Really short (short) one.

She used to do the wrapping.

I suck at wrapping.

I’ll tell the cubs that Santa was in a hurry.

BSD

A quick breakfast discussion with the cubs

Son: My sister is not a he…

He’s just getting to grips with gender, after caller her ‘him’ for about six months now.

Correct

Son: He’s a girl!

Almost right

Daughter: I’m a she!

Son: Yes. And I’m a boy!

Yes

Son: And daddy is a man!

Correct

Daughter: and mummy is a lady; isn’t she daddy?

Daughter: Daddy?

Daughter: Daddy??

Bath time

BSD

Holidays are coming…

And I’m talking finances.

For some reason, one of the obvious factors of becoming a single income household, the halving of the number of earners putting in to the family coffers, had not registered on my radar of anything, until that dip in income started to bite.

There is no pressure like financial pressure as it can feel like an ever descending spiral. This can lead to worry and depression which can itself lead to mood swings or some other harmful coping mechanism.

So the lead picture is Santa squaring up for a fight – you get the analogy; Christmas is coming and that can present a real financial squeeze, if you’re not prepared.

Speaking from experience, I’ve done the splurge for the festive season thing. It’s short term gain for long term pain. Historically, I would do this weird thing where I would pay most of my bills, before spending what I wanted to spend. This eventually led to problems, as you can imagine. When bills aren’t paid, companies (rightly) grow concerned and want what is owed them.

Then the letters start

Dealing with them is easier said than done and they are extremely easy to ignore. However, problems rarely go away if ignored so if you find yourself in this uncomfortable situation, give your creditors a call and explain your situation. It’s in all of your best interests to come to a solution.

This post isn’t about that; it’s about this

I want to talk to you about projecting forwards, as prevention is better than cure. I enlisted the help of a dear friend of mine,  Zane Groves, an entrepreneur who happens to be a bit of a financial whizz. Good job really as he’s a financial advisor.

He owned his own mortgage consultancy at age 26 but more impressively, manage to grow his business when large institutions were folding as the world experienced the deepest recession in living memory.

He’s a planner and he’s come up with a short and sharp, 6 point plan for a financially fit future. Over to him.

green shoots



1) What are your goals.

This may seem very obvious but have a plan. This can be from saving for a holiday to a deposit for your first home. Once you know what your goal is, plan how you’re going to get there and the sooner the better!

2) Make saving a habit.

We often say “I can’t afford to save” or I’ve only got £50 to save, what difference will that make. We let me tell you, you’ve been saving for that rainy day for 2 years and the boiler breaks, guess what you’ve got the money so you can pay for it immediately and not get into debt with your flexible friend. If you’re lucky enough not to need it then great!

3) Work pensions.

Pay! your employer does (UK law) and the younger you start the better. The average pension pot at retirement currently stands at £50,000 which isn’t going to go far. If you want a comfortable retirement save as much as you can afford. The same if you’re self-employed.

4) Protect your income.

In most cases spending 1% of your annual salary will protect the other 99%. Don’t rely on the state, incapacity benefit is currently around £88 per week, try living on that one.

5) Reduce your debt.

Where ever possible try and pay down your unsecured debt and focus on the higher interest rate charging vehicles.

6) Invest in yourself.

If finance really isn’t your bag, employ someone who’s it is. You wouldn’t after all get a baker to look after your car so find a suitably qualified financial advisor and let them work with you.

Money

 


He doesn’t mince his words. As a thank you to him I’ve included a link to his website througout the post.

I want to quickly dig a little deeper on some of his points, which if you look at them again, have one key personal factor involved; self-discipline.

The success depends on your ability to delay your gratification; want it now will lead you back down the rabbit hole.

Finally

My plan for Christmas this year is to splurge, in a controlled manner of course. I’m in a position where I can guarantee overtime for most of 2018. My plan is to put in some extra hours and ‘snowball’ my most expensive debt away. It’ll be tough, but it’s the trade off for running up the cards over 2017.

Please remember this; over the festive period your children ultimately want your time.

Looking back to my childhood, I can’t remember if I ever got that train set, or the Evil Kenevil Rocket Edition, but I can remember being loved, warm and safe.

I can remember spending time decorating the tree and I can remember falling asleep on the sofa, full of food and watching Christmas films. Relax and be happy!

tunnel light

BSD

If you are struggling with debt, please seek help; there are some great free resources available online.

If you’re in the market for financial products as well as good advice, please check out Mr Zane Grove’s website

Learning the language; a Saturday short..

We’re all in the kitchen; its breakfast and I’m making the porridge. 

She’s knuckles deep in the mixed nuts, separating the almonds and he’s milling about, generally under my feet. 

