Yes, I am going there! Why? Because it needs to be discussed. The elephant in the room to all investing podcasts, blogs and videos is that not all spouses are aligned on finances, let alone investing with any sort of surplus. So before you unsubscribe or dismiss this subject give me a chance to draw you in.
Considering that the top causes of divorce are finances and communication (or lack thereof), there should be some emphasis on how to protect your most important asset while seeking to grow other assets.
From my observation, usually it is one spouse that is more interested in investing than the other. This is understandable, as two different people may have separate sets of passions and varying degrees of enthusiasm regarding the same mission, even if they share the same values.
So respecting that the passions may not be equally shared, how does one convince the other person that it is time to think seriously about investing or take that next step with an investment?
Identify Alignment Opportunities
It is usually difficult to be all-in on an endeavor if your spouse does not understand the purpose of the effort or recognize its value as it relates to your lives. It is important to find common ground. What are your shared values? Here are some examples:
- Love and family
- Generosity and helping others
- Education and teaching future generations
Finding common ground is the basis for alignment. It does not mean that you and your spouse are 100% bought in on how you go about achieving those things. In fact, choosing to invest in real estate may be seen as one part of your mission together. That is where you, as the primary promoter of real estate as a wealth-building tool, must be understanding and temper yourself so that your whole life is not devoted to this one area of the bigger picture.
Get Educated Together
I am not talking about throwing Rich Dad, Poor Dad at your spouse at the dinner table and telling him or her to read it, “Then you will understand why we are doing this.” Rather, take time to offer subtle and concise snippets of education in conversation, using examples from the real world or something you read that taught or inspired you. Do not over do it. Investing aside, no one wants to be taught or lectured with unsolicited sermons. I know I don’t!
Allow Your Spouse’s Involvement
Once again, this is not to be overdone. Rather than persuading your spouse to get involved in your same capacity (analyzing deals, networking, education, marketing), simply allowing for him or her to get involved as he or she pleases does two things:
- Opens up the opportunity to connect through a common mission
- Without applying pressure, may allow your spouse to find his or her best fit (ability/time/passion) in this shared mission.
Expect Less and Celebrate More!
Finally, expect less. Keep working the mission, educating yourself, identifying and taking each next step and growing your wealth. Celebrate together along the way, even through the trivial events. When we formed Robinson Capital, my wife and I went out to celebrate. When I was able to take a job with less responsibility, my wife and I celebrated. After refinancing our single-family a few months a go, guess what: we celebrated. Celebrations along the way allow for appreciation of both the large and small things, but most importantly, shared experiences. Experiences that you and your spouse will want to repeat over and over again.
Partnering is Key
So, maybe you are not yet a millionaire like you want to be. Maybe you have not yet achieved your passive income or wealth goals. But you have something very special: family, friends, spouse, significant other that you can and should use as your support system.
You cannot do it alone, no one can. On the same coin, caution yourself against unrealistic expectations on your spouse regarding his or her involvement, shared passion and enthusiasm for wealth building. Find common ground, get involved together where possible, expect less and celebrate more!
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Rodney Robinson II