Personal Development

An Investor Answers: ‘How Do I Get My Wife to Say “Yes” to Real Estate?’

Expertise: Mortgages & Creative Financing, Personal Development, Landlording & Rental Properties, Personal Finance, Real Estate News & Commentary, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Real Estate Investing Basics, Business Management, Commercial Real Estate
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This week I noticed a thread on the Forums that asked the question, How do I get my wife to go along? The poster Stephen has been studying REI on BiggerPockets for two years, and in that time managed to save up some seed investment capital. His wife, however, has other ideas for this money…

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So, he asks, “How do I get her to go along with MY plan?”

This topic seems ever more appropriate with the recent launch of the biggerpockets.com/love, where it’s all about couples, wives, and girlfriends.

By the way, if you scroll down the page a bit, you’ll see the “Cutest Couple” as one of the Success Stories. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that this WAS indeed the cutest couple — until Brandon Turner stepped into the frame, at which time it became the “Beauty and the bearded Beast in a flannel shirt.” Are you with me?

Related: The Quick Exercise to Help Put You & Your Spouse on the Same Investing Page

Seriously, not even his gorgeous wife can make Brandon look cute. I’ve said before that I love Brandon Turner, which I really do, but it sure as hell ain’t for his good looks. Wow 🙂

Basic Reality

Happy Wife = Happy Life!

Seriously, Brandon knows it, I know it, Serge S. knows it, and Josh Dorkin knows it. Wife must be happy if you want any semblance of peace and harmony in your life, and relative to REI, this happiness on her part is only possible in one of two ways:

Option 1

In the best possible case, your wife will simply share your passion, your reasoning, and your commitment to taking action. If so, then the two of you form one unit, and nobody has to give in, give up, or compromise in order to be “all in.”

The reason I say that this is the best option is because at the end of a hard day, of which you’ll have many, she will understand and therefore tolerate your crappy mood and short temper. She’ll feel your pain. She won’t view the sacrifices that she’ll inevitably have to make to facilitate early survival and later success as sacrifices and won’t blame you for them. She’ll understand you without words — if you’ve got that, you are made!

This is the best possible scenario since it constitutes “happy wife!”

But, there is another option…

Option 2

If she is not like-minded with you about REI, she could still go along and accept the sacrifices and the pain — accept them for YOUR benefit because she loves you! If getting involved in REI is so important to you, she might choose to support you, even though she’s not particularly keen on the idea. She might choose to forego herself in order to prop you (and your manhood) up…

If she does, this can also constitute “happy wife,” though, I must tell you, in this scenario you’re walking on thin ice and you better not mess up!

No Other Options

That’s it — unfortunately, there are no other options. If your spouse can’t get on board in one of the two ways I described above and voluntarily offer her support, then by definition you’d be “crossing her” by taking action, and I’ve never heard of that leading to anything good.

Related: How To Survive When Your Spouse Doesn’t Believe In Your Dream

You can’t “make her understand.” The 2 questions you need to answer, therefore, are:

1. Does my wife believe in REI as I do?

Or:

2. Will my wife support me in spite of herself?

If you answered NO to both, you’ve got a problem, and I don’t see how you can move forward without jeopardizing you marriage, which is a whole ‘nother can of worms altogether…

Investors: How have you dealt with a spouse who doesn’t understand the appeal of real estate?

Leave your comments and suggestions below!

Ben has been investing in multifamily residential real estate for over a decade. An expert in creative financing, he has been a guest on numerous real estate-related podcasts, including the BiggerPockets Podcast. He was also featured on the cover of REI Wealth Monthly and is a public speaker at events across the country. Most recently, he invested $20 million along with a partner into 215 units spread over two apartment communities in Phoenix. Ben is the creator of Cash Flow Freedom University and the author of House Hacking. Learn more about him at JustAskBenWhy.com.

