Financially Preparing to Start a Family

This week, Maggie chats with Chelsea Brennan, the founder of Smart Money Mamas and the Mamas Talk Money Summit, about the financial steps you should take as you're preparing to start a family.

Starting a family is an exciting and scary time! You can make it a little less scary by taking the right financial and planning steps to prepare yourself and your family.

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Chelsea Brennan is the founder of Smart Money Mamas and the annual online summit, Mamas Talk Money. An ex-hedge fund manager turned financial educator, she helps moms connect with all aspects of their money in a way that lets them overcome emotional blocks, identify what they most want, and create the healthy money habits that will help them achieve their goals while modeling positive money relationships for the next generation.

Smart Money Mamas is changing the way we talk about money so that more women can see money management as a true form of self-care.

To join the Money Circle Community, visit

To learn more about Maggie and her coaching and speaking services, visit

The theme music is called Escaping Light by Aaron Sprinkle. The podcast artwork design is by Maggie’s dear husband, Dan Rader.


Maggie Germano 0:07
Thanks for listening to the money circle Podcast. I am your host, Maggie Germano and I’m a financial coach for women. I’m passionate about helping women improve their relationship with money so that they can take better control of their futures. Part of that journey is making personal finance education more accessible and less judgmental, which is why this podcast exists. Each week we’ll discuss a new financial topic to help you explore how you can make a difference in your own financial life or in society as a whole. If you’re interested in diving deeper into issues like income inequality, debt or money, shame, check out my new money circle community. In this safe feminist space women gathered to talk about money without fear of being judged or shamed. We will break down shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit to learn more and to join the community today. I can’t wait to see you there.

Hey there and thanks for listening. I’m your host Maggie Germano. And this week, I’m chatting with Chelsea Brennan, who is the founder of smart money Mamas and the annual online summit Mamas talk money. In this episode, Chelsea and I dig into what steps women can and should take to financially prepare to start a family and have a child. If you like this conversation, make sure you check out The Mamas talk money summit coming up October 12 until October 16, which is just a week away. Plus, I’m so excited to announce that I will be a speaker at the summit this year. Here’s the scoop. If you’re a mom, or otherwise, a woman who isn’t a mom, who’s looking to ditch financial stress and feel more confident with money, this summit is going to help you get there. Even in 2020. mamas talk money has over 30 sessions are amazing women who are personal finance, career and business experts content on creating a thriving mindset, budgeting, investing in building wealth, career and entrepreneurship and teaching your kids to be financial rockstars. There will also be live q&a with speakers during their presentations, and free workbooks templates, how to choose and over $10,000, in free giveaways. And one of the best things about this summit is it’s actually free to attend. So on Monday, October 12, I will be breaking down how to change your money stories on a great panel. And I hope you will be there hanging out with me. So check out the link in the show notes to get your free ticket and I will see you there.

Hey, welcome Chelsea. Thanks so much for being here today.

Chelsea Brennan 2:52
Thanks for having me back.

Maggie Germano 2:54
Of course, I’m always happy to talk to you. So for folks who maybe haven’t listened to the first episode you were on? Or maybe it’s just been a while. Tell us who you are and what you do.

Chelsea Brennan 3:06
Absolutely. So I’m Chelsea Brennan. I’m the founder of smart money Mamas and the annual Mamas talk money conference. We really tried to treat money as a form of self care and our community and talk about really how do we build security and comfort from our money to allow us to have the jumping point to really go pursue lives that we want. Because until we feel secure, we just can’t do that. My background is I was a hedge fund manager and deep in traditional finance for a number of years before I left to do this full time, about two and a half years ago. And I’ve got two little boys. Henry and George are two and four.

Maggie Germano 3:38
And they’re very adorable,

Chelsea Brennan 3:40
and very rambunctious.

Maggie Germano 3:42
Um, so I love the way that you frame money as a form of self care. Because I think for a lot of people, the money conversation can feel scary or alienating or frustrating. And so framing it in that kind of way, makes it much more applicable to more people. And also just more I mean, I just think that that’s a more valid way and easy way to kind of address it because it’s true.

Chelsea Brennan 4:10

Maggie Germano 4:11
So tell us a little bit how you ended up doing what you’re currently doing from your old career.

Chelsea Brennan 4:18
Yeah, it’s a bit of a culture shock change, while critic we’re currently recording in a T shirt and flannel shirt, because that’s not in traditional finance anymore. But the job was really I always knew I wanted to do something after finance. I was never going to be my endpoint career. I originally in college like either wanting to teach or go to Wall Street, which are two very different routes. I went to Wall Street. After we had my first son. A couple of things happen. One I joined a moms group on Facebook of women across the country that had their first kids the same month I had my first kid and we went through pregnancy together. We went through early motherhood together and I really become kind of the go to person to answer money questions. So I’ve been in that role kind of teaching and learning The other thing that happened was that I had really bad postpartum depression. And it was something that was undiagnosed something that I denied really hard, like, hey, if I just eat better, or fix my schedule, or do whatever, it’ll get better, and it didn’t. And I really needed somewhere that I felt inspired and where I felt like I was making a difference, and that I could really be myself, I could never really be myself in the traditional finance space. And so I started my blog is a place to say to all my moms in this mom’s group, I’m gonna go answer your questions over here, like, send me your questions, I’m gonna answer them over here. And I think in the first 48 hours, they sent me over 60, or 80 questions or something. And so I wrote every day, for the first 45 days of a blog. And I just loved it, it was off to the races from there. That’s wonderful. And I’ve loved watching kind of how your brand and your focus and everything has sort of shifted and changed, shifted and change it change, it shifted and changed over the course of the years since you got started. So it’s been really fun to see how much you’ve been able to do. Thank you, I think the shift has definitely been fun for us to have, we definitely definitely are starting from a space of like, let’s give financial knowledge and advice. Let’s really focus on financial literacy. And as our community grew, I saw that there were so many women that were in the same places I was where they had a kids, and they really wanted to reevaluate what they were doing with their lives, the work they were doing, how they were treating money, where they wanted to live, and money underlies all of those decisions, right? Whether we can afford it, where we’re going to send our kids to school. And so we’ve really started to time, more and more of self care and leaf design and all that stuff into our money, knowledge. It’s been a good development for us.

Maggie Germano 6:39
Oh, absolutely. And you’re so right, that money, like money touches everything. Money determines pretty much anything you’re able to do or not able to do for a lot of people. And so being able to tie it, it’s not just about how much you have in the bank or like, just save as much money as possible, or as your failure. It’s like, what are the things you actually can control now? And what are the kinds of life decisions you want to be able to make? And how can money get you there? Absolutely. Absolutely. So aside from, you know, this mother group that you were in that kind of got you started into writing about these sorts of topics? Is there any other reason that kind of pushed you towards the focus on mothers in particular?

