How to Plan for the Significant Costs of Parenthood

Are you ready for parenthood?  What was your first response to that question?  It was probably, “No I am not ready for parenthood.” At the very least, you probably hesitated at the question and you weren’t quite sure how to answer it.  The truth is, most parents, especially if it is their first child, are not at all ready to be parents.

One of the biggest concerns for new parents is the financial costs of being a parent.  I want to go over a few of those here, to really put this into perspective and to help give new or upcoming parents an idea of the costs of parenthood, and what types of sums of money will have to go towards what aspects of childrearing.  Becoming a parent is kind of like inheriting a family business.  All of a sudden you have this new responsibility put on you and more often than not, there are some uncertainties that you might have about it.

Costs of Parenting

Here are the main costs of parents and childrearing to consider:

  • Family leave.  This is one of the least considered costs out there.  People almost never think of this one, because it is all about the money you won’t be making because of having a kid, not about the money you will have to be spending.  Be sure to look into how your employer addresses the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to give you a better idea of what your medical leave options are.
  • Child care.  Probably one of the biggest costs that go into childrearing is child care.  If you put your infant or toddler into daycare, it will cost about ten-thousand dollars a year.  That’s more than what a lot of colleges cost per year!
  • Before and After School Care.  Once your child is in public school, you still aren’t quite out of the woods.  For youngsters, school time is not nearly as long as your work day, so you will have to pay extra for an extra program within your child’s school, or for a before or after-school babysitter.
  • College.  If you want to send your child to college, it will cost on average anywhere from $35,000 to $70,000, depending on the school you send them to, and how long they go for.
  • Millennials living at home.  Also called boomerang kids, more kids are coming back to live with their parents now than ever before in the history of this country.  This can also create extra costs of simply having more people living in the home.  Also, when a child in their twenties or thirties comes back to live at home, their parents are sometimes retired, so the income flow might not be big enough to support retired parents and their adult kids.

Considering the Future

It’s important to consider all of the different factors and aspects of child care and child rearing when you are getting ready to engage in this.  Childcare is a tough thing to deal with sometimes, but it most definitely does not have to be.

When looking at the future, just make sure that you consider all of the costs that are involved, and make sure that you put together a plan for how to pay for a child, preferably before you become a parent if you can.

At the end of the day, having children is a beautiful activity and something that can bring incredible joy and happiness to all involved.  Having a child is pleasant and fun, and incredibly rewarding.  Plan it out as best you can, and may luck be with you!

What to Consider Before Going into Business with a Friend

A lot of times, people have great business ideas with their friends or family members.  A lot of times, people end up going into business with their friends, with their family members, or with their spouses or loved ones.  Sometimes parents even go into business with their kids. Studies show actually that most American small businesses that are co-founded are brought about by people who knew each other on some level prior to deciding to engage in business together.

Starting a business with your best friend can sound like a lot of fun, and it often is.  However, just like with anything else out there, there are some pros and cons that need to be considered before one embarks on this kind of venture and game.  There are a lot of great things about starting a business with your best friend, but there are some negative possibilities that need to be considered too before one dives totally head first into the endeavor.

Things to Keep in Mind When Considering Business with a Friend

Listed below are five things to consider when getting ready to take the leap into a business with your friend:

  1. Do you trust them?  Not only is trust probably the single greatest factor in business, but it is also the most important factor in really all of your life too.  Trust is the single most important factor when you are getting ready to embark upon a business venture with your friend, so be sure that trust is completely there for you and your friend.
  2. Is your friend committed to the brand?  This is also important.  You can have a friend who is a brilliant person, but if they are not totally devoted to the brand and to all that it stands for, then both you and your partner and the business will struggle as a result of it.
  3. Does your friend have skills or experience that you don’t?  This is another important one.  If you are going to be going into a business plan on a fifty-fifty basis with your friend, then you better hope that they can bring something to the table that you can’t bring, and vice versa.
  4. Are they stable in life financially?  This is key, to say the least. Your friend does not have to be wealthy, but they do need to be financially well set up.  When starting a business, personal finances become so immensely involved in the matter that people tend to suffer if one or more business partners is having financial troubles and difficulties of significant proportions.
  5. It doesn’t hurt to do a beta test of how the business would go before you even start the business itself.  In doing this, one will essentially show you what you are working with and what would happen in real life with that friend.  You need to know if your friend is a person of action or if they need instruction all the time or a combination of the two.  Are they an ‘in-charge’ kind of person who always needs to be the leader and the boss? Can they follow your lead sometimes or not?

