Dear ______ and fiancé/e,
We are thrilled that you have found someone to live with happily ever after. As you move into this new stage of your life, there are a few money issues that we need to mention.
Getting married means independence. We won’t tell you what time to come home at night, nor will we force you to eat your vegetables (even though we might roll our eyes if you shove your carrots into your napkin when you visit for Shabbat). However, you must pay your own bills. Every SMS and cell phone call that you make will be from your own shekels. You can negotiate with your landlord to pay a lower rent, or find a smaller apartment. Food? Shop at the local discount grocery store. From Day #1, write down all your expenses. That way you will see where you are spending wisely and where you are blowing it. Everyone blows it sometimes; but if you track your expenditures you can learn to live within a budget, and control spending.
We will give you gifts from time to time, but don’t count on them. We have our own financial plan that dictates how much we spend on ourselves, our vacations, our health care, insurance, and helping the kids. For your wedding and all that goes with it (the reception, new clothes, sheva brachas, appliances and furniture, etc.), we allotted NIS _______(fill in the amount here that you can reasonably afford to gift all of your children equally, and certainly don’t go into debt for this). We don’t care what the other side gives you, as their financial situation is totally different from ours. Frankly, it’s not our business how much money they have, nor do we care to discuss our money matters with them.
There are many places to get financial advice. Get the basics in order: monthly savings, no overdraft, clear budget, life and disability insurance. Once you have put aside some money, get professional advice. Our advice will always be free, so just call if you want some. But ultimately, you will need to educate yourself. So get started now. In fact, I’m planning to hear Doug Goldstein speak on about “Marriage Meltdown: The Power of Finance in Marriage.” Would you like to go with me?
Ema and Abba