Getting Married, What Do I Do With My Money For Now?

Aaron is a fresh college graduate who wants to know where to put his money. He writes:

WooHoo! I got a job! Right out of college and everything. With an awesome sign-on bonus! Now what am I supposed to do with all this money? I know I have options. Stock Market (HA!), bank, and under my pillow. I would put it in the bank but I have a wedding coming up in less then a year to pay for and I want to know my options for making good quick investments. Please help!

Here’s what I say:

Since you need the money so quickly, what you need to do is preserve your capital and get a little interest to boot. Your best bet is probably a 6-12 month CD from an FDIC-insured bank, depending on how soon you’ll need the money for the wedding. Remember that a CD has a set maturation period and there’s a penalty for early-withdrawal. So figure out when you need the money and get the CD timed accordingly. You can find which bank has got the best rates at bankrate.com.

Does your company offer a 401k and match contributions? You’ll probably want to sign up, but be sure to find out about the expense ratios and fees first, not to mention if you have to be working there for a while before starting one. If there’s no matching contributions on the 401k or the expense ratios and fees are a ripoff, then start a Roth IRA.

Start an index fund from a place like Vanguard. Even if you just put a little in there right now, you’ll want to get these things going as early as possible. After you get your wedding expenses figured out and spoken for, use the remainder to pay off any debts you may have. After that, get a high-yield online savings account and save up 6 months worth of expenses. Then fully fund your Roth. Still got money leftover? Throw the rest in your index fund.

That’s my shot at it. Got a better idea for Aaron? Let us know in the comments.

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. Tux the Penguin says:

    I think you about covered it. Start saving for a house. If you want to see a real estate agent’s head blow up, put 100% down on the house.

    • alexawesome says:

      @Tux the Penguin: I would say more, but this sums it up: <3

    • Traveshamockery says:

      @Tux the Penguin: Save in an FDIC institution – you can make 2.5-4.0% pretty easily with online savings accounts right now, or you can do a CD for another percentage point or so.

      I’d stay relatively liquid right now, but any “extra” can go into an index fund, or your employer-matched 401(k).

      Don’t fear the market. If you’d bought an Index Fund on Friday that tracks the S+P 500, you’d be up 11.5% already.

      One of two things will happen in the market:
      1) It will recover, and you’ll make 8-10% per year on average until you retire
      2) The entire world’s markets will crumble, leaving your money worthless, and the only good investments will be guns, canned food, and armor plated Humvees.

      In the case of 2), nothing you do will save you. In the case of 1)…as they say…PROFIT!

      • opsomath says:

        @InfiniTrent: Except buying guns and armor plated Humvees. And canned food. Perhaps you could work this into the wedding prep in some way?

        • jodark says:

          @opsomath: Buying guns at this time is also a great investment given the forthcoming political climate. Despite what the kool-aide man says, he will work to ban various forms of guns. Therefore the demand for guns will go up between now and then.

    • FLEB says:

      @Tux the Penguin: It’s 300 miles to Saginaw, we’ve got a full tank of gas, $45 in ones and fives, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses. Let’s go.

  2. APFPilot says:

    Stock Market all the way. Everything is discounted, companies like GE that aren’t going any where. Heck, go a little high risk and invest in some financials. I am long in NCC (National City) a large regional bank that has a pretty low toxic loan portfolio and has tons of cash on hand. Their positioning in the midwest, where large banks like BofA and others have little market share also makes them an attractive take over target.

    • TracyHamandEggs says:

      @APFPilot: The regionals are gonna disappear. The big boys need the depositors and are going to start (or continue) buying them up. That would make them a solid investment BUT since he will need the money in less then a year I would avoid the volatility and go with a decent CD like Ben suggested.

      What type of companies are paying signing bonuses in this market? I know the Pharma’s have stopped, along with most of the big accounting firms.

      • kamel5547 says:

        @TracyHamandEggs!: Engineering firms are (civil engineering that is). Massive shortage of engineers, and its unlikely to correct itself when you consider a significant portion are going to move into retirement going forward (well that and the fact no one wants to be an engineer anymore).

