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Old 03-28-2013, 02:48 PM   #41
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This is true. I guess I just worry that the business won't be as lucrative as we hope? Maybe my real question is, how long do you let your spouse run a business that isn't very profitable? How profitable does it have to be?
Again, part of the whole revisitable conversation. Most small businesses take at least 2 years to get going. After that, it's negotiable. Hard to put a value on pursuing a dream. Another factor is business income vs. hrs spent running it; IOW, how much is he working for? Some home/small businesses require only a few hours a week (hobby time), while others demand a more substantial committment. (At some point, it may be decided for you; if a business isn't profitable enough, there's a point where the IRS comes in and says, "This isn't a business; it's a hobby" and eliminates deductions. How the business is set up (sole proprietorship, partnership, Sub-"S", Full Corp.) also has a bearing on this).

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Old 03-28-2013, 02:55 PM   #42
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Again, part of the whole revisitable conversation. Most small businesses take at least 2 years to get going. After that, it's negotiable. Hard to put a value on pursuing a dream. Another factor is business income vs. hrs spent running it; IOW, how much is he working for? Some home/small businesses require only a few hours a week (hobby time), while others demand a more substantial committment. (At some point, it may be decided for you; if a business isn't profitable enough, there's a point where the IRS comes in and says, "This isn't a business; it's a hobby" and eliminates deductions. How the business is set up (sole proprietorship, partnership, Sub-"S", Full Corp.) also has a bearing on this).

Tyro
Thanks for the response, it's an LLC. Actually, I'm a licensed as a CPA (but left public long ago), so I'm aware of hobby loss rules. It's just a tough biz, agriculture related, and the weather can wipe you out, demand is unpredictable, etc. This is my dilemma, it is really "hard to put a value on pursuing a dream."
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Old 03-28-2013, 02:56 PM   #43
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When my wife and I started on the path for kids we talked about it and agreed that when the kids were full time in school she'd look for something to pull in 5-15K per year. We planned that her income would go into college and vacation funds. Assuming you all discuss and agree to a plan, you may find that he finds more purpose in the work if he has a mission (e.g. the college fund).

In our case seven years later and a couple promotions, her rejoining the work force in two years is not looking terribly necessary. But the promotions have ramped up my responsibilities. To that end, absent hiring in care, anything she would pick would have to work around the school schedule, I can't. That really limits the field some, so I no longer care about her bringing cash, and really value that home base is ably covered (not just kid care, but well, everything).

The one thing I won't support is a volunteer position that turns into essentially a full time job, with no pay. My wife is very diligent, and wouldn't leave something half done. So if she were to take on that kind of stress, I want her to be pulling in a check. Also, no "party sales" type stuff where all your profits go back into inventory and you alienate all your friends.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:18 PM   #44
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When my wife and I started on the path for kids we talked about it and agreed that when the kids were full time in school she'd look for something to pull in 5-15K per year. We planned that her income would go into college and vacation funds. Assuming you all discuss and agree to a plan, you may find that he finds more purpose in the work if he has a mission (e.g. the college fund).

In our case seven years later and a couple promotions, her rejoining the work force in two years is not looking terribly necessary. But the promotions have ramped up my responsibilities. To that end, absent hiring in care, anything she would pick would have to work around the school schedule, I can't. That really limits the field some, so I no longer care about her bringing cash, and really value that home base is ably covered (not just kid care, but well, everything).

The one thing I won't support is a volunteer position that turns into essentially a full time job, with no pay. My wife is very diligent, and wouldn't leave something half done. So if she were to take on that kind of stress, I want her to be pulling in a check. Also, no "party sales" type stuff where all your profits go back into inventory and you alienate all your friends.
Thanks so much for sharing your experience. 5-15K is a big range, it seems. But it also seems reasonable (with my not-thought-out 10K point right in there.)

I worry a little that his side business will be something like a volunteer position in that he will put in way more time than is worth for what he is earning. But I guess that remains to be seen, how exactly that turns out.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:29 PM   #45
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This is true. I guess I just worry that the business won't be as lucrative as we hope? Maybe my real question is, how long do you let your spouse run a business that isn't very profitable? How profitable does it have to be?
Your use of the word "let" is very telling. You, as the big earner, also are the big boss. As with most marital conflicts, power and its role over the other partner is basic. This is also a very fast way to get into big relationship trouble.


I certainly do not blame you for feeling that your "husband" should have plans for remunerative work, almost all women feel the same, and increasingly, most men do too. Kill-time businesses don't cut it. Reminds me of when I was young, very successful male doctors and lawyers would often have wives who ran fashionable but money losing dress shops, or galleries or whatever might spare them from the dreaded housewife moniker.

