Thursday, May 12, 2016

Oh Promise Me

Although I did not spend one nano-second of my girlhood thinking about being a bride, nor did I have any children whose nuptials I had to worry about, I will confess to occasionally watching one of the “wedding-related” reality shows. My favorite is Say Yes to the Dress, in which a young woman tries on a dozen or so wedding dresses until she finds one capable of producing an orgasm, while a retinue of friends and family members sits there thumbs-upping and thumbs-downing her potential choices. The o-gown– “is this the one?” – is generally a couple of thousand bucks over the original, already-hefty budget. The tearful bride turns to whoever in her posse – dad, mom, grandma, hubby-to-be – holds the purse strings, all weepy about how having this dress would fulfill every dream (past, present, and future) that she would ever dream of having. The money comes through, the day is saved, and the bride can “Say Yes to the Dress.” After which everyone in her retinue does a little fish clap that I’ve seen only on this show, then rushes the bride-to-be, surrounding her on her pedestal, congratulating her on having found the dress equivalent of Mr. Right.

And sometimes I watch Four Weddings, in which a clutch of brides (strangers to each other up until the first chord of “Here Comes the Bride” is struck) attend each others’ weddings and rate them on food, gown, venue, and overall experience. The winner gets a delayed honeymoon in Puerto Vallarta or equivalent. What I’ve gleaned from this is that an increasing number of weddings have themes – Halloween, Gatsby, Oscar ceremony, circus…

Most of the weddings on Four Weddings aren’t especially lavish. (Having been to a few elaborate, swanked-up weddings, I really am able to make a call here.) And yet even these pretty modest events come with quite a substantial price tag, generally in the tens of thousands. 

Brides/couples/parents of the bride - whoever’s footing the bill has a lot of bill to foot. Many folks just don’t have that kind of cash laying around. But thanks to Promise Financial, they now have a loan source specializing in The Big Day. The interest rates? Anywhere from 6.99 percent 29.99 percent.

29.99 percent? Yikes! Perhaps if your credit rating is so terrible that you’re only eligible for this sort of loan you should be considering something simple and less costly for your wedding. Close friends and immediate family? Punch and cookies in the church hall? Cookout in the folks’ backyard? Does it seem sensible to start off your married life paying off an absolutely unnecessary loan?

Maybe “the kids” are so used to racking up student loan debt that another $10K, $20K, $35K is big nothing. But 29.99 percent?

Forget “uxorious”. The word of the day is “usurious.”

Promise Financial:

…has made around $7 million in loans since launching in June 2015, and has scraped together some $100 million in funding agreements from various investors, including high-net worth individuals and other private-investment firms, the founders said. (Source: Bloomberg)

The company’s pitch is that:

Prior to Promise Financial, weddings were the largest consumer purchase without a dedicated financing option available. We're working to solve that problem by building a new type of consumer lending platform focused exclusively on providing access to tailored wedding loans with low rates and flexible structures, so you can pay for your wedding over time. (Source: Promise Financial)

Should people really be thinking about paying for their wedding over time? Isn’t time when the happy young couple is supposed to be thinking about buying a couch, saving for a down payment on a home, figuring out what stroller to register for at Babies ‘R Us? Don’t these high ticket items seem to make more sense than spending those glorious honeymoon years paying off a party?

We strive to be the trusted financial partner of engaged couples who understand that wedding planning starts with financial planning, and that your perfect wedding starts with a Promise.

Sounds like they worked with the tagline writer who gave us “Every kiss begins with Kay.”

But mostly I don’t think the problem is that there’s been no “dedicated financing option available.” I think the problem is that there’s too much focus on “perfect wedding” rather than on “solid marriage.” But what do I know?

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