Can millennials afford to live happily ever after?

Young Money - Vanessa Kunderman
Young Money – Vanessa Kunderman

Many millennials have entered the phase of life at which friends begin popping out kidlets and committing their lives to one another.
Expensive bridesmaid’s dresses, wedding gifts, that long drive to The Pas for the ceremony… it all adds up if you let it.
And in an era in which the concept of wedding nuptials is highly debated, a good question to add to the conversation is: “can we even afford to get married?”
Yes, of course everything can be done as affordably as need be, but according to The Globe and Mail, the cost of the average Canadian wedding has ballooned to over $23,000.
And that doesn’t include the honeymoon.
If you invested that $23,000 at age 25, never put another dime away until you retired at 65, and averaged a nice hearty return of eight per cent compound interest, that $23,000 would grow to $500,000.
Isn’t money funny? Do I want half a million dollars – or an average wedding?
Now, I’m not condoning eschewing your romantic dreams, but we do need to be realistic.
If you’re one of those millennials who has been fantasizing about your wedding since you could say “cake,” then maybe this realization is the kick in the butt you need to finally open up a tax-free savings account.
According to Weddingbells magazine, the cost of a wedding venue alone can creep up to the $10,000 figure – which means 50 per cent of your budget goes to making sure your friends and family are fed and present on your big day.
Many parents love to contribute a dollar figure to their children’s weddings, but there are also those who can’t due to their own financial constraints.
Which leads me to the often gross, but perhaps financially smart, Manitoba wedding staple: the social.
If you haven’t been to a social (where have you been?), it’s a big party usually held at a hall that has dancing, prizes and booze, and often helps wedding parties raise money for the wedding celebration.
The ideal is that people shouldn’t go into debt to get married. Differing financial views is the third most common reason for divorce, according to the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts.
Once you return from your Bora Bora honeymoon, the looming credit card bills will still be there. And if you thought a wedding was expensive, I don’t even want to tell you how much a divorce can cost – and those aren’t nearly as fun.
Vanessa Kunderman writes every month on money issues facing millennials. Email her at: hello@vanessakunderman.com.

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