Wedding Season-Is it Over Yet?

Now that another season of weddings is drawing to a close, I have to say I love marriage. I love my marriage. I love religious marriage. I love civil marriage. I love gay marriage. I LOVE MARRIAGE! But I hate weddings. I don’t hate having a wedding, or attending a wedding, I just don’t like what having a wedding tends to entail these days. And more importantly what they do to brides and grooms.

I am all for the celebration of two people committing to each other and I love parties, but the time, effort and money that I see going into a wedding blows my mind.

When I sit down with a client that is struggling to pay bills, or save for a down payment telling me that they are planning a big wedding celebration that they clearly cannot afford, I have to wonder why? Celebrate your love and union with your family, friends and partner-throw a party, pop some bottles and eat some ribs-but don’t go into debt to do it!

Furthermore, don’t let planning a wedding consume you. It is not that important. Your marriage is-your wedding isn’t.

Here are my top tips for those looking to take the plunge:

1) Don’t go into debt to have a wedding. This is likely the biggest mistake you can make heading into a marriage. Finances (along with infidelity), is the most common reason for divorce. Starting your marriage under an unnecessary debt load is putting pressure on your finances and your marriage-where’s the love in that?

2) Don’t extend an engagement for the perfect venue (whatever that means)-if you have 2 years to plan a wedding, you will take 2 years. If you have 6 months, you will take 6 months. Both events will essentially be the same.

3) Accept by telling any supplier you are planning a wedding means at least a 25% premium on their fee (I don’t have statistics to verify this-but I am confident you could plan the exact same event labelled as a family reunion for a whole lot less money.) Weddings have become a huge industry. You are paying a premium to have a wedding-know this going in and budget accordingly. You ought to prioritize and be willing to cut things. Your centre pieces are great-but were they really worth the $1000?

4) Remember it is not YOUR DAY. Sorry, it just isn’t. You are throwing a party and it should be about your guests. They are coming for you, so please acknowledge that fact by ensuring they have a great time and don’t have to incur costs that may be beyond their comfort levels. Making them wait, not having transportation options, having 7 speeches about how great you are-this is all about YOU. Make it about the people that are there to celebrate you, your love and your commitment to each other. You wouldn’t throw a dinner party to honour yourself (unless you are at narcissistic A-hole.). So don’t throw a wedding doing that either!

5) Your wedding day may very well be the best day of your life (although it will likely be replaced with a new greatest day at some point), but remember, it is just one day. What really matters is your commitment and effort to every day that comes after.

Marriage is not some amazing, blissful fairy tale on its own. Marriage is empty and you as partners need to fill it. Commit to your vows. Your commitment to love, support, passion, compromise and adventure-taking less and giving more-that will make your marriage full. If more couples put the time, effort and resources into their marriages that they put into their weddings, I think we would see a lot more happily ever after.

rings

Get After IT!

I have always been a strong believer in getting things done. Procrastination is a dirty word. If something can get done, it should get done. Leaving things for tomorrow has never made any sense to me. This is certainly the case when it comes to personal finance. The earlier you start the better you will be. I recently came across an article in the Globe and Mail by Rob Carrick as a memo to twentysomethings to not be too eager to buy real estate. You can read the article here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/…/patience-…/article23295965/

This “advice” drives me nuts. Sure some twentysomethings should avoid buying real estate, but for many, if not most, buying a home early in life can be one of the best financial moves they ever make. Like most things in life, with real estate, the earlier you do it, the better the long term return. Language and music skills, athletics and yes, finances! The best thing I have ever done for my personal finances is buying real estate early in life. Yes, it forced me to grow up a bit, but that is okay. Being a responsible society contributing adult is not a condition to be avoided! Why was it such a good idea? For starters I got lucky (this is an important caveat), I hit the rising market homerun-but that is not the whole story. I also lived for free. Yes, for free. I was able to do this with renters/roommates paying for my mortgage and bills. In your twenties you are a lot more open to a frat style house and this is great way to own and live. I essentially went through college building tax free equity on the hard earned dollars from other college kids, or those twentysomethings that didn’t want to own, but were happy to pay me to live in a home. I learned how to be a landlord, manage renters and maintain a home. I had real world experience and responsibility, but could still play like any college student -as my living cost was paid for. There is no way I would have done this later on. If I had waited I would have not wanted roommates (I am too old for that!-Would be the excuse). I would have missed an opportunity and frankly missed out on 10 years of investment gains that I will never be able to make up in my lifetime. This move set me far ahead of my peers from a financial standpoint (I still lack that tall gene), simply from owning a home long before any of them thought about it. Did a sacrifice a bit of freedom? Perhaps, but the long term gains, have made up that “freedom” in spades.