Family partnership could turn into monster

  • Dave Ramsey

    Dave Ramsey

Dear Dave,

My two brothers-in-law and I have been thinking about going into business together as a side project in the real estate world. One of them is an architect and licensed general contractor, one has a successful painting business, and Iím a chief financial officer with a CPA background. Plus, I had a lot of construction experience as a young man. I know youíre not a big fan of business partnerships, but how do you feel about a family business like this?

ó Dan

Dear Dan,

Going into business with family isnít my big concern here. Iíve said many times that partnerships are the only ships that wonít sail, and Iím a firm believer in that philosophy. I would encourage you guys to set up a situation where one of you is the owner, then figure out a plan where the other guys get paid off the bottom line ó as if they were owners. Trust me, anything with three heads is going to end up being a monster at some point.

Hereís the thing about family businesses. When everyone understands their role and has the best interest of the company in mind, family businesses can be a lot more fun and more successful than non-family businesses. Statistics show the average family business lasts 60 years, while the average publicly traded company lasts about 15 years.

So, thereís nothing inherently wrong with the family part of the equation. Itís the partnership aspect Iíd stay away from.

ó Dave


Dear Dave,

We just helped move our son into a cheap, off-campus apartment a few blocks from where he is attending college. We signed the agreement, and are paying the rent, because he makes very good grades. Do you think renterís insurance is a smart buy? Itís less than $12 a month, but the minimum coverage I can get is $15,000, and he probably has less than $1,000 worth of belongings there.

ó Kevin

Dear Kevin,

Iíd get renterís insurance. My guess is it also comes with five or six figures in personal liability coverage, as well. Thatís in case heís out on the patio with his buddies, someone slips and falls, and they decide to sue because daddyís on the lease.

In a case like this, because thereís so little to start with, itís not theft or fire taking the contents of the apartment that youíre worried about. Itís the liability portion of the coverage that makes it worth every penny of what youíd be paying. That alone makes it worth $10 to $12 a month just to make sure a slip-and-fall doesnít mess with your life!

ó Dave

ē Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven bestselling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey

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Published Sep 14, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Sep 13, 2019 at 11:54 pm)

Family partnership could turn into monster

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