Why Some Overspend On Weddings & Other Major Life Milestones

“Overspending occurs because some people are living lifestyles not justified by their incomes.”

I once had a friend who worked as a personal banker at a local bank. Every once in a while, this old lady selling tissues on the streets would walk into his branch and deposit some cash into her savings account.

Her account has a million dollars in it. Yes you saw that right.

On several occasions, he also noticed a few white-collared folks, well-groomed and dressed with fancy watches, coming into the branch to apply for personal loans or line of credits. And their saving accounts contain just a small, tiny fraction of the old lady’s.

I’m not saying that these instances are representative of everyone. I don’t have a penchant for old ladies nor do I detest white-collared folks. I’m one of them white-collar worker drones.

But it was a subtle reminder to myself about what I’ve seen around me.

There are some who command decent salaries but no matter how their incomes will increase over the years, their expenses will increase in tandem or even exceed their incomes – leaving them in a vicious cycle of accumulating and clearing debts.


It’s common knowledge that some “non-fiscal conservatives” remain broke and chalk up debts due to their penchant for living extravagant lifestyles (travel, shopping, entertainment, wellness) that are not justified by their income levels.

But beyond this, I’ve known plenty of peers and colleagues who generally don’t break their banks and take up loans in a heartbeat.

Yet they still fall victim to another phenomenon which drives them to overspend on just major life milestones:

Using The “Once-In-A-Lifetime”  or “YOLO” Argument To Justify Overspending

Some folks go ‘all-in’ with whatever they’ve got when it comes to every single major milestone in their lives. Show-hand. A few go further to the extent of taking loans (okay, mortgages on your flat / apartment are unavoidable unless you rent):

  • Getting married? Let’s take up a loan to hold an overly extravagant wedding banquet. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event anyway. #YOLO
  • Renovating our very first condo? Let’s take another loan to finance the renovation and outfit the place with expensive furniture.

Yes, some of the key milestones in life including weddings are rare and only occur once in our lifetimes (usually for most people). Definitely important enough to justify spending time and effort, as well as some financial resources in preparation for the event.

But perhaps not going that far to empty the savings or take loans?

And here are a couple of reasons to quash this false sense of justification:


1. There’s Always Another Major Milestone In Life 

The Epic Wedding Proposal. The-Once-In-A-Life-Time-Wedding. The Luxurious Honeymoon. The Victorian-Styled Marital Home. The Big Road Trip In Scandinavia. The First Kid. The Second Kid.

Et cetera.

When I thought about all these big , I just thought of one’s wealth projection over time. And how it might always reset to minimal levels with each upcoming big-ticket item. And the chart could look a lot worse if the person’s drowning in debt.


And I’ll be damned if I’d ever let events of these nature drive me to empty my accounts, liquidate my stocks, REITS or borrow money from the loanshark-of-a-bank.

It isn’t gonna be worth squandering my hard-earned money and going into debt for just one particular occasion. YOLO, so I’ll try not to screw up my long-term financial objectives.


2. Spending Freely Doesn’t Necessarily Bring Happiness 

Dream $110k wedding ends in debt

The couple borrowed $45,000 from a financial institution with a repayment period of two years. They also borrowed $4,000 from a licensed moneylender and $11,000 from a relative. On top of that, they pumped in their entire savings of $20,000.

They spent so much that Mrs Lee’s other dream – a honeymoon in Europe – had to be put off. She said: “We ended up going to Genting Highlands for five days instead.

Trying to clear the debts has put a strain on the marriage and their relationship, Mr Lee said. “I think we have had more fights since we got married than in the six years that we were dating. “Most times, it was over money…and we’d end up blaming each other for the situation.”


A happy and momentous occasion shouldn’t be marred by frustrations over $$. A marriage already isn’t a bed of roses to begin with even without such issues.

I certainly didn’t have as luxurious a wedding as those who went into debt for or wiped out all their savings. But sure as hell felt happier knowing I have sufficient monies left & without another debt grabbing me by the balls.


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