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The 411 on 529s

I don’t think I’m saying anything controversial here, but I think giving your children a solid education is the best gift a parent can provide. Despite the nationalistic economic trends emerging throughout the globe, the (high paying) jobs of the future will continue to require a strong education in order to compete globally. Additionally, there is strong research out there forecasting that the economic divide among the millennial and future¬†generations is going to be much less based on race, and more based on who was able to graduate college without student debt. I owe so much of my current financial situation to the fact that I was able to graduate one of the most expensive schools in the country completely debt free.

As a new parent, saving enough to send my kid to college ranks as one of my top goals. While it doesn’t beat out retirement (you can’t borrow money for retirement but you can for school), it does beat out EARLY retirement. I would view it as a worthy sacrifice to have to work a couple of extra years if it meant sending my child to school debt-free. Though I have learned one thing over the last several weeks: the cost of college is scary high. I mean, it-Halloween-month-so-culturally-relevant-IT-remake scary. read more

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The Baby Box: Our First Baby Purchase

What is a baby box?

The baby box dates back to 1930’s Finland, which at the time was a relatively poor country with a high infant mortality rate of 65 per 1,000 births. To reduce the mortality rate, the Finnish government began providing new expectant mothers with a starter-kit of baby essentials, designed to give all children, regardless of their situation, an equal start in life. Included in the box were clothes, sheets, toys, and a bed in the form of the box itself. Fast forward ~80 years and Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world (2.3 infants per 1,000 births versus 6.5 in the US).

The baby box concept is beginning to expand in the US, particularly as a way to reduce infant mortality and SIDS. In the last few years, Alabama, Ohio and New Jersey have started provided new mothers with a baby box after they watch online videos about safe sleep habits and SIDS, and complete a short quiz. The box itself acts as a place for the baby to sleep as an alternative to bed-sharing, a primary risk factor in SIDS. Additionally, the contents typically provide all the basics you need for a new baby, a huge value particularly for low-income parents. read more

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