Gay Dad Life

2TravelDads Share Practical Tips to Help You Save for Family Trips

Recently, we saw some online promotion and hashtags around saving up for the future and just general thoughts on good practices with money. Chris and I started talking about life and how we’re set up for later on and we realized that we’re actually already on a good track, without having put too much effort into it. Now we’ve decided that it’s time to start intentionally doing a better job saving for the future by making some solid plans.


Since we travel a bunch, it makes sense that travel is one of the things we save for. We’re pretty conscious of this and actively make an effort to save for traveling with the kids.  The other thing we’re saving for is retirement, but we’re changing that up real quick because we’ve been pretty passive about it. What else should we be saving for?

Note: We are not financial advisors and are only sharing what we’ve done through the years to save and have travel funds available. Talk to an actual certified financial planner if you get inspired to save for the future.

Teaching our kids to save

I’ll be the first to tell you that we’re not going to go out and buy cars for our kids or jump on co-signing a credit card with them the day they move out and want to go have fun. What we ARE doing, though, is setting them up for success without them even knowing. From saving their little bits of money in piggy banks to having conversations with our Oldest about making quality purchases, we’re working to instill a sense of value and financial understanding as best as we can.

One of our New Year’s resolutions is to set up the kids’ own savings accounts with our bank. Why haven’t we done this yet? Because we always forget to bring their info with us when we're by our bank. No other reason. We just keep spacing it.

2017: The year of saving for the future… and really helping the kids build a framework for their own futures.

Note: a lot of banks offer special accounts for kids that don’t carry fees and have special rates in hopes of encouraging kids to save. Why not take advantage of that?

Saving for travel

For so many people, exciting travel seems like a complete pipe dream. I recently read an article that made me chuckle. It said travel isn’t accessible to everybody and we should all stop saying that it is. But I know differently! If you budget, research, save, plan and are responsible with money, travel is completely accessible. True, your dream of spending two months lying on a beach in Tahiti might not be feasible any time soon, but awesome weekend trips, road trips or not-too-distant beach holidays are attainable. Saving for the future can be travel related and doesn’t have to feel totally ridiculous or irresponsible.

We have a savings account we use for travel expenses and any sort of freelance income we get that’s not already earmarked for another project or known expense is put into this account. Those who don't have freelance incomes can add to the account with bonuses, commissions and tips.

Disclaimer: I make money from writing and photography which we consider a bonus since my actual job is being a stay-at-home-parent. This is HUGE help in saving for travel, but it’s not the only way we fund it.

Another way we’ve been able to save for travel in the past has been with stock grants through our employers. True, the nature of stock grants is for long-term investing and building wealth, but when you’re young and not terribly concerned about the big picture and find great value in the experience of travel, exercising stock options may be an idea to fund your adventures. (We’re not saying to shift what you’ve been saving for the future to go drinking in Cancun, just making the point that employer stock programs are an option to fund life-changing travels that truly expand your family's horizons.)

One other thing we’ve leveraged to make our travel more affordable: credit card points. I say “points” and not miles because every bank is different and ours offers a point system that is REALLY flexible.  It’s been a lifesaver for booking travel!

Saving for early retirement

Life is about so much more than working. Yes, having a career / job is important and it’s how you'll secure your future and ensure that you’ll be able to live independently from your kids. But we've recently started thinking about what it would be like to be able to fully enjoy life without being obligated to an employer or needing to work in order to pay bills.

We’ve also started talking about our big life goals, like when we want to be able to retire. This is not so relevant for me because I get to be a stay-at-home-dad, but Chris works really hard for our family at a desk job. We would love to have him officially retire before 60, but so far don't no how to make this dream happen. Once we realized how quickly time passes, saving for our future has suddenly become crazy important to us!

