How to Get Your Wife to Support Your Trading

Before I began my formal presentation at the Traders Expo last year, I asked the 90% male audience three questions:

1) How many of you have wives/partners who trade?
2) How many of you wish your wife/partner would trade?
3) How many of you wish your ex-wife would trade so you can reduce your alimony?

As you guessed, very few hands went up in response to the first question, lots of hands went up in response to the second question, and laughter was the response to the third question.

In all seriousness, countless men have told me that their wives or significant others do not support their trading activities. Although there is scientific debate over whether women are more risk-averse than men, I will take the liberty to generalize. When men hear the term “risk,” they often think there is an opportunity to make money; when women hear the term “risk,” they immediately think of “loss.”

As a seasoned trader, you probably know a variety of strategies to mitigate risk when trading, but your wife may not be aware of that. She may consider herself more “conservative” with money than you are. (Ironically, she may be the bigger spender in the household.) Let’s be honest with ourselves. We typically fear things we do not understand. You wife’s outlook might change if she received a trading education in a fun, non-threatening environment.

The stakes are higher than you and she might think. The facts don’t lie. Women outlive men. So if you are the one managing the money and she has no clue, what will she do when you are no longer around? Do you really want her entrusting your money with a financial advisor that she has no way of evaluating because she doesn’t know how to invest herself?

Here are few tips on how to stimulate your wife’s interest in learning how to trade:

1) Explain why passively leaving money in a savings or money market account is NOT conservative and is a foolproof way to actually LOSE money. A simple comparison of the annual interest earned in the account versus the inflation rate should suffice.
2) Hire a female trading coach for your wife. There are lots of us out there, believe or not, and we often connect with women in ways a man cannot. The women I coach thank me for my patience, and for not making them feel intimidated, ignorant, or incompetent. I like to use Google Hangouts for my coaching sessions because the client and I can see each other’s faces as well as share each other’s screens. It personalizes the interaction.
3) Open an online brokerage account for your wife and seed it with $5K -$10K. If she is “conservative,” suggest that she start by trading covered calls or selling deep out-of-the money put options. Perhaps she’d like to practice using a virtual money platform first, which is what I recommend for the most risk-averse clients.
4) Make trading exciting and romantic. Attend a weekend seminar with your wife at a fun location, such as Vegas, NYC, or a beach town. Be seminar buddies during the day, and go on the town at night. At home, make one of your regular “date nights” a “trading night.” Sit by the fireplace with your laptops, snuggle, sip a scotch or a glass of wine, and consider possible trades for the next day. Instead of blaring “Mad Money” in the background, try some jazz.
5) Set a goal and a reward. Let’s say you start your wife off with a $10K account. Show her strategies that have a good chance of generating a 2-3% annual return with low risk. Help her identify dividend-paying stocks or ETFs and show her how to use basic, conservative options strategies, such as a collar. At the end of the year, suggest she treat herself to a “spa day” with the $200-$300 gain (before commissions and taxes) or take the two of you out for dinner at a nice restaurant.

While I can’t guarantee you will have success with these tips (just like I can’t guarantee returns), you just might convert an unsupportive wife into your champion.

Laurie Itkin, The Options Lady

Trader Education