I know a lot of different friends who are happily married. Republicans and Democrats. Catholics and Hindus. Dog-lovers and Cat-lovers. Rich families and not-so-rich. Even Ohio State and Michigan alumni! However, I recently met a recently-engaged guy from Washington who was sharing his wedding worries. Here’s the short version:
- He is from a middle-class family in a rural area. She is from an upper class family in the posh area of town.
- He currently earns $30,000 a year. In a couple of years, he will probably make double that. She currently makes around $30,000 per year, with limited upside potential.
- She has stated that she needs a $20,000 engagement ring, as that is what all her friends are getting. He’s been saving for a while…
- She will not let her kids go anywhere else but the same private school that she attended. Current annual tuition: $15,000.
- How rich is her family? She recently “found” 1,000 Euros laying around in her room (lives at parents’ house), and is now taking a trip to Europe to spend it.
- His dream wedding is a backyard bar-b-que. Her dream wedding is going to cost $100,000. Her parents will pay for most of it.
When I first heard this story, I thought I was hearing a pitch for a new movie with Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. But this is their reality, and they do seem in love. Still, I don’t understand it from either side. How can he think they can afford such a lifestyle? How can she think they can afford such a lifestyle? Something’s got to give, and I hope they can work it out.
Is it possible in the real world for love to overcome completely different financial tastes? As I get older, I feel more and more that compatibility in this area is simply too important not to have.
(On a related note, I just have to say that adult allowances have been working great for us as a way to reduce judgments on discretionary spending.)