        • TracyHamandEggs says:

          @kamel5547: Did not know that. I didn’t think about it, but nursing is too right now, a friend of mine was just offered a very significant signing bonus with her Masters of Nursing.

        • KristinaBeana says:

          @kamel5547: My husband (a civil engineer), his dad(environmental) and my dad (mechanical) are all engineers. I am currently pregnant and have already been told that everyone fully expects a third generation engineer. Everyone needs roads and sewers is basically the engineers motto.

          • HIV 2 Elway says:

            @KristinaBeana: I’m a PM for an engineering firm, the industry needs all the Finite Element Analysis guys we can find. They can name their price. All you gaming nerds, there is some serious money in this type of computing.

            • bunt says:

              @HIV 2 Elway Resurrected: i dunno. w/ modeling programs getting better and better, i kinda see FEAs getting more specialized and possibly outsourced sooner. and a lot of my CE friends are getting jobs, but not the type to make EE or MEs jealous.

              anyway, if i could do it over again i’d go bioE and try for a MD or go specialized in biotech. oh and actually bust my ass in school. curse you alcohol.

              • bunt says:

                @bunt: oh and yes, Enviro will be huge. HUGE. but im sure KristinaBeana already knows that.

                • BaronVonHawkeye says:

                  @bunt: As a EE, I can tell you that the job market is exactly as described. I decided to go into the power engineering industry and never looked back; job security, great compensation, and great opportunities. Everyone needs lights.

        • Toof_75_75 says:

          @kamel5547: Hey, watch it there…I’m a relatively recent Engineering graduate who stepped into a great job and generally enjoy what I’m doing. Why wouldn’t I want to be an engineer? At least from a financial position, it’s a great choice of career!

      • APFPilot says:

        @TracyHamandEggs!: Yeah didn’t see the short term need until after I posted. I agree with the CD idea 100%. GMAC usually has pretty good rates on their CD’s and they are FDIC insured.

    • taking_this_easy says:

      @APFPilot: he wants quick investments to pay for his wedding in a year… if u need this money in a year, dont think the stock market will come back so quickly..

  3. DeleteThisAccount says:

    Think outside the box here.. har har… don’t get married so soon. Put that money aside, adjust to life as a non-student, get use to working, then add on the pressure of planning and paying for a wedding.

    • MayorBee says:

      @AngrySicilian: Agreed. Getting married so quickly could be a big mistake. If he’s gonna do it, I have one (hyphenated) word for him: “Pre-nup”.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        @AngrySicilian: Sure, but you can’t forget how being married and wearing a wedding ring is a huge chick-magnet.

        (preemtive serious-business reply reply: I keed I keed)

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @AngrySicilian: I got married a year after starting my job. Aaron has nearly a year to plan and get settled with his job and the money. I recommend that you get a grasp on what your expectations are with this wedding and save money by restraining yourself…don’t blow $50,000 on a wedding. It might seem like you’re invincible and you have all this money, but trust me…the real world does not come cheap. Save your money, put some aside for the wedding, spend less than you set aside.

      • Traveshamockery says:

        @IHaveAFreezeRay:

        don’t blow $50,000 on a wedding.

        Quoted-for-frickin’-truth.

        There is no bigger waste than a huge wedding. If the prospective missus disagrees, your financial goals are incompatible and you’re asking for trouble.

  4. downwithmonstercable says:

    I am curious about 401ks with the company matching stuff. I took a new job recently and my company matches up to 8%. However I’m afraid to jump in, because all I hear about is people losing 30, 40, 50+ percent on their 401ks. Should I wait until this meltdown is over? Or get in now, because I’m 25 and in 40 years this will just be a little blip in financial history?

    • thelushie says:

      @downwithmonstercable: I am going to preface this with I am not an expert. But 401Ks and investments are supposed to be for the long haul so I think getting in now might be a good idea.

      My mom’s 457 is matched 100% which is really nice.

    • Tux the Penguin says:

      @downwithmonstercable: 401k match is exactly what you want. Most companies will match a percentage of your contribution to a certain amount. So if they match, say 50% of the first 6%, that means for those first 6% contributed, you get an IMMEDIATE return of 50%.

      Trust me, the market might go up and down, but that kind of return is unbeatable. In times like this, contribute up to the point they stop matching and then dump the rest into a savings account.

