An Evergreen Wedding Gift

An Evergreen Wedding Gift

If you’re a parent, you may not even have to leave the hospital before you think to yourself: Who will ever love this baby as much as I will? Parents may find themselves dreaming of the day they walk their daughter down the aisle or dance with their son on his wedding day. It’s perfectly natural to dream of who they will become and who they will spend the rest of their lives with.

But these days, nuptials are often comprised of an engagement party, multiple themed wedding showers, a rehearsal dinner, and the grand finale – a weekend ceremony that could compete with royalty.

The price tag of a wedding can balloon quickly. Many of my clients who are the parents of soon-to-be newlyweds want to help with the cost. They are naturally excited for their children and want to lend a hand by offsetting some of the cost or even by paying for the entire wedding.

As their financial advisor, I am delighted to hear about this exciting milestone in the family’s life and I remind client’s this is why you saved – to give a warm hand to your children, not a cold one when you are gone. Yet we all know the sobering odds of marriages. We have all witnessed fairytale love stories ending in divorce court while leaving the generous and loving parents holding an empty money bag.

Here are my recommendations for clients with newly engaged children. They are designed to help avoid the common financial pitfalls that entangle newlyweds. Furthermore, if you are investing in their wedding, it is only prudent to try to help protect your investment.

To give your child and a new in-law a strong head start on marriage and finances, consider these steps:

  1. Require marriage counseling. No courtship is too advanced or mature for marriage counseling. Any underlying issues likely to surface after the honeymoon stage can be revealed and dealt with ahead of time.
  2. Request they read at least one marriage book. My wife and I personally recommend Love & Respect by Emerson Eggerichs, or 1001 Questions to Ask Before You Get Married by Monica Mendez Leahy.
  3. Guide them through a cash-flow sheet. This simple sheet will detail their combined incomes and expenses. Together, they should be able to prioritize giving 10%, saving 20%, and learning to live on 70%. If they start now it will never be easier.
  4. Teach them that debt is the enemy. Debt has split up too many marriages. Assuming debt should be treated like fire: very cautiously.
  5. Suggest they create some shared accounts. If it’s easy to split, they may split. Trying to be completely independent wh ile cohabitating is not marriage. If you share your finances together, it could be harder to separate your life together.
  6. Help them determine their “SELFIE” money. “SELFIE” money is a monthly amount they can spend frivolously, without accountability to the other, which helps maintain a healthy dose of individuality.
  7. Consider introducing them to your financial advisor. Consider scheduling an introductory meeting with your financial advisor so they can meet him or her in a relaxed environment. Many people want to receive financial advice, but are not sure who to trust.

The old proverb says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” When all the wedding presents disappear from the gift table and all the monogram pillows are put in storage, the gifts that will last are the financial and relationship tools you bestowed. They can help unify the couple through the storms of life, that can rock even the best of marriages. By teaching them to fish for themselves financially, it can help create meaningful values that last in your family through generations.

Investment advisory services offered only by duly registered individuals through Swan Capital. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as the basis for financial decisions. 00602119

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