Personal finance is not just a one person game; it involves the entire family. Whether your family consists of your parents, your spouse, or your children, everyone should be involved in the family finances. One of the things I highly recommend having is a family financial meeting. This meeting should involve the entire household, and keep everyone up to date with what’s going on: income, expenses, savings, investments, etc. Finances can be very difficult to discuss with others, even the people you live with, but a regular discussion is necessary to maintain your financial health. So how do you set up a family financial meeting?
- Make a regular appointment: These types of family meetings should not be had just annually. Find a regular time that your family can commit to coming together. This could be simultaneous with another event, such as breakfast or dinner, as long as everyone knows when and where to meet. Make sure you have an end time too so you can stay on schedule.
- Involve everyone: Babies, obviously, don’t have much to say about money, but don’t forget to include your kids. Early education on finances can help them out in the long run. If your children participate in activities that require money, such as an after school sport or extra curricular activity, they should most definitely be involved.
- Have an agenda: A successful meeting should include an agenda so that everyone knows what will be discussed. If there are certain bills you want to bring to everyone’s attention or a new source of income, add this to the agenda. Leave time for questions and comments. Things that should be on the agenda include costs of certain events or items, savings goals, and any anticipated fluctuations in cash flow.
- Be transparent and open: This is not a time to be secretive. Be upfront with your money and make sure everyone has a clear understanding of what’s going on before you move on to the next topic. You never know who may be able to solve a problem you’re having or question you have.
- Don’t forget your budget: The most important part of this meeting will definitely be your budget. This will be the document your family will rely on and make reference to. You may find things you have to add or can cut back on, and everyone should know how much money is allotted to a specific part of the budget.
- Bring a calendar: What helps during my family financial meetings is a calendar. We put down our anticipated pay days as well as bill due dates. This keeps things so much more organized and makes sure we pay our bills on time, never missing a payment. This also comes in handy for irregular expenses, such as tax day, holidays, and quarterly installments.
- Stay calm: Finances can get people very uptight, and this is why in some households its such a taboo subject. Remember that everyone at the table, or wherever you’re having this meeting, is in this together, and no one is looking to judge or be harsh. Stay calm and trust that things can be worked out as a family.