One BIG Thing to Make Divorce Less Painful

Getting divorced sucks!  I think we can all agree that it can be emotional up and down roller coaster that at times feels like there is no end.  Just a constant mixed-up cocktail of failure, sadness, anger, resentment, and disillusion.  And having those feelings is perfectly normal and okay.  But a time will come that you have to accept your current situation and figure out how it is all going to work out so that you can start a new life without your Ex.

I have been there and understand your feelings.  A bit unexpected when the divorced word was mentioned and way afterward realizing it was the best decision for us both.  I also know that at one time you loved your spouse.  You did date, get married and maybe even started a loving family.  And this is where you have to reach deep down on both sides of the marriage and figure out what is best for you both to move forward.

Anger, resentment, and disloyalty are all things that can dig inside your soul which in turn makes decisions twice as hard.  The important thing to remember is that you need to do what is best NOT only for you BUT for the other person too.  And yes…..I know, really I know that can be hard in a lot of situations.  But if you want to make your divorce simple, quick, and easy so that you can start anew, you both will need lower your guard and work together.  Again, I’ve been there and am sharing my experiences after being divorced for over 5 years.  I have had others actually contact me asking how we proceeded with our divorce with only a mediation lawyer because the process was relatively pain-free. 

So ONE Big Thing to Make your Divorce less Painful is…… split everything 50/50.   Oh, I know what a lot of you are going to say to this answer.  And yes it was hard to swallow but it was the right thing to do and especially the right thing for our kids.  I sold two businesses and retired young.  We had no worries with bills, mortgages, payments, etc.  Actually I like to be debt-free because our situation allowed it.  But we agreed to split the money, furniture, pictures, cookware….everything 50/50.  Also, our kids technically were split as we co-parent equally.   Trust me when I say I feel a ping of pain once in a while when my Ex takes a boyfriend on vacation or something, but in the end that is her money and her life.  I have let those things go along with the divorce.  It will do you no good to fight, scream, and argue over how much one deserves, whose salary is more and on and on.

By agreeing to split everything 50/50 we actually found there were things she really wanted and I did not and vice versa.  We literally had no arguments over anything.  We both realized that what was best for our kids and especially our mental health was to work together, like back when we were married, and figure out the details with minimal animosity or dislike.  By following this approach is not only made our kid’s stress ease up but they figured out there was not going to be any hate or trash-talking, which as a kid I personally experienced.  But it also benefited our own mental health so that we both could heal and move forward with our new lives.  Now some people can rebound quickly and others take a lot longer but IT WILL GET BETTER!

So your thinking of getting a divorce or you are mid-divorce now?  Do something that I was taught at a young age and that is “To Suck It Up.”   Harsh, but accurate if you want to move past everything quickly with the least amount of stress and conflict.  You might actually create a new relationship with your Ex which can only make your life easier in the future.

CarterW.

divorce-dad.com

Make & Save Money with 5 Easy Tips!

Do you want to grow your money?  Do you want to make money work for you and not against?  With Covid-19 happening the economy is a downward spin….and, yes it’s going to get worse before it’s getting better.  NOW is the time to take advantage of the situation to invest and grow your money for the future.

Warren Buffett has a great saying “simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful.”  Basically, those that take risks, and I am not talking about jumping off a cliff type of risk, but the calculated cautious risk can make you money in the longterm.

So let’s review some ways to make/save money while this current crisis happening.

1.)  Stocks are falling and they will fall further before this is all over.  Now is a great time to buy solid blue-chip stocks like Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Google, Berkshire B shares, etc.  Don’t try and hit a home run with some new innovative techie whatever stock you just read about unless you have the stomach to watch it go up or way down.  Solid blue-chip stocks, for example, Apple which has Billions upon Billions of dollars in cash reserves could outlast most countries in a financial crisis.  Buy, Hold, and Make money in the long term.  Note:  Hold means years…if you can put something, anything away and not need it, now is that time.  Stocks go up and down all the time, but when looking at the history of the stock market it always goes up higher in the end.

2.)  Real Estate is a place to make or even save money.  First, if you have not researched refinancing now is the time to start checking rates.  Cutting points off your current interest rate will save you money each month.  Websites like Bankrate.com will show you current loan savings along with other products like credit cards, personal loans, and insurance rates.  Also, banks are offering loan deferments concerning Covid-19.  If you ask, and you HAVE TO ASK, you may be able to take a 3-month deferment on your loan.  Basically you don’t pay your mortgage for three months and they just push your loan 3 months longer at the end.  That is money you could use now for other things needed, especially if not currently receiving a paycheck.

