PROFILE | Leah Collins: Helping Couples Negotiate Premarital Money Traps
Planning a wedding is exciting, but it’s only the beginning of what could be a long, happy marriage. However, marriage is often perceived as an eternal blissful state. Still, the reality is that financial conflicts are among the most common reasons for divorce. Fortunately, Leah Collins knows this and is determined to help couples avoid financial incompatibility before they walk down the aisle.
Collins canceled her wedding six weeks before the big day due to financial incompatibility, and now she’s making a name for herself as a premarital financial coach. She helps couples think critically about their respective approaches to money and figure out their habits and goals well before they reach the point where it becomes challenging to turn back.
Collins discussed financial literacy on Bloomberg Quicktake, “The Table with Anthony O’Neal,” and developed a product line of workshop-like resources that are in high demand. She even filmed a pilot for a reality TV show with Lionsgate in which she helps couples facing money problems identify what’s holding them back and work through what they need to do to resolve those issues. Her goal is to keep others from repeating her experience.
The Importance of Starting Early
Collins believes in working with couples before they get engaged to prevent awkward, contentious points from occurring. She wants to break the stigma of calling off the wedding, where couples have to ignore red flags because they’ve already set the date, leading to potential disaster later. Collins says that even as a single person, it’s still essential to know what you’re looking for in a potential partner. Her suggestion is to start by talking about your own financial situation, job or even general discussion about current events and the state of the economy.
Collins works individually, as well as with groups of couples. She believes the group dynamic takes the pressure off and eases any pitfalls of blame. People learn more effectively from each other, finding people who have made similar missteps or relate to a general way of thinking about money. They no longer feel so defensive and are more likely to open up and absorb something new. “They’re building a community and learning from each other, not just me,” she says.
Talking About Money Management
Collins begins by discussing how money was managed in the household where each person was raised, which affects an individual’s financial literacy in adulthood. Talking about goals, vision, who’s the spender, who’s the saver, and ensuring they’re transparent in their finances is crucial. Each person has to discuss their assets, liabilities, future obligations, and income. If one person has been married before, child support, and/or alimony must be discussed. She emphasizes the need for prenuptial agreements and examines attitudes around gender roles that may look different from one couple to the next.
Collins emphasizes that cultural differences, whether grown up in different parts of the world or raised under different religious belief systems, can significantly impact an individual’s perspective on money. Interracial relationships are now common, and couples marrying from different cultures and religions may look quite different in their approach to money. In her relationship, she and her ex-fiance had opposing views on how money was made, spent, and saved.
– Financial incompatibility is often a top reason for divorce.
– Couples need to have open and honest conversations about their finances and approach to money management before getting married.
– Cultural differences can significantly impact an individual’s perspective on money.
– Start having financial discussions early on in a relationship.
– Consider group therapy for a more relaxed and open environment.
– Discuss how money was managed in the household where each person was raised.
– Address cultural differences in financial perspectives before getting married.
Leah Collins’s experience has taught her that open and honest communication about finances is crucial before getting married. Her work as a premarital financial coach helps couples discuss their finances and approach to money management to prevent future conflicts. Starting early and working in a group can ease the pressure, and discussing cultural differences in financial perspectives is essential. By implementing Collins’s approach, couples can increase their chances of a long and happy marriage built on a strong financial foundation.