Chelsea Brennan 7:26
Yeah, there’s, I mean, there’s so many reasons that we went that way. I think one, it was so core to my experience at that point in my life, it’s so core to my experience now and who I am, and the decisions that I make are my kids. But the other side of it is that mothers have this immense power when it comes to money that I think often isn’t embraced So, so we talk about some stats, right? So women make over 90% of the consumer financial decisions in their family, over two thirds of the women are the ones that manage the budget at home, they manage over 90% of major financial decisions, like where their family banks is often influenced by by women, except there’s this socialization training that like the moms role is to manage the budget right to save as much as possible to, you know, organize everything. But the real wealth, building thoughts, the real career building thoughts aren’t their purview. That’s where we start to hear, well, I handle this stuff at home, but my husband manages the investments, my husband manages retirement. And I think that there is this you have your finger on the pulse, you can figure out how you want your family to pivot, you can balance your own ambition and intelligence, to grow your career to grow your wealth to grow businesses. And where that’s really powerful is that there’s a lot of studies around the fact that women think about money generationally much more than men. So when men think about building wealth, they think about what it can do for them in that moment, or in their lifespan, whereas women think about what it can do for their kids what it can do for their grandkids. And when we talk about generational wealth and wealth gaps, empowering moms to take control of that role to take control of how we think about wealth building can change a long narrative for whole family instead of just for that one person. And so that was another reason we wanted to talk about it. It actually came up for me. So my first job was at Goldman Sachs. And Goldman has this initiative called 10,000 women. And it’s their goal to invest in 10,000 women owned businesses around the world, in areas in that, you know, impoverished third world countries, areas like that. And what they had found and where they came up with this initiative was that when they invested in mailing businesses in those spaces, it helped that person become wealthy, and his immediate family. When they invested in women owned businesses. They hired their neighbors, they sent their neighbor’s kids to schools, they grew and it changed whole communities. And they saw this over and over again. And so they said, let’s do 10,000 women and so when I was there was like the first year I was there. We watched a whole presentation about it. And I got involved in that initiative. And it’s always kind of been in my head of like, Okay, how can we get more women involved in changing long term narratives?

Maggie Germano 9:51
Oh, I love that. That is so cool and not surprising to me that women would be really really focused on how they can use their power. And their influence to uplift the people around them. I just, I see that so much. And I, and thank you for all those stats too, because I think women tend to think like, Oh, you know, I’m just not as good with money or are they like discount the fact that they’re the I’ve been seeing a lot on Instagram recently about women being the CFO of their families, and how important that is and how you’re like holding your family together, getting them by moving them forward, like you said, thinking about the next generation or two. And that shouldn’t be discounted. It’s so so so important.

Chelsea Brennan 10:37
Absolutely. A lot of power there.

Maggie Germano 10:38
Yeah, I agree. So, I reached out to you, because as I’ve talked a lot about publicly recently, and on the podcast, as well, I’m expecting my first child. So thank you, and thank you for the the lotions that you sent me, I really appreciate it. Um, but something that’s been on my mind is like, what are the financial decisions we really need to be making or even just thinking about as we’re kind of looking down the road to having our first child expanding the families starting, you know, we hear a lot about how expensive it is to raise a child and like, Oh, it’s quarter million dollars over the course of their first 18 years. And that doesn’t even include college. And that just seeing that is like, Oh, god, that’s terrifying. Like, I don’t even want to think about it. And I feel like a lot of people probably feel that way. But in terms of like, preparation for actually having the baby and things that I can do now and have a little bit more control over, that’s been something that’s important to me to try to find. But in that research, it also is like there’s so much information out there, it can be really hard to narrow it down and understand what you should be doing. So I wanted to have you on to talk about, like, what are some of those actual steps and things to be considering when you’re going to start a family?

So yeah, what are what what are some of those steps that you like to recommend?

Chelsea Brennan 12:08
Absolutely, let’s dig into it. So first off on the quarter million series, a child step. That’s, that is really scary for every single parent. And there’s a lot that goes into that one of the big elements of that number being so high is that that’s that estimates that parents have to move into a bigger house. And so they inflate this. So if you’re already in a home, where you’re comfortable with where you, you know, have the space that you need, that number is not going to be as big as if you were currently in a one bedroom apartment and need to go buy a house right there, including that cost in that number. There’s also the element of we can make kids as expensive as we wanted them to be daycare sign, right, because that is a massive, massive expense. And if you have to have daycare, that’s a huge expense. But when you especially as a first time Mom, you get all these, like, you need the perfect nursery, and here’s the sleep. And now there’s like these special cribs that like rock the kids as they get like

Maggie Germano 12:58
The Snoo, it’s 1300 dollars.

Chelsea Brennan 13:01
Yes, you can rent it, I think, right?

Maggie Germano 13:03
Yes, for a monthly fee of like $130. I looked.

Chelsea Brennan 13:07
And that’s amazing. But kids have existed for a very long time without any of those things. And it’s actually funny to me, the more women we talk to in our community, like I set up the perfect nursery, and it was so fun, and I missed it and my kids never slept there. Like. And that’s, you know, this office that I’m recording in right now was set up as my four year olds bedroom that we took apart recently for COVID to make an office because he still sleeps in our bed. And so he didn’t use this room, it was just a an empty room that no one touch. So there’s a lot of that of use aside with the right structures for your family, what you want to spend up for your kid, and what you’re willing to kind of compromise on and maybe move a little differently, take candy down toys, take me down, stuff like that. So the first step is really kind of designing what you think that budget should be for that first year. And you can there’s a ton of research you can do about diapers, if you want a cloth diaper, you can kind of do the math and get a rough estimate. I really like trying to get a one year budget for kids, even if you can’t save it all ahead of time. It gives you some picture. And it also lets you see my favorite part of this exercise is that you start to add up all the things and we’ve actually seen some of these spreadsheets from women in our community who are like, okay, there’s your two, three months, they need this stuff. And then when they’re three, six months, and then as they write it out, they’re like, Oh my god, we’re gonna pay $70 for that, and we’re gonna use it for three weeks. And they’re like, you know, I’m not buying that. And so laying it all out in a way that you see the length of things lets you cut back to the second thing is have a I didn’t think of this fun. And so there’s a lot of different stories, we can go down. I’ll share one of mine in a second. But kids do what they want to do. And so they don’t care about your plans, and they have their own little personalities. And the example of that that I use often is that I was going to breastfeed my kids for a year I was in I read like four different books, I went to lactation classes, and neither of my kids nursed like, at all like We spent so much money with lactation consultants with both of them, I think my first we went to seven private sessions with a private lactation consultant, we brought him to an EMT to see if he had a lifetime, we did all the things, and he just wouldn’t eat. And so we had this switch to formula. And it was first emotionally incredibly difficult. Like the first time it has been filled him a bottle of formula, I couldn’t be in the room, I was like, I thought I could totally failed. And then we had this huge aspect of the budget that we didn’t include that we had to pay for for now, and find the formula that fit his belly. And so having some kind of, you know, mini baby emergency fund of this isn’t what we thought we were going to need. But that caches there is another good place to start. I can keep going. But I feel like I’m rambling.

