I mentioned late last week that I was off to a wedding between one of my best friends and one of my wife's best friends. Having returned home now, I wanted to go into some of the observations gleaned from watching this all come together. Become a Complete Fool
As I mentioned, DW and I are the ones who got this couple dating, just a few short months ago. That's the first problem, in my mind, in that these two, one of them with multiple children of their own, decided that they should get married within just a few weeks of dating. Granted, there is no threshold for *time together* dating that can be used as an acid test for marriage, but I would think that with a combined 5 failed marriages between them, a bit of prudence would be in order.
Their *timing* in this, however, isn't the chief concern that I have in what I perceive to be a train wreck in the months/years ahead. From the time the two announced their wedding plans, they began digging themselves a very deep financial hole that will hit home within just a few short months.
For the record, both of these friends approached me asking my opinion on their decision to marry. I told them I thought they were insane, and went into all the same details given in this post. They didn't like it, but I reminded them that if I couldn't speak bluntly, they shouldn't have asked, and I also wouldn't be a true friend.
Their combined incomes are around $150K, not shabby. However, after becoming engaged, they decided to purchase a $260K new home, $50K in furnishings, $30K for a new car, $30K in renovations/additions to the new home, and a few other items that add up to substantial amounts.
Consider, if you will, that they both had no savings, and all of these purchases were made strictly on borrowed funds and credit card accounts. Additionally, they both own their own former homes, which are on the market. One of the homes is for sale for just over $100K, and I think it's barely worth $80K, but fortunately, there's only around $30K owed on it. The other is on the market for $100K, and that's about what it's worth, and what's owed on it.
The hope, on their part is that the home in which they have some equity, will sell and they can pay some of the credit card and other debts off. Even if this plan comes to fruition, the proceeds of such will not satisfy the balances coming due, and with the enormous new house payment, I think that will be a problem, especially with a house full of kids.
Which brings me to the wedding ceremony this weekend. As I told DW, I've never had such opposing emotions running counter to each other in my mind at once as I did during the wedding. On one hand, everyone was happy, everyone was beautiful, all was well. And on the other hand, anyone with even a modicum of financial responsibility could see that these two people, so happy in all the wedding attire, would soon be the same people screaming and throwing things at each other when they cant pay the bills that fill up the mailbox. It's going to be ugly.
What baffles DW and I is that neither of our friends are acting like themselves. It's as if their bodies have been inhabited by aliens. Neither of them would have acted so financially irresponsible prior to becoming so wrapped up in a new life together. At least they are on the same page, and they're going to need to be when the financial screws tighten. It's not our place to sit and judge, but c'mon, Ray Charles could see this train wreck coming.
All of this caused me to reaffirm what I already knew; there is simply NOTHING more important in a marriage than financial responsibility and both persons being on the same page. People can argue that love and other intangibles are priceless, maybe they are. But I've seen dozens of otherwise *in love* folks go through divorce because their financial lives were in shambles.
The feeling of *true love* in relationships comes and goes with the tides. At least if you have your financial house in order, when it's *low tide*, you'll still be enjoying your life and financial security.
For those about to marry, turn Vulcan for a while and evaluate your finance partner.
For those about to enter ER, you better make sure you're teamed up with your financial clone.
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I mentioned late last week that I was off to a wedding between one of my best friends and one of my wife's best friends. Having returned home now, I wanted to go into some of the observations gleaned from watching this all come together.