Thursday, 23 June 2011

Financial Surival Tips when your In-Laws are Moving In

Living in an extended family situation is a reality for many young couples with aging parents that require care, comfort and companionship. This situation can cause tension and create problems between husband and wife, especially when it comes to their finances.  It can also be hard to communicate your feelings about money when it’s your spouse’s parents moving in.  Here are some things to keep in mind. These tips will protect you financially and make money matters more clear in the future.

1. No Surprises
Sit down and talk to your spouse and in laws together before they move in. Discuss who is going to contribute what to the household.  Your discussion should include, will they be helping out with the bills and mortgage? Can they watch your kids while you’re at work? How much cleaning are they willing to do? And what are their expectations after they move in? Will you always be eating together, if that's the case who will cook dinner and can they share the duties?  Are they selling their former home and belongings? If so can some of the money raised go towards your now rising costs?

2. Tax Benefits
Inform your accountant. There are tax benefits when you are supporting elderly parents over 65. One is called the Caregiver Amount tax credit. The another is the Disability amount transfer from a dependant:  This is a non-refundable tax credit available to you if your relative is disable and their income is low enough that they won't be claiming
the disability tax credit on their return. You may also be able to claim medical expenses that you paid for your relative if they are dependant on you.
Check the CRA website for details.

3.Bigger is Better and Cheaper!
A bigger group means more discounts. Check with places like your mobile phone and your CAA about a family plan. Often bigger groups can get great deals that bring the cost down per person.

4. Renovate now not later
Assess what renovations are needed. More people means more stress on your home, you may need an extra bathroom, a bigger fridge or more closet space to deal with the extra people.  Do this before your in-laws move in to avoid unnecessary renovations with a full house of adults. Don't let things break down and be forced to make last minute repairs. Emergency measures always cost more.

5. Full Disclosure will Protect You
 Let you insurance company know about your growing household.  It might not matter for year. But if anything was to go wrong in your house the insurance policy could be voided if it was found more people were living in the house full time than the insurance company knew about.

6. Better Safe than Sorry
Check what medical coverage your in laws have. With elderly parents you always have to make sure their medical needs are taken care of. Find out from your work if your parents are covered under your policy. If not make arrangements to ensure their medical costs are covered.

7. Now the Work Begins
Once they move in. All your bills are going to go up make it a habit to do laundry and run the dishwasher during off peak hours. Make sure you stick to your financial obligations that were agreed on before your in laws moved in and make sure they are also keeping their promises. 

These tips are for information purposes only, please consult your Financial Adviser to get more specific advice that is catered for you and your specific money needs.


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