The other opportunity right now is to purchase a home.  Prices are falling and if you had planned to make a move, start watching websites like Redfin, Realtor.com, or Zillow to follow and even receive updates when home prices are adjusted.  People will and do panic wanting to get rid of their homes and that means an opportunity for you.

This process also works for the average real estate investor.  Looking at buying a rental home or a building?  Wherever that location may be, start tracking those properties and when the time is right, make a bid.  Correction, make a low bid.  You would be surprised what people will accept when stressed for money.  When looking at the long term history of real estate it always appreciates over time.  Buy low, Rent, Hold, and Sell when you are ready later.

3.)  Shop and Save money.  There are many things you will still need to buy while stuck at home.  Also, there might be some things that you thought too expensive to purchase in the past.  Well when there is no one walking into stores, the stores get panicky because they need to move product.  Using different shopping apps like Honey, Offer, Slickdeals, Rakuten, they will email you deals and discounts.  Stores need to move their products, even if at a loss and that is an advantage for you to buy something you might really want or need.  That results in money saved which in turn means money made to use to invest!

4.)  Look for government handouts.…No seriously.  Not food stamps or anything like that but it is in the best interest of the United States to keep the economy moving.  Remember Cash for Clunkers back in 2008?  You would get a huge trade-in value for your old car along with deep discounts for a new car.  Research different programs available now and in the future that you might be able to take advantage of benefiting your wallet.  My guess is there will be some mortgage and/or refinance program in the future too.

5.)  Negotiate your current bills lowering costs and saving/making you money.  You can go about this two ways, 1.)  Make the calls yourself to your internet provider, cable tv, cell phone service, insurance, etc.  And tell them that you would like to renegotiate your monthly bill because of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trust me, they DO NOT want to lose your business and you will be surprised how just asking can lower your bills.  2.)  You can sign up on a couple of different Apps. that will do this work for you.  For example, Truebill will do all the dirty work and if there are any savings they split it with you.  This is an easy way to save costs without sacrificing any services.

I freaked out when the 2000 Dotcom crash happened and was less fearful after the 2008 recession.  I have learned my lessons and am prepared and confident for this time around.  If you make $30k a year, $150k a year, or even more, money is money, and it’s your money to save and invest.  Think of it this way, you see a $5 bill on the ground, do you pick it up?  OF COURSE, you will, so why not pick up a bunch of $5 bills on the above methods and use it to invest and make more money.

Remember saving money is making money!

CarterW.

divorced-dad.com

Should Kids Drink Coffee?? Let’s Find Out!

Do you remember the first time you learned about coffee?  No seriously….as a kid I was aware of soda’s, etc. but not coffee until late High School.  And I did not drink coffee until maybe late in college and that was only for staying up to study.  The reason I bring this up is my 12 years old is drinking coffee….be it at Mom’s house but she has started.  Is that crazy or not?

In High School, I remember being in the Midwest sweltering summer heat and my Step-Dad would come in from mowing the yard to drink a hot cup of coffee!  We use to make fun of him, “how can you drink hot coffee after sweating it out mowing the yard?”  For years we would laugh at him for this ritual.  After college, the “coffeehouse” craze started in the mid-’90s.  It was cool to head to a coffeehouse to sit, drink, and read the paper (yes, newspaper) or book.  Then Starbucks came along and the rest is history.  You cannot turn a corner without running into a coffee shop somewhere close.

As a long-distance runner, I laugh at myself now because I can clip off a 10-mile run and the first thing I want when finished is a hot cup of coffee!  I have no idea how or why I got to this point but basically I have become my Step-Dad.  I sometimes actually dream of waking up to a quiet house to have my first cup of coffee.  It has become a part of my life and I have to have at minimum 2 cups OR 1 large coffee and it HAS to be before 10am, no later.

Now when it comes to my 12-year-old, is there an age limit to start drinking coffee?  It feels so adult sometimes that I think coffee should have a law like cigarettes or joining the military at 18 years old.  Does it matter if they drink it young?  These seem like easy enough questions, but honestly, I kept saying to her “you are too young”, and she kept looking at me like I was an idiot.