Attitudes have not fully caught up with changing realiities, and they may never. These issues are partly why our divorce rate is high. In years past, people for the most part accepted social directives about these major life roles, and just fulfilled them as best they could, or failed and went AWOL or were in some other way marginalized.

Interesting to me is that gay male couples seem to be less conflicted than hetero couples about assignment of earner vs homemaker roles. My totally untested idea is that at bottom, being subordinate to or dependent on a female mate reminds us too much of mommy.

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Old 03-28-2013, 03:43 PM   #46
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I don't ask my wife to work, as long as she's not wasting money on unnecessity.

Now if she decides she wants expensive vacation and nice things and start complaining, then I will tell her that she can go work for it.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:47 PM   #47
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when DW stopped working to stay at home with the kids we made sure to go over our budgeting on a regular basis to make sure that everything was working out and we were both happy. It is what we both wanted for our kids and our family, but we also needed to make sure it fit with finances, since her salary at the time was 28% of our take home.

If we had a new want, it was never an assumption that one or the other had to make money for it. It was "How can we afford this together? Where can we find extra time for one of us to make a little more income for it? Is that sacrifice worth it?"

We went through a short phase of DW picking up a side business on her own, but the stress and work involved was not worth it. She started to notice that her time with the kids wasn't as quality as it was before. She started getting a shorter fuse and recognized it. The stress made her suffer at her job as a SAHM, which I have to say she's always been amazing at (I got lucky with her, can't imagine a better parent at home with the kids). We decided to adjust our budget and cut things out instead.

As the first poster responded, what is most important is the two of you. Goes without saying, but any advice you receive here should not be used as a negotiation tactic.
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Old 03-28-2013, 03:59 PM   #48
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Thanks all for the responses... and I get a kick out of the fact that a handful made assumptions about gender roles! I phrased my post with neutrality in mind, because I felt people would treat the situation differently based on the gender of the SAHP. So I'm going to keep it that way. Sorry to be annoying like that.
This too is a gender based assumption.

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I just want to reiterate that I have no issue whatsoever with the current situation. We both highly value a SAHP, and that is why SO stays at home. I'm talking about when both me and SO agree that there is no need for a SAHP, at least not to the same extent...
Parenting and working are both required over a lifetime when couples have children. How much each spouse contributes is a very individual thing. In our case DW did the family-rearing heavy lifting when I was busy making the $$, and I always felt that was an equal contribution to the family, so as the kids left the nest and her time became more her own I felt she was free to use it as she wished.

This is not something most couples talk about in their 20's because that moment in life is so far away. Still, how each contributes depends on so many factors, and free time is just one.
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:37 PM   #49
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This too is a gender based assumption........
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:42 PM   #50
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I find it interesting that responding posts thus far assume the stay at home adult is female.
Interesting that you should say that. The times have changed and will continue to change. It takes longer for people to change.
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:45 PM   #51
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I am dealing with similar issues about who stays home and who goes into the office. Try looking on Amazon for some books on couples and money; then get them at the library. You might learn some new skills. It's worth a try for something so important - earlier ER.

Your partner needs to hear your feelings, but you won't likely be able to be the dictator.
Doesn't work in my case, anyway.

Good luck
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:49 PM   #52
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Yet many DHs are "required" to do certain things -- like leaving the seat down.
This topic probably deserves a separate thread.

I have tried many times the argument that it is only fair that if I have to put it up then she should have to put it down.

Wasn't well received, so I said "Ok then, I won't put it up" - problem solved.

That wasn't well received either.

Occasionally hearing her yelp in the middle of the night when her butt contacts cold porcelain. Priceless.

But, I digress.........
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:50 PM   #53
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Your use of the word "let" is very telling. You, as the big earner, also are the big boss. As with most marital conflicts, power and its role over the other partner is basic. This is also a very fast way to get into big relationship trouble.
Ha
Dont read too much into word choice here... If you could view my life you would see that neither one of us is the boss of the other, we are even partners and I would never hold my current earnings potential over him as some sort of power play. And in my experience when someone does seem to have the upper hand in the relationship, it isnt consistently the higher earner.
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Old 03-28-2013, 04:58 PM   #54
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Dont read too much into word choice here... If you could view my life you would see that neither one of us is the boss of the other, we are even partners and I would never hold my current earnings potential over him as some sort of power play. And in my experience when someone does seem to have the upper hand in the relationship, it isnt consistently the higher earner.
You are probably right, and I certainly sympathize with your position. I've been there myself, but failed to solve it to our mutual satisfaction.

The word jumped out at me because in recent years I have tried to observe my speech, as well as I can before I say it. If I heard this one, I would expect cannon fire on the way.