    • samim.garza says:

      @downwithmonstercable:

      Absolutely not. First off, DEFINATELY put the 8% in if you can afford it. you will have an instant 100% return on that money assuming that you work with your company long enough to become fully vested( varies from company to company). Further, at 25, you have a LONG time for the market to go back up. Historically, the market out performs other methods of savings. As you get older, you want to move the money out of stock funds in your plan to bonds or other similar, less volatile securities. However, at 25, I would invest in higher rist securities (usually the ones in 401k plans arent incredibly risky anyway).

    • yourbffjill says:

      @downwithmonstercable: um now is the time to buy, especially if you’re 25. your money will be used to buy up cheap shares of stock, meaning if you wait to invest until the market is on the rise, the same amount of money will buy fewer shares. invest now and definitely max out your company match. you might tank for a while but that just means you’re set to make that much more in the long run.

      do your research on your funds and move your money around when appropriate, but do it asap. company match = free money.

    • nataku8_e30 says:

      @downwithmonstercable: If you’re really concerned about losses right now, you can select conservative funds until market conditions improve. I actually have two funds that have yielded 2% and 4% over the last 12 months (not counting today’s gains). However, by selecting these, you’re going to be giving up on the big gains that’ll come from higher risk (usually called “long term”) funds.

    • HIV 2 Elway says:

      @downwithmonstercable: No start now. Put in whatever is needed to get thier 8%. 10% is pretty standard.

    • rpm773 says:

      @downwithmonstercable: That’s free money, dude. Or, rather, you company has elected to run this program instead of giving you a larger year-end bonus or a pension.

      Regardless, take it and invest conservatively for now whilst the market is flaky…there are worse options out there.

    • TracyHamandEggs says:

      @downwithmonstercable: Remember this, the first 15.5k that you put in is pretax income. So even if you lose 12% a year on your investments for the next year you wind up ahead (for now) on what you have in the account.

    • AbsoluteIrrelevance says:

      @downwithmonstercable: Get in now. 1) Your company is giving you free money. 2) You’re young. The stock market is on sale right now, so any money you put in should be in at the market low, or close to it. (We hope.) So over the next 40+ years, stock will go up and your money will increase. I’m 24, and I just don’t think people in their 20s have to worry about their 401ks right now because retirement is so far off. Just make sure to pick low fee funds/indexes and diversify.

  5. HIV 2 Elway says:

    Stocks. If you don’t know what you’re doing investment wise yet just toss some money into Small Cap funds. Small caps always lead economies out of recessions.

  6. nataku8_e30 says:

    Even if the funds offered in your 401k have high expense ratios and fees, it makes sense to contribute IF your company offers good matching. Even 50% matching will outweigh these fees and probably most of the losses you’ll see in the next few years as the economy continues to decline. Plus, when you change jobs you’ll be able to roll it over, most likely into some better funds.

  7. mythago says:

    Get in now. Corporate matching = FREE MONEY. Of course you want to see about fees and vesting periods and so forth, but if your company matches, they are doubling your investment (up to the percentage of match).

  8. smurph0404 says:

    I know the entire stock market is on sale right now, but don’t bet the farm on it because you aren’t an experienced investor, so you are the most likely one to make bad choices. Give yourself a grand or two to play around with in the market. If you loose big you still have most of your money chilling in a CD or savings account, and if you win then hey, a couple extra bucks for the wedding.

    • HIV 2 Elway says:

      @smurph0404: If you’re inexperienced go with funds. Its worth the basis points to have a professional manage your money. Again, small cap all the way for the next year.

    • Traveshamockery says:

      @smurph0404: Don’t play around in the stock market, period. Don’t invest in individual stocks – there are no sure things.

      Go for an Index Fund – basically, they’re very low on fees, and track something like the S&P 500 (you know, that weird index that everybody always talks about but no one knows what it is?) That way you basically “own” the S&P 500 – when it goes up, you make money. Since the market expands at about 8% per year (on average, over the past 100 years), you’re basically guaranteed to make that type of gain over the long haul.

      Index Funds are as close to a sure thing as you’ll find in the stock market.*

      *there are no sure things in the stock market.

