We see this a lot. One person in the relationship has read up on investing and is raring to go, while the other person is being dragged kicking and screaming towards what they see as a risky future.
So what do you do? Just sit back and wait until your partner sees the light?
The solution can be found through a little analysis (of each partner’s head space), reviewing the facts, and speaking to independent and qualified advisors. Apart from the experience we have gained working with our clients, I know the way forward because I faced this situation myself.
Risk aversion v no holds barred
My lovely husband is extremely risk averse. This risk aversion covers most areas except anything relating to cars (ironically), but he is particularly sensitive to situations where money can be lost. This, in his ‘pre-me’ opinion, also included spending money on property.
However, my experience in property had only provided success, after property success. When I was younger, I was totally into renovation in all its aspects – the creativity, the work, the challenges and the results. I recall being transfixed by the transformative impact of fresh paint on walls (properly prepared of course). I experienced the positive impact renovation had on people living in the property, and the financial returns were just a side benefit.
It’s not making sense
What I found particularly frustrating early in our relationship was that my husband loves Bunnings and is really handy – with tools – but renovation was just not on his personal radar. In his early 20’s he helped countless numbers of friends to renovate their houses but would never do it for himself. When we were looking to purchase our first property together, he would drive me around the suburbs of renovation spots and explain about putting in a new kitchen here, helping re-wire this house and adding decks to that house.
But when it came to choosing our house, all he would say was “we need a bigger deposit” and other similar ‘brush off’ comments. This initially drove me m.a.d. And I let him know it. Of course, I waited until I REALLY exploded before I finally told him what I honestly thought. I understand it was a very scary :-), but educational moment for him.
When the dust settled
Finally we were able to have a quality discussion, including outlining our issues and concerns. For us it came down to the benefits of waiting to save a bigger deposit over my concern about the market moving up without us in it. This also clarified the underlying choice of beautiful / completed property over cute / renovation opportunity.
As it turned out, the key issue was that my husband didn’t want to ‘put me through’ an intense renovation . . didn’t think I would like living through the mess ( . .but that would mean I wouldn’t have to cook for weeks on end wouldn’t it??).
Something in common
In reality, I still think back then it was my husband who didn’t want to live through the renovation. What we found we had in common though, was an absolute obsession with character houses. These types of properties mean I can use paint to refresh everything, and my husband has a real reason to purchase every tool Bunnings has on offer . . just in case he needs it.
Because of the work we did on our first property together, it wasn’t long before we had built up enough equity to make our next purchase. Once again, I faced the same situation albeit a little more complicated. . .”too busy”, “not enough equity”, “that’s too risky”. But this time I knew how to deal with it. I semi-skipped the emotional outburst (although I know I conveyed the fact that we could re-visit this if necessary), and went to a fact based approach.
I showed Mr Risk Averse opportunities which were within our current budget, held discussions to uncover areas of concern, and conducted extensive research to identify risks and justify opportunities.
Then . . a funny thing happened. I realized that as we worked together, some of the risk averse concerns were actually saving us from . . . taking unnecessary risks! My husband’s concerns were actually useful, and contributing to our success. This fact based approach then led to more success, because we were both learning along the way and gaining confidence through our knowledge.
Now, while we love to challenge ourselves and keep uncovering new opportunities (well . .I do), we don’t move forward until we both understand, want and agree on what the next steps are. But the key is that we do move forward. It has taken considerable effort, but was extremely worthwhile.
If you’re in a situation where you really feel like your partner is killing your investing activity, see below for stepping stones towards a resolution.
- Map out your investment goals, be honest. Understand that goals can change as you achieve targets.
- Identify your skills, knowledge, time, resources and financial status.
- Gather facts . . .but please speak to qualified specialists. Risk averse friends and family who have no experience in what you want to do should not be your first port of call.
- Identify gaps in your knowledge and make a plan to fill the gaps. This could include reading books on key subjects, attending seminars, participation in forums – you get the picture.
- Take action – if it’s property investing, start to practice owning and purchasing specific property types. Get details on what is possible from a broker / accountant or other relevant specialist.
- Identify any barriers that may be holding you back – for example are you concerned about the effort, time, trust . . . once you understand the barriers, you can find solutions to address them.
Of course, we’re happy to help you through the decision making process required in selecting property and building your portfolio. While it would be great if you could come to us when you’re both on the same page, we really understand how to provide you with an equitable pathway forward. Lived it. Still doing it.
About the author
Debra Beck-Mewing is the Editor of the Property Portfolio Magazine and CEO of The Property Frontline. She has more than 20 years’ experience in property investing Australia-wide and has used a range of strategies to build her property portfolio including renovating, granny flats, sub-division and development. Debra is a skilled property strategist, and a master in sourcing properties that have multiple uses and multiple exit strategies. She is a Qualified Property Investment Advisor, licensed real estate agent and also holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business. As a passionate advocate for increasing transparency in the property and wealth industries, Debra is a popular speaker on these topics. She is also an author, podcast host, and participates on numerous committees including the Property Owners’ Association.