Maggie Germano 15:43
No, you’re not rambling this super, super helpful. I mean, I think just trying to map out like, these are the things I’m planning on getting or that I think I need because, again, there’s so much information out there, I can’t tell you how many checklists I have printed off for, like the registry, and how like, some of them are pretty bare, where it’s like, these are just the essentials, don’t worry about other things like you’ll get stuff, it’ll be okay. And then there’s other ones that are like, here are the million things that you need that yet, like you said, they’ll use for three weeks, or maybe they won’t ever use, or I like reading the things that are like the no frill items that you will actually be grateful that you had and it’s like the like stick you use to wipe but cream on the baby so that you don’t have to like dip your hand in it every time or you know, just other random stuff like that, that are not exciting or cute, but they’re like really helpful in certain moments. So but yeah, like being able to lay it all out and then make informed decisions on how much you want to spend. And, honestly, for me, like how much stuff you want to actually have in the house. My husband and I, we have a house, it’s three bedroom house. So we have plenty of space. But I get stressed by clutter and stuff that’s like not used properly or enough. And so just trying to focus on like, what those necessities are in the beginning and then going from there has made me feel better.

Chelsea Brennan 17:14
And that can just be a good starting point for people for making that budget to baby showers are such this like dangerous game, right. So when my we were planning mine with Henry, I made my first registry and my mom called and was like you have to put more stuff on here. I don’t want any more stuff, which is like we have to put more stuff on here. There’s more people coming then like there’s things. And so we built the list out and I was she was adding stuff and whatever. I sent her a picture when we moved out of our house a couple years ago of the stuff we were selling or giving away the hidden never been opened, it was just like in our basement, the boys never used them. There’s this bag, we have actually it’s a canvas bag of wooden blocks. The boys have used that. And every single age like since they were they were too on them and hold them when they were anybody. And then they get to that age where there’s a development stage of stacking, and then they were stacking and now they build little cities. This is like a $15 bag of wooden blocks. It’s their favorite. And I think remembering that too is like the most simple things often are the best toys for them. And the clutter is real. The clutter is so real.

Maggie Germano 18:14
Oh, I believe it. And then the more clutter you have sometimes. And obviously this is like a very privileged thing to say. But like, the more clutter you have, the more you might think you need a bigger home versus like just using your space in a more efficient way. Like I think I forget who I told that we were expecting and they were like, Oh, do you think you’re gonna like buy a new house before the baby’s born? I’m like, we have plenty of space like with like too much space for us right at this moment. Like I don’t think we would even if we had more than one kid, I don’t think we would ever need more square footage than we have. Now maybe a different, like layout would make more sense eventually. But like, the idea of of upsizing our lifestyle while we’re also expecting a child is like very stressful to me.

Chelsea Brennan 19:00
It’s really funny. So that was another step. My husband I talked about when you’re buying houses, because we were looking at square footage, and how much space do we need? And I was like, Well, you know, I love that my parents house growing up, like we had the basement and we had this like extra space. And I want to make sure that like that house always felt really big. And so we looked up the Zillow listing of the house I grew up in and I was like, Huh, oh 1600 square feet, like, we don’t actually need that much space. It’s just that the basement was partially finished. And we kind of like that doesn’t count with the square footage or whatever. And so that I was researching and I figured out in the 1950s the average square footage of a house was like 1300 square feet, and now it’s 2400 square feet. And so like your memories often of growing up are in a much smaller house. You don’t need more square footage. Now that might be a little different if you work from home and maybe you have an office or whatever, but like yeah, I totally agree the clutter makes you think you need more stuff and more stuff.

Maggie Germano 19:53
For sure. Yeah, and again, that is a like having the option to even To upsize or downsize is as a privilege for a lot of people, it’s not always an option for a lot of people who like, maybe they’re expecting a child and can’t afford to move out of their one bedroom apartment or whatever it might be. But your information about like that quarter million dollar statistic, including that is really helpful. Because, you know, I’ve talked to people and they’re like, actually, generally, the first year of having a baby isn’t necessarily that expensive, especially if you are getting gifts from people. And so I’ve always kind of wondered like, especially if they go to public school, like what are those huge costs. So if it is, so if buying a bigger home, or buying a home at all, is kind of built into that, it makes me feel a little bit better?

Chelsea Brennan 20:42
Yeah, and it’s not the full cost of the home, right, they take like a fraction of like, the whatever, they don’t take the full cost of the home, otherwise, that number will be bigger. But the biggest costs, I think that goes into that is daycare. And depending on where you live, you’re in DC, when my boys were born, we were in Boston. And that can be 2030 grand a year for that first five years, right. And so that adds up real fast, depending you know, where you where you’re located plays a lot into that. And that’s really expensive. But I want to talk about, we talked a little bit about the budgeting aspect. And we started with the budgets, not just the only thing we want moms to think about. So we want to go beyond that a little bit to talk about estate and emergency planning. And this is a hard thing, right to be like, Yay, new life, let’s think about what happens if you die. And that’s hard. But I think it’s we frame it as an act of love. Absolutely of like, Listen, you want to make sure that your kid and your spouse or your partner is safe, and well cared for if you’re there if you’re not there. And so life insurance is the first one, making sure you have life insurance, every single parent needs life insurance, unless you are you know, super wealthy and you’ve already self funded insurance. But for most people, you need money to pay for your kids care whether it’s with your partner or with another Guardian, if they’re being handed off to the guardian to pay for extra childcare. So this is another space of like, stay at home parents often tell me Well, I don’t make I don’t have an income to replace. And it’s like, well, you provide an immense amount of value for the family, we just talked about daycare and childcare. And so you want to make sure that that’s covered. And so life insurance is a really good place to start. Another myth that we hear, though, is that you can’t get life insurance while you’re pregnant. And that’s not true at all. And so you can absolutely apply for life insurance, you’re gonna have to get a medical exam. But you know, you’re already having 1000 of those and you like go in and they take your blood pressure, they take blood. And it really takes all of you know, less than 10 minutes, but you want to make sure that you do that early on. Because there are birth complications, there are pregnancy complications. And so getting that done as soon as possible is really smart. And then the second stage of that is estate is real estate planning. Like, do you have a will have you named guardians for your kids? Have you talked to those guardians to make sure that they want to take your kids? Because oh my gosh, that is a way too common. They’re like, Well, my friend passed away. And then I was like, named in their will and like, and so you want to have those conversations. And that’s like, when we have those conversations with guardians. This is obviously estate planning could be a several episode thing. But I think that with guardians with trustees with executors give them space to actually think about it. And so my example is that my mom is named first she’s very young, she lives down the street. She’s a perfect person, at least for now, because you can change this down the road. Our second is my sister in law. My sister in law is not married. She’s been with her boyfriend for a few years. But she’s not married. She doesn’t have kids. And so when we asked her, I couldn’t even get the question. She’s like, Yes, absolutely. I would take them. And I’m like, No, no, I want you to go back and think about it come back to me in a couple days, like talk to Mike. What do you want two kids, potentially two toddlers, potentially two teenagers coming into your house? Would you have to move? Like are you okay with that? What does that look like? And let them think about it and with no judgment? Because if they say no, you don’t want them saying no out of some feeling of guilt or responsibility. You want someone who’s taking your kids because they want them there. And then they’re willing to provide that stability. And so having some of those hard conversations is an important thing to do right now, once again, to make sure that your family is protected.

