Big wedding or saving money for a down payment?

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A life of critical financial decisions for couples often begins with how to pay for a wedding. For some thoughts on how to handle the financial side of weddings, I invited Sandra Abdool, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) at the Royal Bank of Canada, to do a question and answer session.

Ms. Abdool has 24 years of experience as a planner and she has some thoughts on weddings and what comes next in a couple’s financial life. Here’s an edited version of our email discussion:

Q: In setting the financial tone of a relationship, how important is it for a couple to manage the costs of their marriage?

It is very important for a couple to manage the expenses of their wedding as they can add up very quickly and surprise one or both partners when the final bills arrive. This can then have a negative impact on other financial goals that the couple wants to achieve in the short term. And your comment on setting the financial tone of a relationship is essential. Being on the same page financially and making financial decisions together – and it may very well start with how you finance your marriage – can go a long way in helping couples build a strong relationship.

Q: What would you recommend for a couple who have enough savings to pay for a big wedding: enjoy the celebration, or think small and save some money for a down payment for the house?

Planning a wedding can consume a couple… and then a few months later, the event remains etched in our memories. You don’t want him to live in debt. I think the pandemic has opened up simpler and cheaper options for couples to consider, which is a good thing as it minimizes any related debt. And, yes, if you are thinking smaller and saving money, you can use those savings for a down payment on the house. You can also use this money for other life goals. Your wedding day will probably always be a special part of your memories as a couple.

Q: What are the main financial things you want to know about your partner before you move in together or get married?

I cannot stress enough the importance of being completely transparent with your partner before you get married. No one wants to get married and then be caught off guard by financial difficulties or past debts that they were not aware of. This is another reason why openness and transparency are essential before moving in together or getting married. Some questions you can ask your partner to start the conversation: Are you a spender or a saver? What are your major financial goals? Here is mine – do they match?

Q: In your experience, what are the biggest financial issues that stress couples these days?

Stress arises when couples don’t have the same priorities. In a recent poll commissioned by RBC, nearly half of couples said finances were the number one issue in their relationship – and marriage finances in particular were called stressful. Some cited conflicts with partners who have significantly higher wedding expenses in mind, while others reported problems with partners who wish to have their “dream wedding” regardless of the cost. Looking at financial discussions in general, a third of the couples we polled told us they were uncomfortable discussing each other’s current financial situation – and this was especially true for men. . When you are not comfortable with these conversations, it is difficult to determine how you will achieve common goals, or even set those goals for yourself as a couple.

Q: How good are couples at talking about money?

Couples don’t talk about finances often enough. Our recent poll showed that 30 percent talk about it once or twice a year and 5 percent say they never do. It’s important to have frequent and open communication about how you want to spend your money. You might have a money date once or twice a month where you talk openly about finances. I can tell you that the more you talk about it, the easier it is.


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