Cents & Sensibility —
A firm financial beginning together

Beth Peabody

This column’s advice last month suggested that readers have an open discussion with family and friends to gain confidence and improve financial security by determining, “How am I doing?” relative to people you know and trust.

With an answer to this question in hand, please be encouraged to take additional actions as outlined in past columns.

The Jan. 13 issue of The Record included the Bridal Announcements and pictures of happy couples. I enjoyed reading the details of their lives so full of promise and hope. As I read through each, I recalled my own experience transitioning from an independent person to one who would need to make joint decisions in the future.

What advice would I have wanted when I was their age? What experiences do I have that might help them allay any tension that finances can cause in a marriage or in friendships?

With this in mind, the tally below includes things to consider prior to the wedding date:

  • Before making any plans, determine how much money will be needed for the entire period leading up to and through the wedding date. Create a budget that includes any trips prior to the wedding, clothing, bridal party gifts, honeymoon costs, moving expenses, etc.
  • If you are asking parents or others to help with costs, sit down and have the conversation about expectations and create a budget with them. Meet with both the bride’s and groom’s families. The worst thing that can happen is a disagreement about money prior to what should be one of life’s happiest occasions.
  • The excitement surrounding the months before a wedding typically includes engagement parties and showers. It is a great compliment when someone offers to hold these for you, but there seems to be a trend of an overabundance of such events becoming a financial burden on the happy couple as well as their families, friends and bridal party members. Consider the offers thoughtfully before accepting every single one.
  • Assess the burden your wedding wishes will have on those who will celebrate with you. Be sensitive to their financial ability to join all the festivities.
  • Set expectations in advance so that multiple wedding gifts from someone attending multiple events are not expected. For younger couples, remember your friends are just starting out too and need to plan for their own financial futures.
  • Talk with your bridal party and get their input prior to setting any plans. Remember that out-of-town trips for bachelor and bachelorette parties are expensive. Attire for the wedding is expensive and so are travel and hotel costs.
  • Consider that many friends may be getting married in the same year, which compounds the financial burden.

For those who are engaged, February’s action is to consider the list above and use it as a “checklist” to ensure you move into the future with greater financial security. For other readers, the action for February is to use the advice in conversations with newly engaged family and friends.

Beth Stegner Peabody is CEO of Stegner Investment Associates, Inc., and a 1979 graduate of Sacred Heart Academy.

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