On most week days, I’m greeted as I arrive home from the office by the sound of four kids screaming (usually happily) and running around, the sight of toys, clothes, and the remnants of afternoon snacks in the living room and kitchen, and the smell of whatever dinner my wife is scrambling to pull together. It’s not a stretch to classify it as a bit chaotic. To be clear, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
I have a three-year-old daughter, and a one-year-old son. We share a nanny with my brother and sister-in-law who have a two-year-old daughter, and a newborn son. All four kids spend the day at our house with the nanny. Five-thirty to six-thirty is the witching hour when everyone has plenty of energy from afternoon naps and snacks, all the planned activities are done for the day, there is a changing of the guard as far as who is in charge, and it can quickly feel like being inserted into an afternoon similar to Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat with Thing 1 and Thing 2 – and 3 and 4! It’s a Groundhog Day like whirlwind that I try not to let fluster me too much.
Unlike the early evenings at home, I feel safe saying that my financial life is decently in control, well organized, well planned and based on realistic expectations for the future. I’ve taken care to develop good habits in my daily life to support my family’s long-term goals. There are the highly impactful things like following a cash flow plan and saving monthly for college and retirement. In addition to little things such as, packing my lunch (at least most days) to save money and protect my health. As a result of staying organized, setting expectations and implementing a plan, I feel at ease and in control of my financial life more times than not. However, this certainly didn’t come by chance or without careful thought and deliberate actions.
Which brings me back to the daily grind of raising young children. I’ve come to realize that I lack the same discipline actions, daily planning and good habits in that part of my life. When you add to the mix keeping the house clean (a never ending battle), yard work, doctor visits, childcare management, laundry and other house projects, it’s no wonder I feel like I am constantly chasing my tail in search of some sort of equilibrium. Oh, and I didn’t even mention the grocery shopping and dinner planning. Luckily my lovely wife recently solved this part for us by committing to planning weekly meals and ordering the necessary ingredients via a grocery delivery service.
Now please don’t get me wrong, I know comparing the raising of children and keeping up at home to financial planning is a bit of a stretch. While both have several variables the ones that come with raising kids are even more unpredictable and high stakes. However, I think there is similarity in the process. I draw the comparison as a reflection on the high correlation of organization, planning and good habits to a feeling of being in control. I am sure we all have examples of something in our lives that once felt overwhelming but is now a source of calm confidence.
If you’re already a TAAG client, maybe it’s because your financial life felt like a barrel of monkeys at one time and you went looking for help. If so, I hope you’ve found success and clarity as a result. On the other hand, if your financial life looks like my toddler’s bookshelf – and you feel disorganized, without a plan, or simply don’t know what to expect for your financial future maybe it’s time to talk with a planner.
Finally, if you have any life saving tips on managing through the daily grind of toddlers and home keeping, please comment – I’m all ears!