Hope for your financial life and beyond

7 Financial Hurdles to Becoming a Stay at Home Dad

Today I’m guest posting and commenting at the personal finance blog Reach Financial Independence. Click the link below to read about the financial challenges my wife and I decided to check off our list before I became a stay at home dad. 

sprinters jumping hurdles

Image at Wikimedia Commons

So, you want to be a stay at home dad? Great! I’ve recently become one after several long years of planning and deliberation. Needless to say, it’s a decision that cannot be taken lightly.

In order to reach this point, my wife and I desired for several things to happen. First of all, my wife needed to REALLY aspire – out of her own conviction – to work outside the home. I didn’t pressure her or twist her arm to make this happen. In fact, on many levels, she wanted it more than I.

Secondly, there were of course financial matters to consider. Going from two incomes to one is no picnic. We both had to focus on…

Click here to keep reading at Reach Financial Independence…

Next Post: Back to School Savings I Don’t Care About

Prior Post: Celebrating a Milestone With My Top 10 Favorite Proverbs About Money

 

5 Life Changing Moments That Lead to Lifestyle Inflation

In simplest terms the concept of lifestyle inflation refers to a person’s spending going up as their income goes up.

lifestyle inflationSome lifestyle inflation may be unavoidable but it’s a good thing to keep it in check as much as possible. Otherwise you end up living paycheck to paycheck and having little or no money let over to pay down debt, save for retirement and use for other investments.

When a person is at that point, with no money left to create a cushion, life gets really stressful.

Moments of Lifestyle Inflation

We can be drawn to increase our lifestyle at any point in life. As I see it though, there are five instances when we are most susceptible to increasing our spending. Here’s how it often works.

1. After college graduation at the first real job

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Four Big Money Issues For Couples to Settle Before Marriage

Today I am guest posting and commenting at Young Adult Money. Please follow the link below and enjoy the rest of this post.

My wife and I spent a lot of time getting ready for marriage. We dated for several years, attended pre-marriage counseling, and talked for countless hours about likes and dislikes, our families, children and careers.

We didn’t talk a lot about money though. We might have touched on it briefly during our counseling sessions but I cannot remember sharing deep discussions about our views on debt, spending, or saving. It simply wasn’t on our radar.

I believe our experience is representative of many couples…

Continue reading at Young Adult Money…

Next Post: The Two-Faced Giver: When It Looks Like Rain It’s Supposed to Pour

Prior Post: How Being Flexible Saved Our Vacation

Why I’m Quitting My Job To Be A Stay At Home Dad

stay at home dadYou read that right. It’s not a misprint or a trick to get attention. As of Friday, May 23rd 2014, I will no longer be formally employed. I’m becoming a stay at home dad.

After 17 years in education serving as a principal, teacher, coach and mentor, I’m quitting my job to be a stay at home dad.

Those are the most exciting words I’ve ever typed on this blog! I’m starting a new journey.

They are also the scariest words I’ve ever typed on this blog because I’m starting a new journey.

I’ve waited a long time to share this news and start talking about what has brought our family here. It hardly seems real even after formally declaring my intentions. Maybe my new life as a stay at home dad will me next week as I start to clear out my classroom. My guess is I won’t feel it’s full impact until sometime next fall, probably on the first day of the new school year.

The decision to be a stay at home dad appears to have come out of nowhere to those in my circle of influence. Obviously the students were surprised last week when I shared the news with them. I hadn’t hinted at this at all, even though I’ve known for some time this was going to be my final year. What appears to those outside to be a surprise, is actually the culmination of a multi-year prayer journey.

That’s right…I don’t make decisions quickly. Especially when it comes to leaving a place to which I’ve committed my entire adult working life.

I can’t unpack all there is to share about this move in one single post. So if you came here looking for a step-by-step tutorial on how to become a stay at home dad or the financial challenges associated with it, that’s coming later.

For now, I’d simply like to focus on “the why.”

Following Through On the Stay at Home Dad Desire

Life is a series of choices. Sometimes those choices collide and cause friction no matter which option is chosen. Regardless of the situation, we can never say we don’t have a choice. There are always options.

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3 Steps We Took to Develop Financial Success in Our Marriage

financial success in marriageMy wife and I have had success in marriage despite the fact we exhibit many different personality traits. I am more reserved, take my time with decisions and love to spend money. She on the other hand, is an outgoing, get things done driver, who coincidentally loves to save.

Despite our different personality types, we seldom disagree on financial related things. We learned early on that disagreements over financial issues were detrimental to our personal marriage, not to mention one of the leading causes of divorce in America. So we established some guidelines and parameters for our finances that helped us develop oneness in our marriage.

Steps to Develop Financial Success in Marriage

Our financial decisions have not always been the best. In fact, many of our money guidelines have evolved and been enhanced over the years. Within the last five years especially, we’ve realized more and more what it means to be on the same page with one another. It’s in this most recent period of our lives that I’ve noticed success in marriage growing. In regards to our finances, it all boils down to three big issues.

