Family Financial Planning

Family financial planning is the key to your future and wellbeing, whether saving for retirement or for your kids’ college education.

Factors to Weigh in

Weigh in factors such as household size, age and gender of family members, income and expenses, total debt load, lifestyle, and others. Your employment status, i.e. salaried employee, seasonal worker, unemployed, or homemaker is another factor to take into account. Whether you are a young couple or close to retirement is an important consideration as well. Think of your short-, mid-term, and long-term priorities and goals too, whether it is a holiday overseas, a short trip, the purchase of a new vehicle or household appliances, or anything else.

Saving for a Rainy Day

It is a good idea to have an emergency fund for unexpected expenses and situations such as loss of employment, loss of income, injuries and illnesses, trips to the ER, and so on. Choose an account that is liquid, safe, and offers modest returns. A money market account or a high-interest savings account might do, depending on the rate offered. If you save 5 - 6 months of your income deposited into your account, this would be enough to cover emergencies and unplanned expenses. If both partners are employed, then you will be safe with 3 - 4 months of your joint income.

Managing Income and Expenses

To see where your money is going on a monthly basis, it pays to list all expenses, including basics and household necessities, clothing, transportation, utilities, and others. List all debts and outstanding balances as well, including personal and auto loans, student loans, mortgages, credit cards, lines of credit, and so on. Include outstanding balances in your partner’s name as well. The next step is to list all income sources, including salaries, wages, bonuses, commissions, estate and rental income, investments, and other sources you can think of. As a next step, you need to compare both lists, income and expenses, to see whether you have a surplus or need more money to meet your expenses.

Planning

There are many aspects to consider, including retirement, estate, and insurance planning, real estate and housing, personal income taxation, and others. You may also want to explore different investment options for couples and families, for example, convertible securities, fixed income securities, and common stocks. As part of financial planning, it is a good idea to get familiar with different income tax practices, including tax audit and return preparation, regulations, and working tax strategies for salaried employees, self-employed, and high net worth individuals. Insurance planning is also an important part of the process, and you may want to look into different types of coverage, including long-term, short-term, health, disability, accident, liability, and other types of insurance. Financial institutions also offer optional balance protection and mortgage insurance. There are different aspects of estate planning, including property transfer and ownership, gift and estate taxes, estate settlement, and many others. Housing and real estate also requires careful planning when it comes to ethical and legal concerns, financial estimates and calculations, mortgage or rent payments, taxation, and other issues related to home ownership and housing. Retirement planning is essential and involves forecasting and assessing your spending level and financial needs post retirement. You may want to look into different retirement plans and accounts as well. There are several options to consider, including guaranteed income supplement, retirement pension under the Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security pension, port-retirement benefit, and others.