This was in the most recent edition of The New Paper on Sunday.

All this couple wanted to do was to indulge their desire for a dream wedding. After all, you get married only once in this lifetime, said Mr Cayden Lee.

But that indulgence proved to be costly for them. The 32-year-old insurance agent is still mired in the debt he incurred in October 2012.

He told The New Paper on Sunday: “This is the real regret. We struggle from month to month just to make ends meet.”

The couple borrowed $45,000 from a financial institution with a repayment period of two years. They also borrowed $4,000 from a licensed moneylender and $11,000 from a relative. On top of that, they pumped in their entire savings of $20,000.

They also charged to their individual credit cards, said his wife, who wants to be known only as Mrs Lee. She estimates the charges were another $30,000.

The total sum? $110,000.

The irony of the whole thing is that their wedding is now probably memorable to them for all the wrong reasons- quarrels over finances, the wife slipping into depression soon after the wedding due to the emotional stress of being hounded by debt collectors as well as the compromised honeymoon. Will they come out stronger than before if their marriage makes it through this dark period? Probably but I say, why get there in the first place?

Their savings of $20,000 (for a couple in their late 20s/early 30s) obviously show a couple whose financial quotient is low (high income, high spending or low income, high spending) and yet they want to indulge. Of course, external factors may have influenced their decision. I recall the article in the New Paper mentioning that the bride’s sister had a lavish wedding just the year before and therefore the bride wanted a wedding as lavish or better. As the saying goes, “any income that’s more than your brother-in-law’s is a good income.”

So what’s a clever solution to all this “keeping up with the Joneses” nonsense? STOP IT! That’s right, just STOP IT! (if you still don’t know how, see here). The problem with life is this- most people if given a problem, and the space to sit back and think about the problem usually the right answer. The problem is when they get caught up in the moment of everything and make the less than rational decision (hence the need for cooling off periods following campaigning and agreeing to purchase financial products and so on).

By the way, this applies to most people. Of course there are the odd few who are self-destructive (like the wife in the above story) or soft (like the husband in the story). In which case, woe be to their spouse and family because these people are serious barriers to attaining financial freedom.