So the research begins…and man is there a lot to read when you google “Is my kid too young to drink coffee?”  Well, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids aged 12 to 18 consume no more than 100 mg of caffeine per day, which is about the amount in a single 8 oz. cup of brewed coffee.   So really it’s a caffeine thing which makes total sense because to much caffeine can make, at least my child, bounce off the walls.  But there is also another factor when kids drink coffee and that is the sugar intake.  My child is not ordering an 8oz black coffee.  Nooooo, she is ordering something from Starbucks that looks like Dairy Queen should be serving it up!  Mocha whip, double whatever with a shot of get-it-done and triple whip cream topped off.  Much like soda’s, there can be a ton of sugar in what these kids eat and drink and coffee just adds to the variety available.
Fortunately, my girl does not like soda and drinks a ton of water.  But she does like her coffee from Starbucks every once in a while.  So after much reading, I am going to save you time and energy of googling this stuff up.  (I am being sarcastic if you cannot tell)  Basically, as with everything else in a child’s life, it comes down to moderation.  If your kid is sucking down coffee’s, or soda’s or whatever constantly, you might want to take control.  If coffee is a treat enjoyed once in a while, well then I think we are all going to survive until the next crisis like “I want a tattoo or god knows what else!

This has been Divorced Dad Does,

CarterW.
http://www.divorce-dad.com

Vulnerability, what is it Exactly?

What is it to be vulnerable?  I ask this question because after talking with my phone therapist, yes I have a phone therapist,  we discussed vulnerability and what, when, and how it happens.  Defined for what I am writing about:  Vulnerability: capable of being physically or emotionally wounded. There are also four types of vulnerability: Physical, Social, Economic, Attitudinal.

Photo by Alan Cabello on Pexels.com


This all comes up after a discussion about taking the next steps in a relationship.  These steps really could be anything from a first kiss to moving into together or even marriage.  No matter, taking any step in a relationship can result in a person feeling vulnerable to the situation.  I guess there could be a difference between success and failure depending on one’s risk of feeling vulnerable.  If you think back to any relationships, there has to be a trust involved to take any meaningful steps.  My experience comes from dating for five years and not really knowing if anything, a next step to take.


So how does one overcome these feelings?  I cannot tell if its because I am getting older that I feel more or less vulnerable.  On one side I’ve always been a person to take a somewhat calculated risk on things in life.  At times I feel that putting myself through any more feelings might not be worth the time or energy.  Having those feelings in the past can be exciting and exhausting at the same time.  On the other hand, I also have those feelings that time is running out and I want to have that “something” that we all hope to have in a relationship.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a great relationship now, but maybe its that sense of messing it up by taking anything further that makes one have that sense of being vulnerable? 

So what to do?  First I am figuring out that you have to feel vulnerable to feel anything.  If you are not putting yourself out there, then maybe you are not putting everything out there….if that makes any sense?  A relationship without feelings basically becomes having a roommate.  I’ve been there done that, which resulted in a divorce.  The positive is that it can open your eyes to maybe what you are really wanting or needing in the future.  But of course, again, taking that step off a stair or even a cliff can feel like a long way down if things don’t work out in your favor.  I guess that just might be a part of life in general because if you don’t feel then you might just not care.  And going through life with a sense of not caring or loving could be a worse thing than feeling vulnerable.


The advice then I guess would be to figure out the risk over the reward of whatever you are feeling to make those future decisions.  I have been on both ends of those feelings and even when they don’t feel good, at least I know that I personally did not make a decision based on fear of/or failure. 

Whew…this was tougher to write then I thought!

CarterW.

http://www.divorce-dad.com

Reasons Why I put a Deposit Down on a Tesla Cybertruck

I have learned my lessons when leasing and buying cars over the years. My first car was a $3000 1981 Honda Civic with snow tires on the front and 3 of the 4 cylinders working! I loved that car because I really did not have to care about it. We would drive it anywhere and everywhere will little regard to what happened to it…which was perfect for a 16-year-old. In College, I had a stripped-down but new Isuzu pickup truck and learned a lesson about everyone wanting to move furniture or kegs in college. That sucked and I swore never to buy a pick up again. In my twenties, I felt I needed something nice but dependable. That started my progression of buying Saturns. Not too expensive, but nice and I ended up owning first a 4-door, then my then-wife had a 2-door coupe and finally a Saturn VUE. That Saturn VUE did not come until later and I will get to that car soon.

