It started as an anomaly. Maybe Sarah, that girl you never spoke to in high school, is getting hitched next month in a lovely ceremony at Niagara-on-the-Lake that was probably paid for by her parents. You saw her engagement photos on Instagram, read her excited posts on Facebook, and talked about her during a quick sushi sesh with a few friends: “Can you BELIEVE she’s getting married? She’s, like, 20? 21?”
Now, things are getting scarier. It is not just one or two friends that are tying the knot, but a whole slew of them. You cannot even remember the last time you ate a vegetable and yet, people your age are planning weddings, moving in with their significant other, and answering complicated questions like: “Are you going to have a baby soon?” or “How much is each plate at the reception?” All of a sudden you feel old.
It seems that younger and younger millennials are settling down and beginning their grown up lives, while all you’ve planned, post-grad, is a Netflix marathon with a side of chicken wings. I am here to tell you you’re not alone. As someone who has had several friends hit the engagement stage and have, at this point, attended FOUR millennial weddings (one already in the midst of a messy divorce case), I am here to explain why I think you should hold off the wedding bells until you’re in the dirty thirties.
- Finances: “Hit him with the prenup” — Drake
Not sure what a prenuptial agreement is? That’s probably because you have no investments, no interest in your inheritance (if there is one), and very little property. This is also reasonable because right now you are probably overwhelmed with student debt and down to your last $36 dollars. Signing a prenup as a millennial is probably unnecessary because you likely don’t have many assets to protect, and after you get married anything earned after that point is split fifty-fifty anyway. Becoming financially independent is very important: you need to learn your way around RRSPs, GICs, TFSAs, and other horrifying acronyms—which you will with time. However, marriage pushes you into this scary world a lot quicker. You will have to deal with things like paying property taxes after moving in together, or handling joint accounts when you can barely manage your own.
You and your partner are both fresh-faced graduates working part-time while trying to land something a bit more career oriented. What happens when one partner does land their dream job and the other does not? What happens when you’re making $24,000 per year and your wifey just clocked in a 50-hour workweek at $42/hour? Are you prepared to handle that? Waiting until you are both settled into careers will make things a lot less complicated in the long-run, especially because nobody was hit with a prenup and now that $85,000 you just made is going to be $42,500 bucks after the divorce.
- Careers: The hustle never sleeps
Speaking of careers, you are likely still climbing ladders or trying to find a job that agrees with your social science degree. It is going to be difficult to take an amazing one-year internship at a magazine in Vancouver when your husband just got promoted in Toronto. You are a family now, you have someone else to seriously think about—can you afford rent in British Columbia when you and your significant other just agreed to lay aside 60% of every pay cheque for that down-payment? Are you ready for the unfortunate bias that comes with being a young, married woman looking for a job? Why hire that 22-year-old who just got hitched when you can hire the single 24-year-old who has no prospect of a long maternity leave in the near future? Our twenties are when we begin our careers, and making every decision with someone else in mind can muddle an already complex situation. You cannot comprehend now how successful you will be in the future. You might be a barista at Starbucks now, but in six years you could be the CFO of a successful start-up while your significant other is sitting around with no ambition. Don’t bring yourself down in the future by tying yourself down at the present.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]It seems that younger and younger millennials are settling down and beginning their grown up lives, while all you’ve planned, post-grad, is a Netflix marathon with a side of chicken wings.[/pullquote]
- Comfort: From me to we…can’t do this anymore
Imagine having to split your bathroom counter, share your queen-sized bed, and comfy blankets with someone else. Picture having to wear headphones when watching Netflix at 3AM and having to wait for the toilet every morning… Get ready to compromise it all with the added benefits of doing the laundry for two, dishes for two, groceries for two, filling enough gas for two, filing taxes for two, and the list goes on and on. You think you’re going to split the grown up burden fifty-fifty? Let me know how that goes.
- Independence: “I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings”– Beyoncé
There is a proverb on growing independent that goes something like: “you can’t love someone until you love yourself, and you need to learn to be comfortable alone.” I fully subscribe to this idea. You may go from your family surrounding you to being in constant company with someone else, possibly for the rest of your life. Do you really want to define the rest of your existence as being a part of someone else’s? You will never get to create your own space and experience the trials and tribulations of life autonomously. Think about it—did you deal with school stress the same way at 17 as you do now at 21?—probably not. People change: at this volatile time in your life, you cannot know where those changes may lead.