We want to be the type of parents who are there for our adult children. We want to be able to be grandparents who are present and available to enjoy the family we’ve spent our lives building. If we can retire early, hooray! We’ll love being those old guys who get to tote their grandkids around and show-up unannounced at our kids’ houses for BBQ. Of course, we have no clue how much we'll even need to retire, so here's how we're getting started now:

  • Reviewed our 401K savings and looked at the distribution
  • Reviewed the stocks we've gained from employer grants over the years (and that we had not yet cashed out)
  • Found a highly-recommended local financial advisor we're meeting with. We're really looking forward to taking this big step!
  • Creating a savings cushion

    Again, this is something that for so many people seems to be merely a dream in the distance. First, let me define "savings cushion" as funds available in a savings account and accessible for emergencies, like an unplanned and totally ridiculous home or car repair, or the unexpected long-distance travel to help care for an ailing family member. When you feel your world starting to slip a bit, this cushion helps keep you standing.

    So, how do you create this savings cushion? Squirreling away a little bit here and there really adds up over time.  When I say a “little bit” I truly mean a small amount. One man’s change is another man’s fortune, right?  Well, here are some ways you can hide that money away and then someday have a nice surprise or even a small safety net. I refer to these as ad hoc savings, because they're just that -- spur-of-the-moment or blatantly visible savings options that will do the trick of saving with nothing complex about them. For instance, for our rainy day funds, we use a piggy bank. Taking out an extra $10 or so when at the grocery store and the teller asks “Cash back?” and then putting it someplace out of sight.

    There are also savings resources that a lot of people have available to them but might not take advantage of or even know about. For instance:

  • “Keep the change” debit transfers, where your bank puts a little into savings with each transaction
  • Health Savings Account - I am listing this because the pre-tax dollars are a “big picture” savings. When a medical emergency or routine expense comes up, you’re not pulling from your travel fund or taking out a 401K loan.
  • Employer stock programs - if your employer offers it, you may be able to put away a small percentage of each paycheck towards purchasing company stock at a discounted price.  This is great because it typically is done quarterly and with minimal restrictions or tax penalties.
  • Everybody has a different financial situation, but even the smallest amount of saving will grow over time and when you see the growth you can feel encouraged to go deeper into saving for the future. And if we learn anything new or have any huge breakthroughs in how to teach kids about money, I promise to share them ASAP! It’s another part of parenting that’s changing every day and we’re navigating for the first time. Happy saving!!

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    Gay Uncles

    Gay Uncles are an Essential Part of This Gay Dad Family's Village

    It takes a village to raise a child, and this village includes many gay uncles

    In November last year, Ottawa-based husbands Matt Ottaviani and Rej Gareau (whose story we shared in July) became first-time dads through surrogacy. They were overjoyed to welcome their daughter Andy and become a family of three.

    But as many of us know, raising a child isn't always just about the nuclear family. The African proverb "it takes a village to raise a child" is a commonly repeated phrase, and rings very true for many families. Matt and Rej are no different, and when they shared their story last month, one thing jumped out to us: the important role Andy's guncles play in her and her dads' lives.

    In honor of Gay Uncles Day today, we reached out to Andy's many guncles to learn first-hand how their relationship with the family affects their lives. Here's what they had to say.

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    Gay Dad Life

    Need a Sitter for Your Kids? Gays With Kids Reviews UrbanSitter

    Back-to-school is already here for some of us, and if you're looking for a sitter to help out with school runs, after-school pick-ups, and the occasional date night, check out our review of UrbanSitter.

    Instagram @davidcblacker

    We moved from New York to Boston the summer of 2017. Along with the Manhattan skyline, our beloved Broadway, and late-night cookie deliveries, we also left behind our sitters — two sisters who had become more like family.

    After settling for several months into our new home and neighborhood, we realized we hadn't had a dads' night out since our move. Our kids were still too young to leave alone at night, so I began what I presumed would be the tedious task of finding a sitter.

    The first thing I did was to leave a post on our local parents' Facebook group. The dad of one of our daughters' classmates told me about UrbanSitter, a website and mobile app that he'd had success using to find last-minute sitters a few times. He also mentioned that within the app, I could see see babysitters and nannies recommended by parents at our kids' school in addition to local parenting groups.

    While I appreciated the tip, I let him know that I was really hoping for a direct referral. But when none others came from the — other than a couple of middle schoolers looking for their first sitting jobs — I decided to give it a try.