Maggie Germano 24:12
Yeah, that is huge. And it’s so funny what you were just saying about how you should actually talk to the people that you’re going to appoint as guardians of your children. There’s so many movies where that happens, where it’s like, oh, no, my best friend died. And now I have to raise this baby with a man that I hate because he was the other best friend we just watched. I forget what the name of it was. But we just watched a movie a couple months ago about that. And it was like, and talk to him about that. Like Can you, is that even legal to appoint someone as a guardian without getting their permission?

Chelsea Brennan 24:45
But let’s clear that up, though. That’s not how it works. When you name a guardian, it’s actually not even guaranteed. So what happens is, it comes as a very, very, very strong recommendation for the parents from parents who the kids who go to it still has to go through Family Court. And so what you want to do when you named guardians is you first you want them to know, because you want them to get the kids immediately afterwards, you want them to know that they’re in emergency contact, and they go pick up your kids, because who has custody of your kids immediately actually does kind of play into some of these decisions, then it will ultimately within a couple months go to family court Family Court will look at who is named at The Guardian. Do they seem financially stable, do they feel seem emotionally stable, and is the court Okay, naming someone. This is another aspect of if there’s someone you do not want to have your kids and family member that’s a strange that might fight for custody, naming someone and making sure that their life insurance gives that person the financial wherewithal to care for your kids. Because if that challenger actually has more financial stability and actually looks on paper, a better person, it might get overturned, it’s unlikely, but it might get overturned, you can also write a letter in your state plan and seal it. So it doesn’t open until it gets in front of family court that specifically says like, this is why I don’t want x, y, z, z people to have my kids. That’s a smart thing to do, too. But so the whole, these two strangers who don’t know each other, suddenly assigned kids, that doesn’t happen. And there are situations to where someone gets named, and they show up in family court, and they have to stand up sometimes in front of your 10 or 12 year old kid who understands and say, I actually don’t want custody of them. And that’s trauma on top of trauma. So you have to be having those conversations.

Maggie Germano 26:23
Yeah, that’s so important and related to making sure that your life insurance, is there to help a potential Guardian care for your children. Do you know if like, if you’re naming your kid as your beneficiary in your insurance that helps or is it you have to name the Guardian as the beneficiary? How does that kind of work?

Chelsea Brennan 26:43
Don’t name your child as a beneficiary. Okay? Oh, hard no on that. So what happens is minors can’t inherit. And so in that case, a trust will be formed by the state for your child, and they will determine how much gets dispensation to their guardian, it is a pain in the butt. So the your kids Guardian has to file to the state like receipts to get reimbursed, there’s a whole process. And then when your kids turn 18, that money immediately becomes theirs. So then you could be talking about a large sum of money, what you can do is, there’s two things, you can either set up your own trust, which is a little bit more expensive, probably only makes sense. If you have some assets, where I’m talking about millions of assets, but 300 to $500,000 of assets or more, you want to set up your own trust, it’s worth it. Because you get to say specifically, here’s my trustee, here’s the person that I want to manage the money, the person who manages the money does not have to be the person who is meant is guarding being the guardian for your kids. Often, it’s good to have those people be separate, because money makes people do weird things. And if you suddenly hand over a million dollars, 2 million however much your life insurances to your kids Guardian, they might not respect that money the way you want them to. So picking someone who might be a little more financially savvy in your life to be the trustee. And then you get to lay out the rules of you know, my kids Guardian gets this month to you this much money a year, they get this much money for private school or for college or for whatever, so that there’s less, it’s more automatic, that money can come out of the trust every month, every year based on what you laid out until the kids turn 18. And that’s another place to talk to your you know, your guardian and say like, okay, you live in a two bedroom house, you will likely have to either move into our house or buy another house. So we’re gonna get right into the trust that there’s some money to help with a down payment on that house. And so having a trust helps with that. But if you name your kids as the beneficiary, all those assets get locked up.

Maggie Germano 28:47
Okay, that I did, I did not know that. So that is very important to know.

Chelsea Brennan 28:52
It’s also important to know, especially as like, right as kids turn 18. So they will become the sole people who can deal with the money if they’re 18. So if there’s like, kids who are foreign to so if Henry had turned 18, and George was still 16, and my husband and I passed away, and we had named them as beneficiaries, Henry would have to deal with all of that on his own, actually, legally, my mom or my, you know, my sister in law, couldn’t be privy to those that paperwork with him. So he would have to go to a lot of those meetings on his own. We actually have a story within our community where that happened. And it was really overwhelming for that girl. And so you have to make sure that like you, even when they get a little bit older, you’ve got somebody trusted that can help them there’s even cases where you can name a financial advisor or professional trustee, as someone as a co trustee, to or co executor to help your child if you don’t have someone else in your life. That’s a good fit. But yeah, beneficiaries are big one.

Maggie Germano 29:53
No, yeah, that’s so important. And I mean, I feel like you know, even if you turn 18 technically in the eyes of The law you become an adult. But that doesn’t mean that you have any idea what you should be doing when it comes to making financial decisions for, like, your family and siblings.

Chelsea Brennan 30:11
Yeah, exactly.

Maggie Germano 30:14
So yeah, I mean, I think the estate planning, conversation is really important. And I will I’ll share some resources in the show notes of like, how to get started with a will and a trust and things like that, because I think a lot of people don’t really know where to start when that happens. And I mean, like you said, In the beginning, a lot of people don’t want to think about it, like, You’re, you’re looking at this wonderful life change, that’s going to happen, and you’re bringing life into the world, you don’t want to think about death and loss. But it’s an unfortunate reality in life, that it’s better to be prepared for.

Chelsea Brennan 30:47
Yeah, and I think that that’s the one other thing too, when we talk about trusts and wills, in general, like making sure you’re not just planning for death, that you’re also planning for incapacitation. And so if you had to be put on life support, if you were on a ventilator, we’re in covid. area, right? That there’s a way for someone to manage your money in that period to care for your kids. So like, there’s actually, you can name temporary guardians for the same reason. And so when you go through the Guardian process, you can do that. And that might be different people. And this is where, like, it’s hard to think about, and it’s not something that you can do in a knee jerk, right. But, you know, we have families in our community where the temporary guardian and somebody lives down the block. And that’s easier. And it would be maybe a couple weeks, and then a permanent Guardian is a sibling, that’s a couple states away. And so the temporary Guardian can get there faster. There, they can keep the kids lives more stable. And so you can kind of think through some of those things. But make sure you’re doing the process. And remember that this can always be changed. So I know you’re going to link to some resources, Maggie, but even just setting up a free simple will if you’re not ready to go meet with a state attorney to name guardians to name trustees, and then deal with it maybe in depth more later. That’s okay. It’s just like make sure that the structure is there.

