millennials marrying and signing prenups

Millennials Are Seeking Prenups—and It Might Just Be Worth Considering

It’s not exactly news that millennials are marrying later than the generations before them. But to give you a sense of just how differently they approach the tradition from their parents, in 1962, nearly 60% of 18- to 30-year-olds were married. Today, just 20% of people in that same age range have tied the knot. As such, they’re older than their predecessors were, too—whereas the average woman in the ’70s was barely 20 when she walked up the aisle, today she’s over 27.

Waiting to be more mature and financially stable before marrying is not a bad thing, and could help to explain another trend on the rise among this age group. Before saying, “I do,” millennials are asking for prenups, in larger numbers than before. In fact, just over 50% of matrimonial lawyers attest that the number of millennials requesting prenuptial agreements is on the rise.

While prenups have historically been opted for by the wealthy as a means to protect their finances, those getting hitched today are carefully considering other assets at stake. They’re taking into account things like career potential and future wealth, ideas (that startup taking off, for example), and, more and more, the burden of shared student debt.

So, is a prenup the right choice for you and your partner? It could be worth considering. Here’s what you need to know before you say “I do.”

Related: Two Couples Open Up About How They Manage Money, Together

The heart of prenups

Contrary to what you might have heard, “prenup” is not a dirty word. A prenuptial agreement is just a pre-marriage contract designed to protect each party’s assets, earnings, and intellectual property in the event of divorce. Financially, it’s wiser than it is threatening. If your marriage doesn’t go the way you and your partner hoped, your financial situation won’t be dictated by your state’s property laws or a judge’s decision. Think of it more like an insurance policy than an escape clause—you don’t want anything bad to happen, but you plan for it nonetheless.

As you consider a prenup, focus on the following:

  • Current wealth. When you get married later in life—the current norm—odds are you’ve already accumulated significant assets. So it makes sense to protect them.
  • Future wealth. You don’t have to be rich now to consider a prenup. If there’s a good chance wealth is coming your way—say, through a new business venture or an inheritance—a prenup is a proactive choice.
  • Intellectual property. Maybe you don’t mind splitting the house, but do you want your spouse profiting from your ideas? If not, a prenup can protect your intellectual property, including tech creations such as software and apps, and artistic endeavors like screenplays and songs.
  • Community property. If you live in a community property state, such as California, all assets acquired during your marriage will be split 50/50 if you get divorced. But if you live in an equitable distribution state, such as New York, the court will divide your marital property based on what it deems fair. A prenup allows you to divide assets in a way you deem fair.
  • Debt. If your spouse is saddled with debt, you could still be on the hook for those payments after divorce. A prenup ensures that won’t happen—as long as you didn’t co-sign for his or her loans, that is.
  • Recommended: 5 Ways to Tell If The Person You’re Dating is a Good Money Match

    Proposing a prenup

    Sure, asking your future spouse to sign a prenup won’t be nearly as romantic as asking him or her to marry you, but it will prompt you to have serious conversations about financial goals. Since the majority of millennials say financial decisions are a source of tension in their relationships, talking about money matters early—before you walk down the aisle—is a smart way to invest in a healthy relationship.

    Start with these tips:

    • Be honest. Discuss your family history and other experiences that have influenced your financial views. That way, your partner will know exactly where you’re coming from.
    • Practice sensitivity. Don’t demand a prenup—discuss it. Do your best to keep extreme emotions at bay; don’t raise the issue in the middle of a fight, for example.
    • Keep the conversation going. Don’t expect to figure out every detail of the prenup in one conversation. Revisit the topic as often as needed to come to an agreement that works for both of you.


    Taking the prenup plunge

    After you’ve talked to your partner and you’ve both agreed on the prenup terms, draft an agreement. You can do that yourselves, but consider hiring an attorney instead. In fact, consider hiring two—one for you and one for your partner. Your lawyers will help you create a prenup that not only meets your state’s requirements, but also helps ensure a court will uphold its validity.

    Your earnings, assets, financial and property investments and intellectual property are all worth protecting, and a prenup is a means to that end. Connect with a member of the SoFi Invest team to learn how to protect what you’ve earned before you tie the knot. Then, share this article with other couples planning a financial future together.

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    One thought on “Millennials Are Seeking Prenups—and It Might Just Be Worth Considering

    1. Mike cahill says: is helping millennials make prenups easy and affordable.

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