Getting your marriage going on a good financial footing
You’re in love, and you’re ready to take the plunge into marriage, which means you need to take a deep breath before diving in. That’s not a comment on your betrothed, but an alert that if you go into this unprepared, you could land in a deep financial hole as you begin your life together. Here are some thoughts to help keep it in check.
Do your research, then create a checklist before you start spending
As much as your parents can tell you how it was done in their day, that was literally a generation ago. A quick internet search reveals that the average cost of a wedding in Canada could push past $30,000. Use your next search to find a good checklist that outlines the major decisions involved so you’re prepared to deal with that.
Set a date based on your ability to reach it from today
We humans don’t make our best decisions when we are under pressure. Why invite anxiety by setting a date that compresses your ability to vet your options? With checklist in hand, visualize how you will juggle those many tasks based on your availability, add a couple months, then set a date you can meet.
Use a budget, and do sweat the small stuff
You now have enough to work with to set a budget, at least with estimates based on large categories of expenses: hall rental, photographer (do millennials even bother anymore?), flowers, etc. This is a living exercise where you adjust and break out as you learn more, and be vigilant on the so-called small stuff; one dollar more for each tchotchke multiplied by 30 (or 300?) guests adds up quickly – plus HST!
Route your money through a single savings account
I should have mentioned that saving regularly will have served you well to accumulate at least some of what you will need. Then use that same account to monitor your spending progress. Whether it’s paid by him, her or them (parents), and whether you use cash, debit, cheque, credit, e-transfer, or any other method … routing the money through one account makes tracking (and adjusting) more manageable.
Using credit may be inevitable, but plan how you’ll pay it back
Despite even the best planning, you will likely incur some debt to pull it all together, whether that’s supplier accounts, a credit card balance, formal loans or personal IOUs. Before the big day arrives, rough out how long it will take to pay that off, then get to it in earnest once you’re back from the honeymoon.
While it may seem unromantic to focus too much on the finances, a well-considered plan allows you to be fully in-the-moment of the day, which is the best gift you can give to one another.
Speak to your Meridian Wealth Advisor for perspective on these important issues.