Monday, July 7, 2008

Planning on the Home Front

You can substitute significant other, friend, or any other communicative cohabitant in the following where I refer to "spouse". That will save us all a lot of slashes and etc's!

So many folks that I talk to who have made the transition from "cushy" corporate job to small business say that the move would have been impossible if not for the support of their spouse. Mind you, I have had this conversation with men and women alike. In his book The Millionaire Mind Thomas Stanley calls out the relationship with one's spouse as a major factor for many who achieve financial success and satisfaction in their career.

The journey into small business is not without significant obstacles and uncertainty. Regular paychecks and benefits are no longer direct-deposited and automatically-deducted every other Friday. It requires a collective awareness and (often) a new level of communication at home. And having these conversations after the journey has started is not a recipe for success!

Beware the sense of security that your family has likely developed around the routine of Corporate America. Living hand-to-mouth, all-you-can-eat medical plans (discussed in a previous post), taken-for-granted bonuses have become expectations in many households. Stanley refers to this as viewing your financial life through an income statement rather than a balance sheet. This isn't the most romantic description of life, but it serves the purpose! The transition away from this security is not easy, but with preparation and communication, it's not as hard as you might think!

Consider this as well--What would you do if those items went away? How unlikely do you think that is? Is it unheard of that your company might have cutbacks? If you think that they won't, I'd suggest you think about it a little longer.

Begin the discussion early. It will help to verbalize your thinking to both clarify it for yourself and to get feedback. It will also allow both you and your spouse to calibrate expectations on the path forward. Are you really up for it? If the answer is 'no', it is much better to know now than later. If the answer is 'yes', make sure the lines of communication stay open to navigate the obstacles.

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