Basically, I’ve learned over the years between throwing money away on leases and trading used cars for a new car sooner than needed, is that cars are not an investment!  But that was after in my early thirties of buying my first used 4 door BMW and then after I moved to San Francisco buying a 2 door 3-series convertible.  Those two cars created the way I think about purchasing today.  Not only did I have a very nice BMW, but I was also living in a place that had limited parking, parking spots that were small and crazy city drivers everywhere!  I had dings and dents and was always getting my BMW’s fixed at the body shop which just pissed me off!  The last straw was when I was hit and run at an intersection and the Police were like….“yep, that happens.”  Once I moved over to the East Bay with a baby on the way I traded a very expensive BMW for a Saturn Vue and paid the car off in cash. 

My new lease on life, no pun intended, was to drive a mid-model dependable car and have no issues beating the hell out of it getting every pennies worth.  Back then the VUE had plastic siding that you could not ding.  My kid could throw cheerios all over it, puke, whatever and we would hose it out.  Today, I have a Toyota 4Runner TRD because I spend a lot of time in Tahoe.  With 93k miles and counting it is trashed and I LOVE it!  Dings, dents, scratches and I just don’t care.  It is solid, tough and is a little like my personality.  I barely wash it and barely clean it out and it keeps on going!  But because of high mileage, I am planning for the future.


One thing I hate about cars is gas.  I hate the smell of it, I hate stopping to get it, I hate standing there next to a smelly pump with other people pumping gas and I hate how dirty and god knows what bacteria are on the handles.  IT DRIVES ME CRAZY!  (Ok, the pun was intended)  So I told myself that when a decent, tough SUV/Truck comes out all-electric I was going to seriously explore my options.  That brought me first to the Rivian SUV.  Rivian seems to have made all the right steps in creating an all-electric SUV that I wanted.  It was cool looking, 400 miles to a charge along with some other cool features.  The only real knock I had against it was the price.  But I am a new and improved car buyer now and when I purchase my next vehicle I will drive it into the ground like my 4Runner today.  So after putting a deposit down for Rivian, why did I just put a deposit on a Telsa Cybertruck?  Well, the Rivian had a roadshow and I got the chance to look at one up close.  It was really nice and that was the issue.  It’s to nice for me to basically trash over 10 years of future driving.  $70k for a car just is not going to happen in my future, no matter how much money I might have….cars are not worth those prices.

So along came the Cybertruck with its futuristic steel siding, electric technology, and ugly looks.  After a couple of months of reading and researching, I put a deposit down!  The reasoning is as follows.

* Tesla has proven electric technology and I trust things will only get better and smarter.

* Self-drive mode is very appealing when driving over an hour somewhere.* Steel siding is durable and I will not have to worry about dings or dents.

* It’s tough and I like to drive anywhere and everywhere especially off-road into the mountains and deserts.

* It is not overpriced.  The cost will be in the $50k’s and that works especially when not paying for gas.

* Last, it is ugly and I like that best of all. 

Now, I just need my 4Runner to keep on driving into and past the 100,000-mile mark until the Cybertruck does deliver.  But Note:  I will read all reviews before taking delivery!


CarterW.

Why Get Married Again?

I am always impressed and taken aback by how divorced people get married for a second and even third time in life.  I have to be honest I don’t really understand the reasoning for getting remarried again, but maybe I can figure it out as I write this blog post.


I dated for two years before marrying my now ex-wife of 18 years.  I was 27 when I got married and from where I was from in the Midwest that is considered a little older than most.  I had a job, a house, a car, a dog and felt that marriage was to be the next step that you take.  When looking back, which it’s always easy to look back, I probably rushed that decision.  I think at the time I just felt somewhat lonely, not holy crap I will never meet someone lonely, but a lonely where all your friends have gotten married and start having kids making you feel left out. 

Now that I am in my late 40’s, it is incredible how much more calmer I am and how making decisions are not urgent.  You really do get perspective as you get older.  But I am astonished sometimes how quickly people get remarried after divorce.  Actually I am astonished why people get married again at all!  I know many people will say, just wait because you will meet someone that you want to be connected with forever.  But the thing is you can stay connected forever without all the legalities.  It just takes honesty and trust.  Now if you make an argument about that point…then people shouldn’t consider getting married in the first place if that is something you get from being married.  And if your next argument is religion as a reason for getting married, well you already broke those vows the first time by getting divorced.  So why risk breaking them again!


