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Financial Tips For Parents: How I Would Teach Lamaze Class

May 14, 2010 · 73 comments

in Life, Personal Finance

I was reading an article on Wednesday entitled ‘Baby Gear: The Only Five Items You Need’  from CBS Marketwatch and it made me realize that society puts very little emphasis on how to financially prepare for having a baby.  (For those who are curious, the article stated that you only need the following when having a baby:  Car Seat, Crib, Bouncy Seat, Bottles and a Stroller.)

So it got me thinking… If I were teaching a Lamaze class, the class would break down something like this:

8:00-8:05:  Sit on those pillows I always see pregnant women carrying into those classes.  I never had a Lamaze class because I have preterm labor problems.  Still don’t know exactly how they are used in the class.

8:05-8:30:  Topic:  Investing for college and setting up 529 plans.  Lesson:  Investigate plans from all over the country as you do not have to sign up to the plan for the state you live in.  Explain tax benefits, how you can set up risk to shift as the child ages, etc.  Stress the importance of starting this plan immediately to maximize value of compounding interest.  Life gets busy after you have a baby, so do as much research as possible before the baby is born.

8:30-8:35:  Bathroom Break

8:35-8:45:  Topic:  Children’s clothes.  Lesson:  Kids do NOT need fancy clothes.  As a matter of fact, I think they hate them.  The frillier the collar, the angrier the baby.  Formula/milk stains look bad on ALL clothes, might as well spend 5 bucks on a sleeper from Target than 25 dollars at Nordstrom’s.  I remember when one relative used to give me clothes for my son from a store called Jacobson’s, which I think are out of business now.  Those clothes fell apart quicker than any of the others, and I could buy 5 times as much at Kohl’s or Target for the same amount she spent at Jacobsen’s.

8:45-8:50:  Topic:  Everyone will tell you, in great detail, all about their own labor and delivery.  Lesson:  Just ignore advice and labor horror stories from well-intentioned friends and relatives.  If I had listened to every nightmare someone told me, I would be 16 years pregnant right now, refusing to give birth.

8:50-9:10:  Topic:  Moving soon?   Lesson:  Know the school district you are moving to.  Not only do you want your child to go to a good school, but homes in good school districts generally have better resale value.  Where I live, the neighborhood is divided into 2 school districts even though it is in the same city.  I have talked to numerous people that live in the section of the neighborhood this is in the ‘lesser’ school district.  They claimed that when they moved in, they just assumed the whole neighborhood was in the same district.  Of course, they never questioned why their house was considerably cheaper than homes in the ‘better’ district.

9:10-9:15:  Bathroom Break

9:15 – 9:25:  Topic:  Labor, part 1.  Lesson:  How to get through hours of labor without eating and not be crabby.  Oh wait, should probably strike that from the agenda…

9:25-9:35:  Topic:  Gifts of cash for your baby.  Lesson:  Invest that money!  If you take all those financial gifts that show up on the baby’s birthday and such and put them in a mutual fund, he or she will have a nice chunk of change when their 18th birthday comes along.  (Or 16th birthday if you are thinking about buying a car.)  Obviously, move that money into a less risky investment as the child gets closer to the age you were thinking of cashing in the money.

9:35-9:40:  Topic:  Professional Pictures.  Lesson:  You do NOT need to go to an expensive photographer to get those pictures taken.  Sears, Target, etc actually do a very good job.  Also,  please don’t subject your baby to photo sessions every month.  Some of the best pictures are candid.

9:40-9:50:  Topic:  Labor, Part 2.  Lesson:  Relaxing techniques to be used during labor.  (Emphasize quiet swearing.  Also, teach that this is the one time you can be rude to anyone you want and get away with it, etc.)

9:50-9:55:  Bathroom Break

9:55-10:20:  Topic:  Estate planning.   Lesson:  Have serious discussions of who you would want to name as guardian for your child in the event something horrible happens.  Once you have decided, get it added to your will if you already have one.  If you do not have a will, get one set up soon after the baby is born, and name that guardian.  Obviously not a very chipper topic for Lamaze class, but it is a topic that I feel is very important and needs to be addressed.

10:20-10:30:  Topic:  Pushing.  Lesson:  This is the hardest work you will ever do in your life!

10:30-11:00:  Topic:  Caring for your baby.  Lesson:  Your child will not care that the stroller cost $300 and that some celebrity also uses that same brand of stroller.  The baby doesn’t care if you use second-hand clothes from a friend.   Image is the last thing on the baby’s mind.  Just enjoy the time you have together and don’t worry about what you don’t have or can’t afford.  All the baby needs is love.  Oh, and food.  Every two hours… 24 hours a day…

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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Vicky May 14, 2010 at 11:50 am

How old is “too old” to start a 529 plan? The kids have a savings acct. for college but we never started a 529. The kids are 14 now.

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Kris May 14, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Vicky, it isn’t too late! You could also take what you have in other accounts and put it into a 529 instead. If you go with the Michigan 529 plan, you can also deduct what you contribute from your Michigan Income Taxes, up to 10,000 dollars. The website is misaves.com. If you go to with a 529, make sure you put it in less-risky funds since your kids will be going to college relatively soon.

Let me know if I can help you with this.

