5 tips for BizMums to keep on track with the family finances
Being a mum in business is tough. Not only do you have the competing priorities of work and home life to juggle – but you’re also trying to build and grow your business at the same time.
So when you throw into the mix, navigating all the financial responsibilities of running a home as well as your business, it’s easy to see how something’s got to give.
And in the craziness that is starting and growing a new business, it can be very easy to prioritise the needs of the business over keeping your personal and family finances in check.
I totally get it – sorting your superannuation and insurance paperwork is way less sexy than launching your latest Instagram campaign.
And realistically we all have bills to pay, so pursuing growth and income in our businesses is an important part of being in business right!
But it is wise to remember (as the saying goes) – a bird in the hand, is worth two in the bush.
While it’s tempting to prioritise chasing new income, it’s important not to do so at the expense of managing the money you’ve already worked so hard to achieve.
I liken it to running a bath. You can run the bath all day and night, but if the plug isn’t in, the bath will never fill.
Income and sales is only one half of the wealth equation. Without proper money management (the plug), you never get the chance to turn it into real wealth (a full bath) for you or your family.
So with this in mind, I thought I would give you my top 5 tips for biz mums who want to reconnect with their family’s finances and make sure they’re on track with things.
1. Don’t forget the budget
This is probably the most important part of being organised with your money, and it’s especially important as a mum in business where income can be sporadic.
There’s probably two big reasons why we budget. One is so that we’re clear on exactly what it costs us to live each month and don’t spend more than we earn.
The other is so that we can determine what our net cashflow position is each month. That is, how much money we have left at the end of each month after our expenses that we can put towards saving for our goals.
People often say that it’s your income that is the growth engine of your financial future. In reality it’s your capacity to save. Saving money is the first step to financial independence. You need to be able to put money aside each month if you want to move forward financially.
So make sure you have a family budget, and that you monitor the actual against the planned. A set and forget approach to budgeting won’t work.
A budget is a living and breathing tool – it needs to be flexible enough to allow for real life, and rigid enough to keep the family moving forward financially over the longer term.
2. Automate your cashflow
Automation is a busy biz mum’s best friend. But I’m not talking about the email kind. I’m talking about automating your cashflow.
No more paying your bills manually which leads to late fees and overdue notices as they get lost on your desk somewhere. No more dipping into savings to pay off the credit card. No more worrying about whether there will be enough money left to pay the electricity bill when it comes in.
A quick way to get started with automation is to set up three separate accounts. One for deposits, one for spending money and one for bills.
Deposit all household incomes into the deposit account. Use your budget to work out what your total bill spend is each month and transfer this amount to your bills account. Don’t touch it!
Set up a transfer each week from your deposits account, of the money you have budgeted for lifestyle spending into your spending money account. Do this weekly so you don’t blow your monthly budget all at once.
Never pay another overdue payment fee, interest charge, overdrawn fee on any of your accounts. You save money and time with automation – both valuable commodities for any busy biz mum.
3. Planning for the unexpected
Having a cash buffer is an important part of having a financially organised household. Unexpected life events can be stressful and costly and being unprepared can often leave you heading into debt in order to pick up the tab.
Things like medical emergencies, unexpected home or car repairs or even unplanned travel expenses to be with family when needed can easily equate to hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year.
As a mum in business, it’s tempting to throw every spare dollar you have into the business to help it grow and hopefully see it able to provide a return more quickly.
But it’s important to prepare for the unexpected in your personal life, and the fact that your income may be lumpy in the early years of business. Properly managed cashflow is a skill and can be a make or break for many small businesses.
So until you’ve mastered your cashflow conversion cycle; it’s a good idea to have some savings you can draw on if you find yourself unexpectedly in need of funds and to essentially survive any hard times in the business. And we all have them in business.
Whilst it is possible to use redraw or overdraft facilities to help to help plan for the unexpected in business – these may not be an option available to all business mums and it’s important to remember that they are ultimately debt facilities and do incur fees and charges.
4. Get to know your super
How much money do you have in super?
Superannuation is often the most forgotten about personal asset there is! A recent study by ANZ on financial found that women retire on average with around 50% as much super as men.
We take leave from the workforce to have children, and then many of us don’t return to paid employment – instead choosing to start a small business. We forget about the superannuation we did accumulate and focus on growing our business – seldom paying ourselves super for many years.
Sounds familiar right?
Making small contributions yourself from the family budget or even splitting contributions with your spouse are two ways to keep your super balance growing over this period if your business isn’t in a position to pay super just yet.
Although as you will probably already be aware, super contributions for the self-employed are tax deductible, so worth considering if you’re in a position to top your balance by paying yourself some super.
But being a little more organised in this department can create a vastly different outcome financially for us over a 20, 30 or 40 year period! Every little bit counts.
5. Understand what you ARE covered for & what you’re NOT covered for
Emergencies, accidents and other unforeseen events can cripple household cashflow and worst case scenario, leave your family struggling financially without you or a loved one.
As a mum in business, you likely ARE the business and you also don’t have employment benefits like sick leave or employer funded insurance cover to rely upon when things go wrong.
If you’ve just started out in business, it may be the case that the expense of insurance premiums isn’t justifiable or perhaps your family doesn’t yet rely financially on the income your business is generating.
However, if your family is reliant on the income generated by your business – then it’s important to consider the need to protect that income and the contribution it makes to your family’s lifestyle.
If you do have existing insurances, you need to understand your policy and what you are covered for so that you can maximise your entitlements should you have a need to claim.
For example, did you know that some income protection policies have built in benefits that will reimburse some of the cost associated with workplace modification and rehabilitation to assist your return to work?
A good way to get familiar with this stuff is to create a quick reference guide (one page) which simply lists your policy and policy number (handy as a quick reference when enquiring on your policy), and then the amounts you are covered for, and any policy excesses. This gives you a snapshot which is easier to review more regularly and when making enquiries.
A set and forget approach to personal expenses will more often than not mean you are paying more than you should be.
Be proactive not reactive when it comes to your family finances. Don’t let opening the mail be your call to action – take control, it means giving yourself options.
Check out Rebecca's podcast!
CONNECT WITH REBECCA
As the founder and CEO of Mums With Hustle, I have the best day job in the world: teaching entrepreneurs how to grow their beautiful businesses online. When I started the business, that was everything I wanted, but since then, it has grown into something much bigger. Now, I get my joy from helping women find their zones of genius within a community that truly celebrates their success. I truly believe that when women choose to band together, we can do anything - and if you feel the same, there’s a place in the MWH community for you.
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