Monthly Archives: September 2014

Job first, then the Wedding

This post is verbatim from an Ask Amy column, written by Amy Dickinson, one of the smartest, most practical and ethical syndicated columnists. Thank you Amy!!

Dear Amy, Our son got engaged. He is 26 and after spending eight years in college, he did not get a degree. He and his fiancee live with her parents. Our son wants to be an actor. After many conversations, he has let us know that he is ‘on track’ with his profession and will not pursue full-time work. This couple does nothing but watch TV, post on Facebook and participate in local acting gigs.

My wife had a conversation with the mother of the bride-to-be about wedding plans. It did not go well. The couple wants to have an elaborate and expensive wedding. My wife told the mother we would not contribute money to indulge the couple in this type of venue or discuss wedding plans until they became more motivated and employed. This infuriated the mother of the bride-to-be. She called my wife manipulative and said she was using this tactic as leverage not to pay for half the wedding. My wife was trying to make a point that the focus needs to be on the motivation and employment of these adults. Are we wrong in our thinking?

A concerned dad

Dear Dad,

You should not be discussing this wedding with the fiancee’s parents, but with the couple. Whenever someone asks you to pay for something, this puts you in a position to make a choice about the proposed investment. If the fiancee’s mother says you are trying to manipulate through money, you can truthfully respond,”Damn straight, we are.”

Couples should finance their own weddings. If they want money from you, then they are going to have to be brave enough to lay out their case, and not send mommy to do their asking. Basically, you and your wife are doing what the fiancee’s parents won’t do – setting firm boundaries and making sound financial choices.

Your stance should be,”We are not against this marriage, but if the couple wants this fancy wedding, they should get jobs, save up, and contribute toward it. If they do, then we will reconsider our position.”

Amen and thank you again, Amy!

“Don’t You Trust Me?”

How many women hear this question from their fiancée before the wedding?  It happens more often than you think.

Who wants to spoil the euphoria of wedding plans and the excitement of honeymoon planning by discussing money? Many women won’t take a chance of bringing up a subject which, in the past, has made her future husband impatient, sometimes even angry?

“Why are you always thinking about money?” he had said. “Didn’t we agree we’d talk about that after the honeymoon?” This is not a good sign for how he will handle discussions of money after you’re married.

If you wait until after the honeymoon, it’s too late. Once you say “I Do”, you become one half of a legal and financial contractual unit called a marriage. You don’t like to think of your marriage that way, but in the eyes of the law, that’s what it is. Every financial decision your husband makes, with your knowledge, or without it, will affect you in the future.

How unfortunate that couples will seek premarital counseling for sex, religion, parenting or conflict  resolution, but few sign on for financial coaching and money issues.  Few women plan on being widowed or divorced. Too many cede control of finances to their husband, leaving them unprepared to cope on their own in case their marriage ends.

Don’t let this happen to you. Get involved in the finances before you marry. Don’t wait till after the honeymoon. It’s not about trusting your future husband. It’s about understanding your joint finances, asking questions because you deserve answers and participating as an equal partner.