Almost new year is upon us, and for many people, this is a time for reflecting on their personal goals. Surely, some will be resolved to pursue greater financial independence in the coming year. That may mean taking a leap of faith and starting their own business.

This is an admirable endeavor. But if one has a spouse, and especially if one has children, it's a decision not to be taken lightly. It is certainly not a decision to be made single-handedly without consultation of one's partner.

Yet, every year, businesses fail and families suffer because someone decided to act on their own and make a choice that effects all the people closest to them.

If you're married, the first step to starting a business is ensuring that you and your spouse are in agreement with regards to whatever you're planning to do.

Starting a business is a risk, usually a significant one, that effects your whole family. Taking on such a risk without serious discussion and ultimately agreement will inevitably lead to turmoil, at the least.

There is surprisingly little hard research done on the topic of divorce rates among entrepreneurs. But anecdotally, we can all understand that taking on a full-time, all-the-time, non-stop commitment to something vitally important to your life - so important that it may overshadow your family - is a threat to destabilize even the strongest relationships.

And again, while the hard data is scant, when a marriage falls apart due to business, it's often the case that the business becomes imperiled as well.

Communication, understanding, and agreement are absolutely essential for a married couple when one partner is considering stressing the relationship to pursue financial goals.

All the time, choices must be made that may put the family future in jeopardy to secure a better current position for the business. Quite simply, people tend to use personal money, like savings accounts and retirement accounts, to fund their businesses. If family money is flowing into a business that starts to look shaky, or worse, like it won't ever get off the ground, then the relationships begin to suffer.

You've got to talk it out first, be on the same page, and know what you're getting into. And at the end of the day, you've got to go in knowing whether the relationship or the business is more important. If you don't know that answer from the start, you risk losing both.

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