Post # 1
Couples that are getting married fairly young or without a lot of work experience –
How did you decide you were financially ready to be married? (And for what it’s worth, I mean financial aspects of marriage in general, not just paying for a wedding). How much time did you feel was enough time to be financially secure before getting engaged/married? Or was that even a factor at all in your decision?
Background: We both have been working for 2 years. I am 27, SO is 24.
Post # 2
Not married yet, but I mostly feel financially ready for marriage simply because I am able to completely take care of myself without outside help. I think if you are financially independent, and feel secure in that, the transition into marriage shouldn’t be that difficult. I do not expect my future husband to take care of me, just as he doesn’t expect me to take care of him.
As a sidenote, though, I will say it is imporant to consider your ability to take care of another person should they be laid off, disabled and unable to work, or it’s taking them longer than expected to find a job – I think it’s good to have that safety net. Then again, some people are able to take family help into consideration for these issues.
I know people who got married in their early 20s, in the middle of undergrad. I can’t imagine how stressful that would be.
Post # 3
akshali2000 : I’ve never understood what that even means. It seems that couples today view marriage as a capstone event – something to be done after all other ducks are in a row, like education, career, owning a house, etc. Then they get married and immediately have kids.
Whereas in our parents’ generation, none of this was a concern. No one had any money, or owned a house, or was done with their education. People married young a lot of times, and grew up together, bought a house together, put each other through college. There was no sense that you had to be a completely independent adult first.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I see no connection between finances and being ready for marriage (I’m not talking about a wedding).
Post # 4
fredthebasil : You’re right. My parents married young – Dad had just been discharged from the Air Force and proposed. They got married two months later right before he started his undergraduate degree. Mom worked full time to suppliment the GI bill. While they tried to get pregnant, Mom had issues and I didn’t come along until MUCH later.
They learned how to work together, grow together and to make it with next to nothing. Their marriage lasted 44 years until Mom’s death.
There was no “are we ready for x, y, z?” They just went for it.
Post # 5
akshali2000 : personally I don’t think there are any ‘financial aspects of marriage in general’.
While I wouldn’t advise someone who isn’t financially independent to get married, that is mostly due to the likelihood that someone in school/ living at home etc isn’t emotionally ready for marriage.
I don’t think being financially ready comes into it unless you haven’t moved out before.
Just curious, what does being financially ready for marriage mean to you?
Post # 6
I hate it when people think you have to have x number of dollars in a bank account.
As long as both parties are on the same page about finances, you can get married whenever you want.
Post # 7
I think there are some core concepts related to financial stability that are important to marriage, but financial stability in itself doesn’t mean all that much. You could experience job loss or other disasters once married, and IMO it’s best to be able to mentally and emotionally prepare for that possibility as a team. Outside of actually being able to financially afford the wedding you’re planning for (which I definitely recommend) I think the readiness for marriage is mostly internal.
Post # 8
fredthebasil : npoliver : I can see both of your sides actually. I went to college in Iowa, where it was common to be engaged and married very soon after college (age 22-24). I knew plenty of people that did this, and just figured out stuff together. And in this history of my family, it was common that the woman at least need not be financially stable and could marry young because she wasn’t expected to work anyway (if she did, it was a bonus, but marriage at a younger age always took on more importance). So it’s true that maybe it’s a fairly recent (and urban?) phenomenon that people wait longer until they have finished additional schooling, gotten settled into a career, have a stable income, and lived the ’20-something single life’ for a while.
But at the same time, waiting to be financially stable may mean (whnlz :)
- You can contribute more towards the costs of marriage, like homes, weddings, kids, savings, and be less dependent on family or each other etc.
- Age and work experience may also bring mental/emotional maturity?
- That you have some time on your own to pursue your own independent goals – whether career or personal, especially if they take you different geographical places or to meet multiple partners – before being ‘tied down’ to one place or one person by marriage? I know that my mom and a lot of my cousins didn’t necessarily get that chance. They got married young, uprooted their lives, and didn’t get a chance to develop themselves, live independently out of the house, build their careers, etc. before marriage.
The upside of getting married young, though, is that you can experience more things together and have some ‘fun years’ before starting a family or worrying about mortgages, ailing parents, etc. (if those are things that you want or apply to you).
Post # 9
Of course financial security is important. It can be earlier or later depending on how much you make and what circumstance you are in. Someone who makes 200k a year but has 300k in medical school debt may not be ready for marriage, whereas my husband who had been working for 5+ years who makes only half of that but has no debt was ready to marry whenever.
The rule is, if you can afford your entire wedding on your own without any outside help (including your fiance’s), then you should be ready to marry. I could pay for my 14k wedding on my own without help, so that was when I knew I was ready. 🙂
Post # 10
akshali2000 : I got married right after I turned 22. And honestly I thought I was financially stable at the time and I think I was. We had a simple cheap wedding so we didn’t put any money into it. Now if we were having a bigger wedding and needed to buy a house, we would have waited to get married.
Post # 11
I personally view financial stability as being able to take care of yourselves as adults, as opposed to “having all your ducks in a row” or “having X amount of money in the bank.” At the end of the day, it’s more about maturity as an adult and being able to do things without financial help or having to depend on parents or family members anymore.
For example, if you’re not financially stable enough to get your own place (regardless of size, rental vs. buying, etc…it can be whatever you are able to afford) you should not be getting married. That should cover all your adult expenses as well. If you’re still living at home (after marriage…and not with plans to save some money and then move out…indefinitely) you’re not really an adult, and thus, not really ready to be married.
I think it’s more about, can you make it on your own, rather than, do I have literally every little piece of my life figured out before I do this marriage thing?
Post # 12
akshali2000 : It’s also important to note that “back in the day” women had a lot less freedoms than they do now (in most cultures). My grandmother married my grandfather at 17 – it was an ultimatum, basically – she either married him or continued living in poverty with her family. My grandfather did not allow my grandmother to work or make a life for herself outside the home. Supporting herself simply wasn’t an option. My SIL’s grandmother was allowed to work on a part time basis once the kids were out of the house.
But today, a lot of people are marrying later and becoming more self-sufficient. A lot of people don’t want to have to rely on a partner to take care of them, or “scrape by” just to make it through the years.
Post # 13
I think for me the criteria would be no longer being dependent on parents for financial needs, but then again in my personal opinion that’s kind of the criteria for being an independent adult, not someone who is ready to get married. I know a couple that has funded all of their major expenses throughout their dating life with money from her parents (including the closing costs on their new house), and that to me is a huge red flag for trouble in the future.
Post # 14
ellsiepig : The rule is, if you can afford your entire wedding on your own without any outside help (including your fiance’s), then you should be ready to marry.
I can’t even tell if you’re being serious or not.
Post # 15
AORiver15 : This. I think someone dependent on their parents (or others, like a student loan stipend) is certainly not ready for marriage in the normal world. I do feel like having help from family isn’t the worst thing, but the ability to “make it” on ones own would be a requirement for me beyond just a simple “have $xxx in the bank”.
We knew we were ready because we had both been in our careers for a few years, had switched jobs a few times and had gone through the hardships that come with building a solid financial foundation. Knowing that we could each independently take care of ourselves meant that we were in a solid place to tackle life together. We were both also upwardly financially mobile and we have the same amount of drive. I dated someone for almost5 years who was brilliant and kind, but completely unmotivated by money- he was happy with his $26k a year job and had no desire or plan to move up in life. That was fine for him, but it doesn’t jive with my longterm goals. We actually ended up breaking up primarily because of that reason- not because of the money he made, but because he had no motivation to do anything differently. He’s a good person, but we weren’t a good fit because of that.