Millennials, money, marriage
True or false: The more a bride and groom spend on their wedding, the more likely their marriage will last.
The correct response is “false,” according to two economics professors who asked couples about the increasing cost of weddings. The educators, who surveyed more than 3,000 people, found that the more a wedding costs, the greater the likelihood of a marital split.
The findings of the Emory University professors were included in information presented recently by the PREPARE/ENRICH organization. PREPARE/ENRICH helps couples build a stronger foundation for marriage as it encourages them to talk about financial management and other key issues before saying “I do.” Many pastors use the group’s materials in their pre-marital counseling sessions.
Spending more than $20,000 on a wedding increases the odds of divorce by 3.5 times compared with couples that keep the cost between $5,000 and $10,000, according to the professors’ study. And spending more than $2,000 on an engagement ring makes divorce 1.3 times more likely.
PREPARE/ENRICH noted that the average cost of a wedding in the United States is around $26,000. A few especially lavish affairs will push the average number higher, however, and the median cost (half of weddings cost more, half less) is historically a few thousand dollars lower than the average.
Not being financially ready is one of the reasons PREPARE/ENRICH cited for the fact that Millennials are waiting longer to get married than previous generations.
Sixty years ago, women in the U.S. got married when they were 20 and men, when they were 22.5, on average. Today, the average age for women to get married is 27.1 and for men, it’s 29.2.
Beryl Jantzi, D.Min., is Director of Stewardship Education for Everence®. He is based in our office in Harrisonburg, Virginia.