Can You and Your Spouse Survive Working
by Blane Russell
For better or worse. For richer or poorer.
At the office or at home? Those may not be the vows
you remember taking, but perhaps the thought of starting a
family business has come up in your dinnertime conversation.
More and more couples are starting companies and working
together in an effort to gain financial freedom, and spend
more time with their families. The question is, can
you and your spouse survive working together?
As with any major decision, creating a list of pros and cons
is usually the best way to start. There are certainly
benefits to being co-owners of a company. However,
there are definite drawbacks, too.
On the Plus Side
For couples that have a solid relationship and know each
other well, working together can be a dream come true.
They are able to spend more time together, and share yet
another important part of life with each other.
As a couple working together, you are able to watch your
mutual business efforts blossom into a success through
teamwork. This can actually bring you closer.
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On the Negative Side
For those that do not understand their spouse well, there
can definitely be "issues" involved with becoming
For example, will one spouse be the "boss" and the
other an "employee"? Who will have final say
about company finances?
These topics and others can cause serious rifts in a
You must also think about the time you will spend together.
For some, additional time with their spouse is fabulous.
However, many partners need their independence in order to
be fulfilled as an individual. Can you handle the
added time together?
Another consideration is confrontations. If there is a
dilemma where you must confront your spouse, can you do so
on a "business level" without damaging your
personal relationship? Many couples aren't able to
draw that line.
Most importantly, what will happen if the business goes
under? Do you have a financial plan to get you through while
you both are out of work?
Keys To Success
If you are considering working together, I strongly
recommend that you follow these recommendations:
Know your partner. Understand what makes them happy,
what makes them angry, and what motivates them. Take
time to realize their strengths and weaknesses.
>>> Create an equal business
relationship. Don't position yourselves as
"boss" and "employee." Be sure
that the working relationship is just as equal as your
>>> Mind your manners. Take note
of your behavior toward each other, and your behavior toward
those you currently work with.
Do you snap at each other more than you do your co-workers?
Are you more likely to lose patience with your spouse than
an employee? It is often difficult to be kind to the
ones we love while under stress.
>>> Draw a line. Make the conscious
decision to separate work time from home time.
>>> Make sure it's a good match. Make a list
of each partner's strengths and weaknesses. Are they
different? They should be. Perhaps one partner is
great with finances while the other partner is better with
sales. If you both have the same strong points or weak
points, your working relationship will be out of
Many couples survive and thrive while working together.
There is a great chance that you and your spouse can do it,
too. The key lies in knowing each other well, and
treating each other better!
Blane and Angela Russell are co-owners of Russell and
Associates, a full-service mortgage broker specializing in
debt consolidation, second mortgages, refinances, and no
income verification loans. To get the credit you need
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