    Joe Harper Landlord and Appraiser from Bartow, Florida
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Division of Labor. Let her run the subs and I do the books.
    Curt Smith Rental Property Investor from Clarkston, GA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Joe, that was brilliant!! I chuckled. Not likely for most. Although when my wife works with the subs she always comes home with interesting stories that they’d never tell me. (past wives, their DUIs etc etc nutty stuff). 🙂
    Joe Harper Landlord and Appraiser from Bartow, Florida
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I should have mentioned that my wife is European and her haggling skills are pure magic to behold.
    Ben Leybovich Rental Property Investor from Lima/Chandler, Ohio/Arizona
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Sometimes this can work – it does in my household. I create the revenue streams, and Patrisha puts the money in the bank 🙂
    Curt Smith Rental Property Investor from Clarkston, GA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Joe, that was brilliant!! I chuckled. Not likely for most. Although when my wife works with the subs she always comes home with interesting stories that they’d never tell me. (past wives, their DUIs etc etc nutty stuff). 🙂
    Curt Smith Rental Property Investor from Clarkston, GA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Hi Ben, of course a crucial to success topic,, unless you are single and are extremely driven. It’s very difficult to succeed in REI without a strong team and if you’re married that must include your wife. Ben, you picked an important topic, but fell short on the process. You went binary. Either they support or they don’t. Don’t most major decisions come from a process? Growth, learning, change? Most people, not just wives need to spend months or years going to passive income financial seminars, taking them online or reading books on financial freedom (IE not REI per se, but on the financial aspects of passive income). The parallel to this is reducing your spending rate so the famous curve happens sooner than later,,, the crossing of the passive income curving up as your spending needs go down. Most people, wives included can quickly see the benefit of just that chart. Ben, I suggest a follow on to this important topic would be HOW to convince anyone, including wives, of the virtue of having more passive income than expenses. What’s your thoughts on taking this topic another chapter or two down the road? This is how my wife jumped on board with both feet and pushes as hard as I do to ramp up our rental inventory. She’s a retired teacher and I hope it’s self evident that ALL teacher’s retirement income is NOT guaranteed and is very likely to be clawed back in the coming years. I’ll say the same for ALL defined benefit plans. The payer WILL break the contract at some point and cut back what they pay you. This is an easy sell to EVERYONE I hope. That we will run short of retirement income and building a small to medium sized portfolio of rentals is exactly the solution. Folks, try this on your spouse tomorrow: Do you think we’ll have enough income from SS and our savings to live comfortably into our late retirement years? I bet few will say yes,,, unless you are due to inherit alot, most of use if sane should say no. Well what do you think about starting to work toward a side business of making money that once we do the work, it keeps coming in month after month?? I’d like to hear the results from the above sell based on an easily visualized problem, and a solution (without the details) that sounds desirable?
    Ben Leybovich Rental Property Investor from Lima/Chandler, Ohio/Arizona
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Curt – I agree about the defined benefit…the game is up. I’d like to know the results people achieve following your negotiation model 🙂
    Ben Leybovich Rental Property Investor from Lima/Chandler, Ohio/Arizona
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Curt – I agree about the defined benefit…the game is up. I’d like to know the results people achieve following your negotiation model 🙂
    Michael Williams Investor from Palmetto, Georgia
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I guess I will be the first to comment on this topic. I agree that she must answer “Yes” to at least one of these questions. If she doesn’t there still may be a solution to bring her over to the wealth side, but it would take total commitment and drive to the “cause” no matter what the obstacles. Before I give a possible solution I must make sure I understand the question. In the article it says that Steve has been studying on BiggerPockets for two years, so the bigger question is how much action has he taken in those two years of study? I feel that this is the more important question. Does Steve want to Wholesale, rehab, or hold? What is his plan and what is his time table to achieve his first deal. If he is just studying and taking no actions toward closing any deals I can feel her apprehension to come on