A reader is offended by her fiance, but she's got an amusing plan to even the odds.
Question: My boyfriend and I are both 24. He proposed to me last month, but this week, he asked me about signing a prenup! He says it was his mother’s idea, since he makes more money than I do.
I told him it seems like such an outdated concept in an era where husbands and wives both work, but I said I’d be glad to sign — if he signs my prenup that he won’t run up his credit cards after we get married!
While I make less than he does, I read your book and paid off my credit cards. Now I pay the bill in full each month and keep the points. My wonderful Momma’s boy? He has almost $10,000 on a half-dozen cards.
So what do you think, Howard? Have you ever known anyone to require their future spouse to sign a credit card prenup?
— Annette in Wisconsin
Howard Dvorkin CPA answers…
You’re onto something, Annette. I’ve often counseled couples to focus less on what they earn and more on what they spend — because I’ve met with millionaires who can barely meet their monthly bills.
In fact, some of the biggest over-spenders are the highest earners, precisely because they feel pressure to flaunt their success to their family, friends, and co-workers.
So I’m pleased that you’re focusing on the debt of your fiance instead of just his income. As Debt.com has previously reported, debt is a major cause of marital strife.
Now let’s talk about both prenuptial agreements: yours and his.
I can’t advise you on whether to sign a prenuptial agreement. You need a lawyer to review any legal document of such importance and permanence. However, I can tell you that prenups are on the rise, according to one group that should know: American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.
The AAML surveyed its 1,600 members and found 51 percent saw “an increase in the number of millennials requesting prenups. In addition, 62 percent of the respondents have seen an increase in the total number of clients who are seeking prenups during the past three years.”
As for your idea for a prenup, I suggest you forego trying to force your fiance into legally committing to no credit card debt. Instead, test his commitment before you walk down the aisle: Ask him to seek credit counseling right now.
He can even sign up through Debt.com or call 1-800-810-0989 for an immediate debt analysis from a certified credit counselor. While that doesn’t address his prenup request, it will at least prove he’s serious about his financial commitment to you.
Have a debt question?
Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org and Howard Dvorkin will review it. Dvorkin is a CPA, chairman of Debt.com, and author of two personal finance books, Credit Hell: How to Dig Yourself Out of Debt and Power Up: Taking Charge of Your Financial Destiny.