  9. Clark_Gable says:

    If you have a traditional savings account with your bank (who I’d guess you also have a checking with), I’d consider closing that savings account and moving the money to a higher-interest, web-managed account, like INGDirect’s Orange account. I know others are just as good, and pretty much everything is very easy to manage. Just make sure it’s FDIC insured, etc etc. The higher interest (my INGDirect’s is 2.75% — was 3% before this whole “market collapse” happened, but I’m sure it’ll go back up being as how these things fluctuate) gives your money ability to grow, and the openness of the account means if you do suddenly need the money, you can still withdraw it.

  10. m4ximusprim3 says:

    Hookers and blow. That will take care of the wedding and the money in one fell swoop.

  11. RandomHookup says:

    Start by sending a check addressed to “R. Hookup.” I’ll hold onto your money while working with an exiled Nigerian prince and a former investment analyst from Lehman Bros. We will invest it and get you your return in the form of a cashier check on February 29th of next year.

  12. CurtMalingsia says:

    Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! But try not to blow a lot of money on your wedding.

    The resale price of a diamond is about 50% of the purchase price. You can’t eat a diamond, and a diamond won’t keep rain off your head.

    Ditto for bridal gowns. I got married in a white sundress from L.L. Bean. OK, so I did buy some flowers, but 16 years later, I’m just as pleased with my wedding pictures as I would be if I’d dropped a bunch of $$$ on a gown.

    What’s important is who you marry and how much you love the other person, not what you’re wearing or what table favors you have. Believe me, your family and friends will be happy for you because you’re getting married, not because you’re hosting a fancy meal.

    Your wedding will be one day out of your married life. If you save your money, you’ll have a house where you can live together for many days and raise your children. If you have relatives who live far away from you, they’ll remember you by photos and letters (and maybe videos) of you and your children more than they’ll remember your wedding.

  13. SushmitaHaemarrhoid says:

    Wedding money: put it in a CD you find on bankrate.com.

    Targeted retirement funds (for example, VFORX) . They set a date you’d like to retire at (30 years out, perhaps), and automatically rebalance the portfolio accordingly.

    Don’t try to save 100% to put down for a house. That’s financial suicide. Do look into company matching contribution programs. Remember that this may be the local bottom of the stock market and a great opportunity to get in “at ground level”.

  14. OmicroN says:

    Don’t spend a ton of money on your wedding. I’m serious about this one. Spend enough on the ceremony that your guests aren’t eating TV dinners, and your wife is happy, but don’t go overboard.

  15. The Falcon Cheerleader Jean Tassle Intern says:

    I’d mature her assets.

    /wrong site?

  16. AimeeCachai says:

    While the original advice given was good, I don’t think it fully took into account exactly what paying for wedding entails.

    I recommend that you keep a good portion of your funds liquid (just a bank account). Wedding expenses are often paid out long before the actual wedding. Almost all vendors require substantial deposits. Furthermore, many items are paid for in full well before the wedding. For instance, the wedding dress and alternations, shoes, wedding rings, honeymoon tickets, etc. are paid for before the wedding date. Therefore, you cannot have your funds tied up in a non-liquid asset, like a CD.

    If you have extra funds (money that is in addition to what you will use to pay for the wedding), then you can take the investment advice of what others have said.

  17. DoubleEcho says:

    First of all, I’d seriously look at downgrading your wedding expenses. My wife and I had our wedding for $3000, plus $1000 for her dress; However, her dad picked that up, and she only got that expensive of a dress because he wanted it to be his gift. We had about 75 guests (picked only close family and friends) and an awesome dinner from a local catering company, and a really good DJ (we interviewed a few of them too).

    You’ll look back on your wedding day and thank yourself for spending your money where it matters the most – A house. Because we spent so little on our wedding we were able to afford our first house and also had extra money for improvements.

  18. postnocomments says:

    Life is short and you don’t know where you’ll be tomorrow. I say, blow all that money is some nice wheels. Forget the wedding, chicks will be raining on you with one of these…

    [www.zcars.com.au]

  19. muledoggie says:

    Diversify is what I’ve always heard (and tried to do with limited funds ;0). Equal parts: Oil and Gas. Precious metals. Stocks. Bonds. Real Estate.

