A group of West Bay parents recently received invaluable advice on budgeting and family spending during the National Parenting Programme’s continuing district outreach effort.
Two experienced financial advisers – finance manager Brian Bothwell and accountant Gina Ebanks – gave attendees financial tips, proverbs and moral guidance, and encouraged them to spend less and save more.
‘Enjoy ‘things’ but save your love for family and other people in your life,’ advised Mr. Bothwell. He explained that a budget is ‘nothing magical – just a plan of where your money comes from and where it should be spent, both in the short- and long-term.’
He also recommended that attendees balance ‘needs’ against ‘wants,’ and plan for emergency spending.
‘We are not here to teach you how to save or budget, but to share ideas and tips on how to cut costs, ways to make extra income and make the most of the funds.’
In addition to sharing his presentation on Seven Points for Successful Budgeting, (see sidebar) as any good financial adviser would, Mr. Bothwell added value to his message with a bonus tip: Patience – All plans come together once you stick to them.
Mr. Bothwell and Ms Ebanks’ advice covered specific areas, from children to retirement. For example, many children have been given too much authority in spending decisions, which leads to them controlling a large amount of family spending, they said.
Parents need to regain control, and involve their children in having a common understanding of financial goals. Get them involved in saving and budgeting from a young age, and maintain control.
To instil work ethics, a child should always have a responsibility or chore which is his own – no matter how small it is, Mr. Bothwell and Ms Ebanks agreed.
The financial advisers also urged people to save before starting a family. Adult children living at home should help pay household expenses. Aim to own property instead of always renting, and when it’s time to build, go for a small starter home and expand when possible.
Do your own minor repairs and home chores, and cook at home – it’s healthier and more economical, the advisers said. This also promotes important bonding, as the family shares meals together. Fast-food or eating out should be considered a treat, not an everyday choice.
Mr. Bothwell and Ms Ebanks also explained that insurance – life, property and health – is a necessity, not a luxury. In addition, retirement savings is a big goal, because retirees normally need more funds than what they expect in order to live comfortably. Therefore, create additional savings accounts, or contribute as much as possible to your pensions from your own salary (not just the minimum payments), while ensuring that your employer is also contributing the required amounts.
Seek help if your finances become a burden, but get back on track and in control of your own finances as soon as possible.
Consider new sources of money, such as low-cost start-up businesses.
West Bay’s NPP District Team organised this budgeting session in response to identified district concerns and needs.
For more details or to assist the West Bay parenting team, contact Mrs Eziethamae Bodden at 916-1559, Brian and Andrea Bothwell at 949-3388, and Ed Gibson at 925-3557.
Seven points for successful budgeting
Perspective – Keep money in perspective; use it wisely, but remember that your family and community ties are more important than money. Remember that there are needs that money can’t buy – such as good parenting and good health.
Prescription – Follow established remedies to correct financial difficulties. For example, your income should always exceed bills and spending.
Probity (integrity) – Be honest, true to yourself, and fair to others – especially those close to your family, including domestic helpers.
Productivity – Work is necessary for income. Avoid unnecessary and unproductive spending. Work diligently and recognition (and promotions) will follow.
Priorities – Separate needs from wants, and build savings into your budget.
Plan – Make written personal and family budgets.
Pursue plan – Implement and stick to your plan. Invest in your education, skills development and training. Beware of using credit-cards for borrowing and unnecessary splurging or shopping trips and vacations.