28 Nov 2014

The Problem With Parents Today

You hear and read this statement all the time, 'parenting 10, 20, 30 years ago is different to how parenting is today'. Raising children evolves as the parenting land scape changes. It needs to to keep up, to assimilate to the rapid changes in society, technology, parenting methods ... everything

I had a conversation with an older parent and the topic of parenting sacrificing came about. I sat there, listened and was semi lectured on the differences between how they sacrificed as parents in their day versus how parents of today sacrifice for their children. My parents taught me good manners and not to talk back to elders, so of course I bit my tongue and listening to her make judgements on the parents of today.

Well she doesn't have a blog does she? So I'm going to rant on here the points I would've said to her hadn't I not been so ... polite ...
  • You spoke about sacrifices you made to give your children what (you thought) they valued, but really those things weren't that important to them. You were too tunnel vision in what you thought would make them happy. What kids want isn't that hard, all they really want is for their parents to be there. 
  • You're such a snob about particular areas and demographics but you were once of them too. You know, working class. It's because of your history and background you're able to have what you have now. 
  • Just because I'm not working doesn't mean I'm not making sacrifices. I'm not at home relaxing all day, doing nothing. I had career aspirations, dreams I've had to put on hold. As you would know as a mother, you're the one always making sacrifices for your family. We just value different things, therefore have different definition of what sacrifice is. 
  • Parenting 20 years ago you guys shipped family over to help you raise your kids and probably didn't pay them for their assistance. Today we don't want to burden our parents or family with the full responsibility of looking after our children, so we send our kids to expensive childcare centres. A cost that you probably didn't have to factor when you were raising children, on top of other financial commitments. 
  • Don't assume all Gen-Y's just spend all their disposable income on material things .... I can assure you I am / my family are an exception. The fact that I am at home is no accident. It has been a financially calculated decision. 
  • Lastly I don't understand why you're complaining when the whole purpose of what you did during your parenting days was so your children could live a little bit more comfortably than you did. They are. You achieved what you were working so hard and hoping to see happen one day, so why does it bother you so much?
Argh!! ... I just had to get that out ... 
I could feel my blood boiling during that conversation and I knew even if I did try and explain things to this person they wouldn't see past their own opinions. Cause that's old people for you ...

What comments do you hate hearing about parenting of parents today?

25 Nov 2014

Protection ... Do You Need It?

Being at home, I get the opportunity to enjoy some day time television. It's pretty rare though as ABC4Kids usually gets precedence over anything I want to watch.

The one thing I noticed about day time viewing is the amount of insurance ads that gets aired and the variety of products, such as insurance for cars, insurance to protect you, insurance for your dogs, insurance to cover your funeral costs ... the list goes on.

Insurance, in particular life insurance, is something that we hear about, we see on tv but most people don't actually understand what it is. Discussing life insurance can be uncomfortable too because it's talking about protecting yourself from situations that you don't want to happen.

I worked in the insurance industry for many years. I wasn't in sales but in IT, in particular the project side of the companies I worked for. I helped these companies build or configure their systems around the products they offered the public. Over the years I finally got my head around the differences between the various insurance products, information I will try to explain so you too can understand the differences.
Note: My explanations and examples are very general. Every insurance product on the market varies and have different terms, conditions and exclusions. Considering any product you should read the Product Disclosure Statement to understand what these are.
What is life insurance?  It is a contract agreement between you (or name of person whose name is on the policy) and insurance company that they will pay a set amount of money if a certain event occurs. How much and what event would trigger a claim depends on the type of life insurance product you have and the conditions of the contract.  The main life insurance products available on the market are:

Insurance policy to cover your life. Its an amount paid to your nominated beneficiaries when you die. For example if you died, your partner or family will get a set sum amount from the insurance company where your policy was held.

A lump sum amount paid to your family to cover the costs associated with your funeral in the event of your death. For example you died, your family would get a set amount of money to cover the funeral costs from the insurance company your funeral cover was with.

Income Protection
Insurance to cover your salary (or part of it) in the event you're unable to work, ensuring you're still receiving an income. For example if you got really sick due to a major illness like cancer and required extended time off work for treatment, this insurance product will supplement your salary while you're away from work.

Total & Permanent Disablement
Insurance policy where you would be awarded a lump sum amount of money in the event you're unable to work due to an illness. For example if you were in a car accident, you became paralysed and unable to continue working, this insurance product will award you a set amount of money.

