Develop Financial Intimacy in Your Relationship: Tips for Newly Engaged Couples
Valentine’s day has come and gone, and in its wake, newly engaged couples are preparing to embark on one of life’s great journeys—marriage. But having a successful marriage in 2022 involves more than falling in love and finding your soulmate. It requires familiarity with the innermost workings of your partnership, including your finances. While this may make your relationship feel more like a business arrangement, couples are wise to have their eyes wide open when it comes to money. There are tremendous financial consequences that can arise during a marriage, and establishing financial intimacy is key to a healthy relationship. Couples who are getting ready to wed will benefit from making this a priority. Keep in mind these key points if you’re looking to develop your financial intimacy.
1. Communicate Openly and Honestly
Financial intimacy requires an in-depth understanding of your unique financial circumstances as a couple. It is impossible without one relationship pillar: communication. Initiating open lines of communication early on in your relationship can help build a strong foundation of trust for the future, but it’s never too late. The more you know, the more prepared you are in marriage to handle any challenges or changes that can come down the line. Discuss your assets, expenses, financial goals and wealth-building strategies. Be aware of who has access to certain records, accounts and financial documents in the marriage, and whether that access is equal. By doing so, even if you were to wind up divorcing your spouse, you are less likely to feel blindsided by the financial implications.
2. Rethink Your Position on Marital Agreements
In today’s complex world, entering into a legal agreement before or during a marriage is viewed much differently than it was in the past! The term “prenuptial agreement” (prenup) is no longer a dirty word with a one-sided connotation. A prenup is a partnership agreement that functions just as it would in a business relationship. When both partners bring a lot to the table, which is the case for many modern couples, a smartly prepared prenup can be to everyone’s benefit. Postnuptial agreements (postnups) are another option for married couples whose financial situations have changed since they wed. A postnup can account for unpredictable circumstances within a family business or major liquidity event—things that may have not been considered before the marriage began.
3. Lean on Your Whole Team, Not Just Your Partner
Just like you would with a successful business partnership, assemble—and listen to—your team of trusted advisors. Well-chosen representation can ensure that both spouses experience the benefits of financial intimacy, no matter at what stage the relationship is in. Preparation and proficiency are the keys to getting what you need, and the best advisors excel in both. Working closely with your accountant and legal team (which could include family law attorneys, trust and estate lawyers or other wealth and investment managers) will help you achieve a holistic and comprehensive understanding of your financial situation and consider scenarios you may not have conjured on your own. With both partners on board and an all-star team, financial intimacy is much less likely to be lacking.
Developing your financial intimacy may not sound very romantic, but the results could surprise you. Authentic and transparent conversations around a topic as private as money can stir up deep feelings and strengthen your connection as a couple before you walk down the aisle.
Kristina Royce, a partner at Blank Rome LLP in Los Angeles, co-chairs one of the largest matrimonial and family law practices in the country and represents an impressive roster of A-list celebrities, professional athletes, C-suite executives and high net worth clients in complex financial and custody matters. Her noted expertise with intricate financial valuations, tracings and cash flow analyses; pre- and post-nuptial agreements; and keen mediation skills enable her to solve complicated financial challenges while negotiating sophisticated solutions that meet her clients’ unique needs. Follow her on LinkedIn.