I have been dating my girlfriend for 5 years now.  Believe it or not, she still has her own apartment.  We obviously spend almost every day together but she also has her own place to retreat giving her a break from me, my kids, etc.  It has worked out awesome for both of us.  On our first date, which I will be honest, I had no expectations and honestly was just needing to get out of the house, six hours later that evening I realized I might have met a pretty incredible person.  She had been married and divorced after 2 years in her twenties and had no kids.  I have 2 girls and a dog, so you can imagine the changes she had to deal with a little bit.  On that first date, not in a harsh way or anything, but I made my intentions pretty clear.  1.)  My kids will always come first and 2.) I have no plans to remarry, not that that was what she was wanting or anything.  But I wanted to be clear and honest because at that time it was the truth.  And today…..even though our relationship has evolved into so much more, it still is the truth. 

I guess I might be fortunate or something as she still understands to this day.  She is a part of mine and my kid’s life’s but still has her own independence which in turn gives me some independence too.  Not once has she ever demanded we need to get married or anything close to that which is great because that could probably cause an issue in the end.  Even my kids have no issues which in this day and age they probably really don’t care.  In my opinion, marriage seems to bind money and assets instead of the actual people.  So full disclosure, I was fortunate in my working life and I lost 50% of everything I owned to the Ex.  Now, I am not bitter about the material stuff and actually am pretty calm about the money loss, but every once in awhile I realize I lost half of a whole hell of a lot of money!  And maybe that is my issue with marriage again.  Honestly, I find this subject to be more difficult to write about than live.

It is incredible how years later a divorce can still mess with your head.  I will never say never of course as I have learned that lesson before. BUT….there is always a but…I am very confident in myself at this time and moment.


CarterW.

Is Life like a Puzzle?

Hey, have you done a puzzle lately?  Just kidding, I seriously believe about everyone has done at least one puzzle during the COVID-19 Shelter In Place rules over the past several weeks.  We just finished up a puzzle in my house and after completion, last night I started to think about how maybe our lives are puzzles in themselves.


Hundreds, even thousands of pieces jumbled all up in a box that is cut into never-ending shapes and colors.  Life seems to be pretty similar at times to that jumbled box wanting to somehow someway put those pieces together so that they fit exactly right, resulting in a finished piece of art.  Are our lives the art at the end of the puzzle?  Is there an actual finish to our life puzzle?  Every day it seems I am trying to put a piece together hoping to get one step closer to the finish.  Be it with relationships, work, kids, exercise, travel, friends, etc.  All those pieces are cut into so many different ways with the hopes that everything will fit together resulting in making our lives easier.

But guess what?  I am not sure we will ever put that puzzle completely together in the end.  Think about the bad decisions you have made when looking back in life, did they fit?  Relationships are serious puzzle pieces because everyone wants those pieces to fit together easily and perfectly.  I think a lot of us have tried to jam those pieces together to make them fit.  Hopefully, as the puzzle builds, we realize those were not supposed to fit together which means taking pieces apart to start over again.  Have you ever seen a couple that just doesn’t seem that they should ultimately be together which in the end can mess up the final picture?  I was in a relationship like that, but over time we both figured out our pictures were to have different finishes, which resulted in divorce.  Funny thing is afterward how many people were not surprised!  I guess when standing back from a puzzle you get a different view while most of us are right up on top of the puzzle making pieces fit together.


Kids can be a huge part of your puzzle too.  How you dream to see your kids turn out a way you expect only for them to be totally different altogether.  It is like looking at the picture on the box and realizing your puzzle might not look anything like its supposed to in the end.  They grow, change, have issues, learn, talkback, love in totally random order.  These examples along with adding all the other pieces of life create what you hope to be exactly like that picture on the box.


But you know what a puzzle ultimately teaches us?  That we have to have patience, we have to have a vision and we have to, no pun intended, think outside the box.  No one is going to have that perfect puzzle because there is no perfect life.  We will proceed through our lives the best we possibly can with hopes of achieving some of our dreams.  Those pieces in our life seem to be constantly changing shapes, making you change with them.  But holy cats does it feel good when sometimes two pieces actually do fit together perfectly.  The love of your life, your kids giving you a hug or even a nice stress-free vacation.  Those things do and will happen, it’s just keeping an open mind when they don’t that is going to matter in the big picture.

I can only hope that when my final puzzle is finished, yes I’m talking about death, that it will be the most beautiful, colorful jumbled up looking puzzle you have ever seen! 

CarterW.

divorce-dad.com

What is the One Piece of Running Gear you Love?

As a runner, I love being outside.  The weather, the views, the sounds (when in the woods) are all things that I enjoy when running.  Its actually my mediation time to clear my head, get some exercise and come up with ideas for blogs like “What is the one piece of running gear you love?”


