Managing family finances optimally and effectively especially in the United Kingdom could be quite a task. Given the multi-faceted expenditure structure, the basis of your income, along the complicated taxation policy, managing your family finances can be both tedious and overwhelming. To ensure that your family’s financial future is safe and not compromised by any means, it is of utmost importance to make diligent and all-around financial considerations and curate a well-thought-out family financial plan. It may be difficult or even unmanageable to draw up an effective plan to manage your family’s finances, for which you can always take the help of accountant services. However, experts suggest that when it comes to managing family finances, it is best recommended that you take an active part in drawing the financial plan of managing your family’s finances. The best strategy is to take the help of a third party like availing of accountant services and jointly work with them to come up with an optimal strategy for managing your family finances.
In this comprehensive guide, we will help you with the necessary steps that you should consider in managing your family finances, irrespective of the fact whether you avail of expert accountant services or not.
Understanding the UK Tax System
The UK tax structure encompasses various taxes, including income tax, National Insurance, and VAT, which can significantly impact your financial planning. Let's delve deeper into this crucial aspect:
One of the primary components of systemic and effective management of your family’s finances includes gaining a comprehensive understanding of the tax system of the UK. Since tax payment is a compulsory element, you must have a good understanding of your tax liability and other compliance requirements. Notably, the UK tax structure contains three major types of tax, namely – income tax, National Insurance Contributions (NIC) and Value Added Tax (VAT). All these taxes can significantly affect your family's financial planning.
Let us look at each of them in detail, so that you can understand your tax liability better -
- Income Tax - In the UK, income tax is applicable to various sources of earnings, like employment income, rental income, and capital gains. It is crucial to stay informed about the tax bands and allowances, which may change annually. This knowledge about the applicable tax bands and the incomes that are taxable ensures that you neither overpay nor underpay your taxes, which is extremely important to maintaining and managing family finances as well.
- National Insurance Contributions (NICs) – Anybody who is 16 or above and either is an employee who earns £242 from a job or a self-employed person who makes a yearly profit of £12,570 or more, essentially has to make a contribution towards National Insurance. Since this is also a compulsory component, you must familiarise yourself with the applicable rates and thresholds. Proper management of NICs can have a substantial impact on your benefits. Your contribution to the NIC will affect your finances and subsequently, you must take into consideration the corresponding amount that you will have to pay while managing family finances.
- Value Added Tax (VAT) – VAT is typically a consumption tax that you pay for almost every good and service that you consume or avail of, except for a few things like fuel, power etc. which come with a reduced rate. VAT payment is part of your daily routine and directly impacts your regular expenses. As a family, it is important to understand how VAT affects your spending so that you make well-informed decisions regarding your routine expenditure and optimally manage the family’s finances.
Steps to Manage Your Family’s Finance
Now that you have a fair idea about the UK tax structure you can draw an estimate on your tax liabilities. Once you are well informed about your tax liabilities, given your income and expenses, you can then draw a proper financial plan for your family.
In this section, we will discuss in detail the steps that you should take to effectively and optimally manage your family finances.
Lay Down Budgeting and Financial Goals
Once you have a fair insight into the UK tax system and aspects like how it affects you, what are your tax responsibilities, what are the applicable rates and if there is any allowance, it is time to focus on the basics of personal financing – setting financial goals and budgeting accordingly. Here is how you can do this -
- Create a family budget: Start your journey of optimally managing family finances by precisely tracking and making a vis-à-vis comparison of the family’s income and expenses. You can use budgeting tools or even apps, as there are many apps available that help you with expense tracking, budgeting, and distribution of finances in different expenses, which helps keep both your finances and expenditures organised.
Prioritise necessary, fixed and regular expenses first. Then plan out your savings – decide what percentage of your income you plan to save. Note that this amount should be in sync with your fixed as well as variable or discretionary expenses. Decide on the percentage of discretionary expenses too and make sure you stick to the same. A well-structured budget will serve as the cornerstone of your financial management.
- Set financial goals: Lay down clear and measurable financial goals for the family. This should include individual goals of the dependent family members, if any as well as the whole family. These goals can be saving for the yearly holiday trip or festivities, buying a new home, increasing investments, planning for retirement or individual goals like paying for your children’s education fees or education loan for higher studies. While you cannot completely plan out the future, it is essential to have a clear idea about the family’s short and long-term goals. Having concrete goals will help you remain motivated and focused on your financial journey.
- Ensure that you have an emergency fund: Having an emergency fund is a fundamental element when it comes to protecting your family from unanticipated financial crises, such as major unplanned expenses like unplanned home repairs, or a health emergency. Experts say building and consistently maintaining the emergency fund is a non-negotiable when it comes to the financial planning of the family. The general rule is that you should have at least three to six months’ worth of expenses kept aside in a completely different account which you can access easily, but shall do only if there is an emergency like job less, and you need some time bandwidth to find a new job.
Avail of Accountant Services for Expert Guidance
While a basic understanding of the UK's financial landscape is essential, professional guidance is often invaluable for effective financial management. Accountant services can provide you with expertise and support in several crucial areas:
- Tax planning and compliance: Accountants are well-versed in the intricacies of the UK tax system. They can help you navigate the tax laws, ensuring that you take advantage of all available tax breaks and deductions, ultimately reducing your tax liability.
- Investment and retirement planning: Accountants can offer expert advice on investments and retirement planning. Their guidance can help you make informed decisions, secure your family's financial future, and make the most of tax-efficient savings and investments.
- Business and self-employed families: For families running a business or those who are self-employed, accountant services become even more critical. Accountants can help maintain accurate financial records, ensure compliance with tax regulations, and provide strategic financial advice to enhance business growth.
- Estate planning: Accountants can assist with estate planning, helping you navigate the complexities of inheritance tax, and ensuring that your family's wealth is preserved for future generations.
- Family’s regular expense planning: The above-discussed points are regarding external aspects of managing family finances. Nowadays, accountant services are expanding their role and specialisation. There are several such accounting service providers who can help you optimise your regular family expenses. Note that for this you have to diligently do your budgeting and determine your financial goals.
How Can We Help?
Managing your family's finances in the UK is a multifaceted endeavour that requires attention to detail and careful planning. With the intricate tax structure and various financial considerations unique to the UK, a clear understanding of the tax system, budgeting, goal setting, and seeking accountant services are essential steps to ensure your family's financial security and prosperity. Proper financial management is not only about making money but preserving it. Begin managing your family finances today, and with the right strategies and professional assistance, so you can secure a prosperous financial future for your loved ones.
We at Unicorn Accountants make sure that all your tax planning and family finances management needs are well taken care of. Our expert team of accountants is adept at navigating the complex structure of navigating the complex tax structure of the UK and managing your family’s finances and tax liabilities while ensuring your tax compliance and tax efficiency. Furthermore, we will help you in setting clear financial goals and curating budgets for your family, empowering you to secure your and your family’s financial future. Whether you are self-employed or managing a business, our services are invaluable in maintaining accurate records and optimal management of your family finances.