Insurance where you are awarded a set amount of money in the event you are diagnosed with a critical illness. The difference with this product is that it does not rely on your ability to go to work. For example you own a trauma policy and you find out you have cancer. You can claim against this policy to be awarded an amount of money that could go towards the medical costs.

I didn't want to go into great detail about these products, unless you guys want me to .. and happy to do that too, in a future post. 

So should you get some form of life insurance? Some say life insurance is a waste of money. So is gym membership if you're not going to the gym. It's completely a personal choice and something to really think about.

My personal thoughts are, you insure your car, why not insurer your self? Without you, that car insurance wouldn't get paid anyways. When you have children you tend to wonder whether they'll be okay if you were not around, and putting a plan into place to ensure they are is only natural. 

If you're thinking about or want to know more about these types of products, do speak to an advisor who is qualified to give you financial advice. They should assess your situation and determine the best product or products for your needs. Or at least be able to answer all your questions and hopefully explain and educate you more on life insurance.  

I hope I have explains the different types of life insurance products out there clearly. Let me know if not or if you would like further explanation on any products. Is there a life insurance term or word you've heard and curious to know what it means? What are your thoughts on life insurance in general?

Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

14 Nov 2014

It's My Birthday!!

Another year another Cam (birth) day!! 

It was my birthday today. The past few years I've kinda made a little effort to celebrate my birthday. Why? Because I've realised it's the one day where it can be all about me ... cause every other day it's not. I'd like to stress that fact out, especially if you're one who doesn't normally celebrate their birthday's ... do make a song and dance about it. It's the one day you could get away with being a little "all about me!!". 

Every other day is all about everything else going on in your life, whether it's work, the kids, the business - but your birthday is the one day you can be selfish and be good to yourself. 

Celebrate you. 

Do something, eat whatever you want without guilt, spend it with who you want to see, relax, party, be disconnected if you want ...  just enjoy and celebrate your birth day.

Last year on my birthday I posted 32 things about me so I'm going to repeat it with 33 new things about me.
  1. As a kid my aspirations were to be a singer.
  2. So when I was older I did take some singing lessons for a very short period of time ... and realised I wasn't very good at it. 
  3. I prefer the beach and summer over winter season.
  4. I have a big smile and tiny teeth. 
  5. I took tennis lessons for a short period of time.
  6. I love online shopping, what woman doesn't these days? I even do the groceries online sometimes. 
  7. I like to cook and not too shabby in the kitchen, however I'm no baker.
  8. In recent year I've noticed I skim read a lot and have a short attention span. 
  9. My favourite number is 13. 
  10. I love chocolate. 
  11. Hamburgers are my thing. I'm always on the hunt for look for quality hamburgers in Sydney and or when traveling. 
  12. I was born in the Philippines. My family and I migrated here when I was four years of age. 
  13. I naturally have wavy hair but, since we always want the opposite of what we have I usually straighten it. My wavy hair is the reason why I can curl or put my hair in waves and it maintains it shape for hours. 
  14. I'm a bit funny about my feet. I'm a bit conscious about them. 
  15. I'm currently the president of our strata committee.
  16. I'm naturally quiet. 
  17. I'm opinionated about discussion topics, but can't decide on where to eat out for Sunday lunch. 
  18. My dream holiday would be to go to the Maldives.  
  19. I tend to see the positive in most situations and be optimistic. 
  20. Besides my two pregnancies, in the past I have put on a lot of weight, and lost it three other times in my life. First two times I would admit it was through basically starving myself and not eating, which probably explains why I put the weight back on. Hence why I value fitness and exercise a lot because I know my body needs to work to keep the kilos at bay, I was not gifted with slim genes.
  21. I have two sisters. 
  22. I have two sons.
  23. I've always wanted to learn how to surf and hopefully actually do it day.
  24. Favourite city I've visited so far would be New York but I'd love to travel throughout Italy for an extended period of time one day. 
  25. I haven't seen an episode of Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones. Ok I lied I have seen an episode of Breaking Bad and GoT but it didn't interest me at all. 
  26. I can be impulsive. If I want something I'll go get it and I make decisions quickly. 
  27. I do actually want to see other parts of Australia one day, in particular Perth and Tasmania. They seem like really beautiful places in the world. 
  28. I use to work in IT (information technology) mostly in the finance and insurance sector. 
  29. English is not my strong suit so my spelling, grammer and pronunciation can be pretty poor. Which is ironic cause I have a blog. 
  30. Although I'm left handed I'm a little ambidextrous. I shoot the basketball, play bowling, bat and throw with my right. 
  31. If you couldn't already tell my new hobby (obsession) is CrossFit. 
  32. I hate horror and thriller movies. 
  33. My favourite colour is purple.
For my birthday my sweet husband had a full day planned, he even sent me an itinerary a few hours prior. But yesterday afternoon we noticed Eli's right eye was producing some lovely white green puss. We assumed he had caught conjunctivitis and was confirmed when we went to the doctors first thing this morning. So our plans had to be scaled down to avoid spreading the germs to others and being on antibiotics, he's probably more sensitive to light. 

