My Most Powerful Business Partner is My Husband
Combining finances with a spouse can be difficult enough; add a business partnership to the mix and things can get complicated! My husband and I discovered how tough it could be in 2008. Our business and our relationship hit rock bottom. It was a turning point for us, emotionally and financially. However, we learned some valuable lessons throughout this trying experience.
My husband and I have run a financial services firm together for seven years. In early 2008, we had achieved moderate success, but our personal finance situation was less than desirable. I became increasingly uncomfortable with the level of spending and debt my husband was incurring. Instead of facing the issue, we just put our heads down and kept working harder, thinking that if we made more money, our problems would be solved.
That didn’t work. I became increasingly frustrated, tired and angry. Our business didn’t increase— it decreased. This vicious cycle continued until I erupted at my husband one night. I called him every name in the book, and rattled off all of the reasons why I was unhappy. He turned to me and asked, “Then why are you married to me?” Great question. I was forced to consider the value he brought to my life. I was not willing to be without those qualities: his entrepreneurial spirit, his sense of humor, his rock-solid character. So, I decided to be grateful for the qualities I loved in him, and let go of the resentment.
We agreed that our current reality was not what we wanted, so we came up with a list of things we did want. We began by prioritizing our goals and developing a business plan to achieve each. We identified the cost of each goal and broke them down into weekly activities; communicated frequently to ensure those goals aligned with our dreams; watched out for the frustration, anger, fear or resentment “red flags” (signs to take a step back); held weekly mastermind meetings for accountability and brainstorming; and asked for guidance from friends we trust and respect.
In essence, we started treating our personal finances like a business. The result? In the past three years, our business and income have doubled, and we’ve worked less while enjoying each other more. Ultimately, I learned that like a business, a marriage takes a lot of work, especially when it comes to finances. By setting expectations and staying transparent in our communication with one another, we were able to get back on the right path.
Marlow Felton is the owner of Investment Advisors International, and the co-author of Couples Money with her husband. E-mail Marlow at