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Costs to Marry
Title: How much does it cost to marry a Russian woman?
Post by: jb on June 23, 2006, 08:39:40 AM
This a very arbitrary question, and one we see quite often, though mostly couched in other terms that take several further posts in a thread topic before the questioner reveals his true motivation for posting in the first place. I won’t try to put a dollar value on this question, but I will try to give you some food for thought.

I’ve said in more places that I’d care to admit, that here we are discussing quite a bit of money from savings, and the rest is probably from disposable income. I mention some savings because the average seeker is going to be at this task for a period of more than a year or two, and few *average* men have the kind of cash from paycheck-to-paycheck disposable income to successfully pull this off. Unless a man is either extraordinarily lucky, or extraordinarily foolish, he cannot actually plan for the expenses he’s likely to encounter. Airfares are a man’s single most expensive initial item, second is lodging while in country, third, fourth, and fifth are things like ground transportation, food/dinner dates/gifts, and if necessary, protracted hourly payment for interpreters.

The cost of airfares varies from month-to-month, and from place-to-place, and the likelihood of making more than one trip is inversely proportional to the amount of money he can invest in the early stages of the romantic adventure. A man cannot always count on a visit during the cheap airfare (winter) seasons. In other words, if he can afford to spend more time, more trips, more frequently, he front loads his costs and shortens the time required to find his most suitable mate. This, I believe will save him money in the long run simply because she gets here sooner and nips the number of future airfares off at that point.

Compared to overall travel costs, the USCIS fees are but a drop in the ocean, however, they must be planned for. You can’t do it without filing the appropriate forms to begin the process of getting her visa. Sad but true, your government is going to take a goodly bite out of your paychecks, not just once, but several times.

Much of a man’s total expenditure comes after the woman arrives; there is the need to get her up and running towards social and cultural adjustment. Usually this will involve higher living expenses, (two people cannot live as cheaply as one), and a man should plan on semi-major redecorating and home improvements, because any woman is going to want to make her new home her own. Also a man must usually plan for investment in a second car, and the higher auto insurance rates that go along with training an inexperienced driver. Many foreign brides arrive desperately in need of unplanned for dental work not covered by an existing medical plan. This item alone can very well run into the thousands of dollars. Getting her on your major medical/hospital plan, buying her new locally appropriate clothing and footwear, and if necessary, enrollment in the local school system for ESL classes if her English skills need some improvement.

(Edited to include aspects of Elen's comments regarding bringing children to the US, