One of the best times of your client’s life is when they or their kids decide to get married. However, this life event typically comes with a hefty price tag. In fact, according to an updated report by ValuePenguin, the average cost of a wedding in the US ranges from $12,000 (in Mississippi) to $88,000 (in Manhattan). In other words, the expense can take a bite out of your client’s wallet.
As an accounting professional, you can help ensure the celebration isn’t detrimental to someone’s financial plan. I recommend you take a few minutes with your client and assist them through this financial juggernaut.
First, it’s key to have them determine what type of celebration is in their budget or to what degree they will be able to help their children. This may also present an ideal time to connect with the family’s wealth manager to see if this expense was already planned for. Hopefully, it was, and they have a separate savings account where they have been setting aside money for this momentous occasion. This will help them fulfill their desired expectations while not forcing them into debt or hindering their financial goals.
Then there’s the matter of whose wedding it is. If they’re helping out their children, expect this to be a more difficult conversation than if you were speaking with a client who is planning their own celebration. We all want to help our kids and provide them with the best, but let’s face it: There are some parents who sacrifice their own financial stability for the pleasure of their kids.
In light of this, it is important to educate your client on what they can and cannot afford. Worst case, have your client use you as the bad guy/gal and inform their children that they only have a certain amount of financial resources, a specific dollar amount, available to contribute. These are not easy conversations, but they will elevate your relationship with the family and have you viewed as one of their key advisors.
Spending tens of thousands of dollars for a several-hour celebration may not be the best use of your clients’ resources. It is important that the happy couple or the parents and children sit down and outline what the expectations are for the cost of the wedding and/or what they will contribute to the event.
Recently, we had a client who asked if they could take a deduction for the expenses they are incurring for their son’s wedding. While this is not an option, there are ways to make the event memorable without your client bankrupting the family.
The key here is to have the conversation. It may be a good idea to send out an email to those you know who are planning a wedding and look to schedule a short call with them to discuss their situation.
Another idea may be to include an article on the topic in your next newsletter or email blast encouraging clients who are considering getting married or assisting their kids with their wedding to contact you for a short consultation on the topic.
Every marriage should start out on the right foot, and being in a financial hole does not help a union one bit.
This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.