Money is one of the greatest sources of conflict and marital discord in any relationship, but it can be especially difficult in a relationship with an entrepreneur. You come from different backgrounds, you enter the relationship with different amounts of money, your families have different financial situations, and you have different values about what the money is for. This changes over time, as at any point in time you may have too much, or too little, and during a startup company’s lifetime, it can change rapidly and dramatically. You may have very different tolerances for risk in your personal finances, independent of the potential turmoil of your startup’s finances.
DEVELOPING A SHARED FRAME OF REFERENCE
When we first started living together, Feld Technologies (Brad’s first business) was a healthy, growing company. Both of us worked together at Feld Technologies and at the time we got together as a couple, Brad’s total compensation (salary and share of profits) was about $300,000 per year while Amy’s was $30,000.
Prior to moving in together, we each had a frame of reference. Amy was living in a small apartment, sent money to her mom each month, and saved whatever she could. Brad had a housekeeper, went out to nice dinners regularly, and while he never spent anywhere close to what he made, he always had plenty of extra money, which he saved.
After moving in together, Amy suggested that we create a weekly chore schedule for cleaning the apartment. We’d alternate ...