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Wedding Woes

Nearly 90 Percent of Americans Believe the Average Wedding Costs Too Much

April 19, 2016

Celebrating a wedding is an exciting time for couples and their families; however, anticipating and planning for the momentous occasion can also lead to significant bills. In 2015, the national average cost of a wedding was just under $30,000, which, according to the latest COUNTRY Financial Security Index, a vast majority of Americans (86 percent) feel is too much to spend.

The price of a proposal

Even before the planning and festivities begin, purchasing an engagement ring can prove to be a major expense. Engagement rings span price points, but Americans don’t think the diamond should break the bank.

Many are willing to put savings before superstition when it comes to the ring. If proposing to a significant other, 54 percent of American men would likely consider purchasing a used ring if it were to cost 50 percent less than an identical ring at a retail store. An even larger portion of those expecting a proposal are willing to prioritize saving money over buying a new ring – almost 3 in 4 women (73 percent) say they would be accepting of a used engagement ring.

In general, 28 percent of respondents think one month’s take-home pay is a reasonable amount to spend on a ring, and just four percent think spending more than three month’s take-home pay is acceptable.

Covering costs of the celebration

Despite traditional etiquette, Americans feel bearing the burden of wedding costs should be a joint effort. When it comes to paying the bills for nuptials, 51 percent of Americans think both the couple and their parents should pay for a wedding – compared to just 11 percent who believe the bride’s family should mostly foot the bill.

With wedding costs adding up quickly, going into debt can be a serious concern for those planning a wedding. But a dream wedding isn’t an excuse to rack up debt. In fact, nearly six in 10 Americans (59 percent) think it is totally unacceptable for a couple to go into debt for nuptial sake.

“Start saving as soon as you know a wedding is in the future,” says Troy Frerichs, director of wealth management at COUNTRY Financial®. “Establishing a wedding fund will allow you to effectively budget, avoid taking on significant debts and could ensure your other financial obligations don’t get off track.”

Strong financial relationships

“After the ceremony is over and the honeymoon phase fizzles out, it’s important to have a plan to fall back on to ensure long-term wedded and financial bliss,” adds Frerichs. “Establishing joint goals and saving early-on will help prepare you for future financial commitments as you build your life and wealth together.”

With matrimony comes more accountability and new financial obligations, which many married couples seem to handle better than singles.

  • Married couples are better at keeping tabs on debt – 52 percent are aware of the total debts they owe, compared to 41 percent of singles
  • Married individuals also budget better – 45 percent have and follow a budget, whereas only 39 percent of singles budget and spend accordingly
  • Seventy-seven percent of married Americans use an employee-sponsored retirement account or an Individual Retirement Account to save for the future, compared to just 42 percent of singles
  • Additionally, over half (54 percent) of married individuals review the performance of their investment accounts at least quarterly, versus 39 percent of single Americans
  • Sixty-five percent of married couples cite finances as a source of tension in their relationships