Wedding season is right around the corner — and the bad news is predictable, while the good news is surprising.
Last week, two new surveys were announced…
The financial wedding veil
Financial experts can differ slightly on their advice. For instance, I recommend paying off the credit card with the highest interest rate first, based on the logic that you’ll save more money. Meanwhile, Dave Ramsey suggests paying off the card with the lowest balance first, because it’ll give you a psychological boost to keep paying down your debts.
But every single financial expert agrees on this: Before couples get married, they need to bluntly talk about money. Sadly, this is perhaps the most-ignored advice we offer.
Why? Because too many people think talking about their finances is unromantic. It might be, but such a discussion can preserve romance later.
Yet Experian reports that newlyweds still stubbornly refuse to ask basic questions. For instance…
- 40 percent “didn’t know their spouse’s credit score.”
- 33 percent “didn’t know the amount of their spouse’s studnt loan debt.”
- 25 percent “didn’t know their spouse’s annual income.”
Then there’s this disturbing statistic that newlyweds told researchers…
They would spend more than $800 without telling their spouse, with men spending significantly more (an average of $1,259), while wives average only $383 before telling their spouse. In addition, 16 percent of respondents report having a secret financial account that their spouse does not know about.
When you hear those numbers, is it any wonder divorce is such a scourge in our society?
OK, let’s close on a lighter note: Weddings costs have so spiraled out of control, “Groomsmen are consistently shelling out more money than bridesmaids,” says a new GoBankingRates survey.
It’s true. Apparently, the best man spends an average of $998.78 on the bachelor party — while the maid of honor spends an average of $552.33 on the bachelorette party.
Even the wedding attire is skewing toward the groom’s party, Experian says: “Groomsmen are spending more on average than bridesmaids for their wedding attire ― $245.50 versus $214.58, respectively.”
So how is this good news? Because while the men are suddenly paying more, they’re prepared for it…
Although bridesmaids reported spending less, on average, than groomsmen for the most recent wedding they were in, they were more likely to say that they spent more than they expected. About 32 percent of bridesmaids said the total amount they spent was more than they budgeted or expected to pay. About 28 percent of groomsmen said their spending exceeded their expectations.
At the risk of sounding like an unromantic financial expert, I’ll say this: I’m glad the financial pain of weddings is spreading to the wedding party, both the men and women. Perhaps we’ll finally see everyone pull back from their over-the-top wedding spending.
I say this as a romantic at heart, because you can’t have it both ways. You can’t refuse to talk about money before your vows and claim it’s crass — then overspend and go into debt trying to make the ceremony romantic. Love is romantic. Weddings are simply events.