[EDITORIALS]Nipping love in the budGetting married in Korea costs an average of about 91 million won ($75,700), according to a recent survey by the Consumer Protection Board that polled 400 soon-to-be-married couples and their parents. We cannot help but heave a sigh, considering that the average wage of an urban household is 2.83 million won a month.
This alarming increase in matrimonial expenses is a result of the conspiracy of the widespread pursuit of extravagance, policies that have distorted the housing market and our twisted views on raising children.
While parents prefer to have fewer than two children, they have started to devote their lives to raising them in luxury. This atmosphere has triggered competition to hold colorful and unique weddings. As spending to set up the new household has declined, outlays on weddings have increased.
Adding gravity to the problem is that parents are the behind-the-scenes source of the spiraling marriage costs. The age for first marriages has risen to around 30, but it does not mean that couples are standing on their own feet. They still depend on their parents, which pushes the vicious circle of the rising costs of marriage as families try to “keep up with their neighbors.”
Each household should establish a principle that their children are responsible for their own wedding costs. This could encourage couples to assume the responsibility and independence of starting a new life for themselves. At the same time, the government should institute policies for leasing more housing so that newlyweds can navigate their new life without a lifeline. As long as more than 70 percent of marriage costs stem from getting a house for the new family, couples will need parental assistance. The government should come up with more extensive policies for affordable housing so that the yearly crop of more than 300,000 newly married couples can escape a heavy burden.
Marriage should be about blessing the couple as they start a new home with love. Money should not be allowed to threaten what will be a beautiful life before it has a chance to bloom.