"A new research study, MassMutual’s State of the American Mom, found that many Moms have strong hopes and convictions about providing financially for their families, but given the multiple demands of the life of a Mom, many also find it hard to achieve. College savings, saving for retirement, managing day-to-day expenses and educating yourself and children all rank as top priorities, yet some Moms shared they may feel overwhelmed about ways to start thinking about all of them." But, where do you start? MassMutual is a helpful starting place -- massmutual.com/familyfinances/.
I know for me personally, that since becoming a mom, I am more concerned about our family's finances, and how we will cover not only day-to-day expenses, but also the girls' college education and other unexpected expenses that come up along the way. With the way that the economy is, who knows if they will have opportunities like I did when it comes to applying for college grants and scholarships? They may be non-existent by then, making college look like an unachievable goal for many children, due to lack of funding. I would hate to see my girls not have a chance to better themselves and get a college degree, merely because they/we couldn't afford it.
Prior to having our daughters, I worked a full-time job right in the career field I studied and received a degree in -- public health. With my working a salaried job and my husband doing the same, we weren't worrying too much about finances. Yes, we were putting money away for our retirement (which seemed liked years from then), but we were also spending our money on trips, weekend getaways, buying the newest tech gadgets and eating out. There really wasn't a weekly budget set up. Fast forward to 2007, when I was laid off from my dream job as a health educator, as the health care sector that that patients would welcome a computer generated health report on health concerns/illnesses over speaking to a "live" health educator. My colleagues and I knew that that this was not what the patient was asking for, but was just another way for the higher ups to pad their pockets more.
As I left my job, I wondered what I would do next. Would I stay in the health care field and continue to be a health educator, hoping that they would not phase out my line of work altogether, should I go back to being a drug counselor, or should I switch gears altogether and either become a secretary (as I liked performing administrative duties and running an office) or go back to school and pursue another line of work. But, before I could decide my step in life, I was dealt a hard blow -- stage 2 cancer. Everything was pushed to the side so that I could spend the next year fighting for my life and beating this rare form of cancer. And, once I received my first and then second clean scan report, I finally started thinking about what was next for me. This is when my husband and I decided we would try and start a family. We had planned to try for children back in 2007, but with my loss of job a few weeks after we closed on our house, we didn't think it was wise, as we wouldn't be financially ready or able to care for another person. This is when we went into savings mode -- only to drain this fund with medical bills and expenses.
But, in 2010 and then again in 2011, we welcomed two beautiful, healthy girls, and couldn't have been healthier. Both of our daughters were diagnosed with pyloric stenosis a few weeks after birth and needed surgery to fix this health issue. This meant another out-of-pocket expense we weren't planning or were ready for. After paying off the hospital stays, ER visits, etc. and finally getting the girls on a formula that agreed with their tummies, we began to save again, and even started college funds for them. And, for each of their 1st birthdays, my husband bought them stocks. He is hoping that down the road when they get ready for college, they will have enough money in the college fund we have set up and add to monthly, along with the stocks he buys and manages for them, that they will be able to pay for college (or at least cover a large chunk of the expenses).
Even though we have college funds started, continue to add to our retirement funds, I still worry, like most moms do daily about our finances and if we are truly set. What happens if another health scare comes up? What happens if my husband, the only income source for our family loses his job? What if? What if? What will we do? I know we can't and aren't supposed to live dredding the future, or dwelling on uncertainties, but it is hard not to, as we watch fellow family members and friends lose jobs, their houses, and their life savings, as they try to stay afloat is this dismal economy. I can only imagine how parents of teens heading off to college soon feel, and who are struggling to make ends meet, or have lost a job or are still out of work? How can they tell their children they can't go to school because they can't afford it? What example are we setting for your children about money? Is money the key to happiness? All I can hope to instill in my children as they get older is how important it is to have a budget, and how to properly manage money, while also planning for the future. They will probably feel the same frustrations we adults do about money, and worry day in and day about what will happen fifinancially to them. But, hopefully by setting a good example early on about proper money management, we can lessen the burden and ease their worries, just a bit. And, the folks at MassMutual, know that moms like you and me, worry constantly about our family's finances, but are here to help by providing useful financial tips and advice.
MassMutual has created a cool new quiz to help Moms start thinking about their attitudes toward finances and how they can take small steps forward in the process of planning for their financial future. It only take a few minutes to complete the quiz, so why not take it today? I took the quiz and found that I am a "Successful Planner," who tends to be "confident in my ability to make financial decision, and are generally satisfied with my financial situation." In addition to sharing more about my personality profile, MassMutual also shares some useful suggestions on how to better plan for the future, like seeking a second opinion from an experienced financial professional, to validate my choices, and provide an alternative view or new ideas on my family's financial goals. So, why not spend a few minutes taking this quiz from MassMutual, and see how you can be more prepared financial when it comes to your family's finances and goals for the future?
Take the Quiz
Visit http://www.massmutual.com/ to learn more about MassMutual, or to find a financial professional near you. You can also follow MassMutual on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/massmutual, as well as Twitter: www.twitter.com/massmutual.
Disclosure: I wrote this post as participation in in a blog tour for Mom Central on behalf of MassMutual, and received compensation in the form of an Amazon gift code to thank me for taking the time to participate.