Investing With Your Spouse? STOP and Read These 4 Survival Tips!

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“If we don’t change something, we are headed for a divorce.”

I am sure you would agree that these are very strong (and scary) words to hear your spouse say to you. This was a comment my husband, Matt, said to me back in 2009 during one of our *many* heated arguments about working together in our real estate business.

This is not something you want to hear your partner say to you EVER, but the comment got my attention.

It REALLY got my attention.

After this comment and evaluating everything, we decided it would be best for us to stop working together full time and for me to rejoin the consulting company I was working with previously.

Before I continue, let me take a step back and share a bit of background with you. Matt and I started with nothing, and through attending courses, workshops, and reading a lot of books, we bought our first duplex in 2004 with a loan from my parents (before we were even married). We then started the DeRosa Group in 2006. I was always involved in the business on a part-time basis, even while I was working full-time as a consultant in a completely different type of business.

Then in 2008, I decided to leave my job and join my husband full-time. He had already been full time since 2005. As I just shared earlier, in 2009, we decided that for the health of our marriage, it would be best for me to go back to my consulting job and for Matt to continue running the day-to-day business. Then, in 2013, I decided to leave my full-time role and work part-time again in our investing and property management business. Since 2013, we have had a much healthier business relationship, and as a result, both our marriage and business continue to grow and develop.

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Why Am I Telling You All of This?

While I am not an expert, I certainly have a lot of insight into this topic. I have taken all types of roles in our business—from strategic roles to day-to-day roles to full-time to part-time. Over the years, we have gone from fighting all the time in the business to working really well together.

As I reflected and prepared to write this post, I thought of the most powerful and useful tips I have learned along the way that have helped us work well together.

Here you go!


4 Tips for Surviving Real Estate Investing With Your Spouse

1. Respect (and honor) one another’s “money blueprint.”

I have attended a lot of “personal growth weekends” over the years. I have to say, hands down, one of the most powerful weekends I have attended is the Millionaire Mind Intensive, which was created by best-selling author T. Harv Eker. The weekend event is chock-full of phenomenal content for anyone, especially real estate investors.

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

One of the lessons during the weekend is to discover your “money blueprint.” I can’t remember all four of the blueprints except for the two that applied to us. I am the “saver,” and my husband is the “spender.” We knew this about each other before the weekend, but being able to have a common language about our money blueprint and when it serves us and when it does not serve us was incredibly healthy for us. We attended this workshop about four years ago, and I have to say, this knowledge about one another continues to help us respect and honor these differences without becoming frustrated and judgmental towards each other.

2. Seek to first understand, then to be understood.

This is one of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by the late Steven Covey. Every time I bring this habit up to someone, they stop me and say something like, “Yeah, I know this habit. It is common sense.” This always baffles me—because although it is common sense, is NOT common practice.

Making this habit “common practice” is the real hard work. If you do this—seek to FIRST understand—then that would imply you would have to really, truly listen to the person and put yourself in their shoes FIRST. Even though I have been married for over 10 years now, I can’t ever assume that I know what Matt is going to say or assume that I know what Matt really needs.

Every human being has the need to be understood and listened to—truly listened to. When I give this to Matt, our communication is clear, peaceful, and calm. When I seek to be understood first, this is ALWAYS a recipe for disconnect and frustration.

3. Don’t simply tolerate one another’s differences—leverage them instead.

An area that I have expertise in is developing and building high performing teams. I did a lot of consulting with small and large companies to help them build and grow a successful team. A quality of a high performing team—whether it is a group of people or simply a partnership between a married couple—is creating and sustaining a consistent habit where each leverages one another’s differences.

What happens in average partnerships/teams? Well, each person allows themselves to get annoyed by the areas/skills that are different from their own. Instead of becoming annoyed with these differences, you need to appreciate and leverage these differences.

What does that really mean? What does it mean to leverage these differences?

Well, it means to fully utilize or fully optimize one another’s differences. I will give you an example between Matt and me to help illustrate this point. I can tend to be more intense and have a greater sense of urgency than my husband. Matt, on the other hand, tends to be more easy going and casual in his style. This “personality” difference has been the cause of many disconnects between us in the past.

However, over the years, Matt has come to appreciate and utilize my level of intensity in situations where this quality helps (such as situations where we are trying to expedite a situation or something is not happening quickly enough). This personality trait used to bother and annoy my husband. Now he has learned to appreciate and leverage it to move us towards our goals.


4. Create space to do your “own thing.”

I think this is probably one of the most important tips when working with your spouse. You should be committed to the same goals and vision for your investing business. However, it is so incredibly healthy to have space to do your “own thing.” Your “own thing” means having separate and distinct roles and responsibilities in the business that also align with your passions and strengths.

Related: 7 Ways to Stay HAPPILY Married When Investing with your Spouse!

During the first go-around working with Matt (when we did NOT work well together), we did not do a very good job of giving one another space to have our own roles and responsibilities. I was Matt’s assistant (so to speak) and that did not work for me, my strengths, and my personality. The most recent go-around where I am working with Matt again, we learned from the past and realized that we work best together where I am less involved in the “day to day” and involved with special projects that I can run myself.

Of course, I still support Matt where I can, and he supports me. However, it is important that we both have our own area to focus on and that we don’t micro-manage one another.

“No relationship is all sunshine, but two people can share one umbrella and survive the storm together.”

I am not sure who said this quote, but it is so true! There is no other person on this planet that I would want to be going through the ups and downs of our business with.

No business, no property, and no relationship is all sunshine. This real estate investing business takes a lot of perseverance, guts, and hustle. I am so grateful to be going through this investing journey with my husband.
I hope you take one of these tips and begin to use it in your relationship.

