Wife subsidizes husband’s business – but for how long?

By Dave Ramsey

Dear Dave,

My husband runs a small business that has never done very well. We have three kids, and I make $55,000 annually in my job. Part of what I make has been going into the business for over a year to help keep it afloat, and we don’t have a lot of money in savings. What do you think we should do?


Dear Stephanie,

If you’re putting other money into a business account, that’s a pretty good sign you’re not making money in the business. You and your husband need to sit down together, and do a household budget and a profit and loss statement on the business. You’ve got to get on the same page financially.

Put all his business expenses on the profit and loss statement in detail, and write out what it would take for him to break even each month. But honestly, with everything that’s been going on with your finances, if he’s not at least breaking even at this point, then it’s time for him to do something else for a living full-time.

I’m an entrepreneur and business owner. Trust me, I totally understand the allure and excitement that goes with running your own business. But your own household and its immediate financial responsibilities come first. The only money that should go into the business account is income the business creates.


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Hiring a relative

Dear Dave,

I own a small business, and recently a relative asked for a job with the company. I hate to say this, but I’ve got reservations about hiring her. She’s basically a good kid, but not the most reliable person in the world. Do you have any advice on how to handle a situation like this?


Dear Bill,

As an entrepreneur, you have the right and responsibility to do what’s best for your company. That means you shouldn’t hire anyone who isn’t a good fit – even a relative.

If a relative is qualified, and the kind of person who understands they’ll have to bring it every single day, performing at a level equal to or above your other team members, that can be a special and rewarding thing. But if that relative is the kind of person who expects special treatment or is a problem child, that kind of situation can be a nightmare for you, your company and the whole family.

Would you hire this person because she’d make a good team member? Would you hire this person if she weren’t part of the family? If the answer to either of these questions is no, don’t hire her. It’s as simple as that.

The bottom line is you have to do what’s best for your business, your immediate family and your team.


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