The Financial Pros and Cons of Doing Business with Your Spouse

 

Running any size business is, undoubtedly, very stressful. Most of the time, you’ll certainly see yourself wearing more than one hat – supervising a workforce here, building a strong customer base there, and at the same time, making sure that financial commitments are met. And while juggling too many things at a time, it can sometimes be challenging to define priorities that it starts to affect both your work and personal life – most especially when you are running a business with your significant other.

Just like any business partnerships, spousal business partnerships face tough odds – except that the difficulty in succeeding past the first few years doubles. As a matter of fact, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, only “44% of all businesses make it past the first four years.” But this data does not suggest that yours is bound to fail, as well.

In fact, as we progress to an age where work-life fusion has become a desirable substitute for work-life balance, working with your romantic partner has become a seemingly viable option. Or is it? Could this be the ultimate career move?

One way to find out is to weigh its financial pros and cons and see if any of these works for you and your partner.

THE ADVANTAGES

It keeps things easy and promotes good communication. Dealing with financial matters, especially in the household, can be quite tricky – like, who pays which bills? But, actually, having your partner as a co-worker can make things easier to tackle even before they lead to complicated conversations. Whether you and your partner decide to split or combine finances, it is convenient to know that you have agreed to something that both works for you… and your pockets.

Also, it improves communication which is an integral and crucial working skill among professionals (inside and outside of marriage). Good communication makes financial goals easier to reach, inspires individuals to excel, lessen stress and tension in the workplace, and drives success not only in the business but, in the marriage as well.

It improves financial literacy. Becoming self-made finance experts is great and definitely something that every entrepreneur can be proud of. But as a couple walking the executive journey, isn’t it better to learn together and from each other?

Marriage is not only about combining your finances but, your financial styles, as well. Your financial experiences can improve your money literacy and in turn, help you go through the difficulties of personal and professional financial planning, learn and avoid past mistakes, and build a scalable and revenue-driving business.

Furthermore, learning from each other makes it easy to spot hidden issues which can seriously compromise your financial future – such as money habits and aptitude for managing finances.

It provides a great deal of financial predictability. Chances are, you are within the same industry and on the same pay schedule which makes advantages goes a long way from financial predictability, tax reductions, to taking advantage of your spouse’s work benefits – such as supplemental benefits like extended health coverage.

However, you should keep an eye on the risk of any turbulence within your business or industry as this can lead to both of you being jobless at the same time.

THE DOWNSIDES

All financial eggs are in one basket. Serving as partnering brains behind your business poses a significant risk of losing half your income especially if, when working for the same employer, one spouse receives the pink slip.

Hence, if you are considering working with your significant other, it is very important to not let unbridled personal professional wants cloud your financial well-being. Remember that it is a teamwork and whatever you do, good or bad, could have a long-lasting effect to your business.

For instance, if you are working on a new business with anticipated slow profitability; in order to avoid operating at a loss, it would be wise to keep side jobs, build a nest egg, and before gaming out – ensure that your new venture is already sustainable and profitable.

Debt can become a bigger issue. Coming into the marriage with a hefty debt or terrible credit is definitely a deal-breaker – not only it can cause damage to the business but, it can also ruin the marriage.

Therefore, before deciding to tie the knot, make sure that both of your finances are in a healthy condition. However, if you are already in the situation, it is better to separate accounts while the indebted spouse works on making a stable finance.

Mismatched money styles could end the business – and the marriage, eventually. It is actually common to see two individuals with opposing money styles attract each other – one is a saver while the other is a spender. However, this is not always the case.

There are couples whose dealing with opposing money styles stir financial problems – a clear red-flag that divorce is in the future. In fact, in a study conducted by Jeffrey Dew of Utah State University, it was found that “couples that fought about money more than once a week were 30 percent more likely to get divorced.”

Now, if you think that going through the divorce process itself is ugly enough, you are completely wrong. Because it is not just about your failed marriage but, your shared business as well; it can get even uglier, nastier, and overly expensive. And if both of you are not prepared for such kind of circumstances, all can go wrong – you could wake up having your ex as your business partner, find yourself fighting to prevent the enterprise being sold to raise cash, or lose your company to your ex.

Understandably, money talk with your spouse might not be at the top of your list but, you have to be reminded of its utmost importance to your marriage and to everything that comes along with it. Because at the end of the day, harnessing the benefits of work-love integration, all come down to the decisions you make as partners.

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