    Keep reading... Show less

    Move over Modern Family, there are some new gay dads taking over the small screen! Big Bad Boo Studios is bringing their animated series The Bravest Knight to Hulu. The series is based upon a children's book called "The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived" by Daniel Errico, and it follows the life of Sir Cedric - now grown and married to Prince Andrew - as he regales their adopted daughter Nia with tales of his knighthood journey as she trains to become a knight herself.

    "We are so excited about The Bravest Knight, its values and our partnership with Hulu," said Shabnam Rezaei, the director of the series and co-founder of Big Bad Boo Studios. "They understand how to push the envelope with authentic storytelling."

    "I immediately fell in love with the idea of a girl wanting to work hard and make something of herself," Rezaei continued. "I also have a nephew who has two dads, so it's a very personal issue for me. I want him to have role models when he's watching TV. I want him to feel like having two dads is completely normal. That's what this show is going to do for him."

    Errico's book was first realized as an animation when Hulu created a short film based upon his writing and were interested in exploring the concept of a full series. "I watched the eight minutes on Hulu and at the end the prince and the knight get married and I was in tears," says Rezaei. Rezaei then stepped in to create all new art work including new character design by Tim Linklater and backgrounds by Sarita Kolhatra. Together, they created a kickass bible and pitched the series to Hulu and were successful.

    Diversity and inclusivity is celebrated throughout The Bravest Knight, reflected by its casting choices. Nia is played by Storm Reid, from "A Wrinkle in Time," and her dads Sir Cedric and Prince Andrew are voiced by T.R. Knight and Wilson Cruz respectively. The star studded cast also includes Wanda Sykes, Bobby Moynihan, RuPaul, Steven Weber, Teri Polo, AJ McLean, Jazz Jennings, Maz Jobrani and Christine Baranski as the formidable Red Dragon.

    "With so many wonderful stories yet to be told, we hope that The Bravest Knight stands as an example of the undeniable strength in inclusivity, and the inherent joy in all forms of love and identity," said Errico, the author of the original book.

    The first 5 episodes were released on June 21, and there are 8 more planned for release before the end of the year. Be sure to tune in!

    This is the Main Title Song for Big Bad Boo's Hulu Original Series "The Bravest Knight". The song is performed by Justin Tranter and composed by Michael Plow...

    Popular

    'Our Family is Complete': Congrats to Gay Dads on Their Recent Births and Adoptions!

    Join us in congratulating all of the gay men in our community whose families grew recently!

    Wishing all of these gay dads congratulations on their exciting news this month. From becoming first-time dads to finalizing adoptions, congrats to everyone in our community on their wonderful news!

    Circle Surrogacy is the proud sponsor of this month's congrats post. They were founded in 1995 on the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to be a parent. "For over 20 years we've helped LGBTQ+ couples and singles around the world fulfill their dreams of parenthood. We've helped bring more than 1,900 babies into this world... and counting!"

    Congratulations to Andrew and Edward on finalizing the adoptions of their twins!

    For Andrew and Edward, their foster parent training plus home study took about a year. "We had a brief placement of twin girls that were four years old two months after we had been approved," said Andrew. "Then we took a break as it was a difficult process, the 'loss' aspect, when that placement ended."

    Then on March 15, 2017, their case worker sent them information about two little babies - a boy and a girl - that were still in the NICU and only nine days old. "It was a foster case with an uncertain future, but we decided those little babies needed us!" They dads took a leap of faith and on July 10 this year, their twins' adoptions were finalized. Andrew and Edward have a wonderful bond with the paternal grandmother as well as a special relationship with the twins' father. "We all love these twins, and the more love they have the better their lives will be."

    "Adoption is one of those experiences where one side experiences incredible joy while the other side experiences incredible loss," continued Andrew. "We are grateful to experience this joy knowing that biological family members are happy for us to experience that joy."

    Congratulations to this Mt Airy, Philadelphia, forever family of four!

    Congratulations to Sean and Thomas on finalizing the adoptions of their twins!

    Together 15 years, London couple Sean and Thomas recently finalized the adoption of their twins.

    "About 3 years ago we started meeting adoption agencies and were approved as prospective adopters the following spring," shared Thomas. "We were anticipating a long wait, but quite quickly were matched with our twins. At the time they were nearly five."