Maggie Germano 32:05
Yeah, I think, yeah, I totally agree with you that you don’t have to go all in right away, especially if you’re overwhelmed and scared and don’t know where to start. Or maybe you’re worried about the cost of getting all that set up. But having something there so that it’s not just kind of up in the air.

Chelsea Brennan 32:22
Yeah, exactly.

Maggie Germano 32:24
So what other Are there other steps aside from like the budgeting piece and the state planning piece, other steps people should be either taking while they’re waiting to have their child or actually doing before the child arrives?

Chelsea Brennan 32:41
Sure, there’s a couple other kind of smaller things that I would think through one being thinking through how whether you want to start saving for college, so you can start, but we had a lot of questions around 529, about this period in our lives, my recommendation is checking on your retirement first, are you properly funding your retirement at least 10%, ideally, 15%. And if you’re not doing that, do that first figure that out first, and then start saving for a 529. There’s because of the student loan crisis, there’s this panic about not saddling our kids with student loans. But I kind of talked about it as kicking the can. And so we’re also a generation that’s almost getting to the point where we have to take care of our parents, right. And so we say to people in our community, if you don’t take care of your retirement first, maybe your kids won’t have student loans. But when you hit retirement, they’re going to have to take care of you. And so, which is the worst of these things and take care of yourself first, and then go back. There’s a million ways to afford college, you can use scholarships, you can learn how to file the FAFSA more appropriately, so that you get the most aid. So that’s not the be all end all. But if you’re ready to start 5395 twins are an excellent vehicle, they’re a great way to save for college. But check it on your retirement first, then explore for 529 makes sense for you. The second thing is if you’re a working parent, and you’re going to remain a working parent, after your kid is born, I would think about how to best transition into maternity leave. And I think this is a place to have good conversations with your managers with your team members. If you have people under you, setting up transition plans. Obviously, there’s a lot of things that you do that your employer doesn’t realize that you do, that your team members don’t realize that you do. And so creating as clean systems as possible, and communicating whether you’re going to be available or not available on maternity leave, I am a full proponent of like, shut it down. I’ll see you know when maternity leave is over. But I understand that that’s not something that all people can do. There’s jobs where that will be penalized. And so you know, I was in investing that was not always a place where you could just walk away for 12 weeks or 16 weeks, which we were very, very lucky in that we had a long maternity leave. But what that looked like saying talking to your manager and saying okay, every Tuesday I don’t know my kids schedule yet but some point between 10 and noon. I will get on the phone with for 15 minutes to update and answer any questions. Otherwise, I don’t want to be bothered outside of this period of time. And so it’s learn how to like you can best protect your, your relationship with your employer through this because it can be a hard time for that. And the more that they show, you show that you’re actively ready to come back, you want the team to succeed while you’re gone. That’s a really powerful thing to do as well for your career. And then the last piece of advice is actually not a piece of Money Advice. It’s a piece of advice I got from a mentor when I was pregnant with Henry, which was, do not make any major life decisions in the first six months after your kid is born, ideally a year, but the first six months after your kid is born, they will be changing constantly, you will be changing dramatically, you’re going through hormonal stuff, you might have postpartum depression, there’s a million different things that can happen in that six month period, say whatever your plan was, you’re going to go back to work, you’re not going to go back to work, stick to it and reevaluate after six months. Because this is a place where we sometimes hear from moms where they decide to, you know, their maternity leave is short, it’s only six or eight weeks, they decide not to go back to work and be a stay at home parent and then by their kid is six months. They miss work, they miss that sense of identity, they’re ready. But now they have kind of this big break in their career where they’ve, you know, burned a bridge with an employer or something. So giving yourself some space to say, yeah, I’m going to change a lot. So I’m not going to make any reactions until I know what that change is.

Maggie Germano 36:23
That is such good advice. And it’s something that I was just having a conversation with another parent recently, who was like, Oh, yeah, you really have no idea what things are going to be like, and everything feels really overwhelming when the baby’s first here. And so like, like you said, try not to make any life altering decisions immediately. Because you never know if you’ll regret it. Or if you’re like, damn it, I really wish I had kept that job. But I quit because I got overwhelmed instead of trying. Her advice was like trying to find alternate solution. So instead of quitting and being a stay at home mom, it’s like, Can you go part time for a period of time? Or could you have more flexible work hours or work from home or do whatever to try to just get through that really difficult period of time so that you don’t have to give up your career or a specific job?

Chelsea Brennan 37:17
Yeah, and I think that’s something to think through too. When we talk about staying home parents, we forget a little bit to talk about options. And the risk families take by going down to being a single income household. I think COVID has shown us that a lot, right? If somebody gets laid off, if there’s no other stream of income, the person who’s been a stay at home parent for a while, is really at a disadvantage, it’s harder to go back to work, you get going back in a much lower rate, potentially at a lower level that you then you were even before you left, right, you’re going back to the beginning. And that’s hard. And so I say this as someone who is married to a stay at home spouse, I’m not saying those houses can be a beautiful thing. But it’s something that we talked about in a very, very detailed form before my kids were born. So my husband actually talked about him being a stay at home dad, before we were even married, it came up of my father in law, read some article in The New York Times about how successful women often are married to men who have slower careers or no careers, they choose to opt out because somebody has to be there to pick up the pieces. And he brought it up to us if like, I can totally see Jeremiah doing this. And so Jeremiah at the point was a yacht captain. And I was working at Goldman. And we kind of talked about it. But parallel to that happening, my parents were getting divorced. And so my parents had been married for almost 25 years, my mom had been a stay at home mom for 20 years. She doesn’t have a college degree. And it was a really scary time for her of like, we’re going to do now, like, we don’t have a ton of retirement savings, I need to have a plan. And so I’m watching both of these things. And so my first reaction was absolutely not. We’re not doing that, like not planning for, you know, some divorce. But saying like, what happens if something happens to me? where where where do you where does that leave you. And so ultimately, we decided he was going to be staying on debt. But that was predicated on a lot of other decisions we made. So he went and finished his master’s degree in construction project management, which is a very high demand field, almost always. He keeps his 100 Tom yacht license, which is a big boat license, which is also always in demand. And so there’s things that he kind of keeps up on. And then now he’s also kind of starting his own online business, but we’re very thoughtful of like, if I couldn’t work, what are other options? And so if you want to consider being a stay at home parent think through that to think through how what is my family safety net look like when we remove a stream of income, and is there a way even for me to pick up a small side hustle, like, I don’t care if it only brings in 400 bucks a month. It’s something that you could grow. It’s something that you could put on a resume if you ever had to. And so I kind of like that extra sense of security too.

