Q: How do I convince my unemployed partner to get a job? He shows no initiative and we need the money.
— Stressed in Stratford, Ont.
A: Get ready for some tough love, says Rona Birenbaum, a Toronto-based financial planner and founder of Caring for Clients. Your first task is to sit down with the budget and show him in black and white which expenses will have to be cut sharply if he doesn’t starting earning. “Make it clear it’s a requirement of the partnership,” says Birenbaum. But also try to keep the tone even-keeled by outlining all the benefits you’ll be able to enjoy together when he returns to work. “That could mean more travel and fun activities now, as well as earlier retirement for both of you,” Birenbaum says. If neither of those options provide the necessary motivation, she suggests talking with a neutral third party present. “This will put reality on the table and allow you to raise awareness of the money issue in an impartial way.”