board. My wife lets me know all of the time that she supports my quest because she knows that I am totally committed to creating wealth for us because I am working towards it every day and am implementing strategies and talking to people everyday. But most importantly she has seen at least one check from my efforts within the last 8 months. She has also seen the emails from the people I have met alone the way and know that these are real movers and shakers in the Atlanta real estate market. So I think taking more action to get some positive results may sway her. Now to the possible solution: If you can commit to the “cause” and let no obstacles deter you then that is a start, but you must commit totally and put a time table on getting your first deal. Next sit down with her and make a list of the things that she wants to do with the funds and make a list of what you want to do with the funds. Now put that list together and see which one has the “MOST” potential to create wealth and financial freedom. If you have to find research on sacrifices that successfully real estate investors made before they became successful, use that as well. Once the list is finished and you have identified which one has the greatest potential, ask her….Are you willing to sacrifice to be financially free or are going to continue to be comfortable and uncertain about our future? Give her examples of people you know that have retired and had to go back to work to make ends meet. To make her feel more comfortable in going along with it, tell her if I do not get a deal by “XYZ” date then I will quit. You must be totally committed at this point and must make the deadline. This will create a sense of urgency on your part because you must keep your word to your wife if she agrees. Hopefully other investors on BP can add to this or give other ideas, Good Luck.
    Edwin E. Investor from Tucson, Arizona
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Just get another wife and be done with it.
    Ben Leybovich Rental Property Investor from Lima/Chandler, Ohio/Arizona
    Replied over 4 years ago
    hahah
    David Tilney
    Replied over 4 years ago
    It certainly is much harder to be a real estate entrepreneur if your spouse is not on your team. In the early days (1978) my wife was lukewarm about owning a bunch of rentals. I told her that statistically I was going to predecease her and leave her with real estate that she wouldn’t know how to operate. I had her agree that she would attend two seminars each year (that I would pick) for estate planning purposes. I told her that she probably would not enjoy the seminars, but that I would make them as tolerable as possible by tacking on a few days of vacation at the end of each seminar and doing something fun. Over time my wife developed a love for our business and met some wonderful entrepreneurs who have become life-long friends. She is an expert when it comes to owning and operating single family houses and wouldn’t think of selling off our portfolio if I predecease her!
    Sharon Tzib from Cypress, Texas
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Oh come on, Ben – don’t be a hater. Brandon is adorable!! 🙂
    Ben Leybovich Rental Property Investor from Lima/Chandler, Ohio/Arizona
    Replied over 4 years ago
    See, now that’s one word that has never crossed my mind relative to Brandon…”adorable” What the hell are you on, Sharon – I want some… Oh my
    Darrin Wesenberg from Columbus, OH
    Replied over 4 years ago
    If your wife isn’t saying “Yes” to real estate… perhaps you have the wrong wife.
    Ben Leybovich Rental Property Investor from Lima/Chandler, Ohio/Arizona
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Oh man…I got nothing 🙂
    Amy Brocious from Butler, Pennsylvania
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Just my humble $.02 as a wife that is also reluctant … has anyone asked her why she feels the way she does? Typically, us wives aren’t just fickle, non-agreeable creatures … there is probably some background or baggage that hasn’t been presented. My response to my husband’s plans was at first negative … but discussions have led me to this wonderful site, and allowed me to enhance my education and understanding of the subject. The more I know, the less I fear … and we can only move forward with this. Figure out a way to meet both partner’s needs … each needs to feel in control of their situation for a happy outcome.
    Dennis Legaspi from Jacksonville, FL
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Amy, If only I can convince my wife to browse on BP maybe she can also move forward with me on this. But getting educated on topics that can help us with a brighter future is just too hard and gets in the way of Facebook time. 🙂
    Amy Brocious from Butler, Pennsylvania
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Perhaps you can start ‘sharing’ relevant BP blog posts on her FB timeline … 🙂
    Ben Leybovich Rental Property Investor from Lima/Chandler, Ohio/Arizona
    Replied over 4 years ago
    How did we all survive before BP?!?!?