Why I get the corner office

Posted on April 14, 2009. Filed under: reality |

I like to think of myself as our little family’s CFO (that’s Chief Financial Officer).  Giving myself a title frees me to be detailed and business-like about our finances, helps put me in the right frame of mind to update my guy, and makes me a little less grumpy about the time I spend paying bills, calling the stupid cable company because they’ve screwed up my bill yet again, and keeping track of mountains of paperwork.

And I even have an office with a view (oh, and it IS in the corner of the house!).  Now if only I was cool enough for an assistant….

Anyway, I see my role as the family CFO as extremely important.  Not only do I handle the tactical stuff (paying bills, checking balances, filing records), I help frame and recommend strategic decisions.  Do we want to take a yearly vacation?  What’s more important to us, eating out or keeping the Home Depot stock afloat?  Should we rent or sell our extra house?

Today, for example, I will update our net worth spreadsheet (which feels like a facetious title right now, but won’t always be that way!), look at our list of projects and wants to see what will fit into the budget, and then meet my guy for lunch to do a quick review.  If anything weird shows up on our statements, our balances hit a fun target (we watch our mortgage closely), or I pay something big off, I’m sure to share.

See, I’ve always done this – well, at least since early in our relationship.  But during one of our arguments, it was mentioned that one of us did everything around the house and the other did not.  I realized, he had no idea that I put a couple of hours into our family’s budget every couple of weeks because I’m on my laptop, and he assumes I’m either web surfing, blogging, or working.  It was a silent contribution, and I was getting no credit!

Showing him our current situation and future goals also helps in discussions about new projects.  Before, he’d suggest some big project (well, to me it was big; to him everything “shouldn’t be that hard”) and I’d start running numbers in my head and trying to figure out how to fund it.  Now, he’ll suggest a project, we’ll talk about a few details, and then he’ll ask me to put it on the list.  Relief!

Plus, financial experts tell us over and over that one partner should never be in the dark about the family’s finances, even if they’re not the partner dealing with it every day.  I’ve gone so far as to print a list of every account, username, password, and account number we have.  If I’m suddenly unable to deal with stuff — for whatever reason — he’ll at least have a starting point.  At his request, I deleted the electronic copy for security reasons.

Our work environments are very, very different.  Mine is very business-like while his is very, very casual.  Presenting to him — even in such a casual way — gives him a little peek into my skills, which makes me feel good, and helps him understand our situation.  In turn, that allows me to listen to his ideas without freaking out about the money.

It works.  (And no, I don’t do a Powerpoint, but I have been known to bring out my laptop.  Most of the time, I give a verbal update and then show him the documents because he likes to look at them.)

Who will be your family’s CFO?

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2 Responses to “Why I get the corner office”

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I’m totally the CFO in our 10 year relationship. We just got married last fall, but I’ve been working the finances for years. It started because he was awful with money and it continued because I was really good with it. I caved to his anger at me always saying no we can’t afford that before, but since getting married we’re more on the same page. Not only does keeping them in the dark make for a bad situation if you couldn’t take care of it… but it makes them totally un-aware of how much it costs to run a comfortable household. He works the overtime at work and figures that you should just be able to blow all that money… right? Wrong, we’ve got goals that we’re working towards…I realized the hard way that I’ve got to let him in on the big picture. He’s got to get interested in some money stuff and I’ve got to relax the strings in my tight little savers fist. Marriage is about compromise.

[…] the CEO April 15, 2009 Posted by Marisa in Uncategorized. trackback I blogged about my role as our family’s CFO, so I thought it only fair to tell you about my guy’s role: CEO (that’s Chief Executive […]


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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.

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