Good money management starts with a good talk and a marriage contract.

The world we live in now requires that you prepare for a divorce before you get married and work hard at your relationship so that it doesn’t happen. I know some people will think this is so unromantic, and feel that it spoils the mood to have to talk about money while planning a marriage.

Unfortunately, statistics show that two out of three marriages end up in divorce. Guess what? Fifty percent of those divorces are as a result of money, a compelling reason to be mindful of this fact when getting married. Discussing money in your marriage is a necessity.

For women, divorce can be an even bigger blow. It is said that the standard of living for women falls by 30% in the first year after a divorce, while for men it can rise by 10% or more. Court judgments are also not reliable. Fewer than 15% of women are paid maintenance by their former husbands, and a third of those who should be paid don’t get assistance.

Kabelo Makeke of Standard Bank customer financial solutions said “good money management starts with a good marriage contract”.

“Marrying in community of property might seem fine at the start, particularly if neither of you has much money to begin with, but it’s a little like putting all your eggs in one basket. For example, if your spouse owns a business and falls into debt, your own credit record will be affected and you won’t be able to act as a safety net for him/her.”

These days no one seems to frown upon having an antenuptial contract (ANC), and it’s no longer interpreted as distrust as there are too many benefits to keeping some of your interests separate. Lawyers are good at structuring this to suit both parties.

Getting your financial plan in order takes away a great deal of stress in a relationship so it’s advisable to do it before marriage. Makeke suggests these seven tips:

– Keep separate current accounts and credit cards. Don’t accept responsibility for someone else’s overspending;

lEarly into the relationship, find out how much debt you will have together. This must be handled with complete honesty, or this could lead to financial complications further on in the marriage;

l If you both earn a salary, agree upfront who is going to pay for what. This can be a sensitive topic, so it would be advisable to split everything from retirement savings to expenses on a proportional basis.

lMoney that comes in as a windfall or bonus should be divided into savings plans or put towards debt repayment, such as your bond;

lConsider having both parties’ names on the bond registration papers;

lBudget for each party to get a bit of “pocket money”. It doesn’t have to be a lot and the amount doesn’t even have to be fixed. It’s your freedom fund; and

lIf there are differences between the two parties when it comes to spending and one is more conservative than the other, try to reach a common ground. If one partner manages the family finances, the other should assist and get involved so that he/she has an idea of how much it costs to run the household.

Save yourselves both emotional and financial troubles in your marriage with these tips.