By Daniela Degrassi
The Covid-19 pandemia is creating an unprecedented worldwide health crisis and a global financial turmoil. Compared to loosing a loved one, having to postpone a wedding may be a small thing, but the emotional and financial impact of rescheduling an event these days is causing a lot of stress in many couples. Let alone that talking about money, is never easy!
I recently connected with Adam H. Kol, a Couples Financial Counselor, and 6 years vegan. Adam helps couples have healthy money talks so that they can thrive financially and in their relationship. He is also a Certified Mediator and a former Tax Attorney and Financial Advisor. Adam is going to guide us through the best steps to have that ‘money talk’ and how to handle the ‘money crisis’ that many couples are facing in the last weeks.
Adam, tell us a bit about your background and how did your vegan journey start.
I really hadn’t thought about veganism until I did. And once I did, there was no going back. In late 2013, I came to consider that animal agriculture necessarily hurt animals. I didn’t want to be a part of that, so I opted out of the system and became vegan. Since then, I’ve done all kinds of advocacy work, from leafleting, intra-movement conflict mediation, and protesting.
Does being vegan have any impact or influence your profession?
Absolutely; it impacts everything I do! For one, I use my platform to include animals when I’m talking about justice and liberation. When I organize workshops or other events for couples, I make sure to provide only vegan snacks! And I’ve built lots of community with other vegans — it warms us up to each other automatically!
Let’s focus on couples getting married. What are the steps for having a healthy conversation about money?
Well, often the first step is a deep breath! This is a scary topic, but done right, it can actually move your relationship forward.
I recommend starting by reflecting on why these are important conversations for you and your significant other to have. Typically, it has at least something to do with realizing the importance of finances in living the beautiful life together that you two want!
From there, it takes the courage to ask your significant other to talk about. Feel free to blame it on me, saying you read it in a vegan bride blog that it’s important to talk about your finances! Make sure they know it’s an important conversation, one that needs to happen.
Adam H. Kol – Photo by Stephanie Warga
The situation can get trickier when the parents get involved in the wedding planning. Any advice for younger couples?
It certainly can! I recommend having good conversations with each other first; this way, you can hopefully present a united front when it comes to talking to your parents.
When you do get in front of your folks, listen patiently first. See if you can get a sense of how they want to be included and why they want the things they want.
If you can get below the surface, so to speak, then you’ll find avenues for compromise that otherwise would stay hidden. Usually, parents just want to feel important and also have their own ideas about what makes for a nice wedding.
Finally, make sure that you’re crystal clear about any financial contributions your families are making. For example, is it a loan or a gift? Who will cover any expenses that go above the discussed budget?
Discussing these types of things ahead of time will minimize or even prevent conflict later. And this will make the wedding planning process much more peaceful!
Adam, we’re now facing an unprecedented global health crisis due to the Covid19 pandemic. What advice can you give to couples who had to postpone their wedding plans, and probably lost some of their investment?
There’s no question these are challenging and uncertain times. Especially if your financial situation is precarious, do what you can to have or keep as much available money as possible. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in cash, but it does need to be accessible. Keep your expenses as low as possible, and see if there are ways to supplement your income.
Once you feel up to it, I recommend talking directly to your vendors. Right now, many people are just trying to keep their heads above water, and they may also feel desperate.
That said, there’s also a lot of creativity happening. Reach out. Be kind and also direct. And hopefully you can come to agreeable solutions.
Finally, as much as possible, acceptance of current circumstances may help. You can’t yourself control the pandemic — please stay home, though! — but you have some control over how you relate to it. If money is lost, that stinks! But if there’s also no bringing it back, then see how you can practice letting go.
I know that won’t resolve everything — I wish I could! — but hopefully it can make your life a bit easier. If you have specific questions, feel free to reach out! To do my part with everything happening, I’m offering no-strings-attached, 45-minute Financial Harmony Calls. You can schedule yours here.
An incurable enthusiast and independent spirit since she could remember (her childhood heroines were Pippi Longstockings and Katharine Hepburn) Daniela Degrassi found her creative outlet as a lifestyle photographer, working mainly in Northern California. Currently splitting her time between SF Bay Area and her native Italy to continue to be her autistic sister’s primary caregiver. Vegan since 2014, she found a perfect way to carry her message of compassion while celebrating her love for the wedding industry launching The Kind Bride in February 2018.