The Spouse As A Trading Variable – 08/01/2018
In life we all know the important role played by our spouses. This is more so for the men than the women. Many times the age old solution to a lot of problems that a young one may be having would be to ‘get him/her married ‘. Somehow this was thought of as a solution to many ills, perhaps the idea was that the responsibility of another person in your life would make you grow up and take charge of your life and become a better person.
Does that really fit the pattern in the trading world? I find it to be quite varying in its nature here. One of the main reasons for this is perhaps owing to the fact that ladies, in general, do not take interest in markets. More, most men don’t believe in involving their wives in matters of the market. Thus, the major problem would be one of ignorance. In contrast, most men would discuss their office situations with their wives as would many wives discuss their office issues with their husbands. The problems across the board would be similar too- office politics, friendships, rivalries, promotions, bitching, boss issues, underlings issues, ego trips etc., etc. These can be easily shared between husbands and wives or even other family members. And everyone has an opinion on such matters, whether right or wrong, appropriate or not.
But when it comes to the market, and trading or investing, most spouses are stumped. Even most family members are stumped too. And the general opinion is that market is an area to be avoided. Everyone has at least one horror story to tell- not his own of course, but of something hearsay. So the qualitative input from family members and spouses can be quite limited or sometimes even completely negative or counterproductive. As a result, most traders and investors do not choose to share their market lives with other members of the family, particularly their wives.
I have found this to be more acute a problem among traders. The reason is not far to seek. Part time traders are mostly hobbyists and look upon their pursuit as something that cretaes some excitement in their lives and holds out some promise of additional income. Mostly they are hit and miss traders so their spouses hear about their success stories but seldom their failures. Since failures begin to pile up over time, such hobby traders begin to hide their activity even from their colleagues for fear that it may somehow make it back to their spouses!
When it comes to full time traders the findings are slightly varied. Those that are doing it because they have nothing else to do are more likely to hide it from their spouses than those who are doing it with some purpose and skillset.
In my mentoring of traders and using my own personal experience, I can state confidently that spousal support is one of the most important elements for succeeding at trading. This job is already quite difficult that to make it even more so thru hiding it or using some sort of subterfuges and evasions just increases the pressure upon the trader. Ultimately, your spouse is going to find out, one way or another! Instead, why not use the age-old adage of spouses helping out one another? Women, particularly, are remarkably intuitive about many things and they can provide some valuable inputs, especially when one is a bit down on their account. At such times your morale is already low and a shoulder to lean on becomes a great comfort. Essential here, is then bring the spouse to an understanding and acceptance of what you are doing and why you are doing it. It will pay to share your process, your ups and downs, your thoughts and theories etc. with the spouse. It really lightens the load, I can testify to that.
I got my own wife into the markets way back in the mid 1980s even though she had no background, over time she has picked up every nuance there is in the market and today she is a far better market traders than I am! Likewise I have met with or trained couples (sometimes together, sometimes separately) where the net result has been a big enhancement of their collective performances. When people come to me for some mentoring, one of the things I insist is that they should bring their spouse along for the discussion. While trading you should try reducing every obstacle and increase every strength. Spousal support is a bit of both. A good traders will take enough efforts to increase his knowledge and skills. He should also spend time in bringing his/her spouse on to a similar level so that the spouse can become an asset.
Be careful not to keep your spouse ignorant of what is what, as it will result in the spouse becoming a kind of Yes-man. That’s the worst thing you can ever do. You cannot have a fiercer supporter nor a fiercer critic than your spouse. No one else is going to tell you to your face when you are being a chump or feel happier for you when you turn into a stud! So along with raising your standards (a life long pursuit for a full time trader), be sure your spouse keeps pace with you.
It is is one of the greatest investments you will ever make!