Entrepreneur gets Mzansi talking for seeking advice on protecting family wealth before proposing to long-time girlfriend

Picture: Shvets Production/Pexels

Picture: Shvets Production/Pexels

Published Feb 16, 2024


With February synonymous with romance and traditional gestures of love, a young man from Cape Town has brought a more serious topic to the table — the complex intersection of love, marriage and financial security.

In a recent post on Reddit, a young man from Cape Town sought advice on a delicate matter as he navigates the prospect of marriage with his long-term partner.

The post, which has sparked a discussion on financial planning and trust in relationships, sheds light on the complexities of merging different socio-economic backgrounds, and the need for open communication in matters of wealth and assets.

The author, a young coloured male in his mid-20s, shared his journey of overcoming poverty and building a successful career and business, placing him in the top 1% economically.

Despite his remarkable achievements, he expressed concern about the potential impact of marriage on his hard-earned wealth, particularly in light of his partner's middle-class background.

"Here is the thing. I come from dirt poor. Like actual poverty (I'll spare the details) and basically sacrificed my entire childhood to get myself and family out of it,” he wrote, detailing the sacrifices made to lift himself and his family out of financial hardship.

He revealed that he had started dating his girlfriend just a year before he qualified in a seven-year profession, all while supporting his family.

Two years later, he found himself fully qualified, with a successful business and comfortably in the top 1% financially.

In a recent post on Reddit, a young man from Cape Town sought advice on a delicate matter as he navigates the prospect of marriage with his long-term partner. File image: Budgeron Bach /Pexels

“Now guys, my girlfriend comes from a middle-class family so even though she sympathises with my past she doesn't truly understand. The wealth I've built is also to take care of my family who sacrificed everything they had for me. (Again I'll skip the details I'm getting emotional just writing this.)”

“Now to the fun part, we never discussed the division of assets in the case of marriage but I want to bring it up.”

The man expressed his love and trust for his girlfriend but also brought attention to his reluctance to fully merge their assets in the event of marriage.

He outlined two options open to him: getting married out of the community without accrual or getting married out of the community with accrual, with the latter option allowing him to protect the wealth he had built before the marriage.

The Reddit user expressed deep love and trust for his partner but admitted to a fear many can relate to: "I don't trust who she will be in 10/20 years. I don't trust the future versions of any person because people change."

"Do you think it would cause underlying damage to the relationship?" he asks, highlighting a concern that such a conversation could alter the dynamics of trust and partnership.

This is what users had to say:

@whothehellevenknows wrote: “Approach a family lawyer — they’re generally very much against community of property because of the legal implications — it’ll give her a clearer view.

“A friend of mine practises family law and she is very much against the community of property thing. It’ll be a safe way to bring it up because it won’t be coming from just you but it may also be good to hear all the options together and discuss it afterward.

“It’ll also help you better understand what they all actually mean.”

Another user wrote: “My grandfather was married in community of property with all 3 of his wife's... He never had multiple wives at a time. At the end of his third marriage, he had like no money.

“Also, he co-owned a house with my parents, then got married without telling them so his wife owned 1/4 of my parent's house.

“So instead of them inheriting it like the verbal agreement with him had stated, she wanted out and the house had to be sold with my parents getting half. (Lawyers did at the end because it was very complicated)

“Some very valuable lessons have been taught to me.”

Commenting on the post, klumsy_kittycat_za wrote: “Out of community of property and without accrual. In the case of divorce, It's the easiest option. It protects you both, especially when it comes to debt and owning a business.

“Also, if you want to help your family, look into something like a trust. If you do end up married in community of property, then the trust could be protected in the event of a divorce.”

Junior said: “Yes to this. Setting up a trust will secure your family, and can help you delay this conversation with your gf in case you need more time to get clarity on what you want in the relationship, and how you want to go about it.

“A trust, even in the case of never having this convo with your girl, will benefit your family. It’s a win-win.”