What I’ve Learned from My Dog About My Finances Ahead of Having My First Child (By Guest Blogger, Jacob Evans of Dollar Diligence)

I do not have a child, which you probably inferred from the title of this article.

Do I want one? Yes.

Am I ready for one? I think so.

Whether I really am or not, I can tell you this, my dog has helped me prepare mentally
and financially for my first child when me and my wife are ready for one.

Mentally by helping me learn patience and what it’s like to have a 24/7 responsibility. I
had to stay patient when my dog was a puppy and wasn’t potty-trained (it was very
hard) and I always had to consider how my dog would be fed and walked every day.

Financially by teaching me to consider the future and start preparing for it. For
example, I knew my dog had a predisposition for hip problems and certain diseases. I
knew if I had to pay for these alone that I would have to pay for a big bill so I went
ahead and bought pet insurance.

I have actually already started planning for my first child by starting to save for his or her
education. I know first-hand how bad student loan debt can be, and if graduates today
have over $27,000, then I can’t even imagine how high it will be when my child
graduates. I hope to help my child avoid student loans altogether if possible.

Below, I will talk to you about how my pup has helped me plan for the finances that lie
ahead of having a child because you know, you can never be TOO prepared ahead of
time.

Devoting Attention to the Dog

One of the many things that I learned and that will help me once I do have a child is that
I must devote time to my dog. If I do not, my dog will not thrive and he will eventually
start to destroy my home in an effort to get my attention. It is important that I make sure
I take time to walk my dog and even play with him out in the backyard because if I do
not, he will be hyper and rambunctious the entire night.

While a young child may not be as rambunctious as a dog without play or a child may
not chew up your furniture, you do need to devote time to your child and work on
training them. Your child will only thrive if he or she has one on one time with his or her
parent. You will need to learn to set time aside and so will I. I cannot be consumed in
my work or in myself all day and neglect to provide my baby with the attention that he or
she needs.

Having a dog has opened my eyes to how much I do focus on myself and how much
change will need to occur when I do decide to have a child with my wife. Of course, I will
move mountains to make time for my child, but having a dog has helped me realize just
how short the days can be.

Providing for the Dog in More Ways Than One

When it comes to a dog, you cannot just purchase or adopt one and then be done with
it. They do not take care of themselves and a child will not be ready to take care of
himself or herself for a while either.

Owning a dog comes with a lot of responsibility. For example, you will need to provide
food and water for the dog. I cannot just avoid feeding and hydrating my pup because I
am pressed for time. I NEED to make sure that he has enough food and water to
sustain him while I am away from the house. In addition, when he runs out of food, I
need to be able to go out and purchase him more.

Another thing to think about is insurance. Though it’s hard to tell if it’s worth it or not, I
have purchased insurance for my pet because I do not even want to think about what
could happen if my pup was hit by a car and we could not afford the care needed. I
have made sure to purchase a policy that protects my dog in events like that, so that he
can visit the vet when needed and I do not have to worry about emptying everyone’s
piggy bank to make it happen.

Lastly, entertainment is another expense on the list. While I will need to provide much
more entertainment to a child over the course of their life, a dog is not much different. In
fact, whenever I want to take my dog out to the dog park to play fetch, we have to drive
10 minutes one way, which also means I need to use gas to do so. These entertainment
trips may seem small and inexpensive, but over time they start to add up.

A Pet Prepares You for a Child

If you have not realized it by now, a pet can truly prepare you for a child. Just like a dog
needs food, water, insurance, shelter, and entertainment, so does a child. As you take
care of your pet, try to think of ways these actions would apply similarly in a situation
with a child. I know my dog has allowed me to open my mind and see how much work,
time, and devotion it takes to raise a child.

Jacob runs a personal finance blog called Dollar Diligence where he tracks his journey
to financial freedom. For more advice and articles, you can find him on Twitter.

Dear Jack: You’re Back from Summer Vacation 2017 at Nonna and Papa’s

6 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

This has been the longest amount of time that Mommy and I have spent without you; 10 whole days!

Obviously, we called you on video phone at least once a day, thanks to Facebook messenger. That way, CIA members in Hawaii were also able to catch up on all you’ve done while spending your summer vacation in Alabama.

I say that jokingly (?) because Mommy and I went through the trouble of renting some movies from Redbox while you were gone; Snowden being one of them.

Yes, it was much quieter without you in our house for 10 days, but I have to say, it wasn’t as good. Mommy and I are too accustomed to having a 6 year-old expert inform us of little known facts about dinosaurs and Pokemon.

And obviously, your baby sister kept looking for you the whole time. She kept pointing to your pictures on the wall, doing her best to pronounce your name.

But finally, you got back a week ago and now we can get back to the norm. We missed our little boy!

Speaking of Facebook, Nonna was faithful to keep us posted every couple of hours on whatever fun thing that she and Papa were taking you to do. It became obvious quick that you were not simply just hanging out at their house. No, you were on the move!

You went hiking, to a splash pad, to scrap yard, and to see The Emoji Movie; just to name a few!

Of course, you loved being able to spend time playing with your cousins the whole time as well.

And now the summer has officially come to a close. A week ago you started 1st grade!

Yes, you are now our brilliant 1st grader son. First grade is going to be great.

Love,

Daddy

MyHeritage DNA Test Results are Back… But Do You Agree with the Results?

Either my DNA results from MyHeritage are inaccurate, or what my family has believed this whole time about our ethnicity has been inaccurate.

Currently, I am sort of baffled. I am still sorting out the confusion. My Italian grandfather, Alberto Victorio Metallo, whose own father arrived in America a hundred years ago from Italy and could only barely speak English when he died in 1983, was Italian.

However, my results from MyHeritage do not remotely reflect my Italian heritage. Instead, the test shows I am literally 0% Italian. I went through the trouble of looking up exactly what countries of origin my DNA traces back to, according to the regions that MyHeritage provided, and removed the countries in which the test showed I have no DNA connection.

Here’s my DNA:

Nick Shell

100.0%

37.4% Central Western European (Germany, The Netherlands/Holland, France, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland)

31.8% Iberian (Spain/Portugal)

21.6% Central American (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama)

6.1% Eastern European (Russia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Croatia, Slovenia, Slovakia)

2.3% Balkan (Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania)

0.8% Middle Eastern (Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Jordan)

0% (England, Finland, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Scandinavia, Greece, Italy, Sardinia, EstoniaLatviaLithuania, Ashkenazi Jewish, Yemenite Jewish, Mizrahi Jewish, Native American, South American, Indigenous Amazonian, African, Asian, Oceanic)

My whole life I have had reason to believe I am one quarter Italian, but I was open-minded to the idea my test would reveal instead of being 25% Italian, maybe I would only be 12.5%, as my great-grandfather Joseph Metallo (the one who came here from Italy) married a woman named Maria Vite; who could have possibly been of French descent, based on vite being a French word.

(That’s my Italian grandfather pictured above on the left; opposite me, with my son.)

However, my great-grandmother also emigrated here from Italy and spoke Italian. Maria “Mary” Vite died at age 38 in the year 1938, so there is definitely some mystery as to her family tree. But even if she was 100% French yet born in Italy, my great-grandfather would have had to been mainly of Spanish or Portuguese descent and his family would have had to at some point adopted Italian names, including their last name, Metallo.

Even if the test was a little inaccurate, I would still think I would show up at least a little bit Italian. After all, Middle Eastern DNA showed up in me, along with Eastern European, but not Italian?

If you’re wondering why I show up as nearly a quarter Central American and nearly a third Spanish (or Portuguese), it’s because my grandmother (who my Italian grandfather was married to) was Mexican.

(This is her, pictured below, being able to meet my daughter.)

That actually brings up another surprise. By quadrupling my Central American DNA, which is 21.6%, that indicates my Mexican grandmother was actually 86.4% Central American, only leaving 13.6% (that’s close to one eighth) to be Spanish. Then, once I subtracted that 13.6% from the Spanish part of me (31.8%), it left 18.2%. I then multiplied that percentage times 4 again, to assume how Spanish my Italian grandfather must have been: 72.8%.

According to my theory, my Mexican grandmother was mainly Central American (barely Spanish) and my Italian grandfather was mainly Spanish (not Italian at all); leaving the rest of him to have been 9.2% Balkan (Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania). That brings my Italian grandfathers DNA up to exactly 82%.

Next I added the 3.2% Middle Eastern he must have been; now totaling 85.2%. That implies the rest of him had to have been Central Western European, which includes French.

This also means, by default, my dad has to be of Spanish descent as well, because there’s still Spanish DNA to be accounted for.

Most of my test makes sense. My last name is Shell, which in German, means “loud and noisy.” So that accounts for some of the 37.4% Central Western European.

But is this test accurate? Is it possible that I am truly not Italian at all? What do you think?

In the meantime, my mom is taking the test too. Being half-Mexican, half-Italian her whole life, I’m curious to know what the test says about her. We should know by October…

3 Steps for Making over $100 a Month as a YouTuber, Like I Do

You know me as a road tripping father and husband who happens to be the manliest vegan on the Internet and who is trying to meet his doppelganger from the Campbell’s Go soup package.

But to my 1800 YouTube subscribers, I am a hair loss expert.

Are you laughing yet? Because you should be.

I know it seems like a joke. I know it seems like I’m not qualified. But for the past couple of months, I have been receiving checks from YouTube, all of which are a little over a hundred dollars each.

To nearly 2,000 men, most of whom are under the age of 23, I am a mentor. I make 3 videos each day during my breaks at work, or after the kids are asleep at home. These videos help my subscribers psychologically sort out the process of going bald at a young age.

I know. I know. I still have most of my hair.

But that doesn’t get in the way of them listening to what I have to say.

Here’s the good news. You too can become a YouTuber, and make at least as much money as I do. I will now share with you the 3 fundamental steps that got me to this point:

1. Discover your topic of expertise. Do not simply assume that the thing you know the most about or enjoy talking about the most is going to be the thing that people will want to hear you talk about. For 30 days, create 3 videos per day about whatever is going through your head. After the month is over, take a look to see which video surpassed on the others on views. That is now your topic of expertise.

2. Exploit your topic of expertise. Now start making 3 videos per day about that same topic. It’s not about quality, it’s about quantity! People will subconsciously believe you are worth listening to if you invest enough time talking about it that consistently. And of course, you are building a library of videos, which will eventually start bringing in comments of the videos.

3. Respond by making videos that directly and positively respond to the comments you receive on your level of expertise. Just simply give your unrehearsed response, as you begin the video by reading the comment and say the user name of the person who left it. This will help engage your audience. Plus, you will learn more about the topic as well; which helps make you more of an authority on the subject, even if you’re not actually one. As for negative comments, simply thank the person for taking the time to watch the video and to comment on it, even though they did not agree with what you had to say.

As the number of subscribers grows, the number of people who watch each new video grows, and the dollar amount on the monthly checks you get from YouTube grows; as you get a cut of the ads that show before your videos.

It’s true. I make over $100 a month as a YouTuber.

I’m a Millennial dad who not only works a full time job, but who also knows how to side hustle; not only with this blog, but also as a YouTuber.

And somehow, that makes me a hair loss expert? Hey, it’s making me money, that has to make me at least a little bit of a professional. That’s the way I see it.

New Book: Unstoppable God by Tracy Goodwin (Which Answers the Question, “Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People?”)

I met her back in April when my son was invited to her son’s 6th birthday party. Then just a few weeks later, when our sons both won achievement awards in their Kindergarten class, I needed a seat in the bleachers for my wife and I as the ceremony was about to begin. It was then that Tracy Goodwin mentioned to me that she had a book coming out this summer; about how it’s a miracle she’s even alive.

Flash forward to last weekend, as our family was driving back from visiting my parents in Alabama. My wife sat in the passenger seat, reading Tracy’s book, Unstoppable God. Meanwhile, I drove up Monteagle Mountain with tears in my eyes; tears which I hid from my wife.

It is impossible to hear Tracy’s story and not be grateful. I think Unstoppable God is an instant cure for anyone is starting to feel jaded, asking the question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”

Tracy’s book is, by default, the answer to that question.

To see Tracy with her wonderful family, you just would never guess what all she has been through. It is always inspiring to see a person choose to praise God during times others would question or curse God.

Unstoppable God is not a book about Tracy Goodwin. It is a book about how God worked through a person’s life who refused to give up on Him.

Like I always say, you have to either choose to victorious or you end up allowing yourself to become a victim.

Tracy chose to be victorious, through God’s divine intervention. Had she chosen to see herself as a victim, I don’t know that she would still be alive to tell her amazing story of overcoming impossible odds.

I am so grateful Tracy shared her story with me.

And to the first person who leaves a comment on the Facebook page for Family Friendly Daddy Blog advertising this post, you will receive a copy of Unstoppable God, as well!

How Metallica’s Song “Prince Charming” Explores Parenting Gone Wrong

Metallica’s now 20 year-old song “Prince Charming” from their 1997 Reload album, is told from the collection of perspectives of unfortunate people who have ended up in undesirable situations as adults; being deemed disappointments and/or threats in society.

They are self-described as junkies, prostitutes, sufferers of suicidal tendencies, and potentially dangerous loners. In other words, they are the kinds of social outcasts who Jesus seemed to care so much about; which in turn infuriated the religious zealots.

The chorus of song presents an unexpected twist, as the focus is turned to the parent of that social outcast:

“Hey, look, it’s me! What no one wants to see.

See what you brought this world… Hey Ma! Look, it’s me!””

It’s a reminder that even the people who are seen as lowliest in the world, still had parents who to some degree, had a major influence on how that their child would group up; for better or worse.

One of the reasons Metallica has become one of my favorite bands is that they are able to expose our conscious minds to the darker side of morality, especially in songs like “Sad But True,” “Devil’s Dance”, and “Am I Savage?”

I enjoy the challenge of these kinds of songs; as they serve as a subtle yet blunt reminder that life is not simply as “right or wrong” as we would like for it to be. This is evident in popular TV shows like Breaking Bad and Lost, where even the good guys struggle with being bad guys themselves.

The older I get, the more I understand how truly imperfect I am as a human being. So there’s definitely some irony in the fact that I am responsible for morally leading two young children.

Imperfect adults parenting imperfect children. I suppose there’s a learning curve in there for all of us.

Dear Jack: The Dr. Suess Playhouse You Built with Your Cousin

6 years, 8 months.

Dear Jack,

It’s funny to see what happens when you let two almost 1st grader cousins entertain themselves at Nonna and Papa’s house. All it took was a few stuffed animals, a Cozy Coupe, a play tunnel, and the furniture in the living room.

The next thing I knew, you both had built a Dr. Suess style playhouse!

Apparently, the entry way was a slide that was prompted up on the couch. Once you tested out that out several times, you built the cabin space, thanks to the recliner couch and your favorite blanket.

Once that was complete, you and your cousin enjoyed the fruits of your labor by secretly sharing some snacks and toys underneath the blanket ceiling.

During the course of the weekend, there were several modifications; one including the giant D.A.R.E. bear at the end of the tunnel. I’m not really sure what purpose he served, but there was no need for me to question it. As long as it made sense to the two of you, it made sense to me!

Clearly, your Dr. Suess style playhouse is the modern twist on the classic children’s fort.

I’m sure in your mind, the playhouse was huge. When you’re young, things seem much bigger than they are; especially when imagination is heavy in the mix.

You literally spent hours building, rebuilding, and playing in it. And my favorite part about was, no one had to tell the two of you to go imagination and figure out something fun to do.

It just happened.

Obviously, you both were able to make something exciting out of something ordinary. That skill will get you far in the life.

I have a feeling that the next time you visit, the next playhouse will be even more extravagant… and bizarre!

Love,

Daddy