We know three young couples who are getting married within the next six months, so it occurred to me that we should cover some financial advice for newlyweds in this column.
But first, on a somewhat related subject, with all of the graduation parties and weddings taking place this summer, it reminded me of a great gift for high school graduates not going on to college, and college graduates, who are both going into the workplace, and also newlyweds. It is a session with a fee-based financial planner.
Each of these events represents a major life change with many new challenges, including financial challenges. In each case, an experienced fee-based financial planner (check them out first) will be able to put them on the right financial track by helping them develop an initial financial plan and giving them some helpful tactics to implement it. They should also cover some common mistakes to avoid. It will leave them realizing that finances and a sound financial plan are important at all stages of their lives. Also, it may result in their scheduling future sessions at critical times as their life journeys progress.
On another somewhat related subject, lately I have been seeing a lot of destination bachelor and bachelorette parties in airports, coming or going to their destination. It’s ironic, because one of the examples of anticipated expenses that I use in my CARE presentations in the schools is the cost of attending that upcoming wedding of a friend or family member when you are older and on your own. It is something that you can see coming, and should be saving for, so that you don’t go into debt because of it. When I see these destination parties, I can’t help but see dollar signs and credit card debt, so I did some research, and here are some of the things that I learned.
According to a 2017 piece in cnbc.com, these pre-wedding festivities can be even more expensive than it is to attend the wedding itself, which was $888. Bachelor party attendees spent an average of $738, or $1,532 if travel and lodging was required. Bachelorette party spending averaged $472, and $1,106, so somewhat less. I can’t decide if I am surprised by that or not. I have to believe that all of these numbers are higher now.
You know what’s coming next. According to creditkarma.com, its recent survey found that 20% of Americans have gone into debt to attend someone else’s wedding. Millennials are the most prone to rack up debt as wedding guests, with 35% of millennial respondents having gone into debt to attend a bachelor or bachelorette party and 30% having gone into debt to attend a wedding. Also, of those going into debt to attend a bachelor or bachelorette party, 36% went more than $500 into debt. In addition, many of them, who have a number of friends at that marrying age, attend several weddings a year, and may be in several wedding parties, so the debt can mount up quickly.
Like so many things in today’s world, social mediaopportunities make these destination parties more common and expensive. The desire to make that once-in-a-lifetime big statement on Instagram is just too tempting for many millennials to pass up, regardless of the costs. I’m sorry, but SAVE FOR THOSE ANTICIPATED EXPENSES, know what you can really afford, and be prepared to say NO to some expenses.
Let’s turn to some financial advice for newlyweds from the balance.com, starting with 10 mistakes you don’t want to make as a newlywed.
1. Not having a long-term financial plan, that includes goals for retirement, home ownership and, for some, starting a family.
Each party needs to set out their individual financial goals with reasonable detail to see where they are compatible and where there may be real differences. Then try to come to general consensus on joint goals, timelines, and a rough budget that can get you there.
2. Walking in blind.
After the engagement, if they haven’t already, couples should have a frank discussion that covers each person’s current income, savings, and debt, as well as any delinquent debts, bankruptcies, or other financial obligations.
3. Lying to your spouse.
It is critical that each person be open about their finances and any habits that might affect the marriage financially, such as a gambling or shopping problem. As I have always said, don’t hide the ball that your spouse may find in the closet after the marriage. It will result in resentment.
4. Combining finances before you are married.
Most laws are meant to protect married couples, so if you are just living together, you may run into issues down the line if you purchase a home together or take on each other’s debt, then break up. If a couple is living together before marriage, they should develop a household budget for shared expenses, and clearly document in writing who owns any personal property they may acquire together. Also if they are living in a rental property, provide in writing what each party’s rights and responsibilities are if there is a breakup. In addition, don’t take on any joint debt or any of the other party’s debt.
In the next column we will look at the additional mistakes that newlyweds should avoid and some great advice from Jeff D. Opdyke in his book, “Financially Ever After”.
On a final subject, I made my weekly trip to Aldi, which has been killing the competition this summer with its prices for large avocados. It reminded me that in Austria, where we recently visited, it is called Hofer, but it, interestingly, has the same signage, just with a different name. By the way, Aldi is owned by a German company, Albrecht Discounts, a discount grocery chain, that started in Germany in 1948. If you are an avocado lover, you owe it to yourself to check out Aldi.
John Ninfo is a retired bankruptcy judge and the founder of the National CARE Financial Literacy Program. Find his previous weekly columns at http://www.mpnnow.com/search?text=Ninfo or at http://www.monroecopost.com/search?text=Ninfo.