Starting a business with a friend more often than not is a great thing and is quite rewarding.  However, it can be harmful sometimes when people do not consider the factors necessary to really look into the idea before embarking upon it.  Now more than ever it’s important for friends to consider the above points before they jump into something, lest they end up making a decision that is very dangerous and negative for them.

4 Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Job

Leaving a job is rarely a fun or rewarding thing to do.  Leaving a job by choice may be better than getting fired is, but it’s still not a pleasant or enjoyable experience.  A lot of people wonder about when they should or when they shouldn’t leave their job.  Obviously, leaving the job is sort of like that one thing that once you do it, it’s done and there’s no going back from it.  It is the final movement, the final effort that gets a person out of the environment.  But the thing is, it gets them out of that environment for good and there’s no going back after that point.  This is why one should be absolutely sure it is the right thing to do.

Please take care not to take a singular, rough day, or even a rough week as a reason to leave a job.  These excuses are never good enough.  These are not valid reasons to leave the job.  These are rarely valid reasons to hang it up and call it quits.  They just aren’t.  The key is, hard times at a job pass, but if you quit the job, you’ve lost that job permanently and that’s just it.  Try to really analyze your position and condition with that job.  Make a diligent and considered effort to fix things and to correct things before you leave that job.

Often times, as employees we get frustrated or irked about some aspect of the facet of our jobs.  We get annoyed, peeved, or basically just frustrated that things are so difficult.  The problem is, though, we almost always blow it out of proportion.  We almost always take things way too seriously and take them to the next level of concern and worry.  This is so unnecessary.  Often, though, this just happens whether we like it or not and we get the idea that we just need to go, go, go and not look back.

Signs That it Truly is Time to Go

There are a few situations that one might face which really do show that it’s time to hang it up and call it quits.  Listed below are four signs that maybe you really do need to be considering other options and looking into a change of pace:

  1. Your entire life is the status quo.  If you’ve been living the same life at your place of employment, the same status, the same position, the same day to day job, the same responsibilities, the same everything and you’ve tried to change and advance and do something about it with no luck, then it’s probably time to make a change.  This is how you know that it is time to advance and move forward and do something a little bit differently.
  2. If you’re not getting any feedback on what you could be doing better and what you shouldn’t be doing at all, then it might be time to go.  Be cautious in this area, but be honest with yourself.  If you’ve truly made efforts to get feedback from your supervisors and they just haven’t given you anything to go off of, then it’s time to reconsider and perhaps move forward into an entirely different realm.
  3. Other companies want you to come work for them.  If you are unsatisfied with your current job and other companies want you and there seem to be better options out there than your current job, then it may be time to honestly pursue other options.  Take care to explore those options thoroughly first, though, and then proceed.
  4. Do you always feel like there’s constant restructuring and moving around within the internal organization of the business you’re working for?  Are you getting moved around constantly with no increases in pay and not enough training before you are carted off to another department?  This shows a lack of organization within a business and is a good sign to explore other options.

It’s rarely a good idea to just up and quit a business that you’ve been working for.  Rarely.  However, when you consider the above, these might be good reasons to do just that.

