Wednesday, January 18, 2023

How to Start Building Financial Stability When You Have a Family

A lot of things are more challenging to do when you have a family vs when you are single. Financial stability is just one of those challenges made more difficult when raising a family. Here are some ways you can work on becoming more financially stable while raising kids.

If you've always lived paycheck to paycheck, finding financial stability as a parent can seem next to impossible. Every time you think you're catching up, your kids need new shoes or coats, or some other unexpected need for money crops up. It can also just be tough to say no to your kids when you technically have the money for something they want, even if it isn't the smartest financial choice. However, you can start to build a life of stability and frugality for your family even if it means making some big changes.

Assess Your Finances

Look at your spending over a period of months to get a realistic picture of where the money is going. Compare this to what you're making. If you are like most people, you almost certainly need to do one of two things: spend less or make more. It's even better if you can do both. Below are strategies for each of these.

Change Your Career

To make more money, you may need to look at changing your career or at least trying to get a promotion at your existing job. In some cases, this could mean getting some additional training or even going back to school. The latter might seem like the least frugal thing you could do considering tuition costs, but scholarships for college are a great way to cover some, most or all your costs instead of having to go heavily into debt. With a bachelor's degree, more doors for higher-paying jobs can open to you.

Save for Emergencies

One way to manage those inevitable, unplanned for events is to build up an emergency savings account. This helps ensure that you don't have to turn to credit cards or find yourself in a financially disastrous position because you need a car repair. Even big events like a job loss can be cushioned when you have several months' worth of expenses in an account that is easily liquidated. It can take a while to save, but be diligent and patient, putting away a little each week.

What About Debt?

Debt robs you of your current and future income because it means that the money you're bringing in already belongs to someone else. Worse, interest means that your debts can grow as fast as you are able to make payments. For these reasons, you need to prioritize paying off debt even though it can be tempting to stick to sending in a minimum payment each month. Once you've paid off your debt, you can put that money to better use for such things as retirement savings and investing.

The Power of Investments

Investing is the real key to financial security. While debt depletes your net worth, investing increases it, putting your money to work without any action required from you. The best investment strategy over the long term is largely being hands-off. Over time, peaks and valleys in investments that aren't high-risk tend to trend toward growth, giving you a solid financial base for your own future and that of your family.