How to be the Family CFO: Book Review

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How to be the Family CFO, by Kim Snider has been on my reading list for some time. It’s an intriguing title. I like the idea of treating your personal finances as seriously as one might treat business finances. Too often we don’t take our personal money as carefully as we do with other people’s money.

This is a quick read with some good ideas, such as creating a personal balance sheet and income statements. While many of the actions that Snider proposes aren’t new ideas they are solid practices that anyone interested in controlling their finances can/should learn.

Like many personal finance books, this one hovers on the surface with good ideas, but not enough detail. This is both good and bad: good as an introduction and, though I wouldn’t exactly say “bad, this isn’t for the intermediate level money manager.

A CFO, chief financial officer, is much more than a bookkeeper or accountant. CFO’s guide the corporation’s financial direction. To do this you’ve got to think beyond monitoring a budget. The CFO doesn’t just set financial goals but develops the steps necessary to reach those goals through implementing spending controls, monitoring purchasing (such as price shopping). The CFO also works with investments, for a family that means watching the retirement accounts and understanding what other investment vehicles will keep the family financially healthy. In a family, I would expect that the CFO would also report to the rest of the family members to ensure that they were informed of the family’s financial undertakings, plans and current status.

But How to be the Family CFO doesn’t get that specific. Instead, Snider, spends more time on reiterating the importance of setting goals and developing savings–something we hear and read about all the time.

So while this isn’t a bad book and it definitely has some good information, it didn’t meet my expectations.


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