What's Wrong With A Prenup?

A Twitter listener wants to know how Dave feels about prenuptial agreements. Dave gives his guidelines for using one.

QUESTION: A Twitter listener wants to know how Dave feels about prenuptial agreements. Dave gives his guidelines for using one.

ANSWER: When I first started doing financial counseling, I told people to never get a prenup under any circumstances because basically what you’re doing is planning your divorce in advance. You are setting out that money or the money involved is more important than the person. That’s what a prenup represents the vast majority of the time. Stay away from prenups.

I have changed a little bit on that since I first started counseling. I think a prenup is in order in one set of circumstances, and that is where there are substantial assets in one party’s name, substantial being $2 million or more. If you have $5 million and you’re marrying someone who doesn’t have any money, you should get a prenup. It’s not that the people with the money are weird, but I’ve counseled a lot of very wealthy people who are oftentimes heading into a second marriage. They’re not weird. They’re fairly normal, but they attract some weird people. If not, the people they’re marrying sometimes have weird families. Because when you put that many zeroes on stuff it gets weird, I’m okay with a prenup there. But if you’re protecting your classic car, don’t marry her. You don’t need a prenup unless you have $2 million or more. Love somebody enough to take a bullet for them, or don’t marry them.