A long, long time ago in a galaxy very familiar, a man went to work to make money and a woman stayed home to keep the house and raise the children. As equal rights started to creep in we evolved into two-income families. I believe that's were most people are now. One of my friends has taken what I believe the possible next step for some affluent families... she's a full-time CFO.
Before I get into those details, I have to share a story about her while I suppress a little laughter. Whenever we've caught up after a couple of weeks or a month, she'd ask, "So what have you been doing with all your time?" There's a general misconception that because I am self-employed, I don't work and have infinite amounts of time. It was always an uncomfortable question to answer. Have you ever had that weekend day when you've been super busy, but really can't state at the end of the day what you accomplished? It's like that.
Several months ago, I was catching up with her and she told me that she had been slowly transitioning out of her job for about a year now. I was finally able to turn the tables on the question and put it to her. She responded that she's managing the family's money full-time. Hmmm, this sounded very familiar to me. I asked for more details...
She talked about her real estate empire that she started building over the course of last year. (One of the key words in the opening paragraph was "affluent.") On paper, these properties are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars more than what she paid. I want to stress that the equity gains aren't realized, but it's hard to argue that she didn't do well. For now, she rents them out the properties for income.
She says that she follows the financial markets and re-balances according to that. I know she's very financially intelligent (perhaps even more so than me if you can imagine such a thing - ha!), so she's not day trading or anything like that. One thing she mentioned is that none of this would be possible if she was still working full-time at her other job. She wouldn't have the time to go look at properties, put in bids, secure financing, and the like.
My friend is doing more things, but in her spare time she's also a soccer mom, shuttling kids here and there. It's half homemaker and half entrepreneur. Her husband brings in a more traditional income.
I'm seeing a lot of that in myself nowadays, which makes me wonder if it is a trend. I wear a number of CFO hats.
Certified Financial Officer
On one hand, I have an income stream from my online properties, most famously the one you are reading now. Like my friend, I am also looking to expand my real estate empire. In the past 9 months, I was able to refinance our three properties to save us more than a hundred thousand dollars in mortgage payments. It was no small chore given that two of them were HARPs. With a full-time job, I doubt I would have had the patience to spend the hours every week for months to get it done. (After the sub-prime collapse it seems that lenders are overly paranoid now.)
Certified Frugal Officer
I look for ways that we can save money, without putting in a ton of time and effort for a buck. This means taking advantage of the military commissary and deals at the local supermarkets without extreme couponing. It means utilizing services like DogVacay instead of a traditional kennel when we go vacation. One of the things I've done is get rewards credit cards for almost every category of items we buy to get an addition 2-5% cash back on everything we buy.
The little things add up.
Certified "Fudge!" Officer
[If this weren't a family-friendly blog, I would use another name other than "fudge."]
Most recently, I've been on full-time alert for people trying to swindle me out of money. I've mentioned that RainSoft scammed me out of $100, and that my tenants won’t get out. The later is means that I might lose a day going to court. The latest issue is the local hospital and our health care plan provider can't seem to connect on a bill. It seems that both agree that we shouldn't have to pay it, but nonetheless, it went to collections because the person at the hospital who was supposed to fix the error quit for a new job. It's a simple clerical error, but it's a few more hours of work.
In a lot of ways being a full-time family CFO simply means keeping an ear to the ground listening for opportunity. When you hear it coming, you get ready to pounce. It also means putting out fires that threaten to take money from you.
After some 800 words, I still don't think I'm any closer to coming up with an appropriate answer when someone asks, "Are you a full-time blogger?" In my mind that conjures up someone spending eight (or more) hours writing every day. That simply isn't me. Maybe the next time someone asks me, I tell them that I'm a "family CFO" and watch as their forehead crinkles.
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