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Weekend reading: When Harry met a £30m wedding bill

What caught my eye this week.

Royal Wedding day, and this week’s money and investing links will flutter by you like confetti in the wind. Before becoming confetti stuck between your teeth. After becoming confetti that snagged in your hair. And then becoming confetti that falls into your glass of bubbly before the speeches.

Or is that just me?

I like confetti at a wedding as much as the next temporary hedonist – when it’s spiraling through the air and framing the happy couple and everyone inhabits in a Disney movie for an instant, or at the very least an episode of Emmerdale.

But then the confetti falls to the ground. The newlyweds go off on honeymoon to argue about whether they should get out of bed to eat the complementary breakfast they’ve already paid for. And the guests go home to nurse their credit card bills.

Weddings are great fun. But unless you’re rich, they’re too often an extravagance.

Even if a parent is paying, that’s money they might have given you instead to go towards a home – or to invest in a pension for those long distant post-youthful [1] years when you’ll really need a party.

I’ve been to several weddings where I’ve guiltily winced at what it cost because I knew they couldn’t afford it. Not in the sense of they wouldn’t pay the bills and we’d all end up in the kitchen doing dishes in our suits and frocks. Just that it’d be a five-figure sum dogging them for years to come.

According to the BBC [2], today’s event will boast 600 guests, with another 200 coming along to the evening bash. The Financial Times puts the cost at around £32m, which seems low, especially as it reckons £30m of that will go on security.

I liked the sound of Claer Barrett’s £10,000 affair, recounted in the FT [3] [search result]:

“I would have got the number 26 bus to the wedding, but my dad insisted on a taxi.”

I’ve also given some tips on a better value wedding [4] in the past.

True, I’ve never gotten married (and not only because I’m too tight) [5] but the perspective of someone who has been a guest at a couple of dozen weddings could be useful if you’re trying to save a few quid.

Not a churlish guest, I stress – as I say I love weddings.

At the very least the music today will be amazing, even if you’re no royalist. The money is spent, so let’s enjoy it. And I wish Harry and Meghan the best of luck in a life you couldn’t pay me £30m to take on.

Did you get married on the cheap – or blow the budget? Was it worth it? Could you have done anything cheaper, in retrospect?

Let us all know in the comments below.

From Monevator

A retirement income from ‘Smart’ ETFs – Monevator [6]

From the archive-ator: Will a high salary make you happy? – Monevator [7]

News

Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber.1 [8]

Number of low-paid workers falls to lowest level since 1982 – Guardian [9]

HMRC court win sets up £30m swoop on people who used stamp duty avoidance schemes2 [10]Telegraph [11]

Record number of savers abandon final salary pension schemes [Search result]FT [12]

Average person will need £260,00 for retirement, says report – Guardian [13]

Government takes aim at private contractors in tax grab worth £1.2bn a year – Telegraph [14]

[15]

High US stock buybacks aren’t really signalling euphoria – The Macro Tourist [16]

Products and services

Going global with bonds: The benefits of a global bond allocation [PDF]Vanguard [17]

Bank of Cyprus UK launches savings and ISA rates just 0.01% higher than next-buy deal – ThisIsMoney [18]

Experts warn against ‘confusing’ fund performance fee models – Telegraph [19]

Seven low-cost energy-saving ways to make your home greener and cheaper to run – ThisIsMoney [20]

TSB meltdown leads to eight-fold increase in customers switching accounts – Telegraph [21]

Wealthfront’s experiment in risk parity has a rocky start [Search result]FT [22]

New online passport application accepts phone photos, saves you £25 – ThisIsMoney [23]

How much does it cost to run a hedge fund? [PDF for nerds]Meketa Group [24]

Six homes in the country for sale that come with their own businesses – ThisIsMoney [25]

Comment and opinion

Great things take time… – Of Dollars and Data [26]

…but what if you’re in a hurry? Three potential investment miracles – Morningstar [27]

The relationship between time, money, and happiness – Get Rich Slowly [28]

How much do you earn? It’s not something we want to talk about – The Guardian [29]

How Mr Money Mustache eats rich for less – Mr Money Mustache [30]

Three years so far with the Vanguard Lifestrategy 60/40 – DIY Investor [31]

Some areas to be wary of ahead of the next market downturn – Schwab [32]

The US market is richly-valued. But where’s the party? – The Humble Dollar [33]

Save for a pension? Millennials can barely afford to eat… – The Guardian [34]

…or perhaps they can? – A Wealth of Common Sense [35]

Britain and Broadbent’s productivity problem – Simple Living in Somerset [36]

Can you earn extra income from dog walking? – Little Miss Fire [37]

Is investing starting to get difficult again? [PDF]GMO Quarterly Newsletter [38]

Why the Sainsbury/ASDA merger is necessary but not sufficient – UK Value Investor [39]

Buying quality companies is no guarantee of investment success – Phil Oakley [40]

Kindle book bargains

Surely You’re Joking Mr Feynman: Adventures of a Curious Character – as told to Ralph Leighton – £0.99 on Kindle [41]

Talking to My Daughter About the Economy: A Brief History of Capitalism by Yanis Varoufakis – £1.99 on Kindle [42]

Total Competition: Lessons in Strategy from Formula One by Ross Brawn and Adam Parr – £0.99 on Kindle [43]

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth – £1.99 on Kindle [44]

Off our beat

You can change what words you hear by thinking about it [Try this!] – via Twitter [45]

The curse of the open-plan home – The Atlantic [46]

How long will investors keep subsidizing consumers? – New York Times [47]

Researchers can send subliminal messages to your Amazon Echo [48]New York Times [49]

Creepily intelligent things that pets have done – via Reddit [50]

Why the Internet is not fun anymore (and blogs like Monevator are endangered) – New York Mag [51]

And finally…

“Don’t tell me what you ‘think’, just tell me what’s in your portfolio.”
– Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Skin in the Game [52]

Like these links? Subscribe [53] to get them every Friday!

  1. Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”. [ [55]]
  2. Suspicious coincidence! Perhaps this £30m swoop is to pay for the Royal Wedding? 😉 [ [56]]