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Weddings - Marriage & Debt

Whether you choose to have a small intimate wedding, an informal outdoor wedding, or an all-out formal wedding, spending too much money is easy to do. Once you begin to add up all the expenses associated with a wedding and the following marriage, it is no wonder that so many couples begin life together in debt. After you have exchanged your wedding vows and enjoyed time alone on your honeymoon, now comes the time to get serious about your financial situation.

The first and most important step is to have a plan in place. This means that both the bride and groom will need to communication, make sacrifices and compromises, and then agree. Typically, the best way to handle finances as a married couple is to decide which person will have the primary responsibility. If both people try to balance a checkbook or control the finances, disaster can strike. Therefore, choose the person that is best with money to manage the family money.

Unfortunately, many couples start their life together in debt. This is very common and can place tremendous stress on couples. Therefore, rather than start out with credit card debt, you should either cut them up or do not get them. Credit cards are one of the worst things you can have regardless of what society tries to tell you. While having one for travel and emergencies is a good idea, anything more will only put you further and further into debt.

Many couples look forward to getting married and then buying their first home. Although owning a home is a great way to build equity and take on adult responsibility, when heavily in debt, you will soon be overwhelmed and in potential risk of losing the home. Therefore, if you do get married and you have debt, especially high interest rates, pay off those debts first and then start saving the down payment for a home. This might mean waiting longer than you anticipated and selling off investments, but the result will be financial freedom.

Setting and living by a budget is also crucial. Although it may not sound like a big deal, but if you start adding up the money spent on lunches out rather than taking food from home, you could easily save $3 to $4 a day each. If you take that number and add it up over a year, you would have a savings around $720 a year. Now, when you start looking at all the other extra expenses you could be saving on, you could have a good down payment on a home in two to three years.

Finally, the two of you need to sit down and work out a plan that will help you prioritize any existing debt as well as new debt that will be involved in the marriage. If you need to, you can work with a financial advisor to help you through the process. However, the best approach is to make a list of all your debt putting the highest interest debt at the top of the list. This debt is the one that is robbing your of money that could be spent better elsewhere. As you pay debts off, you will need to re-evaluate your list, again placing the highest interest item at the top. Before long, you will have those heavy debts out of the way and be able to save money.


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