Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Thirty Days of Smart Money Choices...
What areas fall under the umbrella of family finance? This is a question each family must answer in order to manage their money well. Here are some reminders to consider when making your list:
1) Giving to church, charities, your personal ministry or charity to others
2) Preparing tax forms and keeping tax records; understanding how the tax code applies to your particular situation; hiring tax help or obtaining free tax help if you need to.
3) Selecting appropriate investments
4) Finances involving the purchasing, furnishing, and upkeep of a home; finances regarding building a home or re-modeling a home if your family chooses to do so; weighing the financial pros and cons of renting versus buying.
5) Buying the right kinds and right amounts of insurance
6) Stretching a food budget -- Weighing cost of food items, health of food items, time to prepare, etc. Making menu and shopping lists that meet your family's needs for nourishing and comforting foods, yet do not exceed your budget.
7) Handling a clothing budget; making sure all members of family are adequately clothed; making sure that you have appropriate clothing for lifestyle, climate, and season.
8) Setting up a retirement plan; maintaining your retirement plan; Reviewing it, updating it from time to time.
9) Wills, living wills,
10) Sending children to college or otherwise preparing for them to receive career training.
11) Teaching children how to handle money; setting allowances
12) Purchasing, maintaining a car and fuel -- weighing out pros and cons of owning cars if you live in a huge metropolitan area with lots of public transportation; parking costs; toll road costs; public transporation costs
13) If you work outside the home: work wardrobe, childcare costs, lunch costs, etc.
14) If you operate a home business -- all of the finances, taxes, licenses, profit, promotional costs, cost of doing business related to your enterprise.
15) Forming relationships with trusted bank, lawyer, CPA, any other financial institution or professional as needed; choosing advisors wisely
16) Educating yourself enough about economics at a national level in order to vote wisely and according to your personal convictions.
17) Determining if you want to further your education.
18) Educating yourself in order to be a wise consumer.
19) Debt reduction
20) Making sure family is united in financial goals and priorities.
21) Understanding what financial aid, government programs, student loans, lunch programs, etc. are in place if your family needs financial assistance. Weighing pros and cons of assistance. Having a plan to pay off any loans and to get to point where can function without assistance.
22) Setting up files, online banking, automatic bill payment, automatic check deposit, etc. Having a financial center of your home where you keep track of computer records and paper work, too.
If you're like me, you may not enjoy taking care of paperwork and the nitty-gritty details of financial matters. Still, it's a needed function for a family. The best thing to do is for a couple to determine their goals and priorities, to come up with a plan, and to create procedures that make it easier to carry out this plan.
Happy Home Keeping!