Finances are often a concern for people with families, but right now is an especially tough time. With the effects of COVID-19 reaching far and wide, it’s worth having a look at your assets and evaluating your spending as a family. This will help you to not only address financial issues you may be experiencing at the moment, but also to get ahead of any potential concerns.
Here’s some helpful advice as to how to manage your finances and help your wallet stay healthy during these unprecedented times.
Working together as a family
One of the best things you can do for kids is to teach them personal finances early. It means when they’re older, and in charge of their own spending, they be will able to navigate the world of finances more comfortably. Talk to your family members about what money you’re spending as a unit; discuss your monthly subscription plans; and potentially look at less expensive or alternative ways of spending time together, such as boardgames or puzzles. In the long run, these activities will be easier on the pocketbook than expensive entertainment packages – and they might be more fun, too. Or if you will be opting into the expensive entertainment package, perhaps there are other expenses you can minimize to help you cover that expense.
Another way to go about this is to have a conversation about people’s money personalities. Are you a family of big spenders, savers, shoppers, debtors or investors? Finding out can help everyone learn what they might need to work on. If you’re a saver, perhaps you can look over your finances and think about possible investment opportunities the whole family can get behind. If your money personality is closer to the “shopper”, you might find yourself drifting towards the (online) checkout more often than normal during this stressful time. While this is understandable, perhaps you can use your shopping skills to find discounts on items your family needs and is buying on a regular basis. Now is a great time to sit down with your family and work out a budget together, so you can collectively assess your incoming funds and outgoing spend to make the best decisions for everyone – just maybe not right before a game of Monopoly.
Making the most of your HUECU membership
As a member of HUECU, you’re entitled to great benefits – one of which is our HUECU family membership. The Credit Union is open to anyone affiliated with Harvard, such as students, employees, and people who work at affiliated teaching hospitals and organizations. Once a member, always a member- you will remain a HUECU member even after you leave your Harvard affiliated role. Credit unions are not-for-profit entities, allowing our members to receive better rates for loans and higher interest rates for deposits.
With our HUECU family membership, anyone in your immediate family is able to join as well. And if they join, anyone in their immediate family can also join. This allows more and more people to experience the benefits of better banking, service and community. This family membership is a great tool for difficult times such as these, as it can allow your loved ones some extra guidance and financial freedom that could really help them.
Family finances may be tricky- combining multiple expenses and incomes may require the help of a financial coach. As a member of the HUECU you’re entitled to all the services that GreenPath offers. GreenPath Financial Wellness counsellors are available to help you and anyone in your household with your finances. They offer free debt counselling, debt management plans, credit report reviews, financial education and many more services. Your monthly budget might be under more pressure than usual during the COVID-19 outbreak, GreenPath is offering COVID-19 counseling help.
Co-borrowing vs. individual loans
Another solution to financial hardships at the moment might be to take out a loan, either through co-borrowing or as an individual. Co-borrowing allows for two people (such as members of the same family) to take out a loan together, which can be a good option if you’re looking to secure a higher loan based on two people’s incomes instead of one.
Co-borrowing can be helpful if your family is experiencing financial difficulties, however it’s worth noting that even as a co-borrower, your credit score will be affected if there is an issue with the repayment of the loan. So, it’s worth looking into whether an individual loan might be more beneficial for you, based on your or your family members’ credit scores. Whatever you decide to do, it’s always a good idea to talk to a professional and see what your options are if you’re considering taking out a loan.
Be sure to keep up to date with HUECU on the blog for more useful tips on navigating finances during the pandemic, and preparing for the future.