1. Spending too much on the wedding

Many couples are delaying marriage until their 30s, when they’re more financially secure and have established careers. The average cost of a wedding in South Africa is R70 000-R150 000, depending on the number of guests. And the amount increases if you add the cost of the honeymoon, at an average of R30 000, and R25 000 for the rings.

Borrowing R70 000 at an interest rate of 18% to fund a wedding and paying this debt back over five years means a couple would effectively spend R106 652 on their wedding. Starting out life together saddled with debt can create enormous tension within the relationship.

Rather save towards an affordable wedding, even if it means delaying your nuptials. Coupled with household, vehicle and retail debt, excessive wedding debt can cause untold stress and anxiety on a newly married couple.

  1. Getting married without talking about finances

Many couples don’t talk about money before their marriage, yet it’s one of the biggest sources of marital discord.

READ MORE: Money mistakes in your 20s that can cost you in your 30s

Beyond fighting about rands and cents, many people enter a relationship with deep-seated, unarticulated fears about money. Even before a couple gets down to the nuts and bolts of the household budget, there needs to be serious discussion around each partner’s relationship with money. Consider asking these questions:

  • What are your fears?
  • How do you feel about debt?
  • What is your attitude to spending and lending money?
  • Are material items important to you or do you place more value on experiences?
  • Do you understand the need to invest for the long term?
  • Are you committed to full financial transparency in the relationship?
  1. Making debt a way of life

The 30s is generally the age when young professionals choose to invest in property and take out vehicle finance, which means it’s important to contain and manage debt.

Knowing their income will increase quite rapidly in the medium term, young professionals often over-extend themselves with home and vehicle debt. Statistics show that car-owners in their 30s and 40s tend to have the highest level of vehicle debt.

Debt keeps the buyer on a debt treadmill, paying off yesterday’s expenses with interest. According to the Momentum Unisa Household Wealth Index for 2016, South Africans are spending 21% of their gross income servicing debt. Of this, only 30% is being used to repay home and vehicle loans. The remaining 70% is being used to service consumption loans, such as personal loans, overdrafts and credit card debt.