appliances and plumbing. Are there pipes leaking that are causing your water bill to soar? Are you losing heat due to poor insulation? Your goal to save should begin by surveying your household.
You'd be surprised at just how many small changes you can make that yield big results!
Evaluating Your Spending by Homer Livez
For most of us, we're living on a fixed income where we know what to expect with each paycheck each month, and if that's the case with you, you'll find it much easier to strategically develop a budget plan for your family.
If you are an entrepreneur or working in a job where your income fluctuates, you can still develop a budget but you'll need to make sure it accommodates any possible decrease in income each month.
The first step in developing a budget is to take stock of your fiscal situation. Assess exactly where you are in your financial life, taking inventory of all expenses on a month-to-month basis.
When you begin to list the different expenses you have, you'll gain a better idea as to how you need to better manage your money, while identifying potential ways of saving a bit of money each month.
Remember, you don't have to save hundreds a month, but instead, work within a budget that helps you pay the bills, while putting a little aside every month. It will add up quickly.
When evaluating your expenses and spending, you need to begin by writing down your bills but make sure you also analyze bank statements and credit card accounts. You want to keep an eye out on "casual spending" where you are spending money on places that aren't really necessary.
Budgeting begins with self-evalating your own spending, and then taking a closer look at your monthly bills to determine whether there are ways of consolidating your expenses to make it more manageable for your family.
When going through your expenses and identifying key areas where you can save money, be sure to include a detailed list that segments your spending into categories.
For example, your spreadsheet could include "Obligatory Spending" such as your mortgage or rent payment, as well as "Necessities" which include food and utilities.
Then, include "Pocket Expenses" including entertainment and of course, "Family Allowances" that may include family trips, clothing, home improvements, and misc events and items.
The more you create a detailed overview of your spending and overall costs, the easier it will be to identify areas where you can cut spending and save more money.
Writing your expenditures down often sheds a lot of light on areas in your financial life that could be 'tweaked', and that extra bit of money each month will go a long way.
A budget helps your entire family focus on common goals. It is unifying families in mutual purpose and effort, working together towards a successful outcome and reward. In addition, setting a family budget helps you prepare for emergencies as well as unexpected expenses.
Tip: One of the easiest ways to get the kids involved is by offering them a weekly allowance in exchange for doing odd jobs around the house, or set up a bank account for each of your children and deposit their earnings on a regular basis, showing them statements of their account growing over time.
Not only will this help them learn how to budget, but you'll each them a very valuable lesson about responsibility.
Introduction to Family Budgeting by Homer Livez
There comes a time in every family where we have to evaluate our spending and start looking out for the future. Times are tough and if we're not careful, we'll go through our savings only to end up back at square one.
Perhaps you haven't yet been able to save and you feel as if developing a family budget is far too difficult. Well, as a working mother of five, I'm here to tell you that despite your expenses and the size of your family there are still ways to effectively budget, save money and make every dollar stretch further than ever before.
If you're struggling to make ends meet at the end of every month, or you are falling into ever-growing debt, now is the time to rework your finances so that you can improve your lifestyle and protect your family’s future. Regardless of your income, there are ways to cut corners and save money.
Keep in mind that developing a family budget doesn't mean that you can't occasionally splurge or that you need to restrict your family in any way. In fact, it's quite the opposite.
Your mindset will be to curb spending where it's not directly benefiting your family in the long run, and to stretch, invest and make better purchase decisions. In other words, it's about making your money go further - and work harder for you and your family.
Creating a budget will also help you identify "cash leaks" quickly, and in many cases, you may not even notice where a good portion of your money is going.
We all make "routine" purchases and just based on our lifestyle choices and habits alone, we can end up spending twice as much as we really have to.
For example, do you visit the grocery store more than three times a week to purchase meals and supplies for your family?
If so, cutting this down to one trip a week and getting everything you need at once will instantly reduce your spending.
Not only will you purchase only what you need, but you'll be able to design your shopping around current weekly specials, so that you are taking advantage of coupons and discounts.
Your budget can be as flexible as you're comfortable with as well, changing as you make more money, or as your family requires. This report was written to provide you with the ability to create a systematic process where you can easily start saving more money each month, and improving your family's lifestyle while protecting your future.
An excerpt from her e-book “Avoiding the Baby Battles”, Michelle Layhe offers up these helpful tips for parents on the subject of discipline.
If it is not possible to agree then the parents should consider the idea of agreeing to disagree on some of the elements within this platform of discipline, or alternatively decide on leaving the discipline to one party only.
However this is never an ideal solution and should only be used as a last resort where both parties are unable to agree on one particular style.
Children today are very smart little humans and they will catch on very quickly on any crack within the solidarity stand parent take on the issue of disciple.
This will of course lead to the children learning how to play one parent of the other in order to get what they want which is almost always not good for them in the long run.
Therefore in the quest to present a united front, both parents have a duty to first agree on a set of disciplinary formats that will be used throughout the upbringing of the children.
The following are a few tips on how to go about this very tricky business of disciplining children:
The first thing to practice would be to disagree on any disciple issue privately. This is very important as the idea would be to present a united front when facing the child on a discipline issue.
Second, BE CONSISTANT. If you are lax with creating the rules and then too with the consequences that were set in place, the children will be as well. Discuss which rules you want to have in place and how you will determine the consequences if said rules are disobeyed. And then agree not to allow those big, beautiful eyes or those sad crocodile tears to deter you.
Third, your children will learn more from what you do than from what you say. They are constantly watching adult behavior to learn how to behave. Be sure that both parents are setting a good example and are offering up rules that are followed and can be taught by all living in the household. Beware of “do as I say, not as I do” behavior.
Fourth, set up the rules and consequences as early as possible. Don’t wait. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be. You end up re-programming that something that used to be acceptable is no longer allowed. It may seem too early to begin, but the sooner you begin the better. It is easy to overlook bad behavior at a younger age, because, “they’re so young,” “isn’t he cute?” “she doesn’t understand”, but you are really sending mixed messages. Again, be consistant.
Another important point would be to decide which party would take the lead in the actual discipline exercise and ensure this elected party completes the whole process.
Ideally there is be no shift in the lead position, as this will be deemed a weakness and the child will learn how to manipulate this perceived weak link to their advantage.
The consistency of the method of discipline should also be discussed and meted out accordingly. Children are more inclined to listen and obey when there is a level of consistently evident.
And one final note on discipline; don’t turn everything into a “red pencil” mentality. Don’t forget to look for and reward the good. If you are only looking for the bad things and the disciplinary measures to be taken, then you are missing out on some of the best parts of parenting and setting your children up to fail.