Baby Budgeting for Beginners – B3 Monthly – November 2019

B3 Monthly

Summer is here and so is the silly season, so in November’s B³ Monthly we discuss strategies for surviving summer sun, how to save some cash around Christmas, and how best to manage mental health.

Please reach out to Stanford Brown at [email protected] if you are interested in implementing educational seminars or onsite initiatives related to the articles you read below.


Saving your Skin


As an employer that cares about the physical wellbeing of your staff, it is important to keep on top of the number one cancer in Australia, skin cancer.

Keep your employees educated by offering onsite skin cancer education sessions, or do one even better and offer onsite skin checks every year or 2 years.

During a recent skin cancer seminar held at a client’s office, TOTIUM’s Dr Simone Ryan outlined the following ABCD rule when checking your skin:

  • Asymmetry: half the mole does not match the other half
  • Border irregularity: edges of the mole are irregular, ragged, blurred or notched
  • Colour: mole is not the same colour all over. Differing shades of tan, brown, or black may be present, and sometimes patches of pink, red, blue, or white
  • Diameter: larger than 6 millimetres or about ¼ inch, but melanomas can be smaller than this

And always remember to Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap!


Baby Budgeting for Beginners


Most employers have robust maternity (primary care giver) leave strategies to support parents when a new baby is born. But there is little consideration given to those planning to have kids in the near future, or for those pregnant/with pregnant partners, especially in terms of managing the sudden financial burden.

The AMP Financial Wellness study outlines that the time before a person’s first child arrives is the most financial stressful period with 72% feeling financially insecure. And with the cost of raising one child from birth until they finish studying (public school) estimated at $400,000, no wonder this is a stressful time for parents.

To support new parents, employers can start educating employees during the planning stages of having children. There is a lot to consider:

  • New budget strategies for the upfront costs e.g. new clothes, crib, stroller, and ongoing costs e.g. nappies, food, daycare.
  • Public school vs private school – a major consideration based on the difference in cost.
  • Insurances – what happens to your family if you were to suddenly pass away or you were unable to work?
  • Estate planning – Who looks after your children in the event their primary caregivers can’t?

To alleviate some of that financial stress that burdens new families, let’s start talking more about what’s coming up for them. Stanford Brown are experts in financial education – reach out to set up a Planning for Parenthood Program in your workplace.

Or if you want some ace content now, read Stanford Brown adviser James Diegelman’s whitepaper on saving for private schooling here.

HR Extras: Attitude is Everything


A higher IQ is often associated with greater success in life however this may not always be the case. A recent study has found attitude to have a greater correlation with success than IQ.

The study summarised people’s core attitudes tend to fall within one of two categories:

Fixed Mindset

  • These people are of the belief that their abilities such as intelligence and talent are fixed and cannot be changed and that these abilities alone determine success. E.g. A person who is bad at maths today will believe they will always be bad at maths.

Growth Mindset

  • These people believe that abilities are malleable and can grow with time and experience. E.g. A person who is bad at maths today will believe that with hard work effort, they may be able to improve their ability in future.

Those with a growth mindset are more likely to seek challenges and have high resilience in the face of failure, seeing these experiences as opportunities to learn and improve. This contrasts to a fixed mindset where people avoid challenging themselves which limits their growth.

Here are some tips you can begin incorporating today that can start to give you a growth mindset:

  • Be Passionate – If you are passionate about your work, you are more likely to enforce greater, prolonged effort which stimulates growth. To find your true passions, try Warren Buffett’s 5/25 technique.
  • Go the extra mile – Seek continuous feedback from your manager/boss and ask what you can do to improve.
  • Complain Less – A growth mindset looks for positives and for ways they can grow themselves.

As an employer, the goal should be to maximise the number of growth mindset attitudes you have amongst your staff. You can promote this type of behaviour in your work force by hosting education seminars for your employees around attitudes towards work which may improve productivity.


Meaningful Mental Health Management


The importance of mental health has gained traction with employers over recent years with many companies focusing on trendy initiatives such as mindfulness classes and a brief education session on R U OK day. While these one-off sessions can be helpful, they are often a tokenistic approach rather than a long term solution.

A Deloitte study found only 37% of staff were comfortable with talking about mental health with their colleagues. This high level of discomfort regarding mental health within the workplace creates a barrier to developing effective strategies to combat mental health issues as it becomes difficult to identify the root causes.

Stanford Brown’s recent Benefit³ event held in conjunction with Totium, Select Wellness and EQ Consulting discussed the importance of executing targeted, long term approaches to wellness programs. During the panel discussion they found the most effective strategies were programs specifically designed with the company’s unique demographics in mind and focused on building a sustainable culture of holistic wellbeing i.e. not just focused at work life, but also making sure wellness initiatives reach the home.

The programs that were observed to be the least effective, and in some cases detrimental, are those that did not take into consideration the needs of individual employees or didn’t have buy in from top leaders. Martine Beaumont gave the example of a leader in a company talking the wellbeing talk – telling his employees to be mindful of their overall health – but not walking the walk – sending emails at 3 in the morning.

If you would like to hear the full panel discussion, you can do so by clicking here.


Keep your cash for Christmas


It’s (almost) the most wonderful time of the year! But for many of us, Christmas quickly becomes the most expensive time of year.

ASIC’s Money Smart have come up with some quick and easy tips to help you enjoy the holiday season without breaking the bank:

  1. Have a pre-Christmas clean up and sell unused items online, hold a garage sale, or find a local buy-swap-sell. You might just end up making someone else’s Christmas extra special.
  2. Make a list and check it twice – Plan and track what you are spending on presents, entertainment supplies, travel etc to avoid going over budget. Use an app, write it down, or keep track through your online banking.
  3. Be cluey about Christmas credit – although you may be tempted to use those buy now pay later services, the convenience of them can cost you. Don’t find yourself with Christmas debt well into 2020.
  4. Personalise your cards and wrapping
  5. Give to those less fortunate – Consider donating to a charity or volunteering on someone else’s behalf and give this to them as a gift.
  6. Lighten your load on Christmas Day – entertaining costs can skyrocket, so consider sharing the catering with your guests, buying only what you need, switching supermarkets to find the best specials and using loyalty credits!
  7. Plan for next Christmas – Once this holiday season is done and dusted, start planning ahead for 2020! By putting away as little as $20 per week, you will save just over $1,000 in a year’s time.

Employers, remember to promote your amazing benefits during this time of year. By advertising rewards schemes you’ve put in place, you can save your employees hundreds of dollars. Your employees will be grateful that you have their back during a cash poor time of year. Every dollar counts!

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