    After a fairly long transition period for everyone to get settled in, the adoption was formalized the day after Father's Day. "Two years after matching, at times it seems like the kids have been with us forever and other times a blink of an eye. But it is certainly the most life-changing, transformative experience and we cannot imagine life without them. It's wonderful that our family is now official!"

    Congratulations to Phillip and Clinton on the birth of their daughter Madison!

    Little Madison joined her dads on July 1, 2019, after coming into the world via surrogate.

    "I caught Madison as she was born," said Phillip. "I have never felt such an exhilarating rush in my entire life! We were genuinely in love at first sight!"

    Now that we Phillip and Clinton are dads, they say they feel a "sense of wholeness" in their lives! "We have a new motivation and purpose in life! It's truly the greatest blessing!"

    These new dads and the apple of their eye live in Texas.

    Congratulations to Michael and Tyler on the birth of their twins, Elliot and Oliver!

    Herriman, Utah, couple Michael and Tyler have been together for 9 years, and married for 3. "In the beginning of our relationship we knew how important family was and how much we wanted to be dads," said Micheal. "After we got married we met with a couple surrogacy agencies and were advised to meet with an IVF clinic before proceeding. In doing so, we found that going through a surrogacy journey independently was very possible."

    So the dads decided to shift gears and work in that direction, booking a follow up appointment with the clinic. "We met with their 3rd party coordinator over the surrogate process and she did not have any inquiries of any surrogates." Serendipitously, and unbeknownst to the husbands at the time, their future surrogate made an appointment to talk about being a gestational carrier for a same-sex couple. "The next day we got the unexpected call that someone was interested and open to meet. From there the rest was history as we continued with the surrogacy process."

    Over a year later, the dads welcomed their two sons. "The first time we got to hold the boys, it felt so natural to us, as if nothing else in the world existed and time stood still as we got lost in the moment."

    Congratulations to Adam and Josh on finalizing the adoption of their daughter!

    Adam and Josh got engaged on Good Morning America on Valentines Day, and welcomed their Christmas miracle baby into their lives on December 26th. On July 12 this year, they celebrated becoming a forever family of three.

    "For an event that always seemed like it would be the end of our adoption journey, Baby K's Finalization Day felt more like the beginning of a greater adventure," shared Adam. "Since day one, Baby K was always loved and 100% part of our family, but we are so filled with joy to see this day come and make it officially official. We cannot wait to spend the rest of our lives not only watching Baby K grow and develop, but also to see the two of us learn and grow in this new role as parents."

    Congrats to these Dallas dads!

    Congratulations to Dan and Martin on the birth of their son Herman! 

    Copenhagen couple Dan and Martin welcomed their second child through surrogacy on July 11 this year in Florida, USA. Herman joins big sister Ellen, born March 1, 2015, in Vermont via surrogacy. Here's a little more.

    "Two amazing American women and their families took us in as their own and we're forever bonded," said Dan about their path to fatherhood experience. "It has been an amazing journey with both of them, our family is complete."

    Congrats to the Danish family!

    This post is sponsored by Circle Surrogacy

    Circle was founded in 1995 on the belief that everyone should have the opportunity to be a parent. To this day, that belief is at the core of everything we do. For over 20 years we've helped straight and LGBTQ+ couples and singles around the world fulfill their dreams of parenthood. We've helped bring more than 1,900 babies into this world... and counting!

    We're an agency comprised of social workers and lawyers, accountants and outreach associates, and program managers and coordinators; but, more importantly, we're an agency made up of parents, surrogates and egg donors, who are passionate about helping people build their families, and invested in each and every journey.

    Circle is proud to have helped so many gay families achieve their dreams of becoming parents. Together, we make parenthood possible.®

    News

    Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

    In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals.

    In a post on Facebook, Ed Smart, father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, came out as gay. He also discussed his strained relationship with his Mormon faith, claiming he felt he didn't feel comfortable living as an openly gay man in a church with a difficult history with respect to its LGBTQ members. He and his wife, Lois, have filed for divorce.

