This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy for more information.
Call me “old-fashion” but I believe the man is the head of the home, I don’t think submission to his leadership makes a woman weak, and I believe that honor for your spouse keeps marriages strong. So when it comes to managing the finances of the home; while my husband is Chief Executive Officer (CEO), I’m Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
The days of the man controlling all the finances in the home and the woman being oblivious to household business are over! As wives and mothers, you need to have access to the bank accounts, life insurance policies, real estate, etc. There should be no secrets and you should have a voice in the affairs of the home. It breaks my heart when I hear that a husband has passed away and the woman has no idea what to do next.
Finances can cause strife in marriages. We must have open and honest communication about money with our spouse. We also have to recognize that we come from different backgrounds and have different ideas about money. One person is usually the nerd and the other is the free spirit. You and your spouse just need to understand who is who. The nerd needs the free spirit or they will never have any fun. The free spirit needs the nerd or the family would go broke. If you and your spouse are both nerds, find a couple of free spirits and become each others’ accountability partners.
When a company makes a decision that will require a financial commitment, one of the key players involved in the decision making process is the CFO. This person’s job is to know all the numbers and approve or deny requests based on the financial data. This is exactly what should be done with the household budget.
If your marriage was a business, who would be the CFO? Who does your spouse believe is the CFO? That’s just as important if not more important than what you think you are.
I was having a conversation with my mother today. It’s been awhile since she looked at her budget and she decided to commit to it again. She wanted to make sure she was on track with spending and that she wasn’t wasting money each month. She knew there may be areas where she could cut expenses so she could save more.
How do you know if you should pull back and tighten up your spending or when you can get that new iPhone or go on a fancy dinner or vacation without feeling guilty if you don’t know the numbers?
If you don’t take responsibility for knowing your financial reality it can only hurt you. I say reality because many choose to stay in the fantasy of oblivion about their finances. No good can come from being in the dark when it comes to your net worth and bank account. It’s only more frustrating for the spouse who does look at the finances to talk about money with the spouse who does not understand the finances.
Now, I’m not assuming it’s always the man who understands the money and the woman who goes out and spends unnecessarily. In fact, I am the nerd in our home and I take care of our finances. As the “CFO spouse,” I explain the financial position to my husband but I also put the ball back in his court. It is his responsibility to make sure he understands our situation. If you are the nerd, you don’t have to do everything. Your spouse has a responsibility to you and your children to make sure he understands your financial position.
Businesses look at their numbers constantly. If they didn’t consider the numbers in all their decisions they would not be around long. I call it “counting the cost.” When I coach someone in a crisis financial situation, I make sure that they understand that they should be looking at their bank accounts daily to ensure they are on track with their budget. If not, I help guide them in adjustments that can be made so they get to where they need to be financially. It’s always their final decision on what those adjustments look like.
Business people have to be comfortable talking about money. It is just as important for couples. Make sure you set up a regular “date” with your spouse at least once a month to go through the credit card statements and bank statements. My husband and I do this bi-weekly but I review our budget twice a week. Yes, it’s the nerd in me. Calculate your monthly expenditures and create a budget you can both agree upon so you know what you can and can’t do before you have to consult each other on money issues and purchases.
Couples who work together as a team when it comes to money are much less likely to argue about money. Money is one of the most common things people argue about so talk about it regularly and ensure there are no surprises by planning, budgeting and setting goals, just like any business would naturally do.
It’s much easier to make good financial decisions for the family when the CEO and CFO of the marriage understand the balance sheet.
So…if your marriage was a business, who would be the CFO?