Whether you are considering working with your spouse or you already are working with your spouse, stay the course and don’t give up. Seek to FIRST understand and then to be understood. Enjoy all the twists and turns on the journey.

We’re republishing this article to help out our newer members.

What works well for you and your spouse? What success secrets would you share to a couple considering working together? What have I missed?

Thanks for reading. I would love to hear from you!

About Author

Elizabeth Faircloth

Liz Faircloth has been managing and investing in real estate since 2004, along with her husband, Matt. We have built our business from scratch and now own over five million dollars in residential and commercial assets. We love to help and educate investors. Our YouTube Channel, The Landlord’s Chronicles, offers short, yet educational videos that covers topics such as flipping houses, rentals, rehabs, property management, and lessons learned along the way.


  1. Curt Smith

    Thanks Liz, that was tough to write. My wife and business partner have worked well together. Where she’s discovered many increadible skills she never knew she had and has since improved our business many fold.

    And like you we have separate tasks with our landlording business. I’m thankful and say it over and over she does her part and she’s verbal about what i handle.

    In closing I feel that every real estate business has to have spousal support even if they aren’t involved in the business. Both partners have to agree on the near term sacrifices for the long term benefits. IE the chart of passive income rising and expenses holding or dropping and the magic cross over point!!

    • Elizabeth Faircloth

      H Curt,
      Yeah, writing this post was somewhat therapeutic for me actually! 🙂 So glad to hear that you and your wife have worked well together. I do agree with you on your last point as well. Spousal support is incredibly helpful. I am sure you would agree that there was and continues to be sacrifices made. There have been A LOT of sacrifices, but all well worth it. 🙂
      Great points, and thanks so much for sharing!!!

  2. Sachin Acharya

    Thanks for articulating the tips so well. Your personal examples blend really well with the advice along the whole article.

    As a beginner my biggest fear of failure is actually not fear of failure itself but my wife’s possible reaction to it. Can you please share your thoughts on that aspect?

    • Elizabeth Faircloth

      You are so welcome!! I tried to incorporate my personal examples as much as I could in this post!
      Interesting point – so you are concerned about your wife’s possible reaction to you failing. I think the key here is to take a step back and make sure you and your wife are on the same page with your real estate investing goals. It is ideal to have your partner enrolled and “bought into” the goals that way you feel and know that you are in this together. The last thing you need is your partner not being involved, and then when it does not work out, they say “told you so.” You will feel deflated and not interested in moving forward. I have to tell you – this business can be tough sometimes, and it helps a ton to have your partner on your team. When you have these discussions with your wife, really get honest and authentic with her – answer “why” you want to invest in real estate and get her input and ideas. Focus on what you have in common – shared goals, values, etc. I hope this helps you – please let me know if I can expand further. And good luck, don’t forget tip #2 Seek to first understand, then to be understood!!

  3. Lerone Reid

    Wow Liz,

    My wife (pictured) and I have been pouring over your post as your earlier experiences are strikingly similar to those shared between my wife and I. We haven’t found a better and more actionable blueprint for how to work together in my, no, our real estate business. Many thanks.

    • Elizabeth Faircloth

      I am so glad that this post has been helpful to you and your wife!! So glad to hear you are looking at this together and going to take action as a result. I have done a lot of team development over the years.
      I always like to encourage people to answer the question (when they are in the process of improving a working relationship) – “what one thing can I immediately do differently to improve the relationship” – once you answer it, schedule some type of “check in” with each other that way you can support each other and hold each other accountable.
      All the best to you and wife!! Good luck!! 🙂

  4. Owen Buchanan

    Though i would love to invest with my wife it has been difficult to get her on board. I’m a new investor and acknowledge what an asset my wife would be. It has been a long battle just getting started. As of now i have been a one man show…which has not been easy. I try to keep her informed as to the goings on but she wants no parts of it.
    Great post!

  5. Donald Cooley

    Great stuff Liz, a lot of good information here, especially considering my wife and I are just getting started in this business together. We generally get along very well and we play off each others strengths. This article will definitely lay some foundation in developing our partnership.

    Thanks for sharing,

  6. Jamie Rorick

    Thank you for sharing! My husband and I are newbies at real estate, but not marriage! We both recognize that we are different in many ways and your post has helped us address how we will structure our business partnership. It’s much like how we have defined our roles in our family life.

  7. Jerry W.

    As usual, great article. When I began my law practice it took a lot of work when my wife began working there after my first secretary left. It took awhile for us to make informal rules to help us get along. When I went into public office I could not have her as my secretary due to nepotism laws. While I still have a small practice, the nature of our working together has changed again. With the amount of time we spend on real estate increasing it is a bit of a challenge to keep a good atmosphere. We are not new to marriage, we have been married for 36 years and dated for 4 years before that.It is a work in progress. Thank you for your input. A new perspective can often be helpful.

  8. Gary Breitbord

    When my wife was not part of the business, my rule was – First lose no money. Now that my wife and I are business partners, our rule is – First lose no marriage. We try as best as possible to follow the guidelines you highlighted.

  9. Sara Kennedy

    Elizabeth, this article is fantastic! BP just posted it on their Facebook and I am so glad they did. My boyfriend and I are hoping to do our first deal within the next year so this is a great piece for both of us to read. Your four tips will definitely be printed out, framed, and added to our productivity wall as a reminder of how to keep our relationship healthy while starting a business. I appreciate you sharing your experience and advice!

  10. Meghan Macur

    I love this post, Elizabeth! Working with your spouse is such a unique dynamic. My husband and I have really enjoyed it so far, besides a few hiccups, and appreciate tips on how to run our business smoothly and peacefully in the future.

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