Why we need to talk about money

LG_SM_66_0248.tif;lowMoney is something that few of us really like to talk about. Let’s face it, things like savings, life insurance and salaries aren’t always the easiest or the most interesting topics of conversation. Yet, as parents, we have a responsibility to deal with them properly. So, why is it that so few of us talk about money?

Money is seen as a social taboo according to new research from Legal & General. They found that nearly half of us think that it’s a private matter not to be talked about, yet two fifths of us (41%) say money is one of their biggest stresses. Legal & General Assurance Society executive director and chief executive John Pollock, said “taking the time and having the confidence to talk about financial planning is hugely important – not just for financial reasons but for our wellbeing too.”

This research is part of the company’s campaign to tackle this ‘money taboo’. “We need to break this social norm and start talking about money. No matter what the situation or stage of life, achieving financial security begins with having the right conversation” said Pollock. As part of the campaign, Legal & General have been touring the country, including nearby Lakeside shopping centre, to find out what topics many of us find difficult to talk about and encourage people to open up about finances.

There are many financial issues that arise when you have children; whether it’s ensuring that you can afford the day-to-day necessities or saving for your child to go to university. Simply feeding another mouth can put tremendous strain on lots of families and 39% of people say that worrying about money increases the pressure of family life. But the thing is that talking about money, sharing advice and spending more time planning personal finances can help to reduce this stress. We also need to set a good example to our kids, teaching them about the value of money and the importance of financial planning from a young age.

SONY DSCIt’s not just about day to day stuff, what would happen to my children if something bad happened? We need to plan for any unpleasant surprises life might throw at us. Death is something else we don’t like to talk about but all of us should ensure that if the unthinkable does happen, we would have done all that we could to ensure that our loved ones are financially secure.

If you’re inspired, but don’t know how to start having these conversations, check out Legal & General’s tips on how to approach those difficult topics we often struggle to talk about:

Become a Hero for Hattie and Give Blood

hattieDear Essex Mums,

Two weeks ago I was told the news no parent wants to hear. My baby girl has leukaemia.

A normal Tuesday school run with my 5 and 1year olds, followed by a 999 call and an ambulance to Southend hospital. Only to be told on Wednesday morning that my 1year old Harriet (known as Hattie) has cancer.

Since then we have been in Great Ormond Street hospital undergoing chemotherapy, various surgeries, numerous blood and platelet transfusions. This is why I am writing to you all. Without these blood and platelet transfusions – Hattie wouldn’t be alive today. So I am asking all of you to please consider becoming a life saver by donating blood on a regular basis, maybe even sign up to be a stem cell donor. Many mums cannot donate due to various reasons but if you can’t, then please seek/bribe/convince someone else to.

Hattie’s Heroes is our Facebook page for any news or information. We are raising money for Leukaemia CARE but our main priority is something money can’t buy – blood donations.

From my gorgeous Hattie and her mummy x ”


Give Blood

The Gender Issue In Kids’ Clothing

Tootsa MacGinty winter 2011 collection photographsWhen we think of children’s clothing, most of us think of all the cute garments we can purchase for our kids. From dress-up clothes that make them look like little adults, to playful and themed clothes for particular occasions, to the everyday attire they wear the most, kids’ wardrobes can be a great deal of fun (and, yes, some hassle) for parents. However, in recent years there’s been an interesting debate on a not-so-subtle dark side to children’s clothing: namely, the promotion of gender inequality and stereotypes.

That may sound a little bit dramatic if you haven’t come face to face with the problem. However, it’s certainly fair to say that certain brands and stores have indeed allowed for sexist messages to creep into kids’ clothing designs. The New York Times tackled this issue back in 2011, having posted a brief editorial citing contrasting messages such as girls’ clothes with “Pretty Like Mommy” and boys’ reading “Smart Like Daddy.” These are two specific examples, but they capture a general theme that girls are shallow and only interested in looks while boys are intelligent and ambitious. Even more recently (this past October), Daily Mail ran a story with similar findings, noting boys’ “Future Man Of Steel” shirts and girls’ accompanying “I Only Date Superheroes” options. The article noted that giant retailers Target and Walmart are indeed facing backlash over these types of clothing.

Frankly, it’s a pretty bad problem, and the time elapsed between the New York Times and Daily Mail articles reveals that despite public attention (and outrage), it hasn’t gone anywhere. However, there is a silver lining, and it comes in the form of good old-fashioned do-it-yourself problem solving. In many cases, the solution to a problematic product is to offer a better alternative—and leading the way in approaching this solution as it pertains to kids’ clothes is Kate Pietrasik, a mother and clothing designer who had seen enough.

Tired of clothing that promoted gender inequality and problematic stereotypes, Pietrasik decided to launch a gender-neutral children’s retail option. Thus, Tootsa MacGinty was born, and while the company remains modest next to some of the retailers responsible for the greater issue, it has begun to generate attention both for its headlines and its purpose. On the one hand, Pietrasik’s company provides light-hearted, comfortable options that most kids will enjoy wearing. But even more importantly, they can all be worn by both boys and girls as all of them avoid pinning gender-specific messages on kids.

It’s still an uphill battle when you consider how long the public has more or less tolerated sexist kids’ clothing. But with the issue now in the news with increasing regularity and with people like Kate Pietrasik working to offer alternatives, the hope is that gender inequality can eventually be eradicated—at least in the clothes we put our toddlers in!


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