A Real Housewife gives her fans a real wakeup call: “You need to nup in the bud.”

I was an original cast member of The Real Housewives of Orange County when it debuted in 2006 – and I was the last one to leave the show 14 years later. So I’ve been called the OG of the OC. But honestly, I’m not the “original gangster” Housewife.

That honor belongs to some unnamed women 2,486 years ago.

A while back, I got a big kick out of an article called The Real Housewives of Ancient Egypt Had 8-Foot-Long Prenups.

It tells the story of a scroll that now hangs on a wall at a Chicago university. In hieroglyphics, it specifies what the wife will get if her marriage doesn’t work out: “1.2 pieces of silver and 36 bags of grain every year for the rest of her life.”

It’s the world’s oldest prenuptial agreement.

So I’m here to tell you: If it was good enough for the ancient Egyptians, a prenup is good enough for you. If I get married again, I’ll demand one – because I’ve been married twice and now, at 59 years old, I believe any assets coming into a marriage should be separated both by a prenup and a postnup. Yes, I said “post-nup.” Let’s quickly discuss how both can protect women.

Why talking about a prenup is worthwhile

From ancient Egypt until just a few years ago, most people assumed prenups protected husbands and hurt wives. There was this terrible stereotype: A gold-digging woman married a man just so she could divorce him later – and take half of everything he owns.

So a prenup would limit what a husband would have to pay his wife if they split up. Of course, it’s much more complicated than that. Since a prenup is a legal agreement, experts urge each spouse to hire their own attorney to review the document. Sounds romantic, right?

Actually, a prenup can keep things romantic later. Even if you don’t get a prenup, I always encourage women to raise the topic. Just talking about what would go into your own prenup forces you and your significant other to be brutally honest. Do you save like a hoarder? Spend like there’s no tomorrow? What are your long-term goals in life, anyway? Almost all of those goals will cost money. How will you get that money?

Why women need a prenup

When I was young, I was taught the man makes the money and the woman raises the children. Thankfully, that’s changed. But not enough has changed with it.

I’ve been married and divorced twice. The first time, I was 28 and just at the beginning of a successful career. So I had no real money to worry about. But the second time, I was already out-earning my husband – so I had to pay him alimony. If I get married a third time, I plan to “nup it to death.” I’m going to protect myself and my future. All women should.

It’s both a blessing and a curse that many women are out-earning their husbands these days. Remember that stereotype of the gold-digging woman? Well, I’ve seen my share of gold-digging husbands. Yet you don’t see them portrayed very often in movies, TV shows, and news stories.

You don’t need to be rich to benefit from a prenup. You just need to be making more than your husband.

How a postnup can help

When I mention a “postnup” to people, some of them reply, “Isn’t that just a divorce decree?” No, it’s a last-ditch effort to prevent a divorce.

A postnup is just like a prenup, except you draw it up after you’re married. Divorce attorney Christopher C. Melcher, who I interviewed on my podcast, Reality with Vicki, told me postnups are rare.

They’re for a couple that plans to stay together, but they “reorder their finances,” Chris said. “We’ll see couples sometimes doing that if they’ve fought a lot about money. Or maybe there was an affair, and they don’t trust each other anymore. but they’re willing to give it another shot. Or maybe somebody gets a big inheritance, and they want to say, ‘Hey this is all mine, let’s confirm that in writing.’”

I think postnups should be more popular than they are. The reason is simple: The longer women are married these days, the more likely they’re making money. In both of my own marriages, one husband didn’t accomplish much, while the other was successful – but I became more successful. We ended up in mediation for four years before we finally split everything we owned.

Learn more, ask questions

If you want to know more about this important topic, check out a roundtable discussion between Howard Dvorkin, CPA, and chairman of Debt.com, celebrity divorce attorney, Christopher Melcher, and yours truly on Facebook Live. You’ll need to sign up for my Facebook group “Financial Wellness with Vicki.”

Don’t make the marriage mistakes I did. Nup it in the bud.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and/or policies of Debt.com.

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About the Author

Vicki Gunvalson

Vicki Gunvalson

Before Vicki Gunvalson starred on Bravo TV’s hit series “Real Housewives of Orange County” – which launched the franchise in 2006 – she was already a financial expert. Gunvalson has owned and operated Coto Insurance for three decades. Based in Irvine, California, Coto has been ranked among the top 1 percent of insurance companies nationwide, with more than 10,000 clients in those 30 years. Coto’s success helped Gunvalson become a member of the Million Dollar Round Table – which represents the top life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 70 countries. She continued to grow Coto during 16 salacious years on the hit show and subsequent celebrity projects. But it wasn’t just Coto that has earned Gunvalson praise and awards for her financial acumen. Licensed in every state not just as an insurance agent but also a retirement specialist, she has made it her mission to help people – especially women – become financially independent. She has partnered with Debt.com to help even more of them. “I’ve counseled thousands of Americans who experienced their own melodrama – over money,” Gunvalson says. “Debt.com is in some ways exactly like me – and in other ways, unlike me. We both care deeply about getting good people in better financial shape. But unlike me, they do it quietly!”

Published by Debt.com, LLC