You want to work in financial services, but you also want a meaningful relationship. Maybe you even want a family. Maybe you even want a spouse who will help you with that family. Given that banking careers and relationships are notoriously antithetical, you’ll need to choose your spouse carefully. We spoke to NottingHillYummyMummy (NHYM) a banker’s spouse and blogger.This is what she said suggests finance professionals seek when choosing a spouse to fit their vocation.
1. A banker’s spouse needs… patience:
With those long M&A hours, the traveling in private equity and the arduous hours put in when you’re building a hedge fund from scratch, a financier’s spouse needs to be patient. He or she may have to put up with long work calls during holidays, to wait for their spouse at the dinner table, to defer the weekend until the Saturday morning conference call is finished. Patience is a virtue. It’s also the first step to understanding a financier’s way of life.
2. A banker’s spouse needs….tolerance
When you’re married to a banker, you will need to put up with the last minute cancellations of holidays or dinners. One spouse I know had to spend an entire dinner with her husband’s clients while he went back to his office to finish up a deal. Another had to spend her entire holiday alone with her in-laws when her husband was called in to work on a merger. This comes with the territory. If you work in finance, you need to choose a spouse who will understand it from the start.
3. A banker’s spouse needs….independence
When you’re traveling non-stop or working inhumane hours, you need a spouse who’s independent and has her/his own interests or career. You don’t need someone who will be waiting to spend time with you at the weekend when you’d rather be indulging your own hobbies (polo playing, car racing, helicopter flying). Find someone who won’t be waiting by the door at home to nag. A wife I know of a CEO of an Asset Management company often feels like a ‘single mom’ since her husband is away traveling three weeks out of four. She needs resilience and independence to tolerate his lifestyle.
4. A banker’s spouse needs….intelligence
If you aspire to rise to the top in finance, it will help to have a well-educated and intelligent spouse who can accompany you to client dinners and work off-sites. My experience suggests that finance boys also tend to have short attention spans and get bored easily, so the intelligent spouse will find a way to keep him on his toes and prevent him losing interest.
5. A banker’s spouse needs….flexibility
When you work in finance, your hours may be erratic. You need a spouse who can flex. This becomes especially important when kids are involved. One of the parents needs to be there for parent teacher conferences, to pick them up from school when they’re sick, to take them to the doctor’s or to attend their Christmas Plays/Easter Hat parades or Sports Day.
6. A banker’s spouse needs…positivity
Finance jobs can be volatile. There can be good years and there can be bad years. Bonuses fluctuate and there are recessions, credit crunches and crises. Spouses need to stay positive especially in those difficult years. Banking jobs can be lost at any time. If you work in finance, you don’t want to end up with a spouse that leaves you as soon as you lose your job or can’t match the same bonus year after year. Choose wisely.