Personal finance blogs are great places to find tips on saving money, but we bloggers tend to say less about complicated financial dynamics like the ins and outs of getting married. To help fill this gap, we’re offering three brief points you might consider before tying the knot.
1. Talk Money: The idea here is that you should sit down and have an honest conversation with your partner about finances. You should consider specifically discussing insurance, savings, your net-worth and your debt obligations. No joke, discussing your debt before you get together is super important. I know a guy who’s marriage dissolved in 6 months because he didn’t disclose his small mountain of debt before being tying the knot. – Seriously, talk about this stuff.
2. Talk Housing: My mom initially raised this point. But there are right and wrong ways to start off a relationship. Finding a place to live that both people choose together means that your partnership starts off as a joint effort. For example, if you get married but stay in one persons place, then that accommodation will always belong to one of the partners in the union, not to both. – It matters, marriage is about teamwork and its important to set that tone at the outset.
3. Discuss A Prenupt: Prenupts are sticky. A lot of people dislike prenuptial agreements. They view them as being either unromantic or a setting a bad tone when starting a marriage. The underlying idea here is that an agreement which protects the assets of partner from the other creates an atmosphere of mistrust.
The idea that prenupts are necessarily negative takes an unrealistic view of marriage. In many cases, marriages consist of two successful people deciding to share their lives together. It goes without saying that both partners have concerns or worries about the institution and the implications of full commitment. A proper prenuptial agreement creates a framework for both parties to proceed into the union with fewer reservations.
For example, when my wife Miel and I got married, we sat down and negotiated a prenuptial agreement. Provided we divorce, Miel would keep 90% of the equity in our personal residence as compensation for supporting me while in school. In return, she agreed not to claim our investment property (I purchased it before we married) and agreed not to ask for alimony. The main point her is our prenuptial agreement was a win-win situation. It allowed both of us to move forward knowing our reservations had been addressed.