You’re partners in life, and you think you’d be great as partners in business, as well. It’s entirely possible that you’re right. Unfortunately, it’s also entirely possible that the stress of business ownership will cause its own set of problems.
Don’t take that as discouragement, of course. Successful companies all over the country are joint ventures between spouses. You just need to make sure that your relationship and business goals fit together in the right way.
Starting a Business Together in a New Marriage
Don’t. This may seem a bit harsh, but seriously, don’t. Wait it out a while, until you’re sure you’ve learned how the two of you work together in stressful situations. This is especially true if marriage is your first time living together. You need to know if you can survive the little challenges like arguments over the position of the toilet paper before you can be ready to survive all that starting a business can entail.
Establish Your Roles
Before you even file that first piece of paperwork for incorporating your business, make sure you each know – and are comfortable with – your assigned roles and duties. Put it in writing and make sure you each sign off on it.
Keep it Separate
This is easy if you have a brick and mortar, but if your business runs from your home it might create a bit more of a challenge. Regardless, to safeguard both your marriage and your business, you need to establish a clear separation between when work is going on and when it’s time for home life.
Incorporate Your Business
If you don’t incorporate, then as a married couple your business automatically becomes a partnership in the eyes of the government and the IRS. If you do incorporate, however, your married status could help you.
If you qualify under the Small Business and Work Opportunity Act of 2007, you can have your business considered a sole proprietorship in the eyes of the IRS. You’ll each have to report a portion of your business income separately, but the benefit of that is that by doing so, you each contribute to and receive credit for Medicare and Social Security.
On the other hand, not incorporating and allowing the automatic partnership means that only one of you will be able to contribute to government retirement programs. That fact alone makes incorporating a safer and better option.
When it Works, it Works
If you have the right communication and the right temperaments, starting a business could end up being the best possible choice for your marriage, your future and your financial outlook. Just be ready to jump those hurdles together.