PENTICTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 25, 2012) - According to the latest Census data, the number of same-sex marriages, common-law couples and blended and single-parent families are on the rise across Canada. But, while the nuclear family maybe a thing of the past, managing family finances remains an ever-present issue.
"We're certainly seeing a slight shift in our membership and the types of services our members require," says Kevin McCarron, a branch manager at Valley First. "All families are faced with the same financial demands, challenges and goals. Sometimes, we just need to be more creative and open-minded in how we work together to develop achievable financial plans."
While conditions, assistance and support for what may be considered non-traditional families have improved over the years, many still face heavy financial burdens. The same can be said of one-person households-a group also on the increase-who are often young professionals or students.
"Often, the more non-traditional families are those that face the largest financial challenges," says McCarron. "Take a single-parent family or recent graduate trying to establish themselves in the property market, for example. In the past the family might have been better positioned to provide support or they may have had better opportunities for a promising career. Now, unfortunately, given day-to-day financial pressure it is harder to make real financial headway.
However, the continuing economic uncertainty and paucity of meaningful job opportunities in certain markets mean the more traditional family is far from insulated from the financial challenges new families may be facing.
"It is more difficult today for the family's primary earner to work and earn enough to allow their partner to stay home and raise the family" says McCarron. "Along with new family make-ups, we are also seeing a growing number of two income families. Likewise, the number of working seniors and those coming out of retirement or delaying retirement is on the rise."
Regardless of what constitutes your family, McCarron stresses the importance of having those sometimes tough conversations about finances with the important people in your life.
"At Valley First, we emphasize financial literacy and planning," says McCarron. "While we all have different backgrounds, personal lives and means, we share the common desire to be financially stable. With our locally-based experts, we have the knowledge to help all family types achieve their financial goals."
Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 37 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has approximately $6.6 billion in assets under administration, more than 169,000 members and close to 1,400 employees.