    Also, mix your risk and return within each and mix your liquidity (e.g. owning a house, very ill-liquid; savings account, very liquid).

    This way any single sector melt-down won’t harm you.

    Mule

  20. ZivenElephonkey says:

    Post after post about bail-outs, stocks tanking, and banks folding, and you’re recommending he put his savings into these sinking ships? Insanity.

    After you zero out all your debts, investing in gold and silver is a no-brainer. It just keeps going up year after year. And don’t get gold stocks, get physical gold coins that are in high demand now. And live as cheaply as you can. Buying a house is a great idea if you’re handy and you have 10’s of thousands of cash on hand.

    And don’t be stupid and get into debt for your wedding. If she pouts cuz she can’t get her ice sculptures, dump her, as she cares more about the wedding than marrying you! There’s nothing wrong with a trip to Vegas with a few friends and family. And, you’ll have more fun, too.

    Good luck!

    • FLEB says:

      @ZivenElephonkey: Isn’t gold at a high point, due to the collapse of… damn near everything else? High value now just means that much more to lose once things settle back down.

    • hmk says:

      @ZivenElephonkey: I would say, uh, DON’T invest in gold. You buy low, sell high… not the other way around. I’m not afraid of the market now–it’s just a buying opportunity.

      • tcp100 says:

        @hmk: Exactly.

        I’m always so amazingly astounded by young people who say things like “The market’s down so much! Stay away from it!” or “Hey, stocks are riding high, let’s invest!”

        Um, you’re supposed to do that the other way around, Sporto.

        One thing I would advise (and to echo some others) is DO NOT spend an exorbitant amount on a wedding.

        I understand people have fantasies, but it’s only one day – and personally, one of my most satisfying fantasies as far as married life goes is having a place to live and not worrying about money.

        My opinion: Modern weddings are a sham, encouraged by a modern Wedding industry and people who watched one romantic comedy too many.

        Here’s what you do. 1) Put 3-6 months living expenses into a high-yield FDIC insured savings account, as an emergency fund. 2) Put some money into a CD, starting a house down-payment fund. 3) If there’s anything left, start a Roth IRA with low-cost index funds.

        That’s the real no-brainer, not speculating in commodities and metals.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @tcp100: Seriously. While we were concerned with having the “perfect day,” we wanted our families and friends to have a good time, so entertainment and food were our main concerns on that end. Personally, we wanted good photography, and when the market price is $1,500, negotiate, but understand you can’t get professional photography for $500, and working with family members or friends is just a very, very bad idea.

    • akalish says:

      @ZivenElephonkey: Investing in gold is silly. Read The Economist to find out why: [www.economist.com] In sum, from the end of the article: “between 1980 and 2000, its price dropped by two-thirds in nominal terms.”

    • stands2reason says:

      @ZivenElephonkey:

      Too many people with money are chasing after valuable metals. So their price is inflated. Investing in them doesn’t seem like a very good idea. Seems to me like it’s the opposite of what’s going on with stocks.

      With the way the market is down, buying in stocks is a really great idea. Just diversify, and understand that you won’t make a profit soon, and there is a small risk that you will never recoup your expenses ever.

  21. __Ken__ says:

    Try to live on what you were making before and save or invest the difference. You’ll notice a lot more money rather quickly.

    Buy a house.

  22. 2Wheelsor4: The Moto-Stig says:

    Buy the house, bought my house a year ago, and I couldn’t be happier. I felt like I was pissing my money away living in a crappy apartment. I’ve actually seen my home value climb almost almost 15-20% in the time i’ve bought it (got into it for 100k).

    Do your homework, and look into first-time homebuyer grants. I got 7500 that matures over 5 years, and considering I am not going anywhere in 5 years, it works just fine for me.

    As far as investments, Blue Chips are solid, and invest in stuff that people need, like clean freshwater and electricity. I’d advise against buying into precious metals, they’ve seen a huge spike in prices, and I’d be wary of it.

    • mackjaz says:

      @2wheelsor4?: Spend carefully on your wedding. Have the ceremony at a special place, not some expensive hall you’ve never been to or will ever see again. Spend a rational amount of money on food. Plan it yourself. It’ll be more intimate.