We originally had plans to have breakfast at Brewtown, lunch at the new burger joint in town called Burger Project. Then head over to Wet'n'Wild in the afternoon to cool down, (it was forecasted to be in the high thirties that day) and then a movie that evening after we dropped the boys off with my inlaws. 
Instead we did make it to Brewtown for brunch, went to a major shopping mall and I did some credit card damage, and by passing discovered a another burger joint called Good Time Burger and was surprisingly really good.

Brewtown goodness
Wood smoked salmon, curried Israeli coucous, poached egg, coriander and lime
Grilled black sausage, eggplant puree, fennel and blood orange salad with goats cheese
Chocolate filled cronut

Naked wagyu burger 
Juicy Lucy burger
Chunky chips

11 Nov 2014

Things Only Parents of Kids With Eczema Understand

I am a parent of two kids with eczema. I have eczema that can flare up too. I've noticed there's a series of routines and behaviours a parent of a child with eczema do. Parents of kids who have eczema can relate to the following:

You know the name of every topical steroid cream on the market.

You know the 7 days on and 5 days off routine.

You suggest days out to the beach not because you like the sun and sand but because the salt water has natural medicating powers on eczema skin.

You secretly hate it when other people point out your kids has eczema.

You hate the summer season cause your child's eczema usually flares up during the heat.

You hate winter cause the season usually dries your child's skin, causing them to itch and irritate their eczema.

You always carry moisturiser with you everywhere.

You get dressed last or at least after you have moisturised the kids to avoid cross contaminating their greasy creams on your clothes.

You get tired of hearing treatment advice from everyone.

You share all your eczema stories and suggestions to anyone who asks you questions on the topic.

You've tried everything to help your child overcome their eczema from creams, ointments, non traditional medicine, salt therapy, changing their diet - there's no bullet treatment that works for everyone.

You buy litre pumps of sorbolene cream and get excited when they're on special. 

You only buy cotton everything - bedsheets, clothing, towels etc.

You know the names of all the recommended eczema specialist / doctors are in your area. 

You only buy products tailored for sensitive skin, including but not limited to dish clothing detergents, soaps, shampoo, conditioner, sun screen ... incase the kids use  these products.

At some point you get grease on your floors, walls, couch, bedsheets, toys, chairs, tv, fridge ... basically any surface in your home your child can touch, because their skin is usually covered in moisturiser and transfer it onto everything.

You don't let your child's skin touch grass often cause it irritates it, even if they're not allergic to grass. And if they have you know they're bathing as soon as they get home. 

You're always telling your child to "Stop scratching!"

Do you have one I missed? What practices or behaviours do you do because of your kids eczema?

Linking up with Essentially Jess

8 Nov 2014

Hyams Beach

Last weekend we went away to Callala, a peaceful beach side suburb south of Sydney. We went away with a few friends. Some who did and some who did not have kids. I was surprised we were able to find a home that could accomodate so many guest under the one roof but we did. The property was right by the beach so we could walk out of the back yard and straight onto the beach foreshore. 

On Sunday we headed to Hyams Beach. Personally I've never been to this beach, so I was really keen to see it since where we were staying was so close and I've heard a lot about this particular beach. It has a reputation to have the whitest sand in the world that squeak, and water that has beautiful shades of green and turquoise. 

It was another forty minutes drive from where we stayed, but it was so worth it. Everything you hear about this place is true ... it really is beautiful. You kind of forget you're still in Sydney taking in the view, it feels more exotic. 

The day we were there was perfect too. The sun was out, it was warm but not burning, the water was cool at first, but after a few minutes of adjusting the temperature was perfect. After you get out of the water you dry so quickly too, maybe its from all the reflection from the sand? And the sand ... it's so fine and so soft on your skin, not that usual grainy texture you find at most beaches. 

