Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 7th 2015 Contents JUNE 7 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt SUNDAY BUSINESS GUARDIAN
PERSONAL FINANCE | SBG5
the elements you want, your wedding comes up to $100,000.
If you do not have that amount of money to spend on a wed-
ding, you need to decide what value you place on spending
this amount for the wedding? This is where you start to trim.
"You start with your finished product, come up with a
costing and decide what you can do. If you have $30,000,
decide that you are going to work the wedding so that you
stay within this limit.
"The days of the grand wedding were generally when your
parents paid for the wedding," said Williams. He said in a
time of double income, professional homes, these days are
slowly becoming a thing of the past. The Pan American agency
head said with their future goals in mind, couples should
scale down their expectations of their big day, opting to have
a small, private or even civil ceremony with family and close
friends at the reception.
Sant-Ghuran said in her experience this is one of the ways
to cut costs by as much as 45 to 65 per cent.
"The number one way couples can control their costs is
to cut their guest list. The bigger the guest list, the larger the
venue you need, the more food and beverage you need."
She also said the Do It Yourself Bride (DIY) movement was
taking root in T&T and when done well, this was also another
way to significantly reduce costs.
DIY brides can handle items like creating their own invi-
tations or their own floral arrangements. However, Sant-
Ghuran said that elements like makeup, photography and
videography generally should be left to professionals.
Succumbing to what she termed "bride pressure" should
also be avoided.
""They ve gone to a fancy wedding, either a relative s or
a friend s and they feel the need to replicate," said Sant-
Ghuran. But she said couples can save money by resisting
this urge and adding their own unique touch to their wedding,
which is generally more cost effective.
Changing the format of the ceremony and reception can
also present some opportunities for savings.
"A garden wedding will cost less than a ballroom wedding,
which requires lighting and special effects. Garden weddings
are more informal. Instead of a plated dinner service, couples
can have a brunch reception or a cocktail and wine reception."
"Couples need to personalise their wedding a little more,
so they don t feel the need to live up to expectations," said
Having the talk
Williams said the couple should be clear on their own
expectations of each other when it comes to managing their
finances. However, he said, this was one of the most difficult
discussions for couples to have with many neglecting to do
this before the wedding. But "the talk" can circumvent several
"They go to the bank, and the bank does a debt servicing
ratio to see how much they qualify for. You would be amazed
at the number of people who find themselves for the first
time realising that their spouse has a loan they never men-
tioned," said Williams.
"The impact of that is their joint debt servicing ratio deter-
mines whether they get the mortgage or don t, or the amount
of mortgage they qualify for."
"There should not be these kinds of surprises between the
couple. First of all, it may negatively impact the relationship.
Secondly, it raises some suspicion, if you didn t tell me about
this, what else are you not telling me about? Once trust is
eroded, it is very difficult to rebuild."
Williams said most couples are either afraid or ashamed
to broach the issue. Most are also stuck in a cultural mode
when it comes to money, without realising the need to com-
promise with their spouse. The Pan American agency head
said this can especially be seen when the partners come from
different social backgrounds.
"If you were one who grew up on the more conservative
side, or on the other extreme, the more lavish side, it is easy
for you to continue in that vein, with the other person tending
be a little bit uncomfortable with the way you do things."
Williams said other issues that tend to crop up after the
wedding are age differences between the partners and their
respective attitudes toward money, the amount paid in alimony
and other financial provisions for former spouses and children
from previous relationships.
"This causes a lot of conflict because it impacts on how
much money is being spent in one household versus the other.
Questions arise as to what happens to the assets that the
couple has accumulated? Will they be left with the current
family or assigned to children had before the marriage."
Williams said the discussion should be approached in an
Where direct questions may bring about evasion, Williams
said, indirect questions were best.
"Instead of asking your intended what do you do with
your money? a better question might be how are you preparing
for retirement? In other words, I raise it in such a way that
I get the same information without being too direct," advised
"Another topic they can broach is the matter of children.
Do we want to have two or three children?
"We are also getting older, how do we want to plan for
their education? How do we want to plan for our retirement
at the same time. How do we proportion our savings for those
eventualities? A discussion like that gives each partner a sense
of the other s value system."
The day-to-day handling of bills in the household should
also be settled before marriage. Williams suggests a combi-
nation of joint accounts for handling items like the mortgage
and utility bills but individual accounts for personal expens-
"The couple can make a contribution to that joint account
and have a standing order to take care of those joint expenses.
If their expenses total $10,000 a month, then they can decide
whether they will split that $6,000-$4,000 or $5,000-$5,000
and use a standing order to take care of those joint expenses.
You don t have to tell me you are buying a pair of shoes. If
I want to go to lunch, it doesn t have to be a joint consultation
and we can maintain a level of independence. It lends to a
more trusting relationship with less pressure." said Williams.
Couples should also talk about the protecting their assets
"Health insurance in particular is important as healthcare
grows increasingly expensive," said Manchoon.
"They need to talk about how much insurance they need
in case one of them dies, becomes critically ill or disabled.
It could mean protecting the dreams they have as a family
and ensuring they do not die with one person," said Williams.
Both Manchoon and Williams suggested that couples seek
professional help to clarify their financial goals as well as to
help them build on that groundwork once it is complete.
In the Sunday, May 24 edition of the SBG, in the article:
"What does it mean to be pre-qualified?" Wendy Huggins of
the T&T Mortgage Finance Company Ltd was mistakenly
referred to by the wrong title. She is the assistant general
manager, mortgage origination.
We regret the error.
Are high-priced weddings necessary?
From Page 4
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