Book Review: How to Be the Family CFO

Title: How to Be the Family CFO
Author: Kim Snider
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group
Category: Personal Finance


In How to Be the Family CFO, Kim Snider provides four easy ways for anyone to get their financial house in order. This book is intended as a guide to financial success that is both easy to read and to follow. The author bases the content on processed developed and lessons learned as she dug herself out of financial disaster in her early thirties and found her way to financial success.

Ms. Snider serves as the founder and president of Snider Advisers, an investment advisory firm registered with the SEC. The focus is on teaching readers, and holding them accountable for, skills necessary to manage financial risk, accumulate savings, and confidently achieve their goals. Readers are encouraged to take charge of the family finances and treat these as one would the financial aspect of a business.

The three roles of the family CFO are to plan, manage household assets and liabilities, and manage behavior. Planning requires developing a personal finance statement on a monthly or quarterly basis. In addition, a budget should be developed but it will be more useful if it is loose because it can accommodate changes in our hectic lives.

As far as asset management goes, everyone should have a six-month emergency fund. Saving for retirement should take precedence over saving for college education because money for college can be borrowed, if necessary. Individuals should set financial goals and begin investing early. The author recommends creating passive income, focusing on long-term results, and knowing one’s risk tolerance.

It is also important to manage risk and the best way to manage our largest risk, our personal health, is to purchase insurance to protect against it. By doing this, the family is protected should a breadwinner become ill. Other risks that should be managed include identity theft and liability.


Though this book does not reveal information that cannot be found in other personal finance books, it takes a different, and refreshing, perspective. Looking at one’s daily life as though it were a business is a unique approach to personal financing. The advice of covering risks, focusing on the areas that can be controlled, budgeting reasonably, and clearly tracking finances is a well-thought-out approach to managing personal finances. Anyone who has tried other methods and found them unsuccessful may realize that this tougher stance is required when it comes to the management of the family’s personal finances.

Particularly interesting is the advice to focus first on retirement savings and only become concerned with college savings once this is handled. It makes sense because money cannot be borrowed to retire as it can be to attend college. The author also has some unique advice regarding the aspect of control. She advises readers to figure out what they can control and ignore the other things. Rather than worrying about uncontrollable things like the stock market, readers should focus on protecting their money in ways that make them comfortable. After reading this book, readers will be inspired to consider ways to better manage the family finances.

One thought on “Book Review: How to Be the Family CFO

  1. Yes looking at it from a business perspective is certainly interesting. Can help put a fresher, newer perspective to old ideas. Also, it’s an interesting thought that one cannot borrow for retirement as one can for college, making retirement saving a more important than college saving. Thanks for the review.

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