As you may have heard from the Guiding Wealth email newsletter a few months ago, our founder, Hannah Moore, welcomed her second child into the world on February 26th! This blog is all about her experience adjusting to life and work as a mother of two.
When you have children, your life changes forever in ways you don’t even anticipate. You may see changes in yourself, as well as other areas of your life. From your relationship with your partner to the ways you spend your personal time to your perspective on life, everything changes. You can’t forget the financial aspect, either. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned over the last handful of months.
Have a Plan
A growing family isn’t the only thing that inevitably changes your life. Life events big and small will affect the course you’ve plotted for yourself and your family.
Leaving one job for another. Moving to a new city. Retiring. Getting married or getting divorced. Experiencing a death in the family. Buying a new car, starting a new fitness routine, finding a new doctor.
You may have planned for some of these life events, like buying a car or retiring, and others you probably didn’t expect, like the death of a loved one. Either way, the most important thing you can do to prepare yourself for life changes is to have a financial plan…but be flexible.
In my case, I had a plan in place for when the baby arrived. However, Vivian arrived 4 weeks early! This early arrival impacted much of my life, including our child care schedule, the Guiding Wealth team, the projects we were working on, and more. Our clients (if you’re reading this) were incredibly supportive and excited for me; that was wonderful. Despite going out for maternity leave sooner than anticipated, we had a plan in place and clients gave our team grace during this time.
I’ve realized that you can absolutely have a plan, be it financial, career-oriented, or otherwise. But you should also consider how you might adapt to changes as they crop up. You don’t have to have a contingency plan in place for every worst-case scenario; that would be time-consuming and stressful. But thinking about your backup options will help you deal with the unexpected should it happen. The plans we set for ourselves don’t always play out like we planned. That’s just life.
Focus on the Now
When you have a plan guiding your finances, you don’t have to stress as much about the future. A financial plan gives you confidence knowing that you’re still saving a portion of your income every month for retirement, or that your bills will be covered, or that you can still splurge occasionally.
With a plan in place, you’re able to focus on the now. When you welcome a second child into your family, that time becomes even more precious. The “now” includes seeing your children grow, introducing them to new things, and teaching them about the world around them.
Even we financial planners can’t plan for every single small detail and scenario! The best thing we can do for ourselves — and for you, when we work together — is to plan for what we know and build in a buffer for what we can’t predict. This type of risk management and financial planning will ease your worries and help you enjoy the present.
Life Will Be Different
You might think that, because you have one child already, having a second one shouldn’t be as difficult. After all, you’ve already been through sleep training and late-night feedings and changing diapers, right?
While that’s true, having a second baby is still hard! And it’s not the same as having the first one, at least in my experience. For one, there’s not much time to “sneak in a few minutes of work” after dinner — because there are now two children who need care!
Every parent’s experience with their children is unique. One parent may find that raising their firstborn was less challenging than their second. No matter what, we can all use a reminder to stay flexible, in our finances and in general.
We give up a lot of free time, control, and time spent sleeping when we become parents. We’re reminded of the bigger picture.
We learn to make room for the important things in life, from things that cost money (like college and retirement) and things that don’t, at least not directly (spending quality time together, good health).
Look at the Big Picture
Having a second child is a wonderful experience — and it goes by so quickly! Becoming a parent can teach you to be more patient, to take your time with the things that matter, and to be more mindful of what you put your money toward. Having a plan and staying flexible are some of the best ways you can adjust to the changes that are sure to come.
If you’re looking for a financial planner to help you navigate this big life change (and others), the Guiding Wealth team can help. Learn more about what we offer through our transition planning services to get started today.