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CFO Your Life

August 28, 2018

By MK Vernon

Dear Mama,

Do you ever have visions of running the financial show in your house? It doesn’t matter if you work full-time, part-time, or stay at home and care for the kiddos. Each situation can allow us to be CFO of our household finances. Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you cut your partner out of the conversation. It’s important for us to have a lot of transparency and big conversations with our other half. If you answered no to my initial question, bear with me.

Whether you dream of being in charge of your finances or not, I’m going to make a compelling case for why you should get heavily involved in the conversation.

In my particular case, I allowed my husband to handle all of the financial decisions because I simply wasn’t interested. I thought finances were too complex for me to handle, I didn’t have any desire to learn, and I wanted to focus my time on my babies and other interests. It wasn’t until I got seriously annoyed by my husband’s well-meaning reminders that we needed to watch our spending because we weren’t saving as much as he wanted to, that I started to contemplate a complete takeover. I am very stubborn by nature and I don’t like being told what to do. Especially more than once. And especially when I am aware that I might be the slightest bit in the wrong. Call it a defense mechanism.

After many months of attempting to justify our expenses and ultimately finding us in a scary, panic-induced situation of only having a few dollars in our checking account, I began my takeover. Surprisingly, my husband was more than happy to pass the job to me. And it made me feel amazing because I realized how much he trusted me and I knew I wouldn’t be told I was spending too much anymore!!!

It was a win-win. To this day I still include my husband in important financial discussions and we talk through expenditures over a certain dollar amount, but the day-to-day finances all fall under my title of CFO of my household. Here are some compelling reasons why you too should consider becoming at least co-CFO of your household finances:

  1. It helps you see exactly where your money is going, especially if you manually track your expenses.
  2. It’s nice to have a second pair of eyes to make sure everything is being done to meet certain goals.
  3. It makes you feel on top of the world to learn the ins and outs of personal finance. It isn’t hard stuff, but learning how it works and how to manage it according to your goals is incredibly empowering.
  4. It allows you to have more control over achieving certain goals. If your partner has dreams of buying an electric guitar and you have dreams of taking a family trip to Hawaii (am I projecting??), instead of one person saying, “We don’t have enough money,” you know exactly what you have and how long it would take to achieve your goals (or how much you would need to withdraw and what the implications would be from doing so).
  5. If you unexpectedly lost your partner, you already know the ins and outs of your finances and would not be left suddenly in the dark trying to make sense of your financial picture while simultaneously grieving and consoling distraught kids.
  6. It gets you more excited about saving, because when you watch your net worth grow and know that it is doing so under your watchful eyes, you can’t beat that sense of accomplishment.
  7. And of course my personal favorite: No one is telling you how much you can and cannot spend. It becomes a team effort — all for a great cause!

These are just a few of the many reasons why I think every mother and woman should get her hands on her household finances and truly understand the complete picture. Start researching questions such as: What assets/savings/investment accounts do we currently have? What debts do we owe? Do I know where the passwords are to all of our accounts? What would happen if I were suddenly alone – is there enough to take care of the kids and me? What are our big financial goals? Are we on track to meet these?

Let us know what your current relationship looks like with your household finances in the comments. Are you a rock-star household CFO or do you pass off money management to someone else? Why?

Wishing you all the best on your motherhood money journey.

MK and Yvonne

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