Till debt do us part

According to this chart (click to enlarge):

marriage-stability-wedding-expensesThe more you spend on your wedding, the more likely you are to get a divorce.

OK, let me do a little math here.

When my wife and I decided to get married, our plan was to go City Hall and have a justice of the peace do the deed. Just seemed like a normal thing to do. Until my mother said, “Nope, you’re going to have a ceremony.”

So, here’s what we did.

We had the ceremony at our house, which at the time was a two-family building shared with a museum.

We bought flowers.

We had live music. There was a piano in our house, and my wife’s sister wanted to play the wedding march.

The wedding dinner was essentially a toned down version of a Thanksgiving dinner.

We didn’t send out invitations. Just called some family members and said “We’re getting married at our house.” So members of my family came in from New York and New Jersey and members of my wife’s family came in from Kentucky and Colorado. More than a dozen people. Fewer than 20. A couple of friends. Our landlords were taking a walk in the neighborhood, so we invited them in.

My mom found the minister to conduct the survey. I think I gave her $50 to $100.

For our post-wedding “reception,” a bunch of us hopped on the Staten Island Ferry (round trip, 25 cents a piece), and did a walking tour of Greenwich Village. I was the guide. I think we might have stopped for ice cream.

Everyone from out of town stayed at our house for the weekend.

So, adding this all up, I think the expense was in the low to mid-hundreds. Factor in time married (26 years), multiply by the likelihood of getting divorced (looks like nil) and carry the 1 … the calculator says we’ll be married …

Forever.

(And I do know a few couples who spent a lot more and are now divorced.)

There she is, so where’s her scholarship?

A couple of years ago, I had a post on the Miss America pageant, where I was sort of perturbed about the amount of money the pageant said it awarded to the winner.

I’m sure there are lovely prizes, but here’s what gets me. There’s a scholarship involved, and according to news reports, Miss America’s scholarship prize is  $50,000. I know that $50,000 is a lot of money, but as the parent of a child in college, I also know that $50,000 isn’t going to cover costs over the four years it takes to graduate.

It seems like a minor complaint, but let’s break it down in terms of how the real world works.

If your kid is going to a state school and you’re a resident of the state, you probably pay $15,000 a year. That’s considered cheap for a college education, and a Miss America scholarship won’t carry you through graduation. If you’re going to a state school as an out-of-state resident, the cost will run you about $25,000 a year, so being Miss America gets you through your sophomore year. If you go to a private school, you’re talking $40,000 a year, so maybe you make it through freshman year and part of one semester. And if you go to an Ivy, you’re talking in excess of $50,000 a year, so maybe you make it through freshman year, and after that, you’re on your own.

About a week ago, John Oliver took a look at the Miss America pageant, and he’s sort of perturbed about the amount of money the pageant said it awarded overall:

I made my calculations on the back of an envelope. He called the IRS. That was impressive.

And he’s right about Donald Trump.