Maggie Germano 39:49
me too, and I think it shows that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing like you’re either a full time parent that or a full time working out of the house parent or you’re a full time I’m at home parent. And then there’s somehow nothing in between. And I think I mean it, it shows there’s a lot of women in particular who they do start their own businesses when they’re home with their kids, because they either are looking for a little bit of identity or fulfillment outside of being a mother. Or maybe like you said, they also want to be able to bring in their own income so that maybe they don’t feel 100% reliant on their spouse who works. Or they just want to do something a little bit different and fun on the side.

Chelsea Brennan 40:34
And I also think there’s statistics and research that we don’t like to talk about as a society where you know, this narrative that the women will be happiest if they are, stay at home parents. And it’s actually there’s this crazy dichotomy in the research. And so people of both genders think that moms of young kids shouldn’t work in a massive way, like over 80% think they shouldn’t work. At the same time, women would prefer to work at least part time at like a 70% level. So we have women answering the survey that the best thing for kids and the best thing for moms, because the question gets asked both ways, is that she’s not working, and yet they answer for themselves, I want to be working. And this is huge issue where then you have this next layer of research that depression and loss of sense of self and anxiety goes up after women spend a year plus out of the workforce to be full time parents. And we don’t have a way to talk about that. Because we’ve built this narrative that like the best thing for everyone is that for mom stays home. And so if you don’t, if you want to keep your job, if you are stay at home parent listening to this, that’s like kind of misses work, you are not alone, you might feel that way from how we talk about things, but it’s okay to still have ambition to still want a career part time or full time in whatever way that works for your family. I think that’s a very common anxiety, shame guilt area that moms have.

Maggie Germano 41:57
Yeah, and there’s plenty of that already. Whether it’s the shame and guilt around being a mother, or the shame and guilt around money, or career or just just generally, you know, no matter what you do, you’re you’re doing it wrong. So like, you might as well choose something that’s going to make you feel even just a little bit happier, even if it’s going to make someone raise their eyebrow,

Chelsea Brennan 42:21
I think it’s a good reminder that probably nobody’s going to raise their eyebrows at you. Like I think a lot of this is our own built up anxiety, right, we go back to the breastfeeding thing, like, suppose my kids were breast breastfed for less than a month because they they needed to eat and that need to happen. But my best friend who I saw, like lived down the street, soldering the basis, breastfed her oldest for over two years. And for like, the first several months, I had all this anxiety, like she was judging me and like, I was a worse mom than her and like this whole thing, and now we die. She’s like, get anything about it, like, whatever you need to do. And so yeah, I think that a lot of that is we just make up in our heads too.

Maggie Germano 43:05
Oh, I agree. I mean, I something that is either a therapist or a coach of mine in the past, who is like, people are not actually really thinking about you very much. And not in a way that means like, people don’t care about me, but like, I think people are thinking about me and judging me more than they can ever possibly be actually spending time thinking about me. And vice versa. I’m not thinking about people that much in that much depth, like there’s too much else going on in life.

Chelsea Brennan 43:32
Right? They can’t think about you because they’re thinking about what you’re thinking about them.

Maggie Germano 43:38
It was just like, it really is a vicious cycle. I mean, I think with the breastfeeding thing in particular, it’s like there’s a saying now that it’s like Fed is best doesn’t matter how it gets in there. Just make sure your kid is getting the nutrition that they need.

Chelsea Brennan 43:54
Yeah, exactly. It was actually it’s really funny if, you know, I because I said I read all the books, and I did all the things and I was so it got to the point where my lactation consultant was like, you need to give him formula. My husband’s on who is a very crunchy midwife and Vermont had to call me and she’s like, you need to just stop like you’re just damaged. You’re, you’re making this so hard on yourself. You need to just stop. I was like I can like it’s not good for him. It’s like as totally having a breakdown. She’s like, Chelsea, I breastfed both of my boys for less than two weeks and they’re fine. And I was like, like, She’s like, you just have to do what’s best for your kids. Like, that’s all that this is about. But I was like flabbergasted. I was like, Okay, okay, I’m okay, now I can do it. Um, it’s just sometimes we need that validation too.

Maggie Germano 44:42
Oh, absolutely. Because we don’t necessarily know what other people are doing because people aren’t necessarily talking about it like if they are struggling with the decision about going to work or going back to work or not going back to work. Or maybe they were always a stay at home parent and then they are a couple of years in and they’re like Okay, I need to go back to work or I need to just like, start something new. And there’s going to be guilt and shame and wondering if your kid is just going to be completely damaged because of those kinds of decisions. But I think opening up those conversations as much as possible with other people, you’ll recognize that other people are going through the very same things. And so you’re just not alone?

Chelsea Brennan 45:24

Maggie Germano 45:26
So, okay, let’s say we fast forward to actually having the children or child’s what are some of the steps you recommend people have families consistently take to maintain some of that financial security? Obviously, emergencies happen, global pandemics happen. So sometimes we don’t really know. But generally, some of the the best steps for folks to maintain over the course of their families.

Chelsea Brennan 45:56
Absolutely. I think that if you’re in a partnership, or a marriage, having regular money meetings, I think that’s always important. It’s really good for relationships. I know you agree with that, Maggie, but it’s especially important in that first few years after you have kids, because so much is changing, because what you plan where the expenses are the expenses, and you need to just make sure you’re coming back to each other and making sure that emergency fund that retirement savings, all the things that you need to happen getting out of debt are still continuing to happen. And then one of the things exercises I really like and I can give you a link to this Maggie, we have a forum for people to create their family money values. And so this is a great thing to do before you have kids or right after you have kids, we sit down with your spouse and talk about talk about your own histories with money, your own money stories, and really get clear on how you can better talk to each other about money, and then decide on what’s the language we’re going to use about money. What are the things we’re not going to say we’re not going to say we can’t afford that we’re going to say we’re not prioritizing that right now. Right? Which language are we going to use and write it down on paper? And then the next step of that is like, Okay, what are your actual values? What things are we willing to spend money on and not willing to spend money on? And this can be revised over time, but we kind of create this one pager that puts it all in one place? How do we talk about money? What are our values? What are we willing to spend money on for our kids, and when are we not, this is a good conversation to have too, when your kids are young is that we hear from parents that you know, expected their kids to, they expected their kids to go to private school and their partner is a huge proponent of public school, or that kids turn 18. And they need to move out and do their own thing. And the other partner doesn’t think that and so having those conversations early on, avoids and mixed messages for kids. It lets you plan together. And it lets you start to build the money relationship you want in the house. And I think that like this isn’t the next level of more parenting than really money planning. But I think it’s important we talk about generational wealth, is that kids understand money concepts. By age three, most core money beliefs are set by age seven. And so they’re absorbing so much about our body language around money or language around money, even before they’re really cognizant of money itself. And so that’s a place that I think to make sure you’re on the same page, you keep working the same goals as having those values and money language laid out. And that you come back to it. And when you have those weekly, or monthly meetings, having that sheet in your little folder on your desktop, or whatever. So you guys can go back to it and say like, okay, you know, we said these are our priorities this month, we spent on something that we said wasn’t How did we feel about it? Do we want to shift this this up? And just continually looking at money more holistically, then? Did we build a budget this month?