First, anyone can be a runner.  I think a lot of times people get intimidated from running because they feel it has to be fast or long or timed etc.  Running is about finishing.  Whatever the distance, terrain, weather, it’s about starting something you set out to do and completing that goal.  Fast, slow, walk/jog, whatever your pace may be, it is the right pace for you.  I think personally it is the idea of just getting out the door that feels like the biggest accomplishment sometimes.  We all have made excuses from time to time about actually putting on our shoes and getting our run on.  I know personally that if I wait until past 10am, it will only get harder for me to start a run.  I am not sure what or why that is, but its a first thing in the morning kind of thing or else I find myself making more and more excuses as the day goes on.


Now, back to this big blog topic idea I had while running in 25-degree weather the other day.  First, we all know shoes are the most important thing for any runner and yes, technically probably the one piece of running gear you love.  I love my Hoka Speedgoats and cannot run without them.  I love them so much that when I find a discount on them I will buy multiple pairs so to always have my favorite pair ready when I need to switch out shoes. 

Side Tip: Not a paid endorsement, but I use http://www.shoekicker.com to find my shoes at the cheapest prices.  I don’t care about color, I just care about the one shoe I like, so sometimes I am wearing something bright green, but I could care less because I am going to muddy them up anyways! Ok, back to my one favorite piece of running gear that I cannot live without.  About 10-11 years ago, a past but close good friend of mine gave me a Xmas gift that took me by surprise.  It was a green Nike Running Jacket (pictured) for cold weather running.  At the time I had no idea how useful that particular jacket would become because I started using it when running in the cold winters of Tahoe.  This jacket has endured snow, ice, and 0-degree weather for over 10 years now.  No rips or tears, no fading, no broken zippers….it just keeps going, a little like my running and personality.  And every year when winter comes around its the first thing I grab! 

It’s funny the things you think about when running.  I have all sorts of thoughts and ideas bounce around in my head and this jacket usually comes to mind about every time I put it on to go out for a cold run.  We runners can be a strange bunch sometimes with our little routines, superstitions and overall love for pain.  We have to drink or eat or not eat before runs or races.  Certain GUI flavors over others, particular socks and even warm-up stretches that have to be done or you think your quad is going to bust!  All of these things made me again ask this one questions to other runners:

What is the one piece of running gear you love?

CarterW.

Co-Parenting can be Emotional (Tips) by Divorced Dad Does

Co-parenting can be emotional for both parents.  Sometimes this is way easier said than done, but you have to get along for the emotional health of your kids.  Yes… it can be hard for some and easy for others, but again the bottom line of every divorce decision should have your kids’ interests in mind.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My Ex and I have a somewhat simple plan for co-parenting.  Living relatively close the kids switch homes every week, usually on Friday or Sunday.  But now with the COVID 19 shelter in place rules, things get a little harder.  First, I am fortunate to have a second home up in the Tahoe area, which hopefully is my permanent home once the kids get to college!  But when this pandemic hit weeks back I already had the kids for the week.  After discussions with me Ex, we decided it would be safer for them to be up in Tahoe, so we left and I had them for another 2 weeks.  So after three weeks with my kids, you can imagine they missed Mom and vice versa.  Fortunately, my girlfriend had to head back to the bay area so she took them back to Moms.  Wow, what a quiet week that was going from two tweens to just myself and my girlfriend.  On Thursday, I checked in with the Ex to see if she wanted to switch back after the week or keep them longer.  She wanted them another week, which I totally understood.  Also, both my girls stated they would like to stay too.  So easy right??

First, knowing and totally understanding the situation, I still felt hurt.  Like, why did they not want to come back to me?  Are things better their then here?  Am I a total goofball dad that cannot relate to my girls?  My girls need a schedule that is somewhat predictable, especially with all the news happening.  So for weeks, we were scheduled from waking up, school, exercise, downtime, and dinner.  But then you start second-guessing everything and wonder if I could have done something better?  It can be emotional from going all kids all the time to no kids at no time!  That is a huge downfall with divorce because the kids are really the ones that are affected by each and every decision.  And the parents have to somewhat hide feelings because putting that on your kids is unfair.

Ok, so I talk it out to myself and again, totally get they are happy, healthy and with Mom.  Then last night I get a Facetime call with tears in her eyes from my 15-year-old.  “I want to come back, I just don’t want to hurt Mom’s feelings.”  Oh boy, now everything I was feeling is now being pushed onto my Ex.  Calmly I told her to get some rest and we can talk in the morning.  This morning with both Mom and kids on Facetime, they state they want to come back.  You see the emotional roller coaster happening here for both parents? 

