Answering A Reader: Our Own Child Care

In a comment to my last post, reader Dog Ate My Finances (love the name, by the way), asked why my wife doesn’t start her own child care to make up for the difference in pay that we’ll be taking once she leaves her job to have our baby.
There are some financial reasons and some non-financial reasons for not doing so. I’ll start with the financial reasons:

  • The local economy in Michigan is not that good. Many parents are pulling their kids out of day care as they are losing their jobs, so the market is very tight. As such, there would be no guarantee that it would even take off.
  • The costs involved are not something we’re interested in. To open a home day care would require significant costs for certification, licensing, as well as changes I’m sure that we’d have to make around the house. Not to mention insurance that would have to be taken out. While I wouldn’t mind someday taking the venture into a start-up, this isn’t a risk that we really want to take.

This leads me to the non-financial reasons of why this idea wouldn’t fly around here. The biggest is that my wife simply has no desire to continue in that role in a long term fashion. Right now, her and I are both excited for her to have the opportunity to focus on our baby.
Her background in college was in Child Development. She had hoped to do something to the level where she could work within a health system or some other parallel position, and work with children who needed special assistance or had developmental needs. She didn’t have her teaching certificate, although this is something that she briefly considered, so classroom instruction was out of the question.
But to get the type of jobs that I described, at least here in Michigan, she would have needed a Masters Degree. She didn’t want to simply accumulate loans, so before she made that jump, she wanted to work for awhile, and see if she even was interested in pursuing that. Which would give her time to pay down some of the student loan debt she accumulated in her undergraduate studies. The job that was most available was working in child care facilities. These decisions were made solely by her as her and i were just dating at the time.
While she enjoys the interactions with children and is great at what she does, the bottom line is that she doesn’t have the passion to commit to it for a career. Now, before anybody says that taking care of our children is parallel, let me just say that there’s a huge difference in taking care of our children versus taking care of somebody else’s. She has a passion and a fire for one and not the other. I’ll let you guess which one!
And, honestly, once we started talking about when we wanted to start our family, we came to the conclusion that the timing wouldn’t make it so that going back for her Master’s was a good idea, at least not yet. Why? Because either way, we wanted my wife to take some time to focus on our family. This was something we discussed before we were even engaged, so we’ve been on the same page with this for a long time. Going back to school now would simply have added debt that we knew we wouldn’t have time to pay off before we started our family.
So, while there are financial reasons involved, the non-financial aspects hopefully fill in the rest of the picture.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Cutting A Paycheck In Half

In advance of my wife having our baby in May, we are starting to prepare financially for the new baby.
One of the things we are preparing for is for my wife leaving the workforce. She is going to be a stay-at-home mom. We had always agreed that when we started our family, that this would be the way. The main reason from a financial perspective is that she doesn’t make a lot in her field. She works in child care, and that isn’t a high paying profession. We did the math, and for her to work, and us send our child to day care, the net income would be less than $7,000 per year. We decided that wouldn’t be worth it.
Plus, since she’s already in child care, I have full confidence that at least one of us will know what we’re doing once the baby comes home. It still blows my mind that they’ll just let us take him/her with us afterwards!
Anyways, since we’re about two months out from when we expect her to stop working, we are phasing out her income. No, we’re not giving it back to the company, but we’re applying it right to savings rather than even let it hit our checking account. By the time that the last few checks come through, hopefully we’ll have ‘weaned ‘ ourselves of her paycheck, and the transition to a one-income family will be relatively seamless.
Wish us luck!

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Avoiding The Mess Left By The Snow Plow

It’s been a very snowy season here in Michigan. I think I saw a statistic on the news the other morning that we’ve already exceeded our average snowfall for the season, and we still have a couple of months to go!
Although I have a snow blower (compliments of my dad), the hardest part of our driveway is the mess left at the end after the snow plower goes through. Nothing drives me more crazy than cleaning off the entire driveway, only to have the plow come through and leave a huge pile of snow at the end of the driveway.
I decided to look and see if anything can be done, and it turns out that there IS a way to reduce the amount of snow left by the plow.
Most people clear off the area in front of their driveway. To ‘avoid the plow’, you need to take it one step further. Clear off the street on either side of the driveway. The reasoning behind this is that you will then create a ‘drop off’ area for the plow to drop off what has been collected so far. According to some of the reading I did, you should still get some snow left in front of the driveway, but at a greatly reduced level.
I decided to try that this year when possible, and it does work! My wife even commented last week after one of our many snowfalls that we had less snow in front of our driveway than other neighbors, even though the plow had come during the day while we were both at work. I proudly told her that because of the little bit of extra work I did the evening before, it was indeed a lot less of a mess. Going out and cleaning up the little bit that was there was a breeze, compared to what it would have been had I not.
So, for those who have to shovel snow, my suggestion is to make an investment in your time in order to save some time later.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Was This Fraud Or Plain Bad Cash Management? Does It Matter?

Many news outlets reported a Pennsylvania couple that is now in jail because they spent a $175,000 bank error. Essentially the bank credited them $177,250 for a $1,772.50 error. By the time the bank traced the missing money to the couple, the money was in the process of being spent, and the couple was arrested.
Their answer to the charge: They didn’t realize it was an error. According to the wife, her husband often deposited large checks due to his profession (roofer) and so they thought it was normal.
I have a hard time believing that you wouldn’t notice this as maybe a little unusual. After all, I doubt that the husband was putting a new roof on the Taj Mahal, in which case maybe the amount would be justified.
Still, it got me to thinking. What if they REALLY didn’t know it was an error?
Could you imagine how bad your cash flow management would have to be to not realize that you had $175,000 more than you were supposed to have. The thought alone makes me shudder!
Think about that. You would have absolutely no idea how much money you had at any given time. I can’t even imagine that.
After all, my personal story to this regard comes about four years ago. I was let go from a job, but the imagine my surprise when the company kept direct depositing paychecks into my account! I noticed it within hours of the deposit. I contacted them and let them know the error. They actually kept making deposits for three pay periods. I was never tempted to spend it and I let them know every time that I was still collecting paychecks even though I wasn’t working there.
Finally, they came and asked me to send them the money. I actually used the fact that I had notified them promtply and repeatedly to negotiate an agreement where I got to keep a portion of the money for my ‘troubles’.
Still, the point is that I couldn’t possibly imagine being taken by surprise by this situation, let alone one that resulted in an ‘extra’ $175,000 appearing in my account.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.