As William Shakespeare often wrote, love may be blind-even when it comes to spotting financial skeletons hidden in a prospective marital partner's closet, according to a survey by TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation released today.
A majority of respondents said they would proceed with their wedding plans even if their prospective spouse were saddled with a low credit score; little or no savings; high credit card debt; high student loan debt; a mortgage issue or foreclosure; lack of employment; no retirement savings; or having previously filed for bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy was viewed as the most serious liability, but even in that case, only 32% of respondents indicated that it would be reason to call the whole thing off. Another 27% said it would prompt them to postpone the big day, and 41% indicated that they didn't feel it was cause for either.
The study shows that engaged couples should discuss their finances before walking down the aisle, said Carrie Braxdale, managing director of investor services for TD Ameritrade.
"One of the most common challenges newlyweds face is how to merge their finances," Braxdale said. "More people are getting married later in life, and as a result, they are bringing more financial history into the marriage-from credit card debt and student loans, to 401(k)s and other investments. This makes it even more important for couples to have the money discussions before they walk down the aisle."
Despite reports that the average wedding costs more than $27,000, 46% of the respondents who plan to marry said they expect to spend $10,000 or less on their weddings. An estimated 60% of those who plan to get married said they will pay for the wedding out of their own pocket, with no help from parents.
Independent firm Research Now conducted the survey on behalf of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. The survey took online responses from 1,014 U.S. residents from April 2 to April 10.