Financial conflict is a serious issue in a marriage and a leading cause of divorce in the United States. If you've just caught the investing bug and you happen to be married, it's important to keep this fact in mind. Ideally, you want to find happiness with your spouse instead of counting your money somewhere alone. Getting your spouse on board with your new investing obsession doesn't have to be hard; here are some tips on how you can help him or her see the light.
Emphasize the benefits...
Emphasizing the benefits will probably be simple, since they're what got you so enthused about investing in the first place. However, you should consider what benefits might actually compel your spouse. Is he or she data-driven? You could show your spouse mutual fund prospectuses or historical stock data that show potential returns. Is your spouse risk-averse? Emphasize the existence of many blue-chip companies with steady dividends and annual growth, or explain the importance of diversification in investing.
But don't forget the risks
You can't leave the potential for risk out of any conversation with your spouse about investing. It's unfair, and when the time comes when your portfolio is down, there will probably be some awkward questions. This is also the perfect opportunity for you to solidify your own position on risk. When you're first starting to learn about investing, it's easy to lose sight of the potential risks by focusing on the substantial rewards.
Discussing your proposed investing strategy with your spouse can empower them to highlight any flaws in your plan, as well as help hold you accountable to the amount of risk you're willing to take on. You're essentially making a contract with your spouse on how you intend to manage risk, which is a crucial component of any successful investing journey. In this way, a spouse can be a valuable asset, rather than just an obstacle to overcome.
Find a compromise
As with most things in marriage, investing with your spouse on board will probably involve some compromise. You might agree on a limit to how much money you start out investing (a good policy even if you're not married), or some guidelines on what you can invest in. Maybe you introduce a stipulation that all trades need to be mutually agreed upon before execution.
Hopefully you're investing for the long run, so getting your spouse fired up and on board at the beginning is much more important for long-term success than the first investments you actually make. While you may not be able to invest exactly as you want in the beginning, you can take the time instead to build trust between you and your spouse that you're committed to learning, managing risk, and following through with your plan.
Pick investments you'll both enjoy following
Here's the fun part -- get your spouse involved by coming up with a list of investments you'll both enjoy buying and following. It's simplest to illustrate this point with stocks, as everyone can recognize the brands they enjoy doing business with. Here's a general idea of where this line of reasoning might take you (keep in mind these are just examples):
- If your spouse likes shopping, consider Amazon, Target, or Gap.
- If your spouse likes tech, maybe he or she would be interested in Apple, Facebook, or Microsoft.
- If your spouse likes healthcare (who doesn't?), look into Vertex Pharmaceuticals or Intuitive Surgical.
- If your spouse works in a different field than you, what suggestions does he or she have for well-run companies with strong brand recognition?
The point is: No matter what your spouse's interests are, there are stock market sectors that will align with those interests. Be sure to do your due diligence on any potential securities, but this is a great way to get you both interested in managing your portfolio.
Recognize they're in a different place than you
With all of this, you should keep in mind that your spouse likely has very different views than you in reference to finances and investing, especially if this is something neither of you have ever done before. People have many mixed emotions about investing; they could think it's too risky, it's too complicated, and it requires sacrifice. All of these can be true, but you probably didn't figure out investing overnight, and your spouse won't either.
You can't get mad if they don't "see the light" the first time you broach the subject. Your task is to make them see, and that may take more than one conversation and not a little compromise. At the same time, a little humility can go a long way. You probably don't know everything there is to know about investing yet either, and your spouse will likely appreciate it if you acknowledge that.
Don't make it a fight
Investing is one of the surest ways out there to help average people accumulate real wealth and live their dreams. If you're married and you recently started wanting to invest, you have to get your spouse on board with your vision. Only then can you both really work together, instead of apart, to achieve the life you both want to live.