Co-parenting is the best way to raise your kids unless of course there is some type of abuse or drugs happening.  But when divorcing with kids, you need to co-parent.  Giving equal time to both parents because that last thing you want is for kids to play favorites OR play each parent off each other trying to manipulate what they want.  Both parents have to, actually, NEED TO work together to provide a consistent amount of time between you both.  Your kids have to understand that decisions like these are going to be made with both parents.  Again above, first they wanted to stay, which we both discussed, and then they wanted to change homes, which again we all discussed.  It is not easy, it is not simple and it is emotional.

So just a Quick Review on Making Co-Parenting Work


*Work together, without animosity, and figure out what works best for your kids.   

*Figure out a schedule with an equal amount of time with each parent.  This includes vacations too.   

*Communicate to your kids along with listening to needs and wants.  My kids are older and becoming more opinionated, but     you have to keep each other (parents) informed.   

*Co-parenting means sameness.  Dad is not the party parent and Mom is not the crackdown parent (or vice versa).  Both     parents have to be consistent and communicate throughout the week/days/hours even depending on the situation.

*In today’s world of iPhones/texting, take pictures of your kids doing fun things and share them between a group family text.  For example, my kids standing next to a waterfall, I take a pic, text to everyone.  Mom does the same for me too.

Now the last thing I am going to say, and this can be hard sometimes, is that you have to be yourself.  Just as if you were still married and all in the same house.  Becoming “Super-Dad” and being all fun and games is not fair to the other parent.  Both parents have to keep their personalities as before, but working together, you need to raise your kids like normal…if that makes any sense?  Basically be yourself and in the end, my guess is my kids, along with yours, will love you for who you are as a parent.

CarterW.

divorce-dad.com

10 Things to Learn for the Average Investor

I have spent years investing in the stock market.  Starting in my early twenties, when I started my first job at $25k a year, I have not looked back.  One thing that you’ve read over and over is that you cannot time the stock market.  And that is 100% true!  Trust me, I have learned from many failures of trying early on and now over the last 20 years of being successful.  But there are many lessons that I had to learn, you will too, but hopefully reading this helps minimize some of those losses. 

Photo by Burak K on Pexels.com

A lot of what I am going to list out for you today are things I am sure you have read before.  I am re-inforcing these reasons because when I was younger I thought I knew what I was doing.  Actually I thought I knew everything! Well, you learn by making mistakes and even today, as crazy as everything currently is in the market, I will still make mistakes.  The only difference is I have learned to make way fewer which in turn has made me money over the years. 

1.)  Patience.  You have to have patience when investing.  I know, I know, the movies always show someone making it big buying and selling.  But movies are not real and your money is, so don’t make decisions from watching TV.  The stock market, over long periods of time, will go up.  Look at every major economic downturn from the great depression to 9/11.  It might feel like the end of the world today, but over time it goes up.  Companies only get smarter, faster and more innovative year after year and that helps the market turn upwards every time.  But note “Time” means months AND years, but it will go back up.

2.)  Making Fast Money does not Happen.  Put this into perspective for a second.  Think about the Lottery.  There is always a big news event when someone hits the jackpot.  But what they don’t show is how many people spend their money trying to win something that is 1 in over 300 million chances.  The stock market is the same thing.  You will read about someone making millions of dollars on an investment and think I can do that too!  Don’t look at the stock market like a lottery, that’s bad investing.  The stock market can make you money, but slowly over time not instantly.

3.)  Stay Away from using a Margin Account.  I am not a person that likes debt.  But when investing, Margin Accounts can look very enticing.  Basically you are borrowing money from the broker/bank to buy a stock and it has to be paid back.  I have a million-plus in margins and will not use it UNLESS I know I have the money to pay it back the next day.  Use Margins only if you want to make a trade quickly without waiting for money transfers.  And only use it if you have the money to pay it off immediately.  Otherwise, you will be in debt and that is losing money.

4.)  Stick with Companies with Large Cash Reserves. Not all investments have to be like this, but you should have several that are solid for when a crisis hits like now.  Apple, Google, Amazon, Berkshire are all solid stocks because if/when something happens, they have billions in the bank to keep things moving when a downturn hits.  That means they can still innovate and create new products for when the economy does turn around which then creates a huge advantage over their competitors.

