How to Talk to Your Spouse About Investing

You are convinced that, after years of seeing your savings hardly grow, it is time to start investing. Great!

However, your spouse is not totally sold on the idea.

It’s difficult enough talking about money with him or her without getting emotional. How does one even start discussing the topic of investing?

I feel you!

Before ‘the talk’ it would help to educate yourself on the basics of investing. Know the different investment options for you and your family, how much the minimum requirement is, the pros and cons, and the type of investments you’re eying.

When you are finally ready to talk to your spouse, here are some tips to help you:

  • Start slowly

Start with easier topics like your long-term financial goals and work towards more sensitive ones like debts, assets, and credit histories. Plan as a couple as to how you are going to divide your income into paying the bills, paying debts if you have, daily expenses, savings, and of course a portion for investing.

Focus your discussion on the benefits of thinking about your long-term goals and the plan that will take you there.

  • Be open

Show your spouse or partner where the investment accounts will be located. If possible, show what research you have done.

Being open is important because the absolute worst thing for your relationship is when one starts doubting the other. Assure your spouse that you’re working for the common good as a team.

  • Be understanding

Talking about money can make us feel vulnerable, so be extremely understanding and supportive when talking about your finances. Walk your spouse through your investment strategy, i.e., what goals and what type of investment is best suited for those goals.

  • Start Small

Your spouse will be averse to putting half of your cash in investments immediately. To him or her, it may feel like diving into a pool when you don’t know how cold or hot the water is.

Begin with 5%-10% of your cash or monthly salary. Then as you both get comfortable, consider gradually increasing this.

Here are 5 possible reactions that your spouse may have on investing and how you can answer him/her.

Spouse: It takes large amounts of money to invest

You: I checked, and most mutual funds only require a very minimum amount of money to open an account and to start investing. In fact, Warren Buffet started investing with USD 19, and now those investments are now worth USD 200,000

Spouse: Investing is like gambling. We might lose a lot of money.

You: It is true that we can lose a lot of money if we don’t choose the right investment or if we take out the money at the wrong time. That’s why we need to assess our risk profile so we are not too jumpy when the value of goes down temporarily. We should also limit the amount of money we invest to about 30% of our monthly income (or whatever percent you agree on your discussion).

Spouse: This month’s expense is so high. Let's wait next month.

You: The more we wait to start investing, the more expensive our goals will cost. We might be able to set aside a small amount for investing if we eat out less this month. There will always be next month or next year but time is a great multiplier for our investment. The earlier we start, the higher return on our investment we can get.

Spouse: Why don’t we just start a business? That’s also investing, right?

You: Starting a business is risky; as many as 9 in 10 businesses fail. With investing in mutual funds, VULs, and stocks, we can be part owners of companies that are already proven and growing. Plus, we don’t need to put in so much money nor quit our jobs.

Spouse: Isn’t it complicated and difficult to invest?

You: Technology now makes investing really easy. There is a lot of information online as well. In fact, we can now invest online. Apps like Olivia allow us to set goals and connects us to a securities company.

Always remember to focus on the main goal --- the common good of the family. Your spouse may not agree during your first attempt, but that doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t love you and care about the future. He or she may simply be overwhelmed.

Never give up on convincing your spouse that investing for your future is worth the risk. And to show that you only care for your family. 

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