5 Tips for Transitioning from Co-Worker to Supervisor

It can be tricky to make that transition from someone’s co-worker to someone’s boss.  A lot of crazy stuff can start going down when that happens.  Sometimes, co-workers will have a hard time accepting you or really coming to terms with the fact that you are now the one in charge and are no longer just a co-worker to them, but you are in fact something far different.

One time I was promoted to a managerial position at a very young age.  A lot of my co-workers who were older than me did not react well.  Basically, they felt like they had been cheated out of a promotion that absolutely should have been theirs.  Who can blame them though?  Well, I can.  They weren’t working half as hard as I was and it was showing too.  The owner of the company picked me for the job and not without good reason to boot.  I boomed that department of the business in a year as a result of the promotion, something the other co-workers couldn’t do.

I can see though that it can be quite difficult to make that key transition from co-worker to boss.  I definitely get that that can be difficult, not only for you but for your fellow employees as well.  It’s tough enough that you have a lot of different things going on in you new position that you now have to learn about, but now you also have to deal with underlings too, some of whom might not really be all that interested in calling you “Boss.”

How to Make the Transition a Smooth One

I have observed this transition and this change quite a bit.  I think I’ve come up with a few good ideas on how one can go about making this change.

Here they are:

• #1: You really need to make sure that you realize that your previous personal relationships with co-workers will need to be moved to a different level because you’re no longer a peer.  That makes sense right?  Your relationship with your co-workers needs to be on a different level now.  You are now the person who assigns work, analyzes productivity, and provides performance appraisals; you’re not just their “co-worker” any more.

• #2: You need to see your HR representative to find out what training and support is available as you take on your new leadership role.  You need to keep in mind that you need to focus on you too, not just your fellow employees and subordinates.

• #3: It’s a good idea to sit down one-on-one with each person in the department to discuss their feelings about your transition to manager and see how they feel about it. Talk about the expectations you have of each other and get potential issues out on the table so you can address them right out of the box.  It is best to do this sooner rather than later.

• #4: It’s very wise to ensure that everyone on the team understands your new role as their manager and the responsibilities that are expected of you as well as the role each of them plays in the success (or failure) of the department too, and all that that will entail ultimately.

• #5: I would strongly recommend that you take the time to work out some kind of a game plan for how you and your team can best work together to achieve the goals and objectives of the department so that everyone wins and everyone wins in a big, big way.  You need to be sure to clearly and concisely communicate those goals and objectives to everyone in your group.

This is by no means a complete list.  However, the above tips can definitely be used to make big changes in one’s transition into the life of an executive.

Best Organizational Hacks for a Home Office

Although much more convenient than going to the office every day, working from home is still work. Forbes recently released a study that found that employees who work from home are more productive than those who work from the office. As a business executive and highly successful entrepreneur, Per Wickstrom greatly values productivity and the bottom line. He wants to ensure his remote employees are as productive as possible, which is why we’ve come up with a list of the best organizational hacks for your home office.

  1. Declutter

Being surrounded by mess will impede your ability to work efficiently and effectively.

Per Wickstrom believes that if you’re home office is messy, your work will most likely be as well. Clean off your desk and office space every night before calling it a day so that you can wake up ready to go the next morning.

  1. Avoid Distractions

It’s easy to get distracted by children, pets, television, and irrelevant websites when working from home. Avoid these distraction problems altogether by preventing them from occurring in the first place. Per Wickstrom prefers to get ahead of potential problems, and so should you. Secure Childcare. Set up your office well away from any distracting electronics. Install computer programs that deter you from surfing sites that you know will only distract you from getting your work done.

  1. Prepare

Ensure you have everything you need to get the job done. Per Wickstrom spares no expense when it comes to getting the supplies he needs for his employees. Post-it notes, notepads, pens, computer software, hardware, and anything else you may need.

  1. Personalize it

It’s your home office, so own it. Add in your personality wherever possible and make it yours. You’re the one who has to work in it. Per Wickstrom customizes his office space(s) to fit his unique personality and work needs. Be proud of your work and your workspace, like Per Wickstrom is.

