If you spend your days doing what you love and your evenings with those you love, you have a rich life—even if you aren’t rich.

This Week/Nov. 19-25

BE THANKFUL. Great vacations and wonderful family events fade from memory. Similarly, we quickly adapt to material improvements in our lives, such as the new car and the remodeled kitchen. To counteract this process of adaptation, pause for a moment, and ponder the major purchases you’ve made over the past year and the great experiences you’ve had.

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Money Guide

Everything you need to be smarter about money—all in one place.

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Having a Baby

ONCE A BABY ARRIVES, you quickly discover two things are in short supply: time and money. According to the Department of Agriculture’s Expenditures on Children by Families study released in January 2017, it costs $233,610 for a middle-income family to raise a child through age 17, figured in today’s dollars. Annual costs in the first three years are pegged at $12,680. How can you prepare your finances? Stockpile cash. The more you have in a savings account, the easier it’ll be to handle medical costs, buy all the baby paraphernalia, pay for babysitters and daycare, and more. Assess living expenses. A pile of savings will help if one parent won’t be working for a few months. What if one of you plans to stay home for the foreseeable future? You could quickly run through your savings, unless you take steps to cut back your living expenses. That isn’t easy to do when you have an extra person to clothe and feed, and you might also need a larger home. Still, you will likely enjoy your new child more if you aren’t financially stressed. Check your employers’ policies. See what the rules are regarding maternity and paternity leave. Find out what childbirth expenses will be covered, how much it will cost to get your new baby added to the health plan and what out-of-pocket medical costs you might face. Revise your wills. Both of you will need to update your wills to name a guardian for your newborn, just in case you both die prematurely. Boost life insurance coverage. You may have some coverage through your employer. But with the arrival of the baby, you will likely need a larger policy. Don’t necessarily purchase this additional coverage through your employer. The premiums could be relatively high because they reflect the health of all employees, who on average may be older and some of whom will smoke. You will probably want coverage not only on the life of the employed parent, but also for the stay-at-home parent. A death in either case would mean significant additional ongoing costs. Next: Having a Baby When You're a Same-Sex Couple Previous: Same-Sex Marriage Blog: Nerd Gone Wild
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Latest Blog Posts

A Thanksgiving Prayer

ADAM RORABAUGH LEFT THE SHORES of his German homeland at age 36, together with his wife Maria and five children, and landed in America in 1831. Two brothers also accompanied him on a stormy, 77-day sailboat voyage across the Atlantic. Driven off course during the trip, they landed at Havre de Grace, Maryland, in the Chesapeake Bay. After making their way to New York City, it is presumed the three brothers parted, never to meet or hear from each other again.

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Keeping It Private

WHILE SITTING AT MY DESK a few months ago, I received a text message from Citibank notifying me of “suspicious activity” on my primary credit card. I immediately logged onto my account and discovered someone that morning had attempted to use my credit card number at a luxury resort—one located several hundred miles from where I work. The charge had been denied, but the damage was done. I immediately cancelled the card. I also began notifying the companies I have automated payments with,

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All the Right Reasons

WHAT’S A GOOD REASON to dial down your stock market exposure? A year after Donald Trump was elected president, many folks are still smarting from their decision to bail out of stocks. Clearly, we shouldn’t lighten up on shares just because we don’t like the guy in the White House.
We also shouldn’t bail out just because stocks sport high price-earnings ratios and skimpy dividend yields. No doubt about it, stocks today are expensive.

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Money Guide

Everything you need to be smarter about money—all in one place.

Start Here

Having a Baby

ONCE A BABY ARRIVES, you quickly discover two things are in short supply: time and money. According to the Department of Agriculture’s Expenditures on Children by Families study released in January 2017, it costs $233,610 for a middle-income family to raise a child through age 17, figured in today’s dollars. Annual costs in the first three years are pegged at $12,680. How can you prepare your finances? Stockpile cash. The more you have in a savings account, the easier it’ll be to handle medical costs, buy all the baby paraphernalia, pay for babysitters and daycare, and more. Assess living expenses. A pile of savings will help if one parent won’t be working for a few months. What if one of you plans to stay home for the foreseeable future? You could quickly run through your savings, unless you take steps to cut back your living expenses. That isn’t easy to do when you have an extra person to clothe and feed, and you might also need a larger home. Still, you will likely enjoy your new child more if you aren’t financially stressed. Check your employers’ policies. See what the rules are regarding maternity and paternity leave. Find out what childbirth expenses will be covered, how much it will cost to get your new baby added to the health plan and what out-of-pocket medical costs you might face. Revise your wills. Both of you will need to update your wills to name a guardian for your newborn, just in case you both die prematurely. Boost life insurance coverage. You may have some coverage through your employer. But with the arrival of the baby, you will likely need a larger policy. Don’t necessarily purchase this additional coverage through your employer. The premiums could be relatively high because they reflect the health of all employees, who on average may be older and some of whom will smoke. You will probably want coverage not only on the life of the employed parent, but also for the stay-at-home parent. A death in either case would mean significant additional ongoing costs. Next: Having a Baby When You're a Same-Sex Couple Previous: Same-Sex Marriage Blog: Nerd Gone Wild
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Getting Better

TO IMPROVE OUR BEHAVIOR, we first need to realize we’re on the wrong path and then figure out the right way forward. Often, this isn’t especially difficult. If we have no savings, obviously we need to sock away some money. If we’re overweight, we should cut back on the calories. If we’re out of shape, we need to hit the gym.
Instead, the real problem is getting ourselves to act.

The contemplative side of our brain is fully aware we ought to eat and spend less,

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Jonathan Clements

About Jonathan

Jonathan Clements is the founder and editor of HumbleDollar. He spent almost two decades at The Wall Street Journal, where he was the personal finance columnist. His latest book: How to Think About Money.

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