Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Newly wed means new challenges to face

The warm weather has finally arrived.  Once again, baseball and soccer fields will be surrounded by mini vans filled with youngsters eager to participate with their teammates.         

Spring is also the time when young adults get dressed up to attend their high school’s prom, followed by the pomp and circumstance of high school graduation.

Then comes college, and four years later, an auditorium or stadium full of young adults eager to go out and face the world.  As they sit there and listen to the encouraging and inspirational words of their commencement speaker, they’re hopeful that they can live up to his or her words.

Unfortunately, it may not be easy.  Because the road they must travel is going to be far different from the road my generation and I had to navigate.  Things have changed dramatically over the last few decades, and they will continue to do so.

Take my journey, for example. I no longer have a minivan.  I no longer receive phone calls asking me if I’m willing to chaperone for a high school event or field trip.  And, thankfully, I am finished writing checks for college tuition.  As spring turns into summer, I am officially at that stage of life that I like to call professional wedding attendee.

For the past few years, it seems like I was at a wedding reception almost every weekend.  Today, I’m excited to share with my readers that the next wedding I will be attending is one that my wife and I are hosting. My middle son is tying the knot with a lovely young lady.

From a financial perspective, as with so many other things in life, the cost of getting married is far more than I had imagined.  But, that’s not really surprising.

Looking back, every big-ticket item along my life’s journey cost more than I thought.  Who ever dreamed a new car would cost more than $20,000 or that it would be common for a new home to exceed $200,000?  Who ever imagined that someone could graduate from college with a burden of student loan debts of more than $100,000?

But the reality is everything in the world today is expensive.  A question that I frequently like to ask at our retirement education programs is, “Who paid more for their last car than they paid for the first house?”  Not surprisingly, there ‘s a chuckle and a lot of hands are raised indicating that that is indeed accurate.

Today, all adults tying the knot are facing incredible financial hurdles in their future.  It’s an expensive world that I believe will become even more expensive in the years ahead.  Not only will they face rising costs for big-ticket items, like housing and education, but I believe other significant burdens are also being put onto the shoulders of our young adults.

For example, there’s been a steady shift from corporate retirement programs to individual saving accounts.  More and more of the cost of health care has shifted onto the family.  And, of course, it seems like Uncle Sam’s insatiable appetite for taxes has no limits.

It’s exciting to see all these young couples getting married.  I hope they realize just how expensive their journey together will be.

And that they plan accordingly for what’s to come.

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