Listening to each other

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Interview with a Centenarian: At 100, My Grandfather Reflects on Life, Faith and Finding Purpose

To be a centenarian – 100 years of living. Amazing! Most of us would settle for 80% of that. It’s hard to fathom the changes and life events someone born in 1914 has experienced.

centenarian

Byron Miller – Preaching at 100 years of age

What will you be up to at 100 years of age? My grandfather, as shown in the picture, preached a sermon the day after he turned 100. His challenge to those who listened:

1. Practice Gratitude (be thankful)

2. Express Certitude (in the things of your faith)

3. Develop Fortitude (build the power to endure)

Oh, and he played his guitar and sang a short chorus at the end. The song’s message – “Just a little bit longer Lord…just a little bit longer.”

Not a dry eye in the house.

In the weeks leading up to his 100th birthday, my grandfather was kind enough to answer some questions about his life. I’d encourage you to take five minutes to enjoy this thought provoking read about a man who has experienced the Depression, the loss of siblings, financial challenges, joys and regrets and 60+ years of ministry.

Q & A With a Centenarian

1. What is the most amazing thing you have seen in your lifetime? Why did that stand out?

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ATTN Men: A Woman Values Security. Get It For Her!

What’s the final hurdle for couples to overcome the money fights in their relationship? Find out now in this final installment of my series.

Part I: How Couples Can End the Money Fights (a look at the importance of communication)

Part II: Relationships Blossom When Couples Budget

Road with guardrailMy wife and I were making such progress.

Goals and values being shared in open and honest communication – Check.

Emotional barriers torn apart and strong connections being rebuilt through the sharing of feelings – Check.

Budget in solid working order after months of trial and error – Check.

Frivolous spending habits being altered through discipline and focus – Check.

Still, it wasn’t enough to end the tension over money. Something still lingered subtly beneath the surface that was keeping us from moving forward. With our momentum stalled, we decided one day to take a step backwards…backwards to Step One that is. That’s right, more communication.

This time around as I listened deeper to my wife talk about her needs, here is what I heard her say…

“I need to feel secure.”

Some Thoughts on Security from Mrs. Luke1428

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Ending the Money Fights (Part II): Relationships Blossom When Couples Budget

This is part two of three on how couples can resolve the constant fighting over money.

Men's Shoes

My breakthrough occurred while shopping for these.

Last week I outlined how communication is the first step to ending the money fights in a relationship. Unless couples share their values, goals and feelings with one another, they will continue to bump heads over how their money is spent. It’s inevitable. When couples don’t share the same vision the relationship falters.

When my wife and I began to seriously and openly talk with one another about money, our financial life began to change. However, the unity didn’t result from us just talking about it. We knew there had to be an action step, something that would cement the ideological bonds that were forming through our discussions. That step came in the form of a joint commitment to prepare and live on a budget.

Ugh…budgets…I know the feeling. Unfortunately many people have had terrible experiences with them. This leads them to create excuse upon excuse as to why they don’t need to prepare one. They are essential though, if couples are going to have a breakthrough. I know in our lives, the budget did more to move us forward than anything else.

Step #2: Work on a Budget…Together

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How Couples Can Stop Fighting Over Money

This is part one of three on how couples can resolve the constant fighting over money in their daily lives.

fighting over moneyTired of fighting over money with your significant other? You are not alone. Money related problems consistently rank as a top reason so many marriages end in divorce.

This should not come as a shock. When approaching anything major in life, the conversation must inevitably turn to the financial ramifications. Big-ticket items such as shelter, food, career, education, retirement, healthcare, and transportation all have money serving as the underlying theme in the discussion. And when all the minor day-to-day decisions are factored in, it becomes clear money is at the core of almost everything we do.

Many couples do not adequately prepare for the challenges money decisions will create. With each person bringing into the relationship a different background, personality and opinion, money can easily ignite a firestorm of controversy as these differences clash with one another. Before you know it, the continuing conflict can lead couples into thinking they were not meant for one another.

It doesn’t have to be this way though. Couples can implement a plan that will keep them from fighting over money. You can live in harmony together. Getting on the same financial page with your significant other should be a top priority if you desire to have financial success and create deep bonds of intimacy in your relationship.

Steps to Stop Fighting Over Money

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Two Shall Become One: A Case for Financial Togetherness

two shall become oneI’ve been planning this post to come out today for a couple of weeks. Then, lo and behold, Grayson at Debt Roundup wrote a post on Monday entitled “Love and Money – An Internal Debate.” So I used his post as a springboard for what I was going to talk about anyway – how two shall become one in marriage.

Thanks Grayson!

In it, he propositioned that he would NOT pay for his wife’s debt under most normal circumstances wherein people incur debt (car loans, student loans, credit card loans, etc.). His main reasoning for this stance was so that a lesson could be learned and responsibility taught to the spouse who had been reckless in running up debt. After all, marriage is about making each other better people.

Grayson and his wife sound like they are completely on the same page in regards to how they live out their financial life. They have set themselves up for success by communicating their values and beliefs to one another and then agreeing to move forward together based on what they believe. By all accounts, that’s a winning formula!

The great thing though about personal finance is that it’s personal.

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