Never mix business and pleasure, they say. We disagree. A business plan for your family, with commercial ideas and targets, can help your family map out a formal route to financial wellbeing.
Financial planning sounds very serious. When you’re juggling family life, it’s probably the last thing you consider. However, there are so many other daily tasks to think about.
But, stop. Your family is probably your most valuable asset. It’s priceless. Surely you should treat it as you would a business?
No matter how old your children are, it’s never too early to instil good financial habits. First of all, it will help the overall household budget, create shared goals, and prepare your kids for later life.
How do you start a plan?
Setting out financial objectives doesn’t have to be complicated. Each target can be modest and easy to achieve. Therefore, it’s also a positive step forward for all members of the household.
Crucially, everyone needs to buy into the idea. Accountability is the key to making any family business plan work properly – just as it would in the commercial world.
Your planning should start with a conversation. What is the current situation, what does everyone want to achieve, and how could those aspirations be delivered?
Hence the core goal will be ensuring that the family is on a sound financial footing. Subsequently, when that’s achieved, there is usually less stress, plans can be made and everyone can enjoy some of life’s luxuries.
Assess the monthly budget
Looking at the family’s monthly budget is always a great place to begin.
Are the heating bills too high? If so, who is leaving the lights on, are TVs switched off at night, and could the washing line be used instead of the tumble dryer?
This wasted cash could be earning interest for the family if it was properly invested!
There are so many savings to be made. Is the weekly/monthly food shop being properly used? How does the family travel to work, school and to get to leisure activities?
How do you get around?
Why not cycle, walk or even use the bus?
Of course, eating out and take-aways is always a hot topic. It’s great to enjoy varied, pre-prepared food, but it all costs money. Could the family cut down on one, two or more deliveries each month?
And don’t forget subscriptions – to TV services, mobile phone plans, insurance for gadgets, magazine or newspaper deliveries. Are they being used or could you cancel them?
These are all areas that involve adults and children alike. As well as identifying where cash can be saved, it also helps everyone think about their environmental impact.
Map out what you spend, identify ways to trim spending, consider alternative ways to achieve what you are currently doing – and get them written down with everyone agreed about moving the plan forward.
Benefits of a family business plan
The first thing you will notice about developing and implementing a family business plan is the interaction. Everyone talks. If it impacts on them, they will listen, engage and contribute.
There’s a real feel-good factor to be had when the family realises that savings are being made. That could mean spare cash, less waste and a positive impact on the environment.
Slowly but surely lessons will be learned. Some of the benefits could be passed on as additional pocket money, perhaps split between cash and savings. Start an ISA with a view to taking a family holiday, purchase that electric car, or use the investment for a deposit on a future home for the kids.
Family trips out, dining treats or new household gadgets can be purchased based on economies made with the monthly household budget.
Everyone should see and feel the benefits. Then, that longer-term commitment and taking these values into later life will be easier.
Combine family and wealth plans
Wealth planning isn’t just for the main income earner, or the parents. Children can and should be involved in future estate planning, wills, and even discussions about retirement.
We all know that launching savings and investment plans early can deliver great results in the long term. Extend this thinking to the family plans and divert some of the monthly savings to investments earmarked for the future.
However, if everyone can see the immediate and future benefits there’s a good chance that the whole family will stick to the goals you set.
We’re here to offer independent financial advice about savings, investments, pensions, retirement and estate planning. There are plenty of great options to benefit all members of the family.
Come and talk to us. We’ll help you plan a route to financial peace of mind for you, your children and even the grandchildren – whether they are planned yet or not!
Call us on 0808 1234 321 or firstname.lastname@example.org