Marriage is a financial contract that makes you go all lovey dovey with the sweet vows – including what is mine is yours – until death do us apart, and that is why you should be joining all your incomes to make every journey an ‘us’ not ‘mine’ and ‘his’ right? Wrong.
Let's face it. Love is an emotion. We never know how it comes and how it goes. That is why you should not make your financial security dependent on something as fragile as an emotion. Because the truth is, emotions are an ever changing phenomena, and unless you have the ‘who-owns-what-talk before making the ties, could seriously jeopardize your financial independence in the future when the honeymoon phase is over.
Save your marriage the worries of a financial stop
Yes, you heard that one right. The person you marry at age 24 would be a different person that they can become at age 45. That does not mean that you should not be positive in your marriage, rather it is the contrary – getting your finances out of the way will give you and your spouse a better way in your married life along the way.
Marriage is trust, hopes, tears and joy, vulnerability and strength altogether. People change, and your spouse is no different.4 in 10 marriages end up in divorce globally and almost 40% of 1st marriages ended up in divorce in first world countries like Canada and Australia. According to marriage.com, financial conflicts make the second most common reason for divorce.
Put your pennies on the table
Life coach and marriage counselor Matthew Hussey suggests that a high value man won’t be put off by your independence. Instead, he will want to encourage anything that promotes your autonomy and independence. And that is exactly what makes marriages more successful. No one wants to deal with damsel in distress in the real world. But independence is not limited to earning for yourself. It includes a clear communication bridge regarding your income and finance expenses. You should review your financial history by pulling out each of your individual credit cards on the table. Literally, you should be transparent about your finances to your partner without having to create joint accounts – you can be financially independent and still love each other. To avoid ugly fights due to finances, you should be keen to discuss your income, your share in the household, any debts you owe each other, your shares in a business venture if it goes bad, any other loan and service responsibilities.
Once you both are on the same page, you need to say it out clearly. You need to save the deed on paper. “Once it is written on paper, it is official” and anything official can save you long visits to courts and can save you both and probably your children too, from ugly divorces.
Why is it extremely important for women to be financially independent after marriage?
It is extremely important for women regardless of if they are married, single, separated, divorced or single mothers – to be financially independent. With that said, a monthly paycheck in your account won’t guarantee that your future is secure. You need to analyze everything including your house mortgage, cars ownership, business shares with your partner’s joint ventures, child responsibilities such as college etc. Because groceries are not the only thing that needs your money.
A lady who can fulfill the responsibilites of the family financially, socially and gracefully is a good example for her children to demonstrate to them that gender stereotypes made up by the society do not mean anything when a lady is solid, sure and beyond any doubt capable of herself.
Here’s a story of a few of our clients that compelled us to share the importance of being a role model by being financially independent.
Alexa thought she was independend, but she was not
Alexa moved from Poland to the Netherlands 20 years ago. When she came, she had no idea how things worked in the country and simply started working full time to be independend from her boyfriend Charles. Charles, bought a house where she lived with him. As she worked, she paid her fair share in the housekeeping, like food and furniture. He was paying off his loan. After 4 years of living together, he decided to buy one more home to make more income by leasing it. So he took another loan. The same happened in another 10 years. He bought the third house. After 20 years of relationship, Charles decides he wants a younger version of Alexa and puts her on the street with her suitcase. Conclusion: he owns three houses, she owns nothing. Is this fair? To prevent this situation, Alexa had to discuss a legal agreement with Charles the moment she started participating in the housekeeping costs. In fact, these costs disappear with time while his cost is an investment - in this case - only in his future. While her investment was in their current lifestyle. She had to discuss this situation with him first and then pay a visit to a notary to draft an agreement so the moment they separate, she will receive a fair share of the investment she made in their live time.
How Katherine secured her financial independence after divorce
Katherina and Tom were both entrepreneurs. They had no children and both worked 24/7 to invest all their time in their business. After their marriage they decided to sign a prenup where they committed to divide everything they own to a rule of what is his, stays his and what is hers, stays hers, After 5 years of marriage they decided to separate. Due to their prenup, their divorce was done in two weeks time and Miss Legal lawyers fees are only €800. Katherine and Tom had a very easy separation because of their clearly made agreements in the prenup and the fact that they had nothing to fight about. Miss Legal lawyers divorced them cheap and easy so both could continue their own lives without headaches.
Lisa made sure she would be independent if something would happen to Max
Lisa and Marnix are also both entrepreneurs. They are specialized in setting up businesses.Both are hardworking and successful and both own their own house with a loan. After their marriage they decided to start a family and Lisa got pregnant. So that day, she sat with him to talk about worst case scenarios and how to prevent them. She asked: "what if something happens to you or in case of divorce, what should I do as a single mom to take care about our business and our child? The business is still very much dependent upon you". This got him thinking too. They decided to make a will where Max appointed Lisa and their child as the only heir in case he dies. Also they decided to lease one of their homes for extra income that brought a stable EUR 1500 a month. Then, Max set up teams so well that the businesses would not depend on him or her any more. So in case something happens, the business can continue and make money. They also took a life insurance for Max. In case Max dies, Lisa will receive an amount of EUR 800,000. She would then buy a few houses for rent to make sure that income will be enough for her and their children. That as a plan B for their businesses as entrepreneurship is also never stable.
Although it is a tough talk to discuss deaths or illnesses, the couple did themselves and their children a huge favor by thinking about all the stakes by discussing the future proactively - the terrible thought of thinking something can happen to any of them would have been hurtful but it would be worst if he/she did not have money to provide for themselves and their child. We hope nothing bad will ever appear but if that will be the case, Lisa will have less headache now everything is well set from the legal point of view.
Take care about your future, stay independent
Ensuring about your financial security is not setting up the marriage ‘to fail’. It also does not mean that you should not trust your finances with your partner. It means that you are willing to give your marriage a fair chance of being successful as a happily ever after without the financial troubles.
Thinking about risks are signs of sensible, happy and secure individuals. As they say, a healthy marriage has a healthy mode of communication. Will you have enough income? Will you have your own place to live? Make a list and discuss it with your partner and then, with one of our professionals to set up the right documents.