Thoughts on pre-nuptial agreements

November 20, 2011 

Dear Dave,

How do you feel about pre-nuptial agreements?

- Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

When I first started financial counseling, I told people to never get a pre-nup under any circumstances. Basically, I felt the whole process was like planning your divorce in advance. I still feel that way to a degree because if money is more important to you than the person you supposedly love, then you don't really love them and you have no business getting married.

I've changed my stance a little bit, though, and now I feel a pre-nup may be in order under one condition: If there are substantial assets in one person's name. By "substantial," I mean $2 million or more. I've counseled several wealthy people, some of whom were heading into a second marriage. It's not that wealthy folks are weird or necessarily greedy, but sometimes they attract weird and greedy people.

In these kinds of cases, I'm OK with a pre-nup. But I still think you should love somebody enough to be willing to take a bullet for them if you're thinking about marrying them.

- Dave

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