4 Tips To Manage Your Family’s Annual Financial Check-Up

What is an annual financial check-up? It is a phrase you might have heard before, or perhaps your family does this already, even if you’re not describing it in that particular way.

For most people, the annual financial check-up happens either at the end of the year or right at the start of the new one. This is when the adults in the family come together to talk about their finances and what things are looking like as the new year begins.

Having an annual family financial check-up is vital. It’s helpful because it clarifies everyone’s monetary responsibilities, so there is no confusion as the calendar turns over. 

In this article, you’ll find our best tips for managing what should become an annual family tradition if you’re not doing it already. 

1. Everyone Come Prepared with Possible Debt Solutions

This tip will not necessarily apply to everyone, but many individuals find themselves carrying debt from various sources, so it’s worth talking about in this context. If your family owes money to several credit card companies, this meeting might be a time to discuss options regarding how you’ll pay them. You might decide to consolidate credit card debt if you’d prefer to have a single bill due each month instead of several of them.

Maybe your debt comes from another source, such as student loans or funds you borrowed to purchase a vehicle. Whatever your family’s creditors, you should talk about how best to satisfy them in the coming months. 

If that means paying off the entire bulk of what you owe, talk about that. If you want to prioritize specific bills over others, that should be up for discussion too. Part of the point of this meeting is that you all agree on who will be paying for what and the resources you’re going to use to do so.

2. Talk About the Family’s Taxes

Tax Day, for most people, is April 15th. However, at the end of the year or the beginning of the new one would be a suitable time to talk about the family’s taxes.

You should talk about whether the adults in the family will be getting refunds or whether you should expect a bill from the IRS. You can speak about whether you should all file individually or whether joint filing would simplify matters at all.

Talking about taxes, even if Tax Day is several months down the line, makes sense because you can have a plan in place for how the upcoming season will look for all the family members. If you’re getting a refund, you can decide how best to use that money. If you’re going to owe additional taxes, you can get yourselves ready to pay that bill.

3. Decide Who to Involve in This Meeting

Traditional thinking dictates that the heads of the household should be the ones conducting and in attendance at the annual family financial check-in. These are the breadwinners, so they should be the ones making any monetary decisions. 

These days, though, it’s not as unusual for adult children to live with their parents. If this is the case with your family, you may want to include any adult children who are living at home. If they are contributing money to the household’s upkeep, they should probably have a say in these matters.

It might be a logical idea to include older teenagers in some of these discussions as well. Even if they won’t live with you forever, teaching them how to conduct these meetings should benefit them later in their adult lives.

4. Try to Keep This Occasion Calm and Rational

One final tip is for everyone to try and go into this meeting with a cool head. Families tend to argue about money more than they do about anything else. 

The annual financial check-up can be a time to air grievances that involve money, but if so, make sure to be respectful and to offer constructive suggestions. Being accusatory about monetary matters never helps anything.