In Health and in Wealth: The Evolution of the FFO
The 1960s led to innovations like touch-tone telephones and the moon landing – and it also sparked a transformative shift away from the “traditional” family structure of the ‘50s. As households and family roles change over the decades, taking care of finances is increasingly becoming a shared responsibility between spouses.
Once upon a time, it was exclusively the husbands’ job to go out into the workforce as the family breadwinners, while wives were stay-at-home mothers and homemakers. With women managing households, they often took on the role known as FFO, or Family Financial Officer. But as these traditional roles changed, so did the idea of managing finances as a couple.
Households have evolved, with each member of the family taking on different roles than they traditionally have – especially when it comes to family finance. As the decades have passed, women increasingly began entering the workforce. Likewise, many men have opted to forgo a career in favor of staying home with the kids.
Roles have become less traditional and more equitable. Household finances, along with just about everything else in a marriage, became a shared enterprise, and the rules and common practices that surrounded managing household finances were changed forever. These days, many couples even maintain their finances separately, making it no surprise that couples are now less likely to appoint a single person as FFO, and more likely to shoulder the responsibility together.
- Identifying the Youngest Decision Maker: Evolution of the Family Financial Officer, LIMRA, 2017.
- Number of Married Couples In the United States from 1960 to 2016 (in millions), Statista, 2017.
- Age-Adjusted Labor Force Participation Rates, 1960-2045, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2002.
- Labor Force Participation Rate by Sex, Race and Hispanic Ethnicity, U.S. Department of Labor, 2015.
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