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Two-Thirds of American Couples Overspend on Their Weddings, Visa Survey Finds
Jul 20, 2007 (10:07 AM EDT)


SAN FRANCISCO, July 20 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Summer is the most popular season to get married and a wedding will likely be the biggest expense a couple faces in their first year of marriage. According to a newly released Visa survey of 1,000 cardholders, couples who got married in the past ten years spent an average of $7,873 on their weddings.

Additionally, two-thirds of all respondents said they overspent on their weddings. Specifically, men (16 percent) splurged on their honeymoons while women (21 percent) spent too much on food, drinks and wedding cakes, followed by their wedding dresses (11 percent). Where was money on the wedding best spent? Respondents answered wedding photos and decorations, with only 1 percent saying they overspent on those items.

"Marital bliss can quickly turn to fiscal friction if couples don't sit down and talk about their financial values and priorities before tying the knot," said personal finance expert and best-selling author Jean Chatzky. "Whether it is planning a wedding, sending a child off to college or thinking about retirement, marriage is full of critical and often unexpected financial decisions. One of the best ways couples can plan for them is to have a frank conversation about financial expectations and then create a budget."

To help couples prepare financially for marriage, Visa is providing a comprehensive marital money management guide as part of its free, award- winning online financial education program, Practical Money Skills for Life. Available at http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/marriage , these tips help couples keep in mind important considerations before walking down the aisle, such as:

-- Communicate openly about your current financial state to determine what you can and can't afford. -- Determine who will fulfill financial tasks, such as balancing the checkbook, paying the bills and tracking investments prior to your wedding. -- Once you're married, review your insurance coverage. Compare them to your spouse's to make sure they don't overlap -- that usually means wasted money. Combine coverage where you can and you could save quite a bit of money. -- If you are changing your name as a result of your marriage, either a completely new last name or a hyphenated last name, notify the Social Security Administration immediately to ensure your retirement account is properly credited. -- Update your name on your driver's license as well because it is often used for identification. Additional findings in the survey include: -- 36 percent of couples spent less than $1000 on their wedding. -- 2 percent spent more than $50,000 on their wedding. -- 21 percent of women believe they overspent on wedding food, cake and drinks, compared to only 9 percent of men who believe they spent too much in that area. -- 16 percent of men say they overspent on the honeymoon, while just 7 percent of women agreed.

Practical Money Skills for Life ( http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com http://www.whatsmyscore.org ) is a free, award-winning, teacher-tested and teacher-approved financial education program that is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. The program contains three comprehensive sections, complete with money management resources and lesson plans tailored for use at home, in the classroom or at work. It also contains an array of tips to help prepare for life changing financial events, from planning a baby to saving for college and retirement, as well as a number of other budget calculators and interactive games. Visa also runs What's My Score ( ), a leading higher education consumer awareness program. The website guides college students through the ABC's of a FICO credit score, from factors that can lower a score to ways on improving it, at no charge.

Additionally, building on a decade-long commitment to improving the financial literacy of all Americans, Visa USA has joined with personal finance expert Jean Chatzky. A best-selling author who appears regularly on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "The Today Show," as well as hosting a daily radio program on Oprah & Friends (XM 156), Ms. Chatzky is collaborating with Visa to promote financial literacy nationwide.

Through this collaboration, Ms. Chatzky is helping to develop new financial education curriculum and interactive resources geared toward teachers, students, women and parents. She has and will continue to participate in a number of Practical Money Skills for Life and What's My Score outreach activities.

About Visa USA

Visa USA is a leading payments brand and the nation's largest payments system, enabling banks to provide their consumer and business customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives tailored to meet their evolving needs. Visa USA is committed to increasing the choice, convenience, acceptance and security of Visa payments for all stakeholders -- financial institutions, cardholders and merchants. As of March 31, 2007, in the United States, more than 521 million Visa-branded cards have been issued by more than 13,000 financial institution customers. Visa products generated $1.8 trillion in total volume in the United States during the four quarters ended March 31, 2007. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the globe. For more information, visit http://www.visa.com .

CONTACT: Romney Willson, +1-703-683-5004, ext. 118, rwillson@crcpublicrelations.com, for Visa

Web site: http://www.practicalmoneyskills.com/ http://www.whatsmyscore.org/ http://www.visa.com/