I don’t usually like them being in the kitchen when I’m cooking but they’ve gravitated back; I haven’t seen them for a while so I allow it. 

He is learning to read and is able recognise certain letters, especially those in his name.  His current phase is to mistake any word that begins with the first letter of his name for his name. It’s an interesting premise. 

He points to the washing machine:

“That’s my name!”

No darling; it’s not. 

“Yes it is!”

Well no, it’s not, because…..

“IT IS!” 

He’s becoming upset. 

Darling; you’re name isn’t Mixed Load. 

“That’s not my name!?”

He sounded quite indignant. 


BSD

Heart truly touched!

02:09 this morning, I was woken up by the sound of singing. 

I lifted my head off of the pillow to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. 

Yep. Definitely singing. 

My initial, waking thought was one of terror, until remembered that the cubs were here and they had decided to share a bed that evening. 

The feeling quickly turned to one of a protective dad, but as my confusion cleared, that clarity reassured me that it was my daughter’s voice. 

All sounded ok; I lay my head down. 


The next morning, I roused them with the usual rendition of ‘Good morning; good morning! You’ve slept the whole night through…’ and a barrage of kisses. 

As they both came around, I asked if one of them had been singing last night. 

“Yeah that was me..” said my daughter. She pointed at her brother. 

“He couldn’t sleep and asked me to sing him a lullaby. I couldn’t remember one so I hummed to him instead until he went to sleep.”

I’m still sighing now, 13 hours later. 

BSD

YAY! POO!

Moreover, perpetually smelling it. 

As any parent of young cubs will know, poo plays quite a prominent role in your day. 

Nappy changes, potty training and generally forgetting that toilets need flushing are all part of the jolly tapestry of the reward that is parenting. 

Understand this; I’m a clean freak. My home is tidy for the majority of the time and I’m no fan of this ‘lived in’ philosophy. I prefer the showhome standpoint. My two beg to differ and occasionally, I’m happy to compromise. 

The Saturday routine I had as a kid was that we would all chip in and help clean the house; this has extended into my adulthood. 

Today was no different and the cubs are doing their rooms. Well my son isn’t but he’s only 3. 

They were upstairs as I cleaned the kitchen. Occasionally I’d pop up, if only to restore some civil order where my son had wondered in to my daughter’s room and refused to leave. 

As I neared, I was met by a poo haze, and my youngest in his favoured ‘mid poo’ squat. 

Come on big man; time for a bum change. 

‘Not finished yet!’ Was his customary reply and this time was no different. I waited. 

His sister’s room was full of the most interesting funk so I opened the windows. 

Eventually, he followed me. Before we went through the process I opened the windows. I do like open windows and whatever the weather, this is my first job on waking. A home benefits from a good blow through. 

‘It’s a sloppy one daddy!’

I appreciated the warning, and the fact that his vocabulary is coming along so well. 

Change done. No drama. He ran back to his sister’s room. 

 It smelt of poo, despite the windows being open. Hmmm. 

I went downstairs with the offending package bagged up. 

Downstairs smelt of poo. 

I couldn’t understand it. Windows were open but it lingered. 

I put the bag in the outside bin;

Outside smelt of poo. 

By the time I came back in, both cubs were downstairs and hunting for snacks. My daughter looked at me, and screamed. 

Well actually, it was more of a scream/laugh thing, accompanied by her pointing. 

DAD! THERE’S POO ON YOUR NOSE!!

That explained it. 


BSD. 

Not in the mood…

I picked my youngest cub up from nursery and asked the usual question; how was your day?


The gentle snores told me he wasn’t in the mood for talking. 

BSD

Parent life

06:45, weekday morning:

  • Minimal signs of life
  • Dissent
  • Progress only visible via time-lapse camera. 

06:33, weekend morning:

  • Both awake
  • Standing over sleeping daddy
  • Prodding face
  • Tiny fingers prising adult eyes open. 

I’m knackered. 


BSD

Halloween is here…

This morning’s drive in;

‘Dad; my friend and I found a dead butterfly in the playground yesterday’

Did you? What type was it?

‘I don’t know, but we took a wing each and threw the body into the hedge…’

Lord help me. 

BSD

We will get to the truth…

So what was your favourite part of the school day?

‘After school club’

Ok (trying to get to a favourite subject) What about during the day? What was your favourite part of the day?

‘Lunch’

Gives up. 

Also on the way home

Boris Johnson on the radio from the Conservative conference; 

“COME ON PEOPLE! ITS TIME TO BE BOLD!”

‘BOLD!? But Dad; I like my frizzy hair!’

BSD