Monday, November 10, 2008

Hook, Line, and Sinker
-or-
No, I really will NEVER learn.

OK. So, back in June or whenever when we made the big announcement, we went into the restaurant with a plan of what would and would not be discussed. We also, of course, had a plan as to how we were going to handle the issue of money. But just leave it to my folks to blow decorum wide open. Jonathan's parents had barely had time to choke with excitement on their complimentary bread before my mother blurted out, "Well of course we're paying for everything!" Naturally I had no intentions of discussing finances at the announcement luncheon, so I hushed her as best I could - that is, her and my dad, who had immediately chimed in - until later that evening.

(In case you're wondering if I was mortified by this little outburst, well, a little bit - but I'll say that I've been my parents' daughter for a long, long time and if I had let that sort of thing get to me I would have had to stop leaving the house years ago. Also, if you're a friend of mine and have ever wondered why I've got that penchant for blurting out inappropriate things, well, here's your answer.)

Once safely out of earshot of people who know how to act, I explained to my parents that we weren't planning on letting them finance the wedding, that we were planning on paying for it ourselves. That we had in fact already started saving. They insisted, and I insisted, and they insisted, and I insisted, and they insisted, and finally I thought, what am I doing? We did have a plan for dealing with parentally offered monies: it was basically that they'd be taken, BUT: not for any specific items, and not with any (tangible) strings attached. Anything and everything was to flow through me exclusively - there would be no "mom sends a deposit to the caterer".

There's also the fact that, unlike while I was growing up, my parents now actually sort of have money. Not due to their own efforts or anything like that; my mom has inherited houses, stock portfolios, and lump sums from an entire generation of aunts and uncles to whom she is the only heir. So, they've got money, and it's only sort of theirs, and they want to give it to me: why should I feel guilty about that?

In such a way, we did manage to get the first installment. We've spent some of it - put the downpayment on our venue and have taken care of some smaller things like the champagne glasses and a deposit on the invitations. And we still have a decent chunk sitting in the wedding fund account, since as I said we had been saving.

Well, then there was this time where I went and didn't have a job for six months. It pretty much put an end to our own saving, and somehow during that time I relaxed from my "we're paying for it, and anything from them is extra" stance into something of the reverse.

In other words, I made the classic mistake that I have been making for my entire life: I trusted my parents.

Well, I should have know that that was gonna come back and bite me in the ass. Since I've been re-employed I've been thinking about how to start saving again... problem being that I built up a little bit of credit card debt in the last month or two of unemployment. Nothing terrible, mind you, but it's foolishness to save money at 2.75% interest when you're paying 18% interest on credit card balances.

Now, as I've been posting, we've been trucking along lately with our plans. We're booking our wonderful photographer Sarah Tew, we're still on the search for a cake baker, and just today we made an appointment to meet with a caterer at the end of next week. As such, I called up my mom to see when Wedding Fund Installment Number Two may be expected.

And, well, that's when it dropped.

This is when she revealed to me that the way they're getting the wedding funds is by - get this - LIQUIDATING STOCK. You know, the worst possible financial choice anyone can make at the moment? Yeah that. She has some sense, at least - enough to know that it isn't the best idea. She's all, "Well you know, we don't want to do it until you really need it. But just let me know when you do, it's no problem, you're only getting married once." Yeah right! As if I, in good conscience, can tell them to do that right now!

Even I, little miss Dow Jones Dunce 2008, can tell you that now is the time to be buying stock, not selling it. A few times, my mom has told me about how much money they've "lost" in the market plummets, and my response every time has been "no mom, you haven't lost a penny unless you sold all of your stock today." So now I'm going to turn around and tell her to sell stock? Uh... not terribly likely, is it?

So yes. I've done it to myself again. For the hundredth, thousandth, millionth time they fed me a really good, parental-sounding 'we'll take care of you' kind of story, and even though I shouldn't believe it I did. It's like college loans all over again, just on a much shorter time scale and without government subsidization.

Tonight me and the hubby-to-be will have to sit down and re-analyze. It's not that dire at the moment; with what we've still got we should be able to do the deposit for Sarah, as well as those for a caterer and a cake. That puts us in relatively good shape, assuming of course that we can start saving again REAL SOON, and pretty seriously. I'll just have to put the brakes on any other planning, even of small pieces. Which is irritating.

Of course this is all of my own making. I don't need to have a big fancy party to be married - that's something that I'm choosing. And I shouldn't have trusted my parents' promise of support for one single second. Money is the area where they are least dependable. I guess I convinced myself that maybe somehow now things were different, or that because it was my one and only wedding that... I don't know, that something. I'm just so astounded with myself that I fell for it again.

Man, do I know what my whole therapy session will be about this week.

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