Your family is probably your greatest source of joy, happiness and inspiration. As a parent, we all want the best for our children and their futures. Unfortunately, financial distress can have devastating effects on families and their futures.

With that in mind, here are 5 financial concepts that when used will help you keep your family finances on a solid foundation. Avoid the stress and other problems of shaky finances and embrace the future. Whatever your income level, these concepts can help your family get ahead.

Attend The Live "Financial Literacy" Event

Learn more about the 5 Financial Concepts live in Raymond, AB. Tickets are free but they are limited so sign up to get yours now.

Is there hope for my family finances?

Yes, there is! Finances can be overwhelming and stressful at times but by following some simple rules you’ll make them work for you.

One of the first things you should do is get clear on your personal financial goals. Make them relevant and reasonable. Do you want to own your own home, and have it paid for? That’s a great goal. What about college for your kids or grandkids? Maybe you’ve got your eye on a certain vehicle or you’d like to travel or give more.

Whatever the goals are, you need to write them down and make a plan to get started today. Goals and plans require daily actions and habits that will help you succeed. Something as simple as putting a dollar a day into a savings account could get you started

When you have a vision of where you want to be and a plan to get there, you’re halfway finished. Remember to start with small steps and as you grow your personal capacity, you’ll be able to increase your results.

The Lost Art of Budgeting

Dave Ramsey, the famous money guru, said “a budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” This is one of the critical steps in taking control of your finances. Getting control of your money and directing where it should go to better serve you.

Do you sometimes run out of money before you run out of month? If you are, just know that you’ve got lots of company as the average Canadian owes about $1.70 for every dollar of income they earn per year after taxes.

This is scary, but how can we avoid living this way? I’d love to tell you it’s easy, but it isn’t. It takes a lot of discipline, trial and error, and healthy realism to get good at budgeting. The trick is to not give up, you’ve got to experiment with what works for you until you get it.

Also, be realistic. Life is expensive and it could take awhile to figure out how to balance your budget and keep food on the table. But the act of budgeting and paying closer attention to your spending habits will help you start to see what are needs and what are wants. You don’t have to give up everything, but you will start seeing ways to cut your expenses as you go.

Attend The Live "Financial Literacy" Event

Learn more about the 5 Financial Concepts live in Raymond, AB. Tickets are free but they are limited so sign up to get yours now.

Saving for the Future and Retirement

It can be very difficult to think about retirement and the future when you’re buried in debt today. So, the first step to putting your finances on a solid foundation is to get out of debt. Being debt free opens up so many options and possibilities for your family and your future.

Getting out of debt can be a lot like eating that elephant. When you look at it, it’s pretty intimidating and overwhelming. Find the debt you need to pay off first and make that your place to attack. Increase your payments as much as you can and keep going till it’s gone. Take the extra money and start applying it to the next smallest debt. And, well you get the idea.

Once you’ve got your debt under control it’s time to start setting goals for retirement. What’s the number you think you’ll need? Now you’ll need a monthly goal to start putting money away to reach that goal. If you’ve got lots of time, you won’t need to put so much away but if your older you may need to take a lot of each paycheck.

Don’t count on the government to take care of you in retirement. Yes, you’re paying CPP every month, but governments aren’t known for their investment and financial expertise. And even if there is money available, the numbers are pretty grim.

This means you should really think about makeing the most of our next concept. Make the most of every tax credit and deduction you can.

Take advantage of Every Tax Credit & Deduction

Our tax code is unbelievably complicated. You probably don’t want to read anytime soon. But there are a few basic credit and deduction areas you need to understand. Consulting a professional can be even more helpful.

Make the most of your charitable donations. There is a 50% credit for charitable donations, so make sure that you’ve got receipts every time you give to a good cause. Not only can you feel good about helping out, you’ll get some money back at tax time too.

Always save receipts involved with any medical expenses that you incur. Did you need to see a specialist in another city? You can claim your mileage, meals and lodging as tax deductions for that visit. Sometimes we forget about these incidental costs, but they all add up.

Speaking of incidental medical costs, if you had to renovate your home to accommodate a medical condition, you can deduct those costs. The list of expenses is pretty long, you’re probably eligible for a lot more credits than you think

Earlier I mentioned saving up for your kid’s college fund, there are deductions for kids’ tuition that you can take advantage of as well. If some of this seem a little overwhelming, it’s not a bad idea to use a professional accountant when it comes to tax time.

Mostly because they can help you find access to FREE money!

Use Government Assistance Programs to Supplement your Financial Future!

Do you like FREE money? Okay, that’s a pretty dumb question isn’t it. Of course you do! We all love free money, but where on earth do we find it?

There are many government assistance programs that go hand in hand with your family finances and can give you some of that free money.

If you are saving for your kids’ education you should check out an RESP, a government registered savings plan that helps parents save. Contributions are made to the plan by you and government grants. The grant amounts to 20 cents on the dollar up to $500 annually. That is free money just waiting for you to grab it.

Do you know what a TFSA is? It’s not a virus but it can help you be less sick about paying excess tax. The Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA) allows you to avoid paying taxes twice, first on your salary and then on your investment returns.

In fact there are far too many benefits and programs provided by the government than we can ever list in this post. But if you want to look into it in more detail, check out the Benefits Finder tool here.

Attend The Live "Financial Literacy" Event

Learn more about the 5 Financial Concepts live in Raymond, AB. Tickets are free but they are limited so sign up to get yours now.

No matter where you’re at in life or your career it’s never too late or too early to work on your financial foundation. What are your hopes and dreams for your family’s financial future? You can achieve those dreams by employing a little education and discipline to your finances.

Price & Comin LLP are local Chartered Professional Accountants. We love to help families of all ages work on their financial futures and protect the hard work that they have done. Check out some of the live training events we provide and learn more about building your financial future.

Jim Brown is the Firm Administrator at Price & Comin LLP. He wears many hats at the firm, one of which is marketing and spends part of his day maintaining the website (which he designed & built) and creating Educational blogs and programs to help our clients with their finances and their businesses. Jim is a graduate of the school of life (and a couple of Universities), learning from businesses he has owned and operated over the years. If your business could use help with marketing, strategy & planning, or human resources contact him at jim.brown@pricecomin.ca for a chat.

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