Money & relationships: Should you work along with your spouse? Consider these 5 points

Whether you marry your colleague or spouses decide to launch a startup, there is a high likelihood of partners ending up working together these days. While some companies discourage the practice, what if your employer doesn’t? Would you continue to work together or seek another job? Is it simpler for spouses to run a startup or should one avoid it? While there is no doubt that you would understand your partner better if you were in the same profession, it could also adversely impact your career and personal life. Here are the things to consider before you decide to work side by side.

1 .Higher financial risk If both spouses work for the same organisation, and the company faces financial upheaval wherein it is forced to lay off employees, both the partners could lose their jobs at the same time. This could spell temporary disaster for the couple’s household finances. If both or even one of the spouses fails to find a job or is forced to take a salary cut, it could impact the cash flow and goal achievement. The likelihood of this happening is significantly reduced if husband and wife work for different sectors or industries.

2 .Impact on career If the spouses work in the same office, and organisational hierarchy sees one partner reporting to the other, or competing against each other at the same level, it could create a lot of problems. Not only would it result in a high degree of stress at work, but also lead to performance issues, impacting appraisal and incentives. More importantly, it could affect either partner’s career growth if one spouse is forced to quit due to the conflict and doesn’t find an appropriate job. This could lead to frustration and resentment against the partner.

3 .Spill-over effect If the couple has disagreements or arguments at home, the differences could spill over at work, leading to sub-optimal decision-making, undue biases and a lag in performance. Similarly, any work-related issue could be carried over to the house, creating fissures in the relationship if it becomes a frequent occurrence. Since there is no respite from each other, the rift could deepen, resulting in a break-up as well.

4. Startup split Even if you have started a company together because of shared vision and amiable working relationship, there is no guarantee that the arrangement will work in the long term. If you develop operational differences over how to run the firm or manage its growth, you may not only experience stress at work and home, but may end up feeling stuck if you don’t have an exit policy in place. Even if you have a pre-signed agreement over how to handle differences or split, an unfriendly parting of ways may not auger too well for your personal relationship.

5.How to handle it If you have made up your mind about working together despite being aware of the downsides, establish some ground rules first. Keep your work and personal lives separate. Do not bring work issues home, or carry your personal differences to the office. Ensure that both of you spend some time away from each other, be it alone or with friends who are not your colleagues. You will need a break from each other if you want to spend time together both at home and in the workplace.


All of us have been in a financial dilemma when it comes to relationships. How do you say no to a friend who wants you to invest in his new business venture? Should you take a loan from your married brother? Are you concerned about your wife’s impulse buying? If you have any such concerns that are hard to resolve, write in to us at with ‘Wealth Whines’ as the subject.

Disclaimer: The advice in this column is not from a licensed healthcare professional and should not be construed as psychological counselling, therapy or medical advice. ET Wealth and the writer will not be responsible for the outcome of the suggestions made in the column.

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