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Financial Matters The In-Thing (III)
Published Sep 11, 2022 IN Column, FAMILY ANGLE,
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 MANY have contended that the whole problem can be solved by the establishing of a family budget. A budget is a very fine thing and is often a great help. There is one preliminary, however, that should be given attention before the making of a budget; namely that certain agreements be entered into by all the mem­bers of the family-particularly by the husband and wife.

If there are no children in the family or if these are very young, the handling of finances should be adminis­tered in harmony with a mutual agreement reached by husband and wife. It is a good thing, however, as soon as the children reach the age where they are able to comprehend even a little bit about the value of money, for them to be taken into partnership, as it were in the establishing of a “family executive group.”

Making the children participating members in the family executive group sessions serves a double: (1) It gives them such insight into the balance between in­come and expenditure as will ensure their cooperation in the handling of family funds. That is, if Paul under­stands that there is only twelve thousand naira available for the purchase of cloths during the month of August and if he understands that his sister Jane has a prior claim on this money because of her long-standing need of a new dress, he will be willing to forgo the purchase of a pair of new shoes until the necessary funds are in hand and until it is his turn to draw upon them for cloths. (2), including the children in the family executive group gives them valuable training, preparing them for the time when they may be called upon to administer financial matters of their own.

The primary purpose of the establishment of a fam­ily executive group is to ensure the cooperation of all members of the family maintaining a healthy balance between income and expenditure. This cooperation is the natural product of the insight gained by each mem­ber when he realizes that there is just so much money to accomplish certain things. At these family executive group sessions decisions are made as to the proper proportion of money to be spent on cloths, recreation, and vacations.

It is true that there will not always be perfect agree­ment among the members of a large family as to the financial policies. This should be no cause for alarm, however, in views of the fact that one function of the family is to instill principles of democracy and fair dealing. Once an agreement has been reached, even though by less than a unanimous vote, parents will have minimized their problems of handling the pleas of this child or that one for special considerations. The effect of the family executive group meeting will be to have informed various members of the family as to what the possibilities are for expenditure in the various lines.

A family budget is not a positive cure for financial difficulties. Its function is to assist in planning expen­ditures within the limits of income. It has nothing to do with increasing income. Nor can it ensure a decrease of expenditures except as every member of the family works in close harmony with the agreements and ar­rangements on which the budget is based.

Many husbands and wives assume that it is not pos­sible for them to develop a budget suitable for their particular needs. This contention is usually based on the excuse that they are not trained in business matters and are not familiar with the technicalities of making a budget. Actually, a budget need not be complicated. It consists of a written statement of the amount of funds that are to be spent for the various items which a family needs and desires.

Of course, books may be purchas ed which give advice on the proper proportion of family funds to be spent for clothes, food, rent or home payments, and the many other things that are necessary to the maintaining of a home. It is not even necessary, however, to consult a book in order to determine how the family income should be apportioned. One can keep track of family expenditures for a period of a few weeks or months. With such a record available one can quickly determine which items are consuming the greatest amount of money. The members of the fam­ily are then in a position to decide which expenditures should be curtailed in order to bring about a proper financial balance.

After all, there is no mystery about family finances. The success of managing a family depends simply upon proper arrangements by which expenditure do not ex­ceed income. It is even well, of course, to make arrange­ments by which the expenditure is a little less than the income. Some funds should be laid aside as saving every every month. The amount that should be saved depends, of course, upon the preference of the members of the family, as does the form which these savings should take. It is reasonable to consider that Government Bonds constitute our safest and simplest investment at the pres­ent time. It may be however, that increasing the family’s equity in an investment is the wisest and most practical means of saving for a given family at a given period of its existence. If a home is being purchased, increasing the investment in this home is surely as good as putting money in the bank. Furthermore, it would be foolish to allow large sums of money to accumulate in the bank at a low rate of interest if the indebtedness on the home is drawing a higher rate of interest.

So, it can be seen that the amount and manner of sav­ing will vary from family to family. The general principle still remains uncontested: Something should be save every month

A family budget should not be a theoretical, idealistic sort of document. It should be a practical workable schedule by which family funds are handled. It should make reasonable provision for all justifiable expen­ditures. It should even include a provision for contri­butions to charity and church tithe. The principle of systematic benevolence is a sound one, and is a tangible expression of one’s sincerity in matters of practical re­ligion. It is very fine to pray that the lord will bring help to the needy, but such a prayer is presumptuous unless the individual assumes the responsibility which the Lord places upon human beings to share their blessings with others and to “give thy bread to the hungry”.

Even matter-of-fact businessmen have, in some no­table instances, claimed the blessings that are promised to those who use a portion of their funds for the good of mankind.

In view of the practicability of this plan though only from a strictly business standpoint, how much more should the Christian husband and wife make prepara­tion, in faith, for that prosperity and blessing which is definitely promised to those who recognize the obli­gation of benevolence. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the Lo of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” Malachi 3:10.


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