How to make Planning a Reality

“A dream is a wish your heart makes.” That’s the saying, right? It might make you believe that it’s easy to follow your heart’s wishes. Well, whether it’s a dream or a goal or objective, they all require the same thing – adequate planning. And they will remain just that – plans – unless you take action steps to actually accomplish your plans to achieve your dreams and goals. Per Wickstrom once dreamed of being an entrepreneur, and he made it happen through hard work, planning, and acquiring the necessary resources to do so. It’s easy to talk about what you plan to do tomorrow or five years from now, but it’s an entirely different story to actually make that happen. So, while it’s not easy to follow your heart’s wishes, it is possible. Read on to learn how to make your plans into your reality.

  1. Outline your short-term and long-term goals

What do you want in a few months? In a few years? What about in 40 years? You have to know what you want and why. Per Wickstrom knows what he wants. Do you? If not, think about it! If so, think again – it’s important to get down to what’s actually important. You may want to be a doctor. Well, why? Is it because you like to perform surgery or because you want to help people? If it’s because you want to help people, then your end-goal is not becoming a doctor, but helping people, which is something you can accomplish via various means. Remain flexible in your thinking and outlining so you can focus on the important parts rather than getting caught up in details that ultimately may not matter.

  1. Create and fill in objectives for each goal

In order to achieve your goals, you must develop smaller action steps, called objectives. Per Wickstrom values the importance of creating objectives to achieve larger goals. Otherwise, he would not be the successful entrepreneur he is today.

  1. Follow through on the objectives, each one a step towards reaching your end-goal

It’s also possible to have a sequence of small goals and smaller objectives leading up to larger goals or an ultimate destination. For example, each time Per Wickstrom opens a new business center, he is accomplishing both a goal and taking another step towards his end-goal of helping people and succeeding in business and in life.

5 Tips on how to leave Negativity behind for good

Negative thinking and people can really bring you down. It’s hard to succeed if negativity gets in the way. Per Wickstrom has dealt with negativity in his life, but he’s developed a holistic method to put that all behind him for good. Read on to learn how to put negativity behind you for good.

  1. Change your thinking

Replace your negative thoughts with positive thinking. Per Wickstrom always gives his best effort to thinking positive, even in the toughest of situations. If you don’t change your thinking, then you’ll remain in a mindset of negativity, which will follow you around until you address it. Retrain your brain to focus on the positives in every situation, rather than the negatives.

  1. Re-frame Trying Situations

When times get tough, it’s easy to let negativity creep in. Truly successful people, like Per Wickstrom, know they need to avoid falling into old mindsets that allow negativity room to grow. In confronting challenging situations, it’s important to reflect on how you’re framing it. Do you feel anxious when you think about it? Does your mood fluctuate and plummet? If so, you’re probably framing the situation in a negative light. Re-frame the situation using a positive lens.

  1. Self-Confidence is Key

When you feel good about yourself and your life, you’re less likely to give anything negative space in your life. It is easier to identify and address negativity when you feel positive about yourself. Per Wickstrom is humble, but he also knows that he is a highly successful entrepreneur who deserves happiness. He knows what he is capable of, and he does it. When you believe in yourself, you can overcome obstacles and succeed in business and in life, just like Per Wickstrom’s motto.

  1. Let it Go

Be like Elsa from Frozen and let the negativity go. Elsa is much like Per Wickstrom. They both move on from past mistakes and then do what it takes to succeed. If you want to put negativity behind you for good, dwelling on the past won’t help. Instead focus on the future and positives, and move on.

  1. Compartmentalize

When something bad happens at work, don’t allow it to bleed into your home or personal life, and vice versa. Per Wickstrom leaves work at work, and so should you. Compartmentalizing is vital to putting negativity behind you. Otherwise, it’s easy for negativity to bleed through to various parts of your life. Keep perspective and reframe situations in a positive light.