      The best way to save/make money is not to be frivolous on a one-time expense. The more you spend, the harder it will be for it to live up to your expectations.

    • doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

      @2wheelsor4?: Where do you buy Blue Chips (by themselves)? Around here, they come in a box with Red and White Chips.

      –sorry.

  23. Shappie says:

    Best thing I ever did was NOT spend lots on a wedding. We went from a wedding in Minnesota in Jan. to a beachside wedding in Florida. Family and a few friends were there and we didn’t even spend $1k on it.

  24. HaloZero says:

    Buy stock of companies that aren’t going to be a sinking ship.

    They’re cheap right now becasue of all the fluctatuions and drops in Dow Jones, they might get worse though before they get better. But eventually the stock market will go back to normal prices and you’ll have gotten a bunch of stock dirt cheap.

  25. AMerrickanGirl says:

    I’m with those who say don’t spend a lot on the wedding. All that expense, and the weddings just end up being cookie cutter anyway – it’s the inexpensive, creative ones that stick in my mind, not the events in giant banquet halls with identically dressed bridesmaids and professional photographers, not to mention stressed out bridal party and family.

    It’s the marriage that matters, not the wedding.

    • Julia789 says:

      @AMerrickanGirl: Good advice. Big weddings are like overblown high school proms!

      We had our wedding for $2,000 and it was beautiful, just our immediate family and best friends – about 20 people. I still had a lovely white dress (although more casual) and my father still walked me down the aisle at the church. It was still a beautiful day. We all had lunch afterward, very intimate, time to spend with each guest instead of just shaking hands down the line.

      We used the money we saved by having a small wedding as down payment for a house. Now coming upon our 10th wedding anniversary, we’re still happy with our choice, and still have a nice low mortgage payment even in these troubling times.

  26. badgeman46 says:

    The best thing I did with my wedding money was save it for the Divorce!

  27. gavni says:

    Before buying a CD, take a look at Treasury Direct. [www.treasurydirect.gov] They have notes and T-bills on the same time horizons as CDs, in $100 increments. They are easily purchased from your bank account and redeemed there too.

    It’s not government insured; it’s loaning money TO THE GOVERNMENT. The interest you earn there is state tax exempt, so be sure to include that in your comparison of interest rates.

  28. chiieddy says:

    Skip the wedding, head to Vegas, put the money on a house and save it in a high yield account. Purchase ETFs that follow an index, such as VTI. Invest now and it WILL go up by the time you retire. It’s a good time to put your max in on a Roth.

  29. MaxIsmene says:

    The Females as Property Movement declares that marriage is one of the worst financial mistakes you can make.

    Forego the females as society is currently conducted.

    Wait until the societal changes endorsed by the FPM occur then consider allowing a properly trained female into your life.

  30. tvboy says:

    all good options, but definitely sit down and have a chat with your future wife.
    she may not be on the same page as far as cheap wedding/ buy a house/ live frugally.
    you could muscle through now, but basic differences in how you see money will get worse and worse.
    i know.
    another crappy lesson I learned- don’t co-mingle any assets you’d like to keep if you split.
    wish somebody would’ve clued me in on that one.

  31. G-Dog says:

    Don’t let your wife handle the money. I learned that lesson the hard way this week. After signing up to Mint.com I discovered my wife, who had been handling the budget and assured me everything was “Fine”, had generated over $330 in overdraft fees this month alone. All because she doesn’t want to been seen as ‘Cheap’ when it comes to birthdays and gift giving.

    • crackers says:

      @G-Dog: Oh, such sound advice! Who told women they could do math, anyway? ::rolls eyes::

    • kaylabear says:

      @G-Dog: ::rolls eyes:: Do I even need to mention how cro-magnon that made you sound/look? Evolve, please, NOW!

      ‘Wife’ does not necessarily equal ‘inept’ as much as ‘husband’ does not equal ‘financial genius.’

  32. stinerman says:

    How about lending your friend Zoidberg some money?

  33. Corporate-Shill says:

    OP needs a lot of help.

    There are no “good quick investments”.

