Mother's Day is just around the corner, and we want to celebrate all of you Moms who give so much each day.
Talk about multi-tasking superheroes!
On any given day, you probably find yourself serving as the family's chauffeur, designated shopper, recreational coordinator, meal planner, chef and much, much more.
Many Moms today also serve as chief financial officers, responsible for juggling the family's budget, keeping the bank account balanced, ensuring the bills are paid, and teaching the kids in the household how to be responsible with money.
Citibank recently surveyed their customers about Moms and money.
About 35% said their Mom serves as the family's CFO, and 38% said they turn to Mom for input on financial matters. That's about 5% more than turn to Dad for such advice. The survey also revealed that people engage Mom in conversations about money and finances nearly as often as they check in with her on dating and marriage.
Clearly, many Moms have added “financial superhero” to their long list of jobs, titles and accolades, and they have some important tips for those aspiring to that title. Here are a few:
Stay on top of your family's finances. Are you already handling the family's daily money management and serving as its bookkeeper? You're ahead of the game if you keep track of the family's expenses. Or do you let your spouse handle those responsibilities? Either way, both of you need to remain current on your family's finances. Whoever has the lead on finances should be prepared to track spending and regularly brief the other. When you know what's going out v. what's coming in, it's easier to control spending and plan for things you need.
Create a pressure valve. When steam builds up in a pot, you have to relieve the pressure or run the risk of it blasting out of control. One way to ensure that you have a financial pressure valve is to create an emergency fund. Put away a little each month in a special savings account. Make it a goal to build up to an amount equal to at least three to six months of the family's income. If the unexpected happens – whether it's the need for a new dishwasher, a medical emergency, or even the loss of a job — your family will be confident it can weather the storm.
Give Yourself Some Credit. Joint credit is just fine in most circumstances, but Moms should also have some credit of their own. If you bring a good personal credit history into your marriage, maintain it by keeping a credit card that is in your name only. But remember whenever you use that personal card, the expenses you incur will have an impact on the family budget too. Importantly, if you ever find yourself and your kids on your own, you'll have your own credit to rely upon.
Recognize Moms Aren't Priceless. While Moms are priceless in so many ways, it's important to realize that it would cost your family a significant amount to replace the services you provide. If something should happen to you, the family would have to pay for help. Insuring against the loss of Dad if he's the family's primary breadwinner is certainly a no-brainer. But what about a stay-at-home Mom? Shouldn't you get some inexpensive term life insurance and disability insurance in case the unthinkable happens? A 2013 Salary.com survey showed that the annual salary for someone making the contributions of a stay-at-home Mom would be more than $113,000 a year. To replace the duties of a Mom who works outside the home would cost about $67,000 — not to mention the loss of her salary.
Teach Your Children Well. Give your children the gift of good financial habits. Take the time to explain the relationship between income and spending, then demonstrate careful management through your habits. Don't let them treat Mom as an endless source of funds, and resist the temptation to overspend on your kids. Help them each to set up a savings account and how to budget. Show them that planning comes before spending — whether it's by writing a grocery list before heading to the store or shopping for that new car.
Plan To Retire Well. Look ahead 30 or 40 years and think about how you would like your later years to be spent with your family. Will your family have a superhero Grannie who has the resources to spoil them a little and live independently? Or will your grown children be sacrificing to take care of you because you have few resources of your own? To be a financial superhero, you need to put your family first, plan ahead and begin tapping into the power of compounding. Open an IRA account now and put a little away regularly. Compound interest will keep it growing over the decades until you need that nest egg.
Do you have a superhero Mom? Post a photo of her on our First Reliance Bank Facebook page and tell us why she's a superhero. We'll put you in a drawing for $100.
Happy Mother's Day!