Everything can’t always be smooth sailing. If that were the case we would never grow, never learn and never move forward.
Life often brings us face to face with realistic choices, so allow me to tell you now that the word “prenuptial agreement” is not the rain on your parade but an umbrella to the thunder storm – here’s why:
The first thing women think when they hear the word prenup is “we love each other, we don’t need one” but I have come to realise that in reality this is a very stereotypical thought, no one is questioning your love for each other and signing a prenub certainly does not mean you’re setting your marriage up for failure – it simply means you’re setting yourself up for financial peace of mind.
Think of it this way: Every day you lock up your home to keep it safe – you would much rather prefer purps to not break into your house but alas certain things have a tendency to happen. Here’s another example; you get into your car and put on your safety belt, not because you’re expecting to be involved in an accident, but because you know that they too happen.
This article is not aimed at women preparing to get out of a marriage but women getting into one. Your excellent credentials, your fulfilling and successful career, your unlimited stock options and power all of the above mentioned and more are in need of protection, if not – why did you spend all those long hours in the office and what was the point of all your hard work?
Asset protection is a set of legal techniques implemented to protect you and your business entities from civil money judgements. Like I said safeguarding everything you’ve worked for.
I read an article in MORE magazine of an example of a married couple who found a friend of a friend to draw up a contract that basically said each partner leaves with the same assets they brought in. A standard almost prenuptial agreement but Maya Deitch a teacher at the time supported the family – by herself while her husband, an engineer, kept all of the money he made. They bought a big expensive house – with her money. Deitch says “Be aware that as soon as you put things into joint, it perpetuates a feeling of ‘This is our money’”. After 15 years the marriage ended and Deich’s husband ended up with a major financial settlement including property and securities that she paid for. The words that came to mind when I read this piece were not anger or disbelief but that it was absolutely unfair.
So time to face facts If you don’t take precautions to protect everything you’ve worked so hard for, your spouse will be entitled to half if not all of your life’s work. It’s important to know what’s yours alone and what belongs to you and your partner jointly. You might frown upon this statement – isn’t matrimony all about “what’s mine is yours”? The answer: “No”. Thinking like this just means his debt becomes yours, his financial problems become yours and you won’t have as much financial freedom as you’d hoped for. Setting up a system to protect what you’ve got can lead to the difference between living on your own financial terms – and living at the mercy of someone else’s. It’s the ugly truth but it’s the truth none the less.
Women make up more than half of the work force these days and it takes them almost a decade if not more to get there just to ensure they have a comfortable, financially stable future, yet half of these women still want to merge.
Your financial independence is stripped away as soon as you get married without a prenup and according to then 40 year old Lucy Jackson who runs a successful financial-management firm a prenub saves you a lot of arguments. “I wouldn’t presume to tell him what to do with his money. And while he tried to tell me not to spend all my money on decorating, I chose not to listen.”
So in turn a prenup is not just for your protection in the case of a divorce but also to keep the piece in your marriage. To me it seems as if it’s almost one of the reasons some couples make it. Nobody really likes talking finance so if it can be avoided why not?
It’s also your means of reassurance when you die. The money you’ve earned and worked for will be distributed according to your wishes. A prenuptial agreement is actually a requirement in most partnering firms. You and your business partners might have other plans for you shares – business is still business which is why the right people should be placed in charge to make sure your life’s work reaches its full potential.
For interests sake your assets can be divided up into three categories; this just makes it easier for you and your spouse to avoid the “I paid for this so…” arguments. Let’s be honest things just become hostile and unpleasant when things like that are held over both your heads. You might have had to give up your successful career to raise your family, it might have been an easy choice but it should be a choice where the outcome benefits the both of you – again we want to avoid the word “unfair” as much as possible.
Premarital assets: The assets (money or property) you required before your marriage. You’ve earned these spoils through your own hard work or maybe through an inheritance of some sort.
Nonmarital assets: Keeping nonmaritail assets from becoming marital assets might prove to be a little easier said than done. If you inherit while you’re married, that money should be put into a separate account in your name. The reason for this is because your check account is tainted – this basically means it’s filled with marital money; pay checks, money from friends as a wedding gift, refunds or coupons which means the money belongs to the both of you.
Marital assets: All the lovely things you and your husband acquire together when you’re married, paycheques from your jobs, property you buy etc. If your premarital and nonmarital assets come into contact with your marital assets they are automatically tainted and therefore regarded as marital – belonging to the both of you.
Being money smart is definitely the healthier choice in a marriage opposed to one where the both of you are blind sighted by finances. Prenuptial agreements are not there to anchor you or your spouse down and it most certainly is not put in place to keep secrets. Always be honest and think rationally. Being in love is wonderful it feels like living in a different world which is exactly why you need to be prepared for reality because she might not be so forgiving.