According to one study, nearly 60 percent of mothers manage and control their household expenses alone, with 30 percent sharing the responsibility with their spouses, and just 11 percent relinquish total control of their family’s finances to their husbands. Many of these Moms are also working which means they are trying to balance work and home life in addition to balancing the family checkbook. This can make for a stressful situation, so consider the following advice from financial experts:
You share the money so share the responsibility
Some women guard the job of household CFO jealously and would be more stressed if their spouse tried to interfere. That, however, is not the norm and most women would welcome some help with the family finances. The problem is they don’t ask for help. If your spouse is a financial nightmare or allergic to doing finances you may have no choice but to do them yourself. If so, read on for some tips to make your job easier. If your spouse is willing and capable of helping then let them do so. Paying bills is a necessary evil that can take time so let them help. Investigating options regarding investments or retirement and education funds could be their job so that you can make informed decisions together. How you divide the task is debatable but it has to start with you asking for help.
Automate your Finances
Whether you and your spouse share the CFO job or you do it yourself, you can automate many of the functions required to manage the family fortune. Most utility bills, property tax payments and even things like subscriptions can be set to automatic payment with your financial institution. Your loan and mortgage payments are taken automatically so why not your other recurring bills. Some people fear they will loose control of their balance if they don’t pay each bill themselves or they might slip into an overdraft. It is faster to look at your bank accounts and your payment schedule online than it is to pay every bill individually and reconcile your accounts by hand. You can also arrange for overdraft protection with your financial institution so that you are protected from unpleasant surprises.
Develop a system
Cramming bills into a kitchen drawer is not really a system even if you believe it works for you. The process of managing the family finances need not be complicated but it should be organized and consistent. Establish a place to file all incoming bills so that you or your spouse can open the mail and file things where both can find them. If you are sharing the CFO job then either one can go to the file and pay bills when time permits. If you have bills that are not paid automatically, consider entering the payment date for each bill into an online calendar that you and your spouse share. This same calendar can also include notifications of when to review investments, top up RRSPs etc. Many of these calendars can be synced with your smart phone and send notifications of when things are due. If setting a day to pay bills works best for you then do so. Some experts suggest that spreading the task out makes it seem like less of a chore and allows you to maximize the interest you earn rather than sending that money to a creditor before the bill is due.
Get Professional Help
Many people feel their finances do not warrant the assistance of a professional adviser or they’re concerned they will pay exorbitant fees for such assistance. You may not have a six-figure portfolio but you can still get help to organize your finances and you can get it for free. An institution like Your Credit Union has no mandate to make a profit from their members so they will give you free advice that is also free of any hidden motives. They can help you to set up retirement, education and savings programs and automate them so you don’t have to do anything other than look at the results. They will also advise you when an opportunity or issue arises. One or two visits to the branch can save you significant time in managing your finances and significantly lower the stress of being the Chief Financial MOM.
If you would like help with you financial plan you can give us a call at 1-800-379-7757 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or better still, drop into any of our branches, we would love to meet you.
Guest post to Crystal Clear as Mud written by Your Credit Union