Among some circles, the word “pre-nup” can be a dirty word. It conveys that you are leaving a possibility for divorce in the future, and therefore may somehow think it into being.
Realists, idealists, negative types, and hopeful romantics all bicker on whether somehow planning for the worst can jinx a marriage or somehow communicate a lack of commitment to making it work.
All of that aside, planning for the same types of financial issues that would come up in a divorce can actually help you through the course of a happily married lifetime.
Here is why:
We All Die
Yes, it’s not pleasant to think about, but you will die. It’s possible that your spouse may die before you, and therefore it’s necessary to think out how you will live without their income and support – especially if you have children.
Now is the time to get into the matters of living wills, last will and testaments, and life insurance. If you don’t have a plan in place for how you will raise a young family on your own, you must start planning today.
Separation Is Difficult
Even if you never legally separate from your spouse, the prospect of physical distance can occur. Military spouses, those who travel long journeys for work, or even partners with strange work hours can suffer from not having a plan in place for how to handle things without the other one.
Would you know how to get $300 in cash from a joint account without your spouse? Don’t wait until physical separation (either legal or literal) finds you with no way to take care of business. Discuss these matters and have a way to carry on without your loved one near.
Earning Power is Not Guaranteed
Your spouse may make a good wage doing something that may be in demand for a long while. They may also be laid off. If you’re not in a position to step in when needed with some kind of means to paying the bills, it could get very difficult.
Asses your skills, keep that resume updated, and stay in contact with those in your niche that could hook you up with a decent job, if needed. While your spouse may always stay around to help in the day-to-day happenings of the marriage, illness or a change in their industry may not always allow them to work. Keep your skills sharp so that you can contribute – if you don’t already.
When done in a frenzy, at the end of a shattered partnership, the financial steps that newly divorcing couples make can be heartbreaking and often messy.
Some of these same tasks, however, are ones that you should be doing too — even if you are in a happy, lifelong marriage.
Smart couples can set boundaries, communicate needs, and ensure the financial success of both partners by acting deliberately and wisely – even without the threat of separation.
It’s not always nice to think of “what if’s”, but really loving someone can mean taking some uncomfortable looks at how to live a financially secure life – for better, or for worse.
How have your prepared your marital finances for the future (even an uncertain one?)
|Linsey Knerl is a homeschooling mom of 5, the Community Manager for Wise Bread.com, and a freelance blogger and writer. She co-authored the recent 10,001 Ways to Live Large on a Small Budget, and you can read more about her at Lille Punkin’ and 1099 Mom.|