Before our first child was born, my husband and I believed we had to have enough money in the bank to cover every scenario imaginable. Wandering the baby aisles in the store, we would mentally tally the cost of diapers, wipes, and baby food. Attending baby showers for friends and family, we would calculate the cost of every adorable onesie and outfit. And our online research revealed the costs of hospital visits, car seats, cribs, and every other possible gadget or gear a baby could need. After multiplying these costs by 18 years of life, then AGAIN by additional children, we felt overwhelmed by the sheer financial burden of raising a child. How could we possibly afford to care for a baby AND feed ourselves at the same time?
Luckily, our experience has not proved quite as expensive as we thought. Turns out, new babies don’t need much stuff (adios, needlessly expensive wipe warmer!), and the things they do need can be found at a range of inexpensive prices. Parents do need to be ready for unexpected expenses, like doctor visits, new car seats, and kids who grow out of their wardrobes overnight, but with a little preparation and assistance from financial planners like Joe Clavin, even the unexpected expenses in life can be handled with ease.
Joe is a certified financial coach with Primerica, a nationwide financial services company focused on providing families with financial planning assistance, debt relief structuring, and life insurance. He is a native of South City St Louis and went to St Mary’s high school (go Dragons!). After graduating college with his best friend Luke, they both wanted to work for themselves as entrepreneurs. Luke found Primerica and invited Joe to join the company as well. Seven years later, Joe continues to follow his passion helping families be financially stable and knowledgeable about their options. As he points out, “Personal finances do not jump to main priority for people. [We are] living in the best times ever with technology, traveling, etc, but we are not taught how to manage it. We are submerged in the credit card pit falls, not having a savings. These are not common in the home and it’s unfamiliar. It’s embarrassing – you don’t want to let people know your situation, don’t want to be held accountable to some degree. Until you let someone into your financial life, you will not be able to make improvements.”
Photo of Joe Clavin. Photo taken by Jaime Lueders
Joe’s approach to financial planning involves a free 20-30 minute session to discuss where a family currently stands and where they want to go. “[I] provide a complimentary Financial Needs Analysis. It takes a look at where they are at today and where they will end up if they make zero changes moving forward. [It] gives recommendations and potential changes to be able to hit those goals, a plan to get out of debt quickly and if they die prematurely how family will be taken care of, as well as a plan to invest to have [money] for future income, giving, etc.” From there, Joe follows up with the family on a regular basis to help with any additional questions, problems, or life events that arise, and always stands ready to assist in any way he can.
Like my husband and I, most parents have lots of questions about what and how they need to prepare for a new baby. Joe understands their anxieties and makes it a point to empathize. “It can be scary. I tell them my personal story, all of my mistakes. Our continued struggles that my wife and I have. I am very honest with where we are today and where we are going. It’s ok to not have stuff figured out now. It’s a process. But there is no reason you cannot get to where you want to go. It will take time. Even if you don’t meet with me, you owe it to your family to sit down and talk with someone in the financial profession. Protect your family!”
Joe also provides a few priorities for anxious first-time parents, such as purchasing life insurance and making sure you build a sufficient emergency account. By building an adequate cushion, you have enough freedom to invest in your child on a regular basis. Joe believes new parents benefit the most from financial planning. “I believe that handling finances and doing the right thing with their money is important to them. If they can do the best things with their money they will want to do so if given the opportunity. They need to have a peace of mind and know that [they] are doing our best with [their] finances. Doing the right things long enough they will hit their financial goals!”
If gaining peace of mind and financial security is a goal for your family, give Joe Clavin a call at 314.425.9546 for your free initial consultation.
Blog Written By: Emily Koeltzow