5.)  Never Buy on Emotion.  I still have an issue with this one from time to time because I feel like I am going to miss out on some stock that’s going to hit it big!  “They are creating the next big thing”, etc and you want to be a part of it.  Well, for the average investors like ourselves, we don’t have the money to gamble on “what if’s”  because you have to be able to lose big too.  Very rich people will take those risks because they can, meaning taking a loss is not going to make much difference to them.  Taking a loss for us could mean much more.

6.)  Read.  With Apple News+ you can read articles from the Wall Street Journal, Barrons, Yahoo stock news, etc.  There are a ton of online publications that feed information daily.  The idea is not to act on every piece of information, but you absorb that information and over time figure out the decisions you might want to make when buying stock.  For example, I might read about different airlines, buying new places or cutting services and then read about how travel is going up or down and estimates for new planes on the rise.  But then Boeing has issues making a plane that can fly and they keep announcing a “fixed it” date, but it keeps passing.  Most industries are like this, and the airline industry is one I am very cautious about in general because it can be so finicky.   After our last economic downturn when Bush was in office, I started to watch Boeing and after several months I ended up purchasing at $83 a share.  The economy was turning, planes were needed, Boeing was making fuel-efficient planes that saved money and on and on.  I sold Boeing at $330 a share when they announced a third fixed it” date on the Max 737 airplane.  That told me there are some serious issues, especially when you read deeper into articles about mismanagement.  Then this current crisis hit and bam….it dropped under $100 at one point.  I do not sell much, but I felt they were not solid and thankfully I made the right decision.  Read, read, read.

7.)  You are not the Smartest Person.  What I mean by this is to put your ego aside and read, watch, listen to people smarter than you.  That does not mean you have to act on what they say but just like above, you can never be too informed.  Warren Buffett is smart.  Warren Buffett makes a ton of money.  Warren Buffett likes value.  Warren Buffett is as boring as a person can get….but I watch, read and listen to what he does because he is one of the smarter people in the room.  He is not a jet setter on a large yacht posting pics on Instagram.  He is an investor living in Omaha in the same house he purchased in 1958. He is safe, he is boring and anytime he speaks or buys a stock I watch, learn and sometimes follow. 

8.)  You don’t have to be Rich to Invest.  Anyone can invest and make money.  In today’s world, investing is so much easier then it was in the ’80s.  I use to have to look at a stock price in the newspaper, call someone on the phone, get a quote, make a purchase, wait for confirmation for that buy.  But today you can see everything almost in real-time and you can invest a little every month from your phone!  I try out a lot of different app/websites and one that can work for anybody is called Folio First.  You can give them $100 or more a month and pick one or more stocks to purchase fractional shares.  That means instead of paying $1900 for one share of Amazon.  You can buy $100 of that $1900 share of Amazon.  And then the next month buy another $100 and so on.  I started this experiment taking $500 a month from my bank account and splitting that money between several solid stocks month after month.  Today it is at $50k!  And guess what, I am just going to continue to buy because of overtime it will continue to grow larger.

9.)  It is Never a Loss Unless you Sell.  The market goes up and down all the time.  And your heart rate might go up and down with it!  Don’t let that happen.  We are in a huge crisis right now and the market tanked.  That does not mean I lost money, because I did not sell anything.  It’s only a loss or gain when/if you sell.  Again, up and down, up and down, you just need to stay calm, use your patience, keep investing and wait for the recovery.

10.)  Hold, Don’t Sell.  I rarely sell my stocks.  Unless like the example above with Boeing, I saw that coming and made the decision.  But usually, I don’t sell and I don’t sell for several reasons.  When you sell, you pay taxes on the gain.  Why pay taxes if you don’t need to have the money.  Which brings me to using stocks as your bank account.  Using the stock market as a bank account will only lose you money in the long run, as noted in several points above.  Use a small or whatever portion of money a month you feel comfortable not needing, and invest it with the idea of using it way down the road.  Buy/Sell, like you’ve seen on TV will only kill you in the end.  Buy, hold and wait.

One more thing to remember is that when you purchase stocks, and I say stocks as multiple, is that you have to think of them altogether in a portfolio. If you have 10 stocks and currently 7 are positive and 3 are losing, it’s the average of all 10 of those stocks that matter. Every stock you pick is not always a winner on a daily basis, remember stocks go up/down all the time. But when you look at your portfolio of stocks, it is the overall results that matter.

CarterW.

Divorced Dad Does (www.divorce-dad.com)