A New Boomer Grandma’s Tips for Buying the Right Stuff

Only two weeks till I become a first-time grandmother – and I desperately need some baby basics. I’m told that the must-have item these days is the Pack ‘n Play. That’s what we used to call a playpen, children, but now it’s a “play yard, complete with options like “micro-fleece newborn napper station, changing table attachment, night light (!), music player (!!) and detachable toy bar. As someone who came of age in the ’60s, may I just say: Shoot me now. …

Tips for Empty Nesters on Selling the Family Home

Last spring Cathy and Gary Chester put their ranch home in Morris County, N.J., on the market. Come August, the house is unsold and Cathy admits that she’s enjoying another summer in the home that the couple built 21 years ago. What saddens her is the prospect of closing a chapter in her life. “This is where – young, married, pregnant with my son – I started a new part of my life that ends when I sell the house,” …

Creditors Can Snatch Your (Inherited) IRA, Supreme Court Rules

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling has just made estate planning a lot more cumbersome for some high-net-worth parents who want to leave tax-free money in a Roth IRA to a child. Retirement accounts are protected from creditors in bankruptcy cases so people don’t wind up destitute in old age. However, the court unanimously ruled on Thursday that this is not the case for those who inherit IRAs. The court decision involves a case of a woman who inherited about $450,000 in an IRA from her mother …

Let’s Celebrate Black Fatherhood by Reclaiming the Status of Black Fathers

He is often the most overlooked member of the family. And in American culture, though he is often misrepresented, his role is undeniable. Across the nation, black fathers are coming home from work or seeking work every day. Some are wearing neckties, some coveralls, a company uniform or whatever is required for their occupations. These men are involved in the lives of their children and families, who look up to them, who are inspired and protected by them, and who …

Why I’m Ditching My Smartphone With the Kids Around

Last week I took my 4-year-old granddaughter to the dress rehearsal for her dance recital. Instead of  enjoying the show, I pulled out my iPhone to record the performance and focused on the screen. But I recorded in slow-mo by mistake; no video! I missed her dancing both real time and digitally. A few days later, heading down 42nd Street in New York, I happened upon hundreds of people with smartphones stretched overhead trying to capture a rare occurrence known …

For Some Parents, Every Day Is Memorial Day

In World War II, families learned of a loved one killed in action by telegram. My husband’s grandfather, with two military sons, recalled watching the telegram delivery man ride his bike down the street and praying that he would not stop at his door. Today a uniformed service member delivers the notification in person. Since 2001, the families of almost 7,000 men and women have opened their front doors to that devastating news. In that instant, life changes, leaving parents, …