Ever since I read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry in third or fourth grade, I have devoured books about the World War II era. I find something about the time period so hauntingly beautiful. While there were so many awful things happening throughout Eastern Europe during the war, there was also so much humanity, resilience, and strength of human spirit. That's probably why I enjoyed The German Midwife so much.
The book takes place in Germany in 1944. Anke, a prisoner in the camps, does what she can to keep her pregnant campmates and their newborns alive.
But when the Reich notices Anke's work, she is silently whisked away from camp and given a task more dangerous than being in a camp. Anke is assigned to be the midwife of Eva, a woman who is pregnant with the Führer’s child. Her family is threatened if she doesn't complete this task, so what is there to do?
The book weaves through Anke's story, bringing in a few kind characters to help Anke along this impossible journey, and reminding us that good and evil are not always black and white, and that gray areas do exist. Will Anke deliver this baby and keep it safe, furthering the cause of the Reich she so detests? Or will she sacrifice this child to help fix a broken world?
The German Midwife is a solidly told, well-written read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and if World War II novels are something you enjoy, then I think this is something you will enjoy as well. I honestly couldn't put the book down and even sacrificed a good night's rest to read a couple more chapters (a decision I really regretted when the kids woke up at 5:45 am).
We all know that as moms, we juggle a lot. Especially when our kids are young - we have to make decisions for them and remember ALL THE THINGS for them. Our brains are occupied a lot of the time by tasks, which although menial, take up so much of our brain power. For a lot of us, this means that other things fall to the wayside - things that we feel like we can address later, or that don't need our immediate attention. Finances is one of those things.
Parenting often results in women being time-poor, acutely so when their children are young or when they’re single mothers. As recently as 2016, mothers of children under six reported dedicating nearly twice the amount of time per day as fathers spent dedicated to childcare, including when both parents work. In more than half (54%) of homes where both parents work full time, the mother does more to manage children’s schedules and activities. That leaves less time for financial management, planning, saving and investing during critical years that can help build a nest egg."
But the truth is, it's so important for us as women to understand our finances, and to plan for our futures. I sat down with Financial Advisor Alicia Figueroa to chat about what financial planning means and how we as women and mothers can actively participate in planning the financial needs of our families.
When you say “Financial Planning” what do you really mean by that?
Financial Planning is a holistic way to approach someone’s personal finances. When people think of a Financial Advisor they may only think about investments and the stock market. Financial Planning is about working with everyday people to make sure that they are creating the right infrastructure to help build good savings habits and protect their family, with the goal of achieving financial freedom. For example, taking advantage of retirement accounts at work, properly funding an Emergency Savings account and Budgeting to understand long term financial needs are all topics I address with clients.
Why do you think it is important for moms to understand Financial Planning?
I think it is important for several reasons. One, women tend to be responsible for the majority of household decisions but are often not informed on the finances of the home. Two, on average women live longer than men. What this means is that women will need more money over the long run, which needs to be planned for.
Most people think they can’t afford a Financial Advisor. What do you usually say to that?
Unfortunately, the word Financial Advisor usually carries a negative stigma because people think that you need a lot of money to even merit seeing one or people are embarrassed about their current financial situation. The reality is Financial Advisors work with people from all different financial backgrounds with the same goal of achieving financial freedom. Often Financial Advisors do not charge a fee for meeting with them. More importantly every meeting is an opportunity to teach our clients the Personal Finance skills that are not taught in school. My goal is for every client to leave a meeting better prepared to make decisions in their everyday life.
What are some of the topics we are going to cover over our next sessions?
I would like to cover some of the topics that I know every parent thinks about like College funding strategies, Budgeting and Retirement. Then I want to go over the ones that some people don’t really have on their radar but that I would argue are even more important than the earlier topics and that is protecting your family from the risk of an unexpected death, sickness or injury.
Alicia is a Financial Planner dedicated to helping individuals become financially independent by creating good savings habits, protecting their assets, and achieving their goals of growing and transferring their wealth. Her goal is to make financial independence a reality for Americans.
Alicia has been in the financial services industry for over 10 years; having worked at Morgan Stanley and Citi prior to joining MassMutual South Florida.
She has an MBA from Wharton and a Masters in International Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her Bachelors in Business Administration from Loyola University New Orleans where she majored in Finance and Marketing. Alicia currently lives in Miami. Prior to that she spent time living in New York, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Sao Paulo. She is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with Alicia, you can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her directly at (305) 776-1032.
Alicia Figueroa is a registered representative of and offers securities and investment advisory services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC. 1000 Corporate Drive, Suite 700, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. (954) 938-8800.
The views and opinions expressed are those of Alicia Figueroa. Alicia Figueroa’s views are not necessarily those of MML Investors Services, LLC or its subsidiaries.
Have questions you'd like for us to answer in this series? Shoot me an e-mail or comment below!
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