It’s ironic, but it’s also very common. Often, when one spouse starts a small business, the personal finances wind up taking a back seat. The business person is out there taking out personal loans and maxing out credit cards in order to get things off the ground, and the spouse is at home with the task of holding the family’s finances together.
This can be hard on a couple, to be sure. Still, there are some things you can do ahead of time to make sure that the financial aspect of running a business and running a family don’t cause too much in the way of stress between you:
Set Up Some Rules Ahead of Time
Understanding what each of you expects from the other person is key in so many aspects of your relationship. This is true whether you’re talking about money, sex or even raising your kids. You need to be open and honest about your fears and expectations.
You also need to set up a structure that encourages communication after things get going. Decide now that you’ll talk once a month, for example, about family finances. Talk about how exactly the business and personal finances will interact. Just because you take out a personal loan to fund your business doesn’t mean that the business shouldn’t make the payments.
Know There Will Be Problems
This is especially true if you’re making a shift from two steady paychecks to one. It might cause a change in lifestyle. At the very least, even if both spouses are on board, it can cause fear, stress and tension.
Knowing that there will be rough patches and watching for them along the way helps you to deal with them as they come, so that they don’t snowball into one big unmanageable ball of tension.
Line Up Other Sources of Income
If there’s an emergency, it can really mess with a family’s stability during these times. You might, for example, be able to cover food and housing just fine, but when the car needs to be repaired you might have some trouble.
Adding to the problem is the fact that your credit may be maxed out. The personal loans you’ve taken out to fund your business may have drained your credit.
If not, then you can always turn to one form of credit or another. If it has, you’ll need to be prepared to get creative with your finances. You might even need to consider taking loans from family members, for example.
Ultimately, if you can get through the early rough spots, you can indeed have a successful business and a successful marriage all at the same time.
Photo via Orin Zebest