Maggie Germano 48:35
I think that’s so important. And I know, I can’t wait to do that exercise too. Because I’m not I was gonna say almost, but all of my clients, my coaching clients that I’ve ever had, have talked about their family’s relationship with money or their way that their family talked about, or didn’t talk about money, and how that has impacted them either in a negative way, maybe a positive way. Maybe they learned from what they saw, and they went completely in the other direction. It really just depends, but I’ve never not had a client who was like, oh, man, like, the way money was talked about was a doozy. So So wanting to maybe not repeat that over the course of other generations or just wanting to raise your kids with a healthier relationship with money and in turn avoid some money conflict within the family. That’s huge to me.

Chelsea Brennan 49:30
Yeah, it’s one of those those frustrating therapy, emotional things where we come to someone and we’re like, how do we teach our kids about money about managing their emotions about setting boundaries, and every single experts like, you figure out how to do that, and then they’ll watch you do it and then they’ll do it. But if you just try to teach them when you don’t have boundaries, when you still have money, shame, it’s never gonna work. And so a lot of that is start taking care of yourself and your finances now while you’re pregnant when your kids are young. It’s an evolving thing I think learning to be imperfect with this is so important. And you know, My son is my eldest is four. But there are already places with money where we correct what we’re saying, when we say it wrong, or we do something that we’re, we regret or whatever we talked, we talked to him about it and say, like, mommy shouldn’t have said that what she really meant was this. And like, I’m still learning too. And it gives him a space to ask questions and to make mistakes and not feel like money is all or nothing. He started his first little entrepreneurial business this summer, which was really cute.

Maggie Germano 50:34
Remind me of what that was, I saw on Instagram,

Chelsea Brennan 50:37
he is selling eggs, he has a great stand. Similar to other kids have eliminated we have chickens. And so he sells eggs. And it’s, it’s been so funny to watch his language change of like, so his job to be able to sell the eggs, he has to collect them, he has to check the chickens at night, he has to put the eggs out and the eggs and change the water packs is a whole bunch of stuff that he has to do. But it was like a few weeks into it. His brother, his two year old brother went into the coop and started lifting eggs out and smashing them on the floor. Because he’s too and runs and it goes. No, I can’t sell those. No, you’re smashing my inventory.

Maggie Germano 51:17
Oh my god, that’s so cute.

Chelsea Brennan 51:19
I’m dying, completely dying. And so yes, they their capacity is really strong, and they want to learn and it’s something that’s going to be intricate in their life. So figuring out how you want to deal with that as a family’s just huge.

Maggie Germano 51:33
Yeah, I totally agree. And I mean, like you were saying with the different ages that kids start kind of understanding financial concepts and things like that kids are actually more capable, I think then adults might give them credit for we like make assumptions around what kids can and cannot do or can and cannot understand. And something that’s really important to me in kind of raising kids that understand equitable division of labor and not subscribing to traditional gender roles. And things like that is like showing them that everyone can contribute around the household, and whether it’s like helping clean or whatever it might be, but like looking at it, we’ve been talking my husband and I’ve been talking a lot about like, what’s the kind of language we’re going to use around that so that it’s not just mom is the one who’s picking everything up and like yelling at you or begging you to help her versus everyone viewing it as a joint effort together that everyone gets to contribute to in different ways.

Chelsea Brennan 52:37
I really love that Emily Guy Birkin talking about on Twitter the other day that they change their language at home. And we’ve done this now to where they call Work, work, even unpaid work. So when my husband is doing the dishes, or when he’s putting laundry away, and the boys asked him to do something, he says I can’t I’m working right now. And like, really, let’s broaden the perspective of work and that everyone is and so we call their work at home, right is picking up their rooms and making their beds and making or, you know, taking these out of the dishwasher, I’m trying to think of like what their little jumpers are taking these out of the dishwasher. We call it all work and frame it that way and talk about how we all have to do work for the family. And then the other thing when teaching your kids is I think people are afraid to say that they don’t know. And so especially at a young age, kids are super capable. But things are very black and white to them. And like a crazy way sometimes that so we’ll go back to Henry he has with his ex and he has a save, spend and give jar. And so we set goals for his save and his gift jar. And it’s really important with little kids to make it tangible. And so this is actually a mistake parents make a lot and we’re talking about like people who are pregnant, but I’m gonna tell you anyway, people set this goal like, okay, their savings jar is gonna be for college. And so they like take that money out and they put it in a college fund. This establishes money stories for kids that savings is their money just disappears. And they do not want to put money in that jar because it disappears. And so a better way for someone who’s four or five is to a toy that’s going to take them two months to save for and it’s okay if the end result is that they buy something, you just want them to delay gratification. And as they get older, you stretch that goal out okay? When we’re 12 we’re talking about saving for a car when we’re 16 and then we can get to retirement a little bit older. But his gift jar so he we do the World Wildlife Foundation, you know, you can adopt, like fake adopt an animal and they’ll like send you a stuffed animal. So we do that we print the chart out it’s got like little paws on it and he covered colors and then as the dollars go in so the first time we were doing this picture Snow Leopard, we watched a video about why snow leopards need rescuing why they’re endangered. We did this whole thing. I thought we were doing great. And we turn it off and he’s like, he hangs his shirt up on the wall and he goes But Mom, what if the snow leopard loses his money? And what do you mean but it’s like, well, how does it hold it to money doesn’t have a wallet and like I was like okay, we have to backup and in that moment like I had a little bit Have a panic of like, How do I explain nonprofits to a four year old and, and so it just took a second step back. And then we kind of came back to him and said, you know, mommy and daddy take care of you. There are other adults that take care of snow leopards. And so we’re going to give them the money to take care of Philip. And he was like, Okay, that makes sense. But you’re going to get these questions that at first, you’re just going to be like, I have no idea. And it’s okay to say, well, the money’s not going straight to a snow leopard. Let’s figure out how that works together. And it’s just, they’re just funny. And it’s great to have those conversations with them.

Maggie Germano 55:32
Yeah, cuz then you’re showing them that, like, adults don’t actually know everything all the time, which I think is important, so that they don’t think that people are infallible or that they themselves have to be infallible. And so if they make mistakes, I mean, I know, even myself as a little kid, I have very vivid memories of myself as like a four to six year old, where anytime I screwed something up, I thought the whole world was ending, like, I remember spilling orange juice on the table all over, probably like the mail or something like there were papers on the table. And nobody was in the room with me. And I went and hid in the basement for like, what felt like hours. And I came back upstairs and it was just all cleaned up. And no one ever said anything. So like, I wasn’t gonna get punished, there wasn’t a big deal. They probably were annoyed that I didn’t say something. But like, from a very young age, I had this like fear of doing anything wrong. And I really want to not make move, push that forward in my own kids, like obviously instilling a sense of responsibility and things like that, but not making them think that like if they screw anything up, they’re like a terrible person and they can never get make it up. Basically, you have a perfectionist parent. Yes. My mother. Hi, mom.