    Good and quick are mutually exclusive.

    That said, I think the advice given by Ben pretty much covers all the important things, except TWO things…..

    Emergency Fund. Gotta have one ’cause stuff happens…. Yesterday I broke the frames to my glasses. New prescription and frames. Last week the wife hit a pot hole and blew out a tire and bent the rim. The 9 year old dryer is making a racket. Catch the pattern? Oh sure I could pay for everything with the CC, but a better strategy would be to have enough quick cash to cover reasonable emergencies.

    Secondly (and I am assuming the OP has some real bucks laying around), stagger those CD’s. Really stagger them. Even if it means losing a few pennies in interest. And not just staggering the date of renewal, also stagger the amounts. $500 or $1000 in size with different renewal dates. If you have enough of these CD’s with a real variety of renewal dates you can cut down the depth of your emergency stash because you always have $500 or $1000 that will mature in a few days or a week at most. Takes a lot of work to organize but the rewards are good. At the bare minimum have the CD’s renew about 1 week before your CC payment is due, at least then you could make a decision about withdrawing the CD to pay off the CC bill.

    Oh, and this is assuming the OP really has no debts…aka School Loans. Yes the school loan intrest is cheap, but why invest $ at 3% when you are paying interest at 5%?

  34. Kinneas says:

    Do you guys have decent savings accounts in the US? I have a basic 3.75% savings with 1 day delay for transfers. I hear about putting it into 6 and 12 month investments, which are great, but if you need it slightly more fluid, what options do you have?

  35. TreyWaters says:

    I agree with the others on not spending too much on the wedding. I just got married 3 weeks ago, and, all said, we spent <$2000 (not including our rings.)

    We went away for the wedding and had it just for close family.

    The only person that wasn’t happy with the arrangement was her mother, who is a “everything has to be my way” type of person…which is a major part of the reason we did the wedding this way. Had she had any part of the planning, we would have had hundreds of people that we would have had to plan for. But, it wasn’t her day, it was ours. And we were both very happy with the way it went.

  36. ironchef says:

    maintain separate bank accounts and divvy up the financial responsibilities. Joint accounts are so much harder to manage. The wife and I have separate accounts and separate expenses to pay.

    By having separate accounts, you’ll always know who spent what. Joint accounts require far more communication and synchronization of goals.

    • coolkiwilivin says:

      @ironchef: Which is exactly why you don’t want separate accounts. Marriage is about communication. If you want to live like two roommates then just be roommate but if you want to be married and really share your life with this person then share your life. Communication is never a bad thing. Marriage is not for wimps, it requires communication, sacrifice, patience and love. If you’re not going to communicate in this important area then I wonder if you’re really communicating in other areas.

      • ironchef says:

        @coolkiwilivin: we communicate just fine.

        But it’s kind of a big drag to be PERFECTLY in sync in balancing a single check book with two different withdrawers. Separate accounts keeps the fiscal responsibility efficiently.

        Plus…I don’t plan to ask permission with the wife when I want to buy small ticket item stuff.

        When the wife and I talk…it’s about everything except for the money. And we never get into fights about balancing the check book or accidentally bouncing a check due to insufficient funds.

  37. coolkiwilivin says:

    Go with your wife/bride to be and take a personal finance class. Dave Ramsay or Crown Financials classes are good. (They are typically in Christian churches, so don’t know if that is an issue for you.) But you and your wife need to be on the same page when it comes to finances. Also if you both are paying for the wedding, then you really need to talk through expectations. Being on the same page financially is important b/c you might have a ton of credit debt and she despises it. You only buy the generic spaghetti sauce and she only buys prego. Money could quickly evolve into a constant source of fighting and bickering. Next get a joint account. Having separate accounts will not help you in the path to being one. Get a budget and stick to it, let the budget be the arbiter of your purchasing decisions and not the other spouse. Finally save like mad. Get 6-10 months of living expenses (housing, groceries, utilities,etc) saved to have an emergency fund and then after that start saving like mad for both Roths, a car payment to yourself and savings for other things: vacation, big ticket items etc etc. Oh and save as much as you can in your 20’s. The power of compounding interest will make a tremendous difference in your future savings.