I love going to the beach and I really like this beach. We need to head out there more often. If live in Sydney and you haven't seen this beach yet, you must. It is after all, titled with having the world's whitest sand, according to The Guinness World Records. That probably explains why there were tour buses of tourists that arrive throughout the day. 

Now I want to go back this weekend ....

Have a good weekend!

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4 Nov 2014

Advice for Buying First Investment Home

I purchased my first home in 2004 when I was 23 years of age. At the time I didn't think it was a big deal. Maybe because it was just something I knew I had to accomplish ... thanks dad. The property and interest rate land scape was very different back then. So although properties weren't as expensive as they are today, I was paying a mortgage with an interest rate of 13% (compared to today's average rate of 5.6%). At the time I complained and questioned why I'm was even doing this to myself, when I could be enjoying my money like every other 23 year old.

Fast forward to 2014 and we've purchased two more homes and sold one in 2011. I don't claim to know everything but I thought I'd share my advice for purchasing your first investment home:

Just Do It
If you've been saving for this big step but worried about whether you can afford the repayments, concern about affordability, unsure of the property market .... stop making excuses for yourself and just do it. Sometimes its not until we get through things do we realise it wasn't as bad as we thought it would be. 

I think back on when we first found out we were going to be parents, and a big worry I had was whether we were financially ready .... seems we're fine. Things work out, you adjust accordingly and the situation is usually not as difficult as you thought it would be.

No Emotional Attachment 
A friend who is looking to buy his first investment home was telling me about his lack of success in finding a potential first investment. He complained about the properties he had seen and he said "I think about if I lived there ...." I stopped him and pointed out what he just said. You should have no emotional attachment to an investment home. You're not buying a property for you to live in. If you were of course you should be very picky, but if it is an investment you should have a different mind set and look out for different things when looking at properties.

Don't Be a Snob
When we were selling one of our investment properties we showed it to a few friends to try and sell it privately. One friend wanted to get her son into property investment and asked us about looking at the house. I ran into her son at a party and mentioned that his mum and I spoke, however his response was different to his mother's and he questioned the area of the property. 

Quietly I was annoyed, offended and thought, "So you think you can afford Cronulla do you?" You need to be realistic. You need to do your homework and look out for potential growth area's, suburbs of blue collared families, find out area's where there are future infrastructure plans, how about buying in another state other than Sydney? - Again its about having an investor mind set.
Buy Cheap
Talking to another potential first time property investor, they mentioned "I've been pre approved for $900,000" You don't want to be paying off a $900K loan, unless its a home you're living in. You want to buy an investment that's as cheap as possible so the repayments aren't taking up too much of income. I actually suggest figuring out the loan repayment on an X amount mortgage, there are many online mortgage repayment calculators but the bank (or building society) you do decide to go with to get your loan should also provide this information to you as well. 

Buy Off The Plan 
Keep an look out for off the plan opportunities. Prices are usually more favourable because the property is yet to be developed. Once the property is complete the value usually goes up, (so you've already made a small amount of profit if you wanted to sell) hence why once finished will drive prices up. Only disadvantage is you don't physically see or get your property until it is complete, but unless you plan to live in it that's not a big deal. 

Think Long Term
Don't be turned off by trends, comments about property prices, suggestions on when's a good time to buy or sell, stories of people who buy property X and sold it two years later for Y amount more. Investments property is considered long term investments ... think years. Any property does increase in value over time, but that time period can vary, and no one can predict how long you need to hold on to a property before it's a good time to sell it. You need to be prepared to be paying off the loan, shouldering the cost of any repairs, insurance, strata fees etc for several years before you may see any return on your investment. 

Speak to People
I naturally always ask for recommendations or advice from people. That's why I reference Trip Advisor when planning a holiday, go to forums like Whirlpool to read people's opinions on a topic or product, and have a Taste account so I can read reviews on recipes before I decide to tackle it. 

I feel the same way about major decisions like getting into property investment. Speak to people who know their stuff and have experience. I've spoke before about people who are in position to give advice but don't have anything to show for it. You should speak to qualified financial experts but also speak to people who have been there and done it. They probably have more insight and information to share based on their personal experience. 

Also be open to paying for quality advice or service too. We all know the saying 'you get what you pay for', so if you're turned off by fees and only want free advice all the time expect you may get poor and cheap service too. 

Have you thought about investing in property? Why haven't you taken the leap yet? Care to share your fears? Have you ever purchased an investment property? What's the one advice or lesson have you would share from your experience?

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