At Age 37, My Wife and I Have Begun Investing Our Money, Thanks to Charles Schwab

At age 37, I am fully aware that I am now at the halfway point of the average American lifespan. I suppose this is literally the most appropriate time to have my midlife crisis.

Finally, I can trade in my old paid-off Honda Element for a brand-new Jeep Wrangler, take a spur of the moment trip to Spain, and start training for American Ninja Warrior…

But instead, I am focusing all that energy into planning for the 2nd half of my life- and my wife’s, as well as our children’s future.

My wife and I got married 10 and a half years ago, right in the middle of the 2008 Financial Crisis.

The first half of our marriage was spent building our careers from entry level positions and trying to manage the tens of thousands of dollars of debt we were in; largely due to college loans and our wedding.

The most recent half of our marriage began with us finally becoming debt-free in 2013, buying the last steal-of-a-deal new home in the Nashville area, and both finding ourselves far enough into our careers and side hustles that we started making a comfortable living.

But as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid explains, your goals and motivations evolve as you overcome your previous more basic needs and desires.

Now the focus is… how to invest our steady stream of income into our future.

I thought it was as simple as just paying off our house, then worrying about retirement afterwards.

However, my wife has been listening to the Moneywise program on Moody Radio on the way home from work each day. She explained to me that based on our interest rate on our home, it would actually be a better investment of our money to start building our retirement now, alongside paying off our mortgage early.

My wife then set us up an appointment with Charles Schwab financial investment company, which she had been hearing endorsed on Moneywise.

Today was the big day.

Our financial advisor helped us rollover my 401K from my previous employer to traditional IRA and select a portfolio for it. She also gave us direction on determining our financial goals so we could better plan our retirement and our kids’ college funds.

This was a major milestone for us. Here’s to the second half of life!

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4 Things to Consider Before Giving Jewelry to Your Kids  

Pieces of jewelry are great gifts to adults and children alike. While most people consider jewelry as a priceless possession, every piece has its price tag, so you want to ensure that it will be used, kept, and treasured forever.  

Giving jewelry to your kids is entirely different from buying them new toys. Jewelry is far more expensive and can be a source of major disappointment when your child accidentally misplaces or loses it. So, here are the important things you need to consider before you give jewelry to your kids:  

  1. Type of Jewelry 

Jewelry for adults is different from jewelry for kids; hence, you need to carefully choose the type of jewelry that you give as a gift. Here are some examples of jewelry pieces that are appropriate for kids: 

  • Monogram and name necklacesThese types of necklaces are perfect for grade-school kids. They are personalized and are appropriate for both girls and boys. You may have the initials or the name of your child designed or engraved into a beautiful pendant. 
  • Birthstone earrings. Dainty birthstone earrings are classic jewelry pieces that will never run out of style and will never be outgrown. They can be given as gifts not only on birthdays but on all types of occasions. For instance, you can give tourmaline or opal stud earrings to Octoberian birthday celebrants. 
  • Earrings in fun shapes and characters. There are different styles and designs of earrings that girls love, such as tiny hoops with fun shapes, flower-theme dangling earrings, cupcake-inspired design, and favorite cartoon character designs.  
  • Rings in colorful and playful designs. Rings are recommended for older kids because they can appreciate them. Choose colorful and playful designs, and your kids will surely love them and wear them every day.  
  • Charm bracelets. Give your kids charm bracelets to remember the most important events or milestones in their lives. For instance, you can give your daughter a basic bracelet for her 7th birthday. As the years go by, accessorize the bracelet with charms that represent your child’s achievements. 
  1. Age of the Child 

The age of your child is a crucial factor to consider before you decide whether it’s practical and sensible to give such a valuable gift. Here are some reminders when buying jewelry for your kids: 

  • Toddlers and preschoolers tend to damage or lose items, especially jewelry. It’s okay to give earrings such as gemstone or birthstone studs for your baby girl because they hardly notice or remove it.  
  • School-age children appreciate cute necklaces and bracelets. Your son will appreciate a new stainless-steel necklace and bracelet with his name engraved on it, like that of his favorite rockstar. Your daughter will be surprised and possibly request a set for her charming jewelry collection. 
  • Teenagers are starting to develop their fashion sense. They would appreciate a simple jewelry set that they can wear to complete their OOTDs. 
  1. Safety

You may want your baby to wear fine jewelry on her christening or when attending special occasions, but you’re also worried about your baby’s safety.  Here’s how you can keep your child safe when wearing jewelry: 

  • Make sure that there’s nothing around or in the jewelry piece that could pose a choking hazard, such as tiny charms, loose embellishments, and delicate extensions, to young children, especially those aged 5 years and below.  
  • Constrictive jewelry could cut off proper blood circulation, so choose necklaces and bracelets with appropriate length.  
  • Bring your child to the jewelry shop to try a necklace to ensure appropriate sizing.  
  1. Make and Durability 

Invest in a long-lasting jewelry piece that your children will cherish forever and that would possibly become an heirloom that will be handed from one generation to another. According to The New York Times, jewelry changes people, so its make and durability say much about the person’s character and personality, including your child’s perception about what a “priceless gift” is.  