    "This is one of the hardest letters I have ever written," he began the letter. "Hard because I am finally acknowledging a part of me that I have struggled with most of my life and never wanted to accept, but I must be true and honest with myself." He went on to acknowledged a new set of challenges facing he and his family as they navigate a divorce and his coming out — in the public eye, no less — but concluded, ultimately, that it's a "huge relief" to be "honest and truthful about my orientation."

    He went on to condemn The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. "I didn't want to face the feelings I fought so hard to suppress, and didn't want to reach out and tell those being ostracized that I too am numbered among them. But I cannot do that any longer."

    In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Ed Smart further discussed his reasons for coming out now, as a 64-year-old man.

    "I mean, I knew that it would probably come out at some point, just because people can't leave things alone. I did anticipate that it would happen at some time, but my intention in writing it was to try to let my friends and family know, you know my extended family ... know where things were. So, you know, I was really concerned about how the rumor mill starts," he told the paper. "I knew that at some point in time, that would come out," he elaborated. "I didn't know when it would come out, and so I would rather have it come out the way that it did versus having some rumors going around, and you know the crazy way things can get twisted."

    In 2002, Ed Smart's daughter Elizabeth was abducted at knife point by a married couple from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah. She suffered physical and sexual abuse at the couple's hands, for nine months, until she was finally rescued by police. During the ordeal, papers — including the Salt Lake Tribute — speculated about Ed Smart's sexual orientation based on some fabricated information sold to the paper by tabloids like the National Enquirer. (The Enquirer retracted the story, and the reporters at the Tribute were ultimately fired.)

    "I think that in April I started feeling like I needed to prepare something," Smart told the Tribute. "Because during Elizabeth's ordeal, there were things said, and it wasn't what I wanted to say, and I was not going to allow that to happen again."

    As to how his family has taken the news, Smart said they've been "very kind" to him. "I think it was very difficult to have this kind of come out of the blue. I don't think any of them knew I was struggling with this, so it was something they were, if you want to call it, blindsided by. I totally get that. They've really been very wonderful."

    Congrats to Ed Smart on making the difficult decision to live his truth. Read his full letter here and his interview with the Tribute here.

    Personal Essays by Gay Dads

    "Rollercoaster and Sons," Explores the Journey of One Single Gay Dad Through the Foster-Adopt System

    When it comes to the foster-adopt system, "there is no roadmap," said single gay dad Chase Turner

    Guest post written by Chase Turner

    Many of us thought long and hard about what avenues were best to pursue being a dad. For me, fostering to adoption was the selected road. There is no roadmap here, many things that came my way were learned by doing. Along the way, I started wishing I had a better support group or people who could understand what it's like to be gay and attempting to adopt. Often we (people who are LGBT) feel scrutinized and judged for choices that the majority makes but for us there is pushback. Once my adoption was complete, I felt it was necessary that I put pen to paper and write this story, from a gay male perspective.

    My goal was to provide a voice in the space of foster care and adoption where there is a void. Additionally, I wanted to provide an authentic look at all facets of the process, from the kids, to the obstacles and challenges that happened within my personal life. I do hope you enjoy and more importantly can relate or prepare yourself for a similar journey.

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    Fun

    Gay Dad Penguins Strike Again! This Time in Berlin Zoo

    The latest male penguins to care for an egg together are Skipper and Ping in the Berlin Zoo.

    First, there was Roy and Silo — the two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo that served as inspiration for the famous children's book And Tango Makes Three. Then Magin Sphen got together in Sydney, where aquarium keepers gave the cocks (Calm down, that's what a male penguin is called!) a foster egg to care for.

    And now, please welcome Skipper and Ping in Berlin to the latest list of gay dad penguins! As soon as the two emperor penguins arrived at the city's zoo, they set about trying to start a family, said Berlin Zoo spokesman Maximilian Jaege to DPA news.

    "They kept trying to hatch fish and stones," Jaeger said.

    So the zookeepers loaned the penguins an egg from a female penguin, who is apparently uninterested in hatching eggs on her own, according to the BBC.

    Unsurprisingly, the gay penguins are killing it as parents. "The two male penguins are acting like exemplary parents, taking turns to warm the egg," Jaeger said,

    Read the whole article on DPA here.

    Fatherhood, the gay way

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