Not So Average Wedding Cost

Wedding On The BeachIn the life planning step of my “Save For The Significant” process one of the common goals is a dream wedding.

Parents often list a goal of wanting to contribute to their children’s weddings. And independently minded young couples often want their dream wedding without the “suggestions” from their well-meaning parents – thus they want to pay for their own wedding.

Weddings are costly and not an expense most people can easily absorb into their income for that year. That means they need to be save up for and most people get that. But how much does a wedding cost and how early do you need to start saving?

Earlier this year Bride to Be magazine released the results of their Cost of Love 2008 survey, which found the average cost of a wedding was $49,202.

That is only a couple of thousand dollars less than the average Australian wage before tax.

Since many couples probably earn less than the average wage they need to be saving one partner’s full wage for probably two years or more just to pay for their own wedding. That could be a tough ask especially if you are also saving a deposit to buy your marital home.

When you’re already dreaming start saving

Perhaps a better approach would be for ladies who dream of a lavish wedding to start saving right now, even if you are not yet in a committed relationship. When cupid strikes the wedding can creep up quicker than you can save.

Blokes Beware – Bling is Costly

Blokes should also be aware that the average cost of a bride’s engagement ring was $5,116. It seems the old notion of three months wage may be continuing. So if you are a traditionalist then get saving right now mate, ‘cos you don’t want to pay costly credit card interest on a depreciating asset like a ring.

Then of course you need to consider the wedding bands. They cost an average of $1,507 for the bride and $1,096 for the groom.

Remember that costs increase

One tip when you are establishing your savings plan is to factor in an increase in costs. One article about the survey results reported that the average wedding cost had risen 76 per cent in eight years. That equates to cost increases averaging 7.3% each year.

Save for your dream wedding

Your wedding and honeymoon are not the most important events in your life but they are one during which you get to be the centre of attention and one that will be remembered. So if you want to be able to do it as you dreamed it the ensure you have saved for it. Don’t make it any more expensive than it needs to be by borrowing money and paying interest.

Save for the significant events in life and you can have enough money for what you really want.

(I can’t find the official survey results on the magazine’s website but they were widely reported in newspapers including here and here.)

Life Saving Advice

These days many people survive a serious illness like cancer, heart attack and stroke. But the experience leaves many financially crippled. It shouldn’t and doesn’t need to be that way.

Safety Nets For Your LifestyleThese days many people survive a serious illness like cancer, heart attack and stroke. But the experience leaves many financially crippled. It shouldn’t and doesn’t need to be that way.

“My reaction was, if this is going to save my life, I don’t care how much it costs.”
Breast cancer survivor, Bronwyn Wells quoted in The Weekend Australian, 26th September 2009. View article here

Yes of course if you are faced with a life threatening illness you’ll happily sell investment assets to fund your lifestyle and medical expenses.

But what if that is not enough?

And what next once you’ve pulled through?

“The financial impact of something like breast cancer is enormous”, said Wells in the article, which also reported that she had taken two years off work to fight her illness.

If that financial impact concerns you then it’s time to look at another strand in your safety net.

A Valuable Tool – Trauma Insurance

If you want to be able to fund your choice of medical treatment then trauma insurance can provide you with the money.

If at the same time you want to protect your family’s lifestyle and avoid financial stress then trauma insurance is essential.

Trauma insurance pays you a lump sum benefit on the diagnosis of a serious illness. The most common four conditions are cancer, heart attack, stroke and coronary surgery.

A beautiful partner to income protection insurance

If your serious illness means you are unable to work then you may be able to receive a benefit from your income protection policy. This replaces up to 75% of your income so it goes a long way to helping you maintain your existing lifestyle commitments.

However, a serious illness will increase your expenses. So you need additional protection. That’s where the trauma insurance helps a lot.

The Cost of Treatment

Treatment costs vary widely but its probably much higher than you think. The article in The Weekend Australian noted that many modern drugs used for cancer treatment cost between $25,000 to $50,000 per year.

Importantly not all are subsidised on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

If your doctor told you of a new wonder drug that could save your life but it was not yet on the PBS would you find some way to come up with the money?

It’s human nature to. But then if the drug works you will survive but may be financially crippled or at least strained.

Trauma insurance can support those choices.

Take Action then Sleep Easy

I don’t advocate dwelling on what could go wrong and the consequences if it does. But I also don’t advocate putting your head in the sand and not thinking about or planning for it.

This is how I recommend we deal with such potential speed bumps:

  1. Become aware of the possibility
  2. Acknowledge the true likelihood of occurrence
  3. Investigate and consider the potential consequences
  4. Implement an appropriate safety net
  5. Rest easy knowing you have protection

Don’t assume you can’t afford insurance. It’s often much cheaper than you think – especially once you properly consider the true cost of no protection.

Call me or e-mail me now for a no obligation discussion and quote about the investment in trauma insurance for your safety net.

Calculating the costs of your children’s education

Being a parent is one of the greatest gifts I have received in my life. But over the past two years I have also noticed the increase in our spending, and we have not yet even hit school or the teenage years. I know from working on education plans for my advice clients how much can be spent on giving our children the best start in life that we can.

Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) have just released an online calculator designed to help parents estimate the future costs of their children’s secondary school education. They claim it is based on extensive research of costs in addition to school fees. You can also select to calculate for different categories of school and differentiate based on your state of residence.

You may also be interested to read this more detailed research report from AMP & NATSEM, which examines the total cost of raising children. AMP & NATSEM Report – The Cost of Raising Children (Oct 2002) Note that the figures are based on values in 2002 and should be indexed for inflation.

(Please note that Australian Scholarships Group also offer education savings plan products – this post is NOT a recommendation for their product nor a recommendation for ‘education bond’ class of products . There are many different ways to save for your children’s education and you should explore them with your adviser.)