Are you the CEO of the household or do you live in a ‘start-up’? When it comes to managing money, the ‘typical’ British household is long gone. In fact it’s been suggested there are now four main types. Which one is your family?
Not all families manage their money and household tasks in the same way, according to new research from media agency Mediacom. Which of the four models below best describes your family’s approach?
The Apprentice model
Parents involve their children in financial decisions as household ‘apprentices’ – giving them a say while educating them about money-management and organisation at the same time.
Alasdair Macfarlane is 31 and works as a sales manager in his home town of Glasgow. He’s married to Justine and they have an eight-year-old daughter called Aimee. He calls her ‘a wee apprentice of life’ and says that “whether it be money or decorating, she’s always happy to learn. Aimee has her own style and knows what she likes and, as she’s one third of our family, we try to involve her in all our decisions.”
Aimee is also free to manage her own money. “We normally give her pocket money in return for doing small chores, like tidying her room or washing the car,” says Alasdair. “You appreciate the value of money when you’ve earned it – and because she’s earned it, it’s up to her how she spends it.”
But both Alasdair and Justine both try to educate Aimee about good financial habits.
“I make a big effort to teach Aimee how to save money,” he says. “What’s happened with the recession has left us all reeling and I for one want to make sure if that happens again when Aimee is a young adult she’s prepared for it.”
The Start-Up model
Professional couples who are very time-poor often share tasks and responsibilities, depending on who has time.
Tim Frost is a 33-year-old architect who lives in Wimbledon with his wife Karina, a chef. “We both chip in 50/50 depending on who has time and who is interested in what. Karina’s a chef so she usually handles the food, although I do help out so she can take a break from always cooking!
“I usually deal with the finances to make sure we’re getting the best deals and value. When it comes to bigger decisions like choosing holiday destinations we tend to do some research individually and then discuss together to make a decision.”
The Sole Trader
The fastest growing household type in the UK. Just under a third of British households are occupied by a single person or ‘sole trader’ – they manage the household themselves but often seek support from friends and family.
Elly Clark lives in Cheltenham and is a training administrator at Gloucester Airport. Solely responsible for her household, she has lived on her own since 2010. “I do a lot of research online when it comes to making decisions at home, using things like price comparison websites.
“When it comes to advice and practical help I sometimes turn to family and friends – DIY is Dad, and for food and health it’s Mum. Living on your own can be frightening, but until you do it you don’t realise how strong you are and how much you know!
“Realising you can take care of everything OK gives you a lot of faith in yourself. I often give my friends advice – like telling them how to check their energy meters!”
The CEO model
The CEO of the household (usually Mum) takes on the lion’s share of household tasks and managing finances.
Jane Allen is 62 and lives in Derbyshire with her husband Brian, who is a self-employed plumber. Together they have two sons who work for the family business.
Jane handles the majority of the family’s finances and household decisions. “I do pretty much all the admin and finance for my husband’s business – which is a lot of the work, and takes up two or three full days a week. The rest of the time, I’m left to sort out the household.
“I’d say I do at least 75-80% of the household chores. It’s always been that way. He does a little bit of cooking and he gets involved in some DIY tasks and the garden, but that’s it. I’d say we’re traditional in an almost old-fashioned sense. I certainly wouldn’t say this is the typical model any more – not for younger generations.”
Do any of the models above describe your family – or do you do things differently? Let us know by emailing us at [email protected] or by commenting below!