[ The Money Side of Lifeā„¢ ]

Prenup & Trading Up

By brass Staff on May 1st, 2011 •
Prenup Pressure

Q: I just got engaged. Should my fiancé and I look into a prenup, or do we even need one?

A: Many people think that asking for a prenup suggests they don't completely trust their partner. It may not be the most romantic discussion, but if nothing else it forces you to talk about money and expectations before getting to the altar.

A prenuptial agreement, more commonly known as a "prenup," is a contract signed before marriage that lays out the responsibilities of each party during the marriage and in case of divorce--the latter is the more frequent use. In many divorces, the couple's combined assets are split between both parties. This can get complicated if one person makes more money, has more assets, or even has more debt than their future spouse. Making some decisions ahead of time, via a prenup, could help avoid extra unpleasantness if the marriage comes to an end (especially if it's messy).

Also consider this: if you or your partner has a stake in a family business or property, it can be protected in a prenup. It may seem like "this is mine, that is yours," but it may keep families from getting pulled into a marital problem.

Talk with your fiancé about signing a prenup. Decide what to do together.

Inside Job

Q: I've heard a lot about insider trading in the news. What is it exactly?

A: Insider trading is when someone buys or sells stock in the company they work for. It's legal if they report it to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Insider trading becomes illegal when someone buys or sells a security (such as stock) based on information that is not available to the general public.

Let's say a friend who works at Shane's Hot Dog Company warns someone to sell stock in the company because they’re about to issue a recall due to a batch of tainted franks. That would be insider trading because the friend has access to nonpublic information about the company. 

This is different than public information. Brass staffers know that brass is awesome, but so does everyone else. It isn't special information employees have access to just because we work here.

So, beware of "hot tips"--and not just because they could be a load of rotten franks.

Editor's Note: When answering your questions, the editors consult with experienced professionals from a wide spectrum of industries. We utilize their expertise to give you the answers you need, but it's always wise to seek additional opinions from other professionals.

Sources: sec.gov; usatoday.com; money.cnn.com; msn.com; investopedia.com