Combining EQ and IQ for New Parents: A Journey of Love and Planning

Combining EQ and IQ for New Parents: A Journey of Love and Planning

May 11, 2024

Combining EQ and IQ for New Parents: A Journey of Love and Planning

Embarking on Parenthood: A New Chapter

My wife and I recently welcomed our beautiful son into the world. At nearly 40, we took our time to experience some of life's journey, and we feel incredibly fortunate to have found each other, built a strong partnership, and now embark on the exciting adventure of parenthood together.While we are both first-time parents, I'd like to share some insights I've gained during this transformative experience and highlight the importance of planning for this new chapter.

Blending EQ and IQ: A Recipe for Success

For nearly two decades, my team and I have been guiding clients through a variety of financial matters. From retirement planning to educational planning for newborns and grandchildren, we've covered a wide range of financial needs. Now, my wife and I are applying these principles to adjust our own financial plan to accommodate this significant life change.

Becoming new parents can be an emotional rollercoaster. You may experience a range of feelings, from overwhelming joy to uncertainty. Regardless of your individual emotions, one thing is certain: a newborn will significantly alter the dynamics of your life.

During my wife's eighth month of pregnancy, I had a conversation with a client and dear friend who experienced fatherhood a decade ago.He shared a profound realization that resonated deeply with me: when a child enters the world, they also give birth to a multitude of new dynamics. For instance, my relationship with my wife has been forever transformed, and the arrival of our son has reignited the joy of grandparenthood for my mother and in-laws.This epiphany made us realize how profoundly our son's arrival has changed our perspectives on life. Initially, we could only imagine what life would be like with him, but now that he is here, we are experiencing the wonder firsthand.

Preparing for Parenthood: A Two-Part Approach

As we embarked on this journey, we embraced a two-part approach to prepare for parenthood: actively listening and open communication.

1. Listening with an Open Mind:

As first-time parents, we were bombarded with unsolicited advice on how to feel and navigate the challenges of parenthood."Say goodbye to this," "Say goodbye to that," and "Your life is going to change dramatically" were common refrains we heard. While we appreciate the good intentions behind such advice, we also recognize that much of it is subjective.We believe that parenthood offers a unique opportunity for human growth and connection.The immense love we feel for our son is indescribable, and we strive to be mindful, present, and fully engaged in this journey.With 8.1 billion people on Earth, no two individuals share the same DNA.This realization empowers us to choose our path as parents and make a profound impact on our son's life.

2. Open Communication during Pregnancy:

In the words of boxing legend Mike Tyson, "Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face". While parenthood is not a literal punch to the face, it is an incredible adventure that will undoubtedly transform our lives. As we anticipated this change, we recognized the importance of discussing our goals and priorities with each other openly and honestly.

My wife and I scheduled regular, uninterrupted conversations to check in with each other and discuss our concerns, desires, and goals as we prepared for the arrival of our son. These discussions covered a wide range of topics, including our parenting philosophies, how we envision raising our child, maintaining our individual identities and career aspirations, while also being responsible and attentive parents and family members. We also explored ways to seek support from family, friends, or professionals who could assist us in caring for our newborn.

Pre-Birth Planning: Embracing the Journey

Our son was due on a specific date, but he surprised us by arriving two weeks early. While we knew babies often arrive on their own schedule, we didn't anticipate his early arrival (so make sure your hospital bag is packed!).However, we had taken steps to prepare ourselves for his arrival, especially my wife, who deserves immense credit for her dedication and efforts. Here are some key considerations for pre-birth planning:

a) Educating Yourself: If you're a first-time parent, reading books like "The Expectant Father" can provide valuable insights into what to expect during pregnancy and the changes your wife and baby will experience week by week. I also downloaded the app "Flo" to understand the developments of the baby week by week and the changes my wife would be going through. 

b) Completing Projects and Wishes: If you have any outstanding projects or dream trips you've been wanting to take, now is the time to make them happen, as you may not have the opportunity for a while after your baby arrives. Similarly, consider completing any necessary home improvement projects, but make sure your partner is comfortable with the process, as unnecessary stress is best avoided. Remember, tackling a bathroom or kitchen remodel will be significantly more challenging once your baby arrives!

c) Planning for Work and Leave: Whether you're employed or self-employed, it's crucial to discuss maternity and paternity leave options with your manager or HR representative.This will help you plan your finances effectively while you bond with your newborn. Additionally, if you're self-employed, consider exploring resources available through your State disability program to cover family bonding time. As a business owner, I was fortunate to have a dedicated team and a supportive partner who ensured the smooth operation of the business while I focused on being present with my wife and son at home. Delegating responsibilities and ensuring your team is prepared to cover your absence is essential. I am forever grateful for the help and support my team provided me.

I also had the pleasure of sharing the wonderful news of my wife's pregnancy with my clients in advance. They were not only overjoyed for us but also very understanding and supportive, relying on my team for assistance during my absence. As they say, babies grow incredibly fast. Every day, I witness subtle yet remarkable changes in my son, and I'm incredibly grateful to experience and witness them firsthand. Time is precious, and if you have the opportunity to take time off to be present with your newborn, don't hesitate to do so.

Post-Birth Planning: Adjusting to a New Reality

As a Wealth Advisor, I've guided clients through post-birth planning for years. However, it was an entirely different experience to apply these principles to my own life. Reviewing our financial plan once again was crucial. Financial planning is not a one-time exercise; it's an ongoing process that evolves as our lives change. Life is dynamic, and we continuously adapt, whether we realize it or not. Therefore, regularly reviewing and updating our financial plan is essential.

As new parents, there are several key areas to consider in post-birth planning:

Getting Your Ducks in a Row: This may look different for each family, but here are some essential steps to take:

* Adding Your Child to Health Insurance: Upon returning from the hospital, make sure to add your child to your health insurance immediately. Most insurance companies allow you up to 30 days to complete this task, but doing it sooner the better is highly recommended. 

*Updating Your Financial Plan: If you don't have a financial plan, now is the perfect time to create one. It' s an essential tool that can help you make informed decisions about your finances, including saving for a down payment on a home, funding your child's education, and much more. A certified financial planner can guide you through this process, providing tailored advice based on your specific needs and goals.

Essential Considerations for Every Family:

* Creating or Updating Wills and Trusts: Having a will and trust is crucial for every parent. These documents ensure the distribution of your assets and the care of your child in the event of an unexpected situation. While financial planners do not provide legal advice, they can help you organize your thoughts and prepare for a meeting with a trusted estate attorney who can draft these important documents.

Life Insurance Coverage: Review your existing life insurance policy and discuss coverage amounts with your spouse and advisor. This conversation, while difficult, is essential to ensure your loved ones are financially protected in your absence. 

Education and Passion Planning: While formal education remains valuable, consider saving for your child's future passions alongside traditional college savings plans.The power of compound interest can transform even small contributions into a significant nest egg over time. (More to come on this subject soon, so be sure to follow our page for the updates) 

The arrival of a child is a new beginning for your relationship, your family, and your lifestyle. It’s different for each couple and families. Therefore its important to discuss your values and  prioritize your strategies to navigate this exciting chapter as a team. But the most important part is to start somewhere. As the prominent philosopher Lao Tzu said “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". If you're a new parent or a parent to be, make the time to plan. If you need help and do not know where to start, leverage the help of those you trust and look up to. The most important part, is to do something, and start somewhere. 

At EQ, we serve a select group of clients in building, managing, and preserving their wealth. If you need help with organizing your next steps, creating, or updating your financial plan, please contact our office to discuss your unique situation. 

Thank you for your consideration,

Sean Khaligh, CFP