Family Annual Meetings and the Single ParentJun 30, 2015
Every family needs a plan in order to manage their finances and debt. It’s also important that every family takes the opportunity to sit down together and create one during a Family Annual Meeting (FAM). For single parent families in Woodstock who are likely facing extra financial challenges, this is especially true.
A FAM is an opportunity to schedule time to meet with family members to review the previous financial year, including the family budget, household bills and financial expectations. It’s also time to create and identify financial goals for the year ahead. Although financial goals are likely the same whether a family includes one or both parents, single parents face the added struggle of meeting these goals on a single income, which can mean finding creative ways to stretch their financial resources.
Whether it’s focusing on debt payment or saving for your child’s education, it’s important to talk about these goals with your children, and perhaps even your parents, in order to make sure all family members are on the same page and understand the importance of working towards these goals. For children, having an awareness of the family’s financial goals will also help to balance their financial expectations and make it easier to understand if spending cutbacks need to be made.
Once you have identified your family’s financial goals, such as being debt free or saving for a new house, it’s time to create a plan that will help you achieve them. Creating a family budget together is a good place to start. There are a number of budget tools and even budget apps to get you started and to help you stick to your financial plan. As a single parent, involving your children in the process of creating your family budget will also help them to understand that every family has a different budget. This could help dispel any confusion your child may have when living with two different families who may have different financial resources and plans.
When creating a budget, many single parents may feel that the financial resources they have available to them are simply stretched too thin, which could lead to relying on debt in order to fill in the gaps. The Family Annual Meeting is also a good time to assess your reliance on debt and the amount of debt you currently carry. If you find that your debt is overwhelming, it could be time to find debt relief through credit counselling services or visiting a trustee in bankruptcy. With a debt relief professional, such as a trustee, you can discuss your family’s financial needs, as well as the challenges that you face, such as limited financial resources. They can then help you choose a debt relief plan that is tailored to these specific needs.
What are some of the financial struggles faced by single parent families? How can a FAM help you deal with these challenges? Share your thoughts with BDO Woodstock using the hashtag #family finances