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Family Inc. by Douglas P. McCormick

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CHAPTER 1

Why Do I Need a CFO? I Don’t Even Own a Business

Growing up, my brother, Dave, and I developed different attitudes and behavior about money. Dave’s nickname was Spendsworth, given to him by our grandfather because, as Grandpa said, “He spends what he is worth.” Dave supported his carefree spending because he always seemed to have some sort of job. Making money wasn’t the hard part for him; holding on to it seemed to be. Like any good younger brother, I took the opposite tack. I, too, had many jobs—newspaper deliverer, farmhand, babysitter, Christmas tree trimmer, and stationery salesman, to name a few. But I saved almost everything I earned, made some investments with my father’s help and even loaned some of it out to poor Spendsworth at usurious interest rates.

While most of these youthful habits have stood me in good stead, they haven’t exempted me from the sometimes scary financial decisions and challenges that come with becoming an adult. In my twenties, I resigned an Army commission to go to Harvard Business School just as my wife, Michele, became pregnant with our first child. While the opportunity to attend Harvard was exciting, it came at a high cost. Boston was much more expensive than we anticipated, and the job Michele got at Harvard barely covered child care and housing. Because I had some modest savings, I wasn’t eligible for financial aid. For the next two years, we depleted my savings and borrowed heavily to pay for school, fund living expenses, and ...

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