Chelsea Brennan 56:50
Yeah, that’s professionalism. Another one of those things, like fixing it yourself, where you fix it in your kids, which is hard. But yeah, those, they just, they need to know that they can make mistakes, and that they can learn and that this is a process. I think, like, I think so often we think money is this transactional, like, Okay, I’m gonna fix it once I’m going to set the budget. So the system set up the plan, and then I don’t have to worry about it anymore. It’s like, no, it’s gonna come up over and over again.

Maggie Germano 57:16
Yeah, cuz life circumstances change, you have to like you were saying, with having the money meetings within a family like circumstances change, someone might lose a job, someone might change careers and have to take a cut in income, or vice versa, where someone wants to go back into career and that changes income. But then there’s like the daycare situation, whatever it might be, like, things can change at any moment. And so your budget shouldn’t be static. And it doesn’t mean that it was a failure, just because you need to re assess it and change things to kind of keep up with your life. Now your budgets a living thing. Exactly. And, and if there is a moment where it’s like, we, you know, totally overspent this month, or like we to cope with COVID. And being in a global pandemic, we needed to, you know, invest in some retail therapy, or whatever it might be, it doesn’t mean you can never go back to the plan and go back to the budget, and that you’re just again, with the failure thing, like not a failure, you just had a moment. And now you can take time and go back and try to get back on track.

Chelsea Brennan 58:22

Maggie Germano 58:23
So what are some resources usually recommend for, like, either parents or expecting parents or just folks in general, because there’s a ton of stuff out there. And so it can be hard to know, like, where to actually turn? What are your favorite resources?

Chelsea Brennan 58:39
For money for young parents or? Okay, so the first person place we typically send young parents is first life insurance. And so we have a few different links about that we really like haven life and policy can just make sure you go get good quality life insurance. Our family emergency binder is a core part of that, like estate planning. And so we didn’t talk about it much today. But that filling that gap between what is a will actually cover and what is a life insurance policy cover. There’s a lot of your life that’s not in there, like how to pay the bills. And so a family emergency binder lays all that out. And then I think my biggest piece of recommendation, I have a specific place other than our community or your community, Maggie is finding a community, a supportive community of women. And so mothers who have been there before mothers who still are trying to figure out who they are and their true person as they transition into motherhood, I think this is a really hard time for everybody. And so it just like, it’s exciting, and it’s fun, and it’s also terrifying and hard and difficult. And so surrounding yourself with people who are going to lift you up. We’re going to listen to the hard stuff without judgment. Hopefully that there’s some in person friends in your life that can do that too. But finding other communities where you can ask questions and be there i think is a huge resource every parent should look into.

Maggie Germano 59:54
I totally agree. You know, I’m a huge proponent of that I really, really believe in community especially when it comes to try To break down shame and feel less alone and just less isolated, because I know from what I’ve heard becoming a parent, it can often feel really isolating to even though a ton of people in the world do that. And I will definitely link to your in case of emergency binder too, because I’m a huge fan, I have that. I’ve got that from you as well. You just updated it. So I downloaded my updated version, I’m very excited to get back into it. So I will certainly be linking to that. Because I think it’s incredibly important. And it can be an overlooked part of like, if you are incapacitated, or if you do unfortunately die. And you’re the one who manages the finances for the household or you’re the one who has all the logins and passwords and all those things, what is your spouse or other family members supposed to do in that scenario? So that just helps fill that gap so that there is an extra stress around potential trauma and grief?

Chelsea Brennan 1:00:59
Absolutely. I think anyone who’s ever lost a family member, or how to film or go through this or friend go through this knows that gap. They’ve seen people struggle with file folders, and trying to hack into online accounts and stuff. And if you haven’t seen it, it’s not as clear. But it is a huge resource. And it takes a big burden off of people in your life if they ever need it.

Maggie Germano 1:01:21
Yeah, I totally agree. So is there anything else you want listeners to take away today, whether it’s advice, you have steps that they should take or just reassuring parting words?

Chelsea Brennan 1:01:34
No one’s got this figured out. This is a journey and a process and there’s going to be things you’re like, Ah, that didn’t work. And it should, you should be able to leave it at that and pivot and try something else. We all screw this up. For some people, this is a really uncomfortable and not helpful phrase. But it’s funny, my father in law, I struggled perfectionism to my father alone when I was pregnant was like, your kids come up perfect. It’s just a matter of how much you screw them up. And I was laughing hysterically. But then I was kind of like, okay, that actually makes me feel better. If I’m screwing up in small ways, and I still love them, and we’re thinking about them and planning for their future and their emotional health and physical health, then we’re not screwing them up that much. And they’re going to be fine. And so keep that in mind that like everyone makes mistakes, your kid is not going to be screwed up your kid is going to be fine. And just take it take it as it comes. I think that there’s nothing wrong with tape, downloading that checklist for the bare bones list of what you need, and buying what you need as it comes up as you need it. And in sticking with that. But this is a learning process for everybody. You’re going to be awesome. Good luck.

Maggie Germano 1:02:38
Thank you. Yeah, I think that’s so important. But it’s to remember, it’s a journey. And you’ll figure it out as you go just like everybody else. So is there anything aside from obviously what we’ve just what we were just talking about? Is there anything you want to promote to listeners that you have going on?

Chelsea Brennan 1:02:56
Sure. So well it’s actually not till October. So we have time. But the registration opens in September for our moms talk money summit. So we have, you know, we have over 40 women speaking about money from the perspective of moms and how it impacts our kids and how it impacts our careers and all those things, how we manage money as a couple. And so that’s gonna be really fun this year. We have some great speakers coming out. And so we’d love to see you at that event. It’s free registration opens September 21.

Maggie Germano 1:03:22
Awesome, can’t wait for that and myself. And so I’ll definitely link all that in the show notes and as well as your website and all the other great stuff that you’re up to. How can folks get in touch with you if they want to learn more?

Chelsea Brennan 1:03:34
Sure, so you can find me at, we are @smartmoneymamas on all social platforms. That’s Mama’s Ma Ma s some people spell it differently. And then you can find us at @Mamastalkmoney for the summit.

Maggie Germano 1:03:47
Wonderful. Thank you so much for taking the time. I really enjoyed this conversation.

Chelsea Brennan 1:03:52
Thanks for having me, Maggie.

Maggie Germano 1:03:55
Thank you so much for listening to the money circle podcast this week. If you like the conversations we’re having here and you’d like to go even deeper. Join the new money circle community. In this safe intersectional feminist space. We will break down money shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit to learn more and to join. If you’d like to get more connected with me, subscribe to my weekly newsletter at To learn more about my financial coaching services, my speaking and workshop offerings or just to read my blog visit You can also follow me on instagram and twitter @MaggieGermano. I look forward to hearing from you. Bye bye