Ha
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Old 03-28-2013, 05:15 PM   #55
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catccc: My wife is stay at home mom for past nine years. That's one of the best decisions of our lives we jointly took. We cut down on unnecessary expenses, budgeted fair amount to run home, modest travel budget and we've been doing fine since then. I travel a lot from work and having my wife take care of family and Kids' activity is way way more important than the money she can bring home working. I have that peace of mind money can not buy. I sincerely think she works much HARDER than what I do. She's a Speech Pathologist and only consults if that falls in her free time when kids are in school - this way she keeps her license and skills refreshed and brings home 2-3K/year.
I keep telling her that it's my job to bring home money and will find another part time job if we need more money.
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Old 03-28-2013, 10:25 PM   #56
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I wonder if this is one of those things you can let unfold through conversation with your spouse....

"Have you thought about what you'd like to do when Junior is in school full time?"

"Do you think it will make more sense to stick with the business, or get a job?"

"Let's look at our retirement plans and run some numbers to see how this plays out....."

The short answer, as everyone said, is that you and the spouse get to decide what is "fair." Our definition of fair is that both spouses contribute equal effort to our shared goals. Because my job is more flexible and I am working from home sometimes, that means I take the car in for servicing and do the lions share of the housework. When I'm too busy to do it alone, I ask him to help and he does.

I think equal effort is important, not certain dollars. Many permutations are possible.

One thing to consider is that the small business has the advantage of time. It can take years to grow a small business, and so there is a possibility it could become a "going concern" by the time the kids are in school.

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Old 03-28-2013, 10:52 PM   #57
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Some advantages to having a home business include extensive tax deductions, potentially retirement plan contributions can be higher than allowed with a salaried job especially if both spouses work in the business, and especially resale value. If you have a job making 100K you probably can't sell your job, but a home business making that might sell for several times net annual profits.

Plus if his business takes off, someday maybe you can quit your job and both of you could just work in the business. It would still be working but it isn't half bad when you are your own boss and you can set your own hours.
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Old 03-28-2013, 11:17 PM   #58
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This is how is worked for us, as an illustration that may or may not help the OP. When we got married, we both agreed that when we had kids the higher earner would keep working and the lower earner would stay home while they were young. A*key* additional decision was to just live off of the higher salary and save (and eventually invest the other). Since my profession was IT and DW's was education, my salary grew more rapidly and we lived off of that and saved and invested DW's. When we did start having kids DW stayed home and we were used to living on one salary.

When the kids got older and went to school DW re-entered the workforce, on her own terms as she wanted to have times with the kids as a priority. What really helped was that we never saw our earnings as "my money" or "her money" but as "our money". So her going back to work was all about meeting the goals we shared - primarily education for our kids and retirement time.

So for me it wasn't me sayng "honey, I think you need to earn more", it was both of us looking at our financial goals periodically and seeing how we were doing, and then seeing what either of us could do to help move us together to those goals. They key was having a shared vision - if one spouse has different financial goals than the other, the "time to go back to work?" discussion may become a resentful one.

Now that ER is within sight for me, DW has stated that she'd be happy to keep working part-time to help me ER sooner. While I am trying to manage things so that we could each choose to work, it is nice to have that as a potential contingency if needed. But again, it is all about having shared goals, and that doesn't come about without a lot of communication.
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Old 03-29-2013, 12:19 AM   #59
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I worry a little that his side business will be something like a volunteer position in that he will put in way more time than is worth for what he is earning. But I guess that remains to be seen, how exactly that turns out.
Nothing wrong with setting some (somewhat flexible) boundaries/limits criteria regarding that in the ongoing conversation (it probably wouldn't hurt to work some issues into his business plan either ), and revisiting/re-evaluating the enterprise and its worthwhileness annually. In-between, it's still a j*b/career in the mind of the entrepreneur, even if/when working for less than minimum wage (personal fulfillment & all... ). Lots of similarities between raising a child and growing a business -- often more than one might think, including emotional attachments/responses.

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Old 03-29-2013, 12:34 AM   #60
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I have tried many times the argument that it is only fair that if I have to put it up then she should have to put it down.

Wasn't well received, so I said "Ok then, I won't put it up" - problem solved.

That wasn't well received either.

Occasionally hearing her yelp in the middle of the night when her butt contacts cold porcelain. Priceless.

But, I digress.........
Serendipity.... It's definitely not everyone's cup of tea, but South Park did an episode on just this topic.
Why'd You Leave The Seat Up, Son? - Video Clips - South Park Studios
Disclaimer: Graphic language & subject matter

"I know, Dude; the bathroom's the last bastion of American Freedom." -- Eric Cartman

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