It’s officially the month of love, so it makes sense that February has been deemed National Wedding Month. In recent years, the number of new marriages has been decreasing. According to the Pew Research Center, just 44% of Millennials were married in 2019, as compared to 53% of Gen Xers, 61% of Baby Boomers, and 81% of the Silent Generation at a comparable age.
As a generalization, this generation of adults seems to be forging a new path and finding creative ways to grow their passions, careers and relationships – and in the process – may have reprioritized certain traditions, such as marriage. They may be choosing to postpone expensive weddings in an effort to save money to help them achieve big goals in their lives such as purchasing a new home or travel experiences.
If you’re in the same boat, trying to juggle big financial goals and relationship goals, here are a few tips to help you achieve that elusive balance and have the best of both worlds.
1. Focus on building good credit.
You aren’t born with good credit – it requires work to achieve a high score. Whether your struggle is not having a lengthy credit history or there are a few missed payments on your report, it’s important to face these challenges head-on. It’s important to have credit, so don’t be afraid to open a credit card – just make sure you’re paying the full balance each month. Make payments on time and keep close tabs on your credit report to ensure there are no errors that you need to fix.
2. Tackle your debt.
Likewise, if you have existing credit debt, it’s important to pay it down as quickly as possible. You’ll want to have a credit utilization ratio of less than 30% of your total credit line. For example, if you have $1,000 worth of credit to your name, you should only have $300 charged to it at any given time.
3. Set a budget.
If you are in a committed relationship and plan to marry in the near future, it’s a good idea to sit down with your future spouse and set a realistic budget. You’ll want to understand where your money is going and identify areas where you can save. Often, many ‘small’ expenses add up over the course of a year – and cutting those out can help you save a pretty penny to put toward your wedding or even a home purchase!
4. Use your wedding registry creatively.
Already engaged? Congrats! Here’s a tip for you: if you find you don’t need a ton of material items, consider requesting contributions toward a down payment on a new home. According to the National Association of Realtors, over a quarter of first-time buyers said coming up with a down payment was the most challenging step to homeownership. Just keep in mind there are certain requirements for gifted down payments – your lender will want to know that the funds were gifted and no repayment is expected.
No matter where you are in your journey to homeownership, C&F Mortgage is focused on you and will help you navigate the process from start to finish. Get in touch with our team of local market experts today.