Psychology of Sudden Wealth: How to Confront a Spouse Who Wants to Splurge After an IPO

by | May 26, 2022 | IPO

Psychology of Sudden Wealth: How to Confront a Spouse Who Wants to Splurge After an IPO

by | May 26, 2022 | IPO

psychology of sudden wealth

Your company’s gone through an IPO, the lockout period is coming to a close, and you’re counting down the days until you can finally get your hands on some of that hard-earned cash.

That is… until your husband or wife starts talking about their ideas on what you two should do with the money… and you start to wonder who in the world you married.

Since when does your Toyota-driving husband give a crap about a Ferrari?

Or why is your city-girl wife suddenly dreaming of a big house in suburbia?

Six months ago you thought you both were on board with your financial goals… and now their desire to splurge is throwing a massive wrench into the process.

You’ve lightly hinted at the fact that their splurge may not be the best idea, but they have not picked up on your hints.

So… how do you approach them with this tough topic of conversation?

How do you make sure you two can stay in lover’s paradise, without being the couple living in a tent down a random alleyway because you’ve spent all your money?

I’ve got 3 approaches to help you in this article.

Having difficult sudden wealth conversations with your spouse: 3 approaches

If you’re faced with a spouse who wants to splurge a little too much after an IPO, try one (or all three) of these approaches to get back on the same page, and excited about what you’ll do with the money.

1. Make an IPO budget together

From your initial lump sum, set aside money for taxes, fund immediate financial needs, and *do* set some money aside to splurge. (I suggest splurging 10% of what’s left over after taxes and other immediate financial needs, like filling out an emergency fund.)

After that, allocate the rest of the money towards the financial goals you two have together… like investing in real estate, doing a home upgrade, or whatever’s a priority for you as a couple.

If the thing your partner wants to splurge on fits within that 10%, great! But if it doesn’t fit – or if it takes up the whole 10% and doesn’t give you any money to splurge, this is where you can talk about different things to splurge on, that may be a little more sensible.

If the splurge item will require maintenance, what’s the cost of it? And how does that affect your current budget?

Framing the conversation around “Yes, let’s splurge, but let’s do it in a smart way” can lessen the blow around your opinion that your spouse is being impractical. Plus, when you lay the numbers out visually, it can help them see that even though the IPO is a windfall with a lot of money, it’s probably not Powerball lottery-level numbers.

2. Go back to your original financial agreements

When you got married, how did you agree to share money and expenses?

Did you sign up for fully joint bank accounts where everything becomes each other’s and you both have equal access to everything?

Or did you decide to keep separate bank accounts, only pooling money together for shared expenses?

If you agreed upon the latter, remember that it’s the spouse who’s bringing in the IPO paycheck that has the final say in how the money is used… whether that’s you or your spouse who wants to splurge on something impractical and expensive.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use the other two approaches in this article to try to convince them of a better outcome, but for most people, keeping the peace in their marriage is more important than creating a total money upheaval over how their spouse spends their own money.

If, on the other hand, you’re in a fully “what’s mine is yours” marriage, you’re fully within your rights to raise your objections and get them to listen to your perspective. They probably wouldn’t want you splurging on something in a similar manner, so it’s fair for you to bring it up and talk it through.

3. Ask for some intervention

I’m not talking about a dramatic intervention here, but anytime you get a large lump sum of money (whether from an IPO or another source), it’s smart to talk to a financial advisor.

If your spouse is resistant to it, mention that you need to at least plan to set aside money for taxes, and that with different tax rules around short term and long term capital gains, you want to make sure you don’t come up short when the tax bill is due.

Once there, you can use a professional’s ability to run numbers for you to show you both why it’s probably not the best idea to splurge everything… and how powerful it can be to invest more than you splurge.

Stop the splurge & keep the peace in your sudden wealth windfall

Confronting a spouse in an out-of-the-ordinary situation, especially about money, is never easy.

Hopefully, though, once you two start talking and can see things from each others’ perspectives, the communication will flow and you’ll reach a solution that works for you both.

Remember to keep your language neutral and try not to get charged up on emotions. (And, quite possibly, that you might be the one who needs to loosen up a little… especially if you’re the type who doesn’t want to splurge anything. ????)

That said, if you need a financial advisor to talk through IPO planning with, or someone to help you and your spouse plan for the financial windfall you’ll get as a result, feel free to book a discovery call with us. We’d love to talk to you!

Jackie Kleinman, CFP™, is the principal of KB Financial Advisors. Jackie started her career in financial planning in 1996 at an insurance and brokerage firm. She enjoyed the client interaction, but was bothered by the conflict of interest inherent in commission planning. In 2002, as an advocate of fee-only planning, she opened her doors to assist clients in growing their wealth and enhancing their lifestyles by combining investment advice, taxes and setting each individual’s priorities and goals.


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