NEW YORK, USA. May 23. (CNBC) — Millennials may still largely be struggling to buy homes, but they’re willing to shell out big money to see friends and family get married. New data from TD Ameritrade’s 2018 Millennials & Money survey found that 53 percent of millennials say it would be “worth it” to go into credit card debt if it meant they could attend the wedding of a close friend or family member. More than a quarter of survey respondents say it would be “definitely worth it,” while another 27 percent call it “somewhat worth it.”
It is worth pointing out that 30 percent say going to a wedding when you can’t afford to is “definitely not worth it” and that significantly more young men (64 percent) than young women (44 percent) seem to be okay with taking on debt in order to celebrate. Wedding expenses can add up quickly, especially for anyone invited to multiple events per year. On average, wedding guests spend a total of $628 on the big day and related festivities, and an average of $728 if they’re a bridesmaid or groomsman, according to data from Bankrate.
That doesn’t mean most millennials will actually go into debt to celebrate with their friends. The survey found that 44 percent would be likely to borrow money from family, presumably their parents, to make it work. Still, weddings are a major money suck, which is precisely why financial expert and former CNBC host Suze Orman recommends that every young person create an annual wedding budget, even if they’re not the one tying the knot.
Although they want to support their loved ones, Orman points out that most twenty- and early-thirtysomethings are also working toward other financial goals that are arguably more pressing. “I bet plenty of millennials are the same people who are trying to juggle the rent and stay current on their student loans,” Orman writes. “And I know plenty of millennials are still working to get their emergency fund going, let alone have at least eight months of living costs saved up.”
You don’t have to skip your college roommate’s big day in order to bulk up your emergency fund, but you shouldn’t be letting one-time events like weddings impede other financial goals, either. Start saving up now for the multitude of purchases you have to make when wedding season gets into full swing. And prioritize.
“You need to be smart about this,” Orman writes. “You may want a new outfit for each event, but you sure don’t need one. You may want to give the couple an expensive gift, but you don’t need to. A heartfelt gift — yes, homemade! — is going to be even more special.” If you have any destination weddings on the horizon, make a plan well beforehand and stick to it. “Your goal is to cut back your regular spending the second you get the ‘save the date’ notice,” Orman says.