As an example, a pair of diamond stud earrings is a precious gift you can give to your daughter for her graduation or debut. Diamond is a precious and durable material, and so are platinum, gold, and silver.

Conclusion 

Jewelry usually holds great sentimental value for the giver and the wearer. It connects the heart and minds of two people, most especially a parent and a child. Parents always want to give the best for their children, and giving your kids jewelry is like showing them how much you love and care for them. More than the price, it is the thought that truly counts. At the end of the day, what your children will love and appreciate are all the time and effort that you have devoted for choosing the best jewelry gift for them.  

Photos: Shutterstock

Dear Jack: You and Your Sister Willingly Shared a Bed During the Christmas Holidays

8 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Though you could have slept down the hall in your very own bed in the bonus room while we stayed at Nonna and Papa’s house last week during Christmas vacation, you opted to sleep on the trundle bed attached to your sister’s bed.

But I noticed that all four nights, you and your sister ended up in the same actual bed. She would roll off her bed in the middle of the night onto your bed.

And then by the 3rd night, she decided she wanted to sleep on the trundle bed instead. But of course, she crawled up into your bed those nights after you fell asleep.

The funny thing is, you had no idea. You slept through all of it either way.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: Sneaking Chocolate Candy Behind Empty Christmas Toy Boxes

2 years, 8 months.

Dear Holly,

Last week during our Christmas vacation at Nonna and Papa’s, Mommy and I went out for a few hours to get coffee. While we were out, Nonna caught on to a sneaky little trick that your brother set up for the two of you.

He took two empty boxes from Christmas gifts, Scented SlimyGloop and Play-Doh poop, and placed them upright on the kitchen table.

Then he placed the jar of mint chocolate M&Ms behind them and slowly began dispersing them, one at a time, to both of you.

The exact number of M&Ms obtained during this mission remain unknown.

But even though it wasn’t your idea, the look on your face in this picture makes it very clear you were quite the accomplice.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your Homemade Ladybug Boat and Its Tragic Voyage Out to Sea

8 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

Our friends Mohamad and Lena got you a really cool craft box for your birthday. It has provided the ideal outlet for all your creativity when you’re trapped inside the house on a bitterly cold December.

Your ultimate creation so far has been your boat, equipped with a special tether so you wouldn’t lose it.

I told you I’d take you to the creek in the next neighborhood over, once you were ready to try it out on the water.

So last Sunday, the weather was warm enough for us to outside for a little while. You happened to catch a ladybug, which you placed in a plastic capsule that had served as the container for a 50 cent toy you bought from the machine at Kroger.

You named the boat Ladybug Boat.

The ladybug served as the fearless captain. That bug had to be fearless, because…

Even with the tether, you ended up losing a grip of the boat as you hung it over the tunnel to drop it in the water.

That brave little ladybug, along with the boat itself, entered that tunnel never to come out the other side across the street.

It’s as if they entered a whole other dimension. That’s the best case scenario, at least.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Holly: You Want a Grinch Kitchen Set for Christmas?

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Holly,

You have been hinting at getting your own kitchen play set for quite a while now.

It’s not uncommon for you to ask, “We go to church?”

We figured out part of your request to go to church was so that you could play with the kitchen play set in your class.

This past weekend, you reminded Mommy again about your Christmas wish:

“I get Minnie Mouse kitchen set for my Christmas? No! Grinch.”

To clarify, you were asking for a Grinch-themed kitchen set.

Who knows? Maybe that would actually sell well.

It could come with green eggs and ham, which is part of the Dr. Seuss universe.

But I’m pretty your that your chances of getting that Minnie Mouse kitchen set are much more likely.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Your Dormant Volcano Finally Exploded!

8 years.

Dear Jack,

Two Christmases ago, one of the things Mommy and I got for  you was an exploding volcano set.

When you decided to pull it out of the closet this past weekend, I did not realize you’ve had it that long.

But you just never got around to taking it out of the box and using it.

So at last, you took some time to paint it and then mix the exploding powder from the packets.

You asked me to make a video of it exploding, as you and your sister touched the “hot” lava.

After two years of remaining dormant, the volcano finally exploded. And it was pretty cool!

 

Love,

Daddy