Should you run your home like a business?

It’s not enough to make time for your children. There are certain stages in their lives when you have to give them the time when they want it. You can’t run your family like a company. It doesn’t work.

~ Andrew Grove

Well, obviously Andrew Grove, a key player in the birth of Intel, thinks the answer is no. I bet you can probably guess that I’m going to say that it’s not a yes or no question. I think the answer, like so many others, is yes and no.

Anyone who knows children knows that their needs cannot always be scheduled or anticipated. Anyone who has children knows that parenting is a 24/7, always-on-call affair. In that sense, it’s sort of like being a business owner. That said, as a business owner, you might need to cut expenses, employees, or suppliers. But as a parent, you are probably not going to downsize your 5-year-old for not performing to your expectations.

Ok, so that’s the no part. The yes part comes into effect when you’re dealing with your finances. As a parent, you are a CCO (Chief Care Officer), but you are also a CFO (Chief Financial Officer), and the two are definitely very different. But they do overlap. There are 2 main ways that improving your skills as a CFO can make you a better CCO:

A. Model healthy financial habits

Letting children participate in financial planning:

  • shows them that it is something that needs to be done regularly
  • lets them know what’s happening in the family’s balance sheet
  • teaches them about the process of financial management

It has the added bonus of helping them understand why you might not be able to buy what they want right now. Obviously, the level of their participation will be age-dependent.

B. Providing a secure financial environment is part of providing a secure family environment

Improving your financial position makes for a more stable home environment. Families with their finances under control enjoy less stressed parents and fewer conflicts over money. This makes for a less stressful environment for the kids. The family is able to enjoy the money they spend, knowing that it’s not going to put them out of business – so to speak.

What do you think? Yes, no, or both?

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