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Budgeting in the Fun Stuff May 14, 2010 at 1:35 pm

LOL…I like how many bathroom breaks you have. I was 13 when my mom was pregnant with my youngest sister…I remember how often she took bathroom breaks.

Great lamaze class…I’d sign up! I’d double remind everyone that they should really save up the clothing fund while the kid doesn’t care since teenagers care a great deal, lol. Hand-me-down kids clothes look and work just as well as brand new ones. Now try talking your 16 year old into wearing hand-me-down jeans and you might be in for it…ah, silly teenagers…

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Kris May 14, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Hi Budget! I think if anything, I underestimated the number of bathroom breaks required.

I know what you mean about the teen clothes. Although my daughter is not real fashion-conscious yet, most of her friends are. I dread those days… 🙂

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Mrs. Frugal May 14, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Lol! Having just finished Lamaze, I like your version better. And I plan to utilize the quiet swearing technique during labor which will hopefully be in the next 6 days.

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Kris May 15, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Mrs. Frugal – How exciting, a baby due any day!! I am envious, I must say, I love babies.

Good luck to you, and thank you for commenting. Also, your swearing doesn’t have to be quiet, just fyi… 🙂

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The Wealth Artisan May 14, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Kris,

That was hilarious! I really enjoyed the bathroom breaks! You highlight some hugely important topics that will hopefully speak to some readers who may not have considered things. The 529 plans are very important, especially because they vary so much!

Slightly OT: One major problem that I have with public schooling is that students only get one measly class on economics! How are kids supposed to learn how to handle money in one class? I know it is the parents responsibility to really teach kids about money, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to get them into a class to learn about something they will be doing EVERY DAY!

Thanks,
Timothy
Wealth Artisan Team Member
http://WealthArtisan.com

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Kris May 15, 2010 at 3:25 pm

Wealth Artisan – you are not kidding about how bad our educational system is at teaching the basics of personal finance. And then these kids graduate high school and are offered a ton of credit cards. It just sets people up for failure in my opinion.

Thank you for you comments!

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Money Reasons May 15, 2010 at 9:41 am

We was a just a little late on starting a 529 plan for my son (he was three) but we started my daughter’s when she was born (lesson learned!)

We cheated on baby clothes! We had friends that had a baby a year before my son was born and so we got a lot of free baby clothes that way (and my mom went hog wild buying clothes too). Later my wife would go thru yearly neighborhood garage sales in our city (great selection, beat just going to 1 garage sale at a time). Now that my son is older though we go to target too.

For our stroller, we just bought what consumer report recommended as a reasonable buy (best bang for you buck kind of deal).

Nice presentation, very clever 🙂

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Kris May 15, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Money Reasons – Looks like you did a great job procuring items for your kids. We got a lot at our baby shower, but things wore out by the time I had third so we spent a lot of money. I must have been too tired to be thrifty!

Also, thank you for your kind words!

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Squirrelers May 16, 2010 at 6:16 pm

I like this post – wise words.

As a dad, I’m of course not one to offer the best advice on labor/delivery/relexation techniques:) Though I was a part of the “team” for the births of my kids.

Anyway, with the other things you mentioned, I really like what you said with respect to expenses on clothes/strollers, etc. Smart thinking, as I can say as a 2-time parent that I learned after the first one that many expensive things for baby are really for mommy and daddy’s happiness!

As for 529, estate planning – smart thinking. The estate planning part is one that MANY people get by them. I have advocated this one for a while, and I’m glad to see others who see it this way too. Protect your kids.

Great to see school systems brought up too. I’m a big believer that while many values are taught at home, the external/peer influence is one that as a parent you can’t completely control. A kid in a school district with good test scores, college placement, etc will have a better shot, all other things being equal. I too know of situations where people have not paid attention to district boundary lines, and have been surprised later. Those are specific questions to ask, which are vital.

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BW May 26, 2010 at 9:20 am

I found lamaze to be a waste of time and love your alternative class! I found yoga and, specifically, yoga breathing to be more beneficial than lamaze.

One thing I have found helpful is buying kids clothes when they are on sale/clearance and you have some sort of discount. You can never have too many play clothes and I’m hoping that my stockpiling of clothes will still work into their tween years. I tend to buy from Old Navy and Gap online. I have a credit card through them and get free shipping and special discounts all the time. I have a $5 limit on shirts and under $10 for pants – I’m only buying up to 5T right now. Plus, I never buy unless I have a coupon. Their credit card also gives you reward dollars for every X amount of dollars you spend. You need to have a place to store the clothes before they are able to wear them, but I think that outweighs the cost of having to buy clothes at full price.

I completely agree about photographers! Even Sears was expensive when I went for my son’s first photo session at 3 months! I love our candid photos much more than I like the posed photos. Although, I am trying to get a family photo done each year to keep a timeline of sorts.

Thanks for the laugh and the great ideas! 🙂

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Kris May 26, 2010 at 12:10 pm

BW- You are right, candid photos are the best, and it is so easy to get them enlarged nowdays.

Good idea on the shopping online. Little kids generally fit into things quite easily, and it sounds like you are getting some great deals. I used to buy off season clothes for my kids all the time when they were little because they were not ones to grow real fast. (big surprise there.)

Thanks for the added tips!

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