If you’re one of the many Albertans who financially support family living in another country, you’re responsible for transferring hundreds or thousands of your hard-earned dollars regularly.
That’s a big responsibility, both to your family and to yourself.
Figuring out how to support your family without compromising anyone’s financial security or relationship can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve assembled our top tips on sending money to your loved ones.
1. Start by having an open conversation about money
Money can be an awkward subject. Take the initiative by explaining your perspective of the financial situation. Once you and your family have a common understanding of each other’s position, you can talk about the respective financial needs, expectations (such as frequency), and long-term goals.
If you’re separated from your family, you need to make sure everyone understands that your financial support won’t only impact your distant loved ones, it will ultimately affect your major life decisions, such as if you’re able to buy a home, where you’ll send your kids to school, when you’ll retire, and when you’ll be able to visit family overseas.
An honest conversation is an important first step to setting up any form of financial assistance. If you are already sending support, make a plan to talk frankly about your arrangement, what’s working and what’s not. The sooner, the better.
2. Make a budget and have everyone sign off on it
This is where it gets down to the nitty-gritty. Within the context of your open conversation, determine how much money you’ll send, how often you’ll send it, and which transfer method you’ll use.
Some factors that may affect your budget include:
- Your family’s monthly expenses and current debts
- Your monthly expenses and current debts
- Your cash flow (when money comes in and out of your accounts)
- Any additional major expenses, such as medical bills, travel costs, etc.
Make sure you include exchange rates and transfer fees in your calculations.
3. Don’t forget to plan for your financial future
For some people, supporting family is deeply and personally rewarding, making it a high priority among many financial goals. Remember that preparing for your own financial future can only help your family in the long run. Try to involve them in your plans when possible.
Perhaps you want to continue your education, start a business, or purchase a property. Whatever you aim to accomplish in the meantime, make sure you don’t forget to save and invest for your retirement.
4. Send money securely
When it comes to actually transferring funds, security and reliability should be your top priorities. Make sure you’re comfortable with the information and support you receive through your financial institution. It is also always good practice to educate yourself on anti-money laundering precautions in case someone you don’t know requests personal information or money (you can start here).
When sending money abroad, sharing sensitive information, like an account number, can be risky. To be safe, make the effort to share sensitive information over the phone rather than through email or social media. Cleartext (unencrypted) in email or social media can potentially be intercepted by hackers and puts you and your money at risk.
Additionally, you should always send a small transfer test before setting up a regular transfer. Trusted financial institutions should give you the option to send a small amount to your recipient with little to no fee. Once you’ve sent a transfer test, check-in with your recipient 3 to 5 business days (depending on the country) after to ensure that they have received the funds and no errors were made. It is better to uncover a mistake with a $15 test transfer rather than a $1,000 transfer.
Providing financial support for your family can be stressful, but with a good plan, open-communication and a secure way to send transfers, it can be very rewarding. After all, we all want to ensure the well-being and happiness of those we love.