Financial advice for Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston before the wedding
Palin, the 19-year-old daughter of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, tells the celebrity magazine US Weekly that she and Levi Johnston plan to tie the knot, even though they haven't yet won over their parents' approval.
"It is intimidating and scary just to think about what her reaction is going to be," Bristol said of her mom. Hopefully she will jump on board."
In fact, according to news reports, the Palin family just learned about the impending nuptials the same way the rest of us did -- through the media announcement.
So far, it doesn't seem like the Palin parents are in any rush to give their blessing to this marriage.
In a statement to NBC, Todd and Sarah Palin said: "Bristol at 19 is now a young adult. We obviously want what's best for our children. Bristol believes in redemption and forgiveness to a degree most of us struggle to put in practice in our daily lives."
Set aside any political issues, for a moment, and think only about the family and financial dynamics at play.
These young lovers have had a tumultuous past. They called off one engagement in early 2009, then went through a round of bickering and name-calling. Recently, Johnston issued a public apology (via People Magazine) to the Palins for previous statements he made about the family that he now acknowledges were untrue.
Johnston and Bristol Palin also already have an 18-month-old son, Tripp. The duo say they re-connected three months ago while working out child custody matters.
The Palins aren't the first parents to have to deal with their child marrying someone of whom they don't approve.
Nor are they the first parents to ever be blindsided by their daughter getting secretly engaged, as Bristol says she did two weeks ago.
So given this scenario, what should they all do? Obviously, Bristol Palin and Johnston are of the age where they can legally decide to marry if they choose.
As a mom, if Bristol were my daughter, I'd probably feel the same way that Sarah Palin does. But at some point, when a child is "grown" -- or considers him or herself to be so -- perhaps the best thing to do is to wish them well, pray for them, and give the the best advice you can.
As a Money Coach, here's the best financial advice I'd offer Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston -- and anyone else in a similar situation:
$30,000 a pop for speaking engagements, will likely bring home some serious bacon professionally. Then again, Levi Johnston may too. He's expressed acting ambitions, so he may wind up with reality TV deal (thus all the "exclusives" with celebrity magazines?), or in the modeling business, given his past Playgirl photo shoot.
- Agree on personal and professional goals that you can each support
- Invest in a 529 college savings plan for your son
- Get premarital counseling
A marriage like this one -- involving young people who are in the spotlight, and off to a rocky start -- doesn't have to be doomed.
Palin and Johnston are in love. And who can fault them for their feelings? But given the obstacles they already face, to give their marriage a fighting chance, Palin and Johnston will have to go beyond emotions, and address the everyday money matters that can trip up even the strongest of couples.