What financial goals should I have for my family?
That wasn’t something I thought about very much.
Fast-forward to year five of our marriage, and it became abundantly clear after reviewing our bills that we needed more income. I was providing in-home daycare for one child, and Joe received an honorable discharge from the military, so he was able to collect a little unemployment while searching for another job. He eventually found one after six months of searching, but his new job only paid $11.03 per hour. He was also attending college as a full-time student using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, which provided a little income. It all just wasn’t enough to cover the basics at the time.
With this realization, I started working part-time for a retail jewelry store. Let me tell you—I LOVED IT! Not only did I enjoy customer service, but I also enjoyed being around all of that beautiful, shiny jewelry.
Joe was happy that I was happy, but he also knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom. He might have also been just a little worried that I would spend my paycheck and commission on some new diamond earrings instead of bringing home the much-needed bacon.
He wasn’t wrong.
I wanted to upgrade my jewelry collection, but thankfully I was able to look past the sparkly diamonds and see our bills waving in the background, shouting, “Pay me first!”
The only financial goals for a big family we had at that time were to keep the bills paid month after month. Those are fantastic starter goals, and they got me thinking about the bigger question. What financial goals should I have for my family? Before this, though, I just wanted to save money for an incredible vacation to a sandy beach somewhere.
Why are financial goals for a big family important?
Life is full of uncertainties. Where your money is going shouldn’t be one of them. Uncertainties create chaos in the brain. If you can’t think clearly, you are much less likely to make good decisions. Setting goals will help you measure your progress towards achieving your goals and determine the changes you need to make to keep you on track with achieving those goals.
Creating financial goals for a big family will get you started on your path to wherever you want to go. Maybe for you, that means early retirement, financial freedom from “the man,” or just being able to save for some big purchases. Either way, you first need to know your endgame.
How to create and achieve financial goals for a big family.
First, write it out. Take time to sit down with your spouse, and each ask yourselves the question, “What financial goals should I have for my family?” Discover each other’s true desires for your family.
From there, decide which goals are long-term and short-term and which ones are just not in reach. Owning a Ferrari when you are a big family might be an out of reach goal. Purchasing a larger vehicle—now that would be a realistic and possibly necessary goal.
Next, create a family budget. If you already have one, then AWESOME! You are on the right track! If you haven’t, you can read more about our family budget here. Use your budget to allocate monies towards achieving your goals realistically.
Cut the fat of unnecessary spending. You can research more frugal cooking and grocery shopping habits and check out my post about saving money as a stay-at-home-mom to get started.
Finally, monitor your progress by keeping up with your budget. While getting started, fill in your budget sheet with every paycheck. After several months, you’ll get the hang of it and can begin checking in monthly instead of weekly. Regularly keeping up with your budget will ensure that you know, at all times, where you are on your path to achieving your financial goals for a big family.
If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.—Benjamin Franklin
You’ll receive a 10% off coupon to the Mini Riches Shop by signing up and confirming your subscription to our newsletter. Why is that important? Well, I’ll tell you. Not only will you receive an email making you one of the first to know when we publish a new helpful post, but you’ll find our Monthly Budget Template and our Bill Pay Checklist, among others, in the Mini Riches Shop. Joe and I developed our Monthly Budget Template over years of trial and error. It has genuinely helped us figure out how to achieve our family’s financial goals, and we still use it to this day.
What are a few examples of financial goals for a big family?
Goals will vary from family to family. Here is a short list of goals that we feel are important to us:
1. Get out of debt.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. You can’t achieve very many financial goals if you are stuck in debt, especially credit card debt. Not only will getting out of debt get you closer to achieving your financial goals, but it will also improve your credit score. A good credit score will qualify you for a lower interest rate and improve your chances of getting any loans you may need for the future.
2. Build an emergency fund.
This fund can be for anything unexpected. Emergencies could be a car accident, emergency room visit, or a new HVAC system for your home. Stumbling upon a sale at your favorite sporting goods store is not an emergency. Rather than recreate the wheel here, you can read more about emergency funds here. We built up to a three-month emergency fund and quickly found out that we would rather have at least six months’ worth set aside.
3. Take your family on vacation.
Getting away from the daily grind and focusing on some family time is always a win! Everyone needs a chance to unwind and have bonding time. We try to take a family vacation once a year. As our family grew, so did the cost.
You have to consider the cost of gas, lodging, eating out or getting groceries to eat in, the cost of visiting attractions, buying new clothes for the location, any souvenirs, and a little extra in case you have unexpected expenses. Lately, we’ve been taking somewhat local vacations to help keep costs down and still provide that much needed time away and disconnect, while putting money towards other goals.
Working in a family vacation is important to our family’s physical, emotional, and mental health, so we keep it on our goals list each year—no matter how local it may be.
4. A down payment on a home or vehicle.
Owning a home is a key financial goal of a big family. You may be hard-pressed to find a home for rent that is large enough for 6+ people and costs less than a mortgage.
We purchased our first home while Joe was in the military, and we were a family of four.
VA Home Loans are great because they do not require a downpayment!
Looking back, we should have had a down payment, and here’s why.
Having a down payment proves to yourself and the bank that you are financially ready to own and maintain a home. It also puts equity in your home in the event you have to sell sooner than anticipated and helps save on interest over the life of the loan.
5. Save for your retirement.
With Social Security projected to be exhausted by the year 2037, saving for your retirement is a pretty big deal. The Social Security Office has this to say on the subject. As adults, we should control our financial future and not expect a government program to care for us even though it technically is our money that we paid into the program.
If they can, then that’s great!
We’re not counting on it.
6. Prepare for your death.
Estate planning costs money, and typically so does writing a will. Funerals can average between $15k-$20k. These affairs are important to have in order, as it will save your loved ones time, money, and stress during an already stressful and mournful time.
Having life insurance is an excellent way to prepare for the end of life’s expenses. Check out this article from Policy Genius for more in-depth information. Life insurance is confusing, and anyone who knows about it will try to sell you their brand. Get multiple quotes and research reviews for companies offering life insurance.
We are grateful that our primary insurance provider for home and auto also carries life insurance policies. Check with your insurance provider to see if they offer a bundling discount!
7. College or other future expenses generated by your children.
Maybe you want to pay for your child’s college or just be able to give them some upfront money when they leave home to start their life away from mom and dad. Either way, it’s another financial goal you’ll need to put in the budget.
Joe and I do not plan to pay our kids’ way through college. We believe there are plenty of options out there to pay for college. Our kids will need to put in the work and time to find a way to pay for what they want—with our guidance, of course.
However, we want to be able to help them out in other ways. Whether it’s buying their groceries occasionally, paying for one of their unexpected bills, or saving enough money to gift them on their wedding day—we want to have finances set aside so we can help them out in the future.
Goals are glorious!
What? Glorious? No, they seem like mountains. You may be thinking you often have a hard time seeing the top of them, much less climbing them.
That is simply not true. You and your spouse CAN and WILL achieve your goals. I believe in you, and of course, a healthy prayer life can only help your efforts.
I can tell you with certainty that if you had told me three years ago that we would have enough money for a sizable down payment on a home, I would have said you were crazy. Through a genuinely co-effort by Joe and I, and maybe a little divine intervention, we did it.
We achieved this huge financial goal we set for ourselves. We may not have all of our goals met, but it sure feels good to check a big one off the bucket list and know that we are working together to achieve the rest.