Author Topic: Advice for getting spouse onboard  (Read 3995 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Advice for getting spouse onboard
« on: December 26, 2012, 08:39:49 AM »
I have the following issue and would like to see what others suggest.  I am building my own business (insurance related) and after a good start up year, should be reaching a point where I am not dipping into savings to fund family needs.  In 2013, my business should be making money and I can get back to a good emergency fund (10 months of expenses makes me feel comfortable). 

Currently my spouse is a stay at home wife and does some artistic work that pays her a fair amount.  However, she does not seem to have a sense of urgency about generating an income.  I have brought in most of the income since the birth of the kids and understand she was busy raising kids.  At this point, she has some free time (kids in school), but does not seem to want to push her business forward much although she talks about it often.  I feel like we are fighting with one hand behind our backs income wise.  Any thoughts I how I could encourage her to get started with this?  It's a business where she could make an nice supplement income ($30k) if she were to market it in a larger metro area.  As she gets better, she could raise her rates.  She is frugal in how she spends money, so that's a plus.  Would just like her to feel like she can make this go.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Advice for getting spouse onboard
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2012, 10:58:48 AM »
Great question Rusty, and I think a tough challenge too. Being brutally honest, I'd say first realize that you might not be able to do anything to lead your wife to push her business forward. But I think it's encouraging that she talks about it often, so there may be hope.

I think there are basically two possibilities at work: First, since she talks about the business frequently but isn't taking the steps to move it forward, there could be just some simple hangups in the way. For example, maybe she loves doing the artistic work, but doesn't like the marketing part. Or the bookkeeping. Or she might lack confidence in attempting to go outside her comfort area. If you could identify and eliminate those obstacles, it might make her a lot more interested in moving forward with the part that's "fun" to her. But you'll always have to discuss this in a way that's not pressuring, and showing your confidence in her work and how you think you both could turn her talent into a lot of income if that's of interest to her.

Second, it sounds like she does not feel any particular motivation or pressure to move the business forward since things are going well overall with your lives, and that's okay. So you might have a conversation with her about some shared goals you have, and gently try to lead her towards concrete steps towards reaching those goals. As an obvious example, if you both wanted to be FI and able to travel the world in 10 years, then how much money would you have to earn and save to do that? Or will it take 20 years at this rate? How will you earn money to reach those goals sooner? Perhaps you could help her discover for herself that growing the business could be a way to accomplish that. But ultimately you won't be able to force it, you might have to accept that it's just not of interest to her. You'll have to put yourself in her shoes and ask, "what would I think if my wife told me she thought I should be earning more by working X more hours or getting promoted to a position I don't want?"

Hope this helps, good luck.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: Advice for getting spouse onboard
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2012, 03:41:00 PM »
I agree with Doubledown.

This is a generalisation and may not apply to your wife, but some  people who are artistic may not be time or income pressured - that is she may have a different personality, that is not so driven, or organised, or stronger with regard to creativity i.e. ideas and creative possibilities and less strong in actually doing.  There is also a difference between creating work that is saleable and creating a product for sale in a time contingent fashion. If she creates a business that grows, and she makes the items that sell, in some sense she will need to forsake her creativity and "churn it out" to get volume. Like wise she may have to produce what is "hot" and in demand, when she'd rather be creating something different.

I think it might be time for a sit down and gentle exploration of what the issues are. Does she keep talking about making it a business because she feels she should be producing income?, or, are there, as Double down suggests, some real issues with things that are not her strength. If you have complementary skills you may be able to assist. If she is on board with financial goals that require her to contribute income, another option is to get a different part-time job to make so much $ and keep the artistic stuff as a side.

I don't know anything about how your family works, so this is just another stab in the dark, but what is the division of house-hold labour? Once the kids are in school there is more spare time, agreed, but the number of free hours may not be as high as it seems, depending on the number of hours they are away and how they get to and from school. (eg mine used to be away 6 hours, but required dropping off and picking up which reduced the "free time" by another 30mins.) Those 5 or 6 hours fly by if the rest of the household is not contributing much to the daily chores. Its not reasonable to expect her to work up to 5x6 hours= 30hours a week in paid work, unless there is a strategy for how all the household chores are going to get done. If you have been a one parent working home, there will need to be  readjustment/reallocation/ change in expectation, to get the second parent free to do paid work. If she is doing the artistic work at home, there will need to be agreement that once the kids leave the house, she does NO more chores, just does artistic work  for the agreed hours.  They will come home and find the house is still a mess like they left it and mom hasn't made cookies for afternoon tea. Mom will then be busy doing chores and dinner rather than doting on them. Depending on her feelings on the matter, this might be hard for her also ie its a skill to make boundaries to work at home, if you have been the main homemaker.