You have a baby…now what?

baby

At some point within the first 30 days of having our first child, I asked the question “What the hell do we do now??” Being responsible for another human being can be a daunting task. When you have a tiny human that can’t feed itself or wipe it’s own bottom…that at times is overwhelming!

Recently I have had some friends who have and their first child and some who have had their third child. I got to thinking about what were the things that Ginger and I didn’t do back in our girls’ baby days that would have been helpful? I have found that all parents get caught up in the day-to-day of having children that we forget to take care of some very important items and find ourselves playing catch up later on when they are older.

The following are three action items for new parents or parents with small children. (For now, only three. If I give you the whole list, you will be Googling Smith and Wesson.):

  1. Put your child on your health insurance plan. Typically, you need to add your child on your health insurance plan within the first thirty days from your child’s birth. On some employer plans, you may have 60 days from the date of birth to add the child. Whichever the time period is, you don’t what to be figuring out what to do without health insurance for your baby when he/she does get sick.
  2. Update your wills and trust. Oftentimes this is something that is way overlooked. Making sure there is plan for your child, but also care of your family if you or your spouse were to prematurely pass away, is vital. A few things you will have to decide when drawing up a will and trust:
    1. If both you and your spouse were to pass at the same time, who would become the guardian or your child(ren)?
    2. Is there life insurance on the parents and who is the beneficiary of the life policy? Consider opening a trust at the passing of the second spouse’s death and fund the trust with life insurance. With a trust, you can set stipulations on how the children are to be cared for and how the money is to be spent or distributed if the children are over 18 years of age.
    3. You will have to elect an executor of the estate. This person needs to be organized and reliable. My sister-in-law is the executor of Ginger and I’s estate. She is extremely organized and I know she can take care of all of the details.
  3. Purchase life insurance on BOTH parents. The fact is, we all take a dirt bath at some point. Hopefully later than sooner. But in the case of an early passing of one of the parents, life insurance does come in handy. Having an adequate amount of life insurance is key. I use the basic rule of 5%. By taking each parents income and dividing it by 5% you will come up with a rough estimate of how much life insurance you’ll would need to replace each parent’s income. Example: If you make $50,000 year and divide it by .05, you will come to $1 million dollars. That is the amount of insurance needed for that person. If both parents make $50,000 per year, you would need $2 million in coverage.  Now that does not take in account inflation, but it is a good rule of thumb. ONE VERY IMPORTANT ITEM TO CONSIDER! Even if one of the parents does not work, you need to insure that parent’s life. Sadly, I have seen it in the past. The mother dies, she doesn’t work and now the father has to hire help. A good nanny is going to cost upwards of $50,000 a year with salary and expense. Wow! That’s a lot! Consider Term Insurance for the first 18 years of the child’s life and permanent for life time insurance.

That wasn’t so bad, right? Easy compared to nighttime feedings and dirty diapers.   These are items that once you have implemented them, you don’t have to come back to them but every three years or when you have major changes in your family dynamic. If you would like to have the full list of things to consider, email me at Trent@grinkmeyerleonard.com. A good financial advisor can assist you on a lot of these planning items. Everyone should have a financial advisor…even a financial advisor.

Happy parenting,

Trent

Donald Trump has our attention.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump has our attention!

I recently spoke to a retired CPA friend of mine. I told him I was writing some blog posts pertaining to CPAs and expanding their practices. I wanted to know from him what some of the challenges he and other CPAs run into. His immediate first response was growing the business.

He then told me that the majority of his colleagues were floating in a safety boat in the abyss. I looked at him puzzled. “What the hell does that mean???, I asked. He explained by asking me, “When I say politics, who do you think of today?”  I said, “Trump…Donald Trump”. He went on to discuss why he thought that Trump’s variant, outlandish personality was the reason he is the front runner for the GOP.

Ever seen a black swan? They are rare. But when you see them, you don’t forget about them. To stand out in a sea of CPA’s, you have to be a black swan…a Donald Trump. (but with better hair)

5Three things that will get you noticed:

  1.   Be LOUD!!! Tell the world that you exist and what you do.
  2. Have a position and stand by it. Being everything to everyone achieves mediocrity. Have a purpose and be proud of it.
  3. Be yourself. Build your image on who you are, not who your industry is. You do not have to be clone of the others.

Define your purpose and be you!

-Trent

The Difference Between What You Say and What Your Client or Customer Hears

The Difference Between What You Say and What Your Client or Customer Hears

languageHow many times a month does your spouse misinterpret what you said? How many situations have you been in when somebody says something and you know good and well that they meant something else entirely?

The power of words has become so overlooked that what we are saying or meaning to say is being translated in completely different ways. I will give you an example:

Which of the following do you think is the more effective way of stating these ideas?

Long-term strategy or Recovery strategy?

Knowledgeable or Experienced

Straightforward fees or Transparent fees ?

Here’s what my research has shown to be more appealing to the customer/client.

Long-term strategy or Recovery strategy ?

– Long-term strategy

Knowledgeable or Experienced

– Experienced

Straightforward fees or Transparent fees ?

– Straightforward fees

In the end, choosing our words wisely can influence a client/customer to buy or to leave empty-handed….Choose your words wisely, young Jedis.

Best regards,

Trent

Do We Ask Our Employees to Collect Dots or to Connect Dots?

dots.jpg

Do we ask our employees to collect dots or to connect dots?

Recently I heard Seth Godin speak to an education conference about how education is taught and what it is for. He said something that I thought was pretty significant, “Do we teach them to collect dots or to connect dots?”.

As an employer I asked myself the same question. Is what I’m asking my employees to do collecting or connecting? The ideal is connecting the dots whereas collecting the dots causes us to become stagnant and not grow as a company.

Of course, connecting the dots is what I want our company to be. But how does it apply specifically to my company and my employees? What kind of environment does it take to encourage people to be dot connectors? And for you guys, what does connecting dots mean to your company? What does that even look like? Each company is different. Each company has to dig deep to see how we can encourage employees to be connectors instead of collectors. So I came up with the following exercise to encourage people to connect those dots:

1) Designate 30 minutes each day on areas of interest pertaining to the business. It may be on efficiencies in production/management or product placement in the marketplace. Whatever it is, set aside time to better understand something that doesn’t presently exists in the business. Work on an issue that could take the business to the next level and could be beneficial to the growth of the company.

2) Create an award system for new, innovative ideas that are implemented in the business.

3) Restructure your business processes to encourage a better outcome. Seth Godin suggests this is how we teach kids in school. For example, instead of having kids hearing a lecture all through the day and going home and doing homework; instead have the kids listen to lectures after school and then during the day doing discussions, practice problems, and hands-on learning activities about those lectures.

Encouraging business innovation in your company will separate you from the competition. Accepting the idea of “but that’s how it’s always been done” and continuing to grow mediocrity within your company will eventually end your business. Keep that from happening and innovate a way to connect dots.

Best regards,

Trent