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Money and Marriage: How to Make it Work

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Tips for getting your life partner to support you in business, investing and in life

“Happy wife, happy life.”

Are you familiar with this saying? Some men just “get it,” and make it their duty to ensure their wife’s happiness—because they know it will create a long-lasting, loving marriage. When a wife is happy and fulfilled, she of course, tends to be more giving toward her husband.

As with any partnership, marriage is all about balancing your spouse’s needs with your own. And oftentimes, successfully navigating that means becoming a talented negotiator. Frequently, women come to me complaining about how they’d really like to explore the world of real estate investing or entrepreneurship—but their husband is simply not on board. What are your options for exploring something you’re passionate about if your spouse doesn’t support you? Money and marriage go hand-in-hand, so it’s important to be realistic about how it affects your relationship.

The 4 Options for Surviving Money and Marriage

My friend, Pat, was having this exact struggle.

She and I had talked regularly about how investing in real estate can lead to financial freedom. And she was finally ready to take action on her future. But when she broached the subject with her husband, his response was less than enthusiastic. In fact, it was downright dismissive: “We make enough money, so I don’t think we need to risk it on investing.” As far as he was concerned, that was the end of the conversation.

Pat was floored.

She felt powerless, frustrated, and alone. And she was left wondering if she should pursue it anyways, without his blessing.

So how do you start something new (like investing or starting your own business) if your number-one partner isn’t interested? That’s the million-dollar question. After all, I’m fortunate to have a partner in Robert who not only supports me with my investing, but strongly encourages me to keep learning and taking on bigger challenges. Money and marriage has always been our foundation.

So, while I don’t have first-hand experience with this situation, I do know plenty of women are faced with it.

After some careful thought, I’ve decided there are four clear options for women facing this dilemma (I’m using investing in my examples, but the same concept applies to women seeking to start any business new venture):

  1. Invest with your partner as a team.

    As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. Investing involves an array of talents, and often couples who work together uncover talents they never knew they had. Learning a new skill together can be a wonderful opportunity for growth, and making joint decisions can really solidify your bond. Plus, you’ll be spending more time together as you work on your investments. Obviously, in a perfect world, this would be the ideal solution: a dual partnership, where you learn and grow together on the road toward financial independence.

  2. Invest on your own—with your partner’s support.

    If your significant other isn’t interested in partnering up, then the next best thing would be to have the support of your partner. Even if he’s not actively involved in the process, this will reduce, if not eliminate, feeling as though you’re fighting an uphill battle. Plus, there could be some light at the end of this tunnel: I’ve noticed that couples who fall into this category don’t always stay there — once the money starts rolling in, the husband’s interest level perks up and he no longer wants to remain a passive bystander. If this happens, you morph into option one!

  3. Invest on your own—without your partner’s support.

    I’m not going to sugar coat it: This is a very tough position to be in. You’re not only stepping into a whole new world (which is stressful enough), but you’re doing so without the support of the most important person in your life. Again, once you succeed and have positive results, your spouse may turn around and become your biggest cheerleader. And if not, that’s OK too. The important thing to note here is that just because your life partner isn’t in your corner, it doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Women in this situation often turn to other investors for support, so look for a tribe of like-minded women by joining investment groups. Sometimes, being surrounded by people with similar goals and ambitions is all the support you really need.

  4. Don’t invest.

    It pains me to include this option, but the reality is that many women opt for it because they are worried about the marital ramifications of option three. They worry their husband will make things difficult for them to succeed, or even leave them. Afterall, money marriage problems are all too common — one study shows that 70 percent of couples argue about money more than household chores, togetherness, sex, snoring and what’s for dinner. Many women will choose this option because it’s the path of least resistance, eliminating additional stress from their current lives — but at what cost? You may face extreme financial stress in the long-run because you didn’t create a reliable cash flow solution to help secure your future.

Bringing Option 1 to Life

So how do you go about turning option number one into a reality?

First, whenever possible, include your spouse or partner in the process early on. This may start as simply as drawing his attention to a newspaper article about the trends of your local real estate market. Or break out the board game CASHFLOW to help illustrate how rental income could change your financial future. You could also start a candid conversation about money, and ask questions about his relationship to it (I explain this tactic in more detail in my book Rich Woman). Finally, you can read how to get started in real estate together.

Ultimately, you know your relationship better than anyone, so you’ll need to tailor your approach to your husband’s personality (especially if you’ve had previous marriage/money issues). It also helps to anticipate his reactions and/or objections so that you have a thoughtful response prepared. It may take some time to lay the groundwork, pique his interest, have a conversation, help him catch up on what you’ve learned, and get him engaged—all before he’s willing to sign on the dotted line. No matter which route you choose, more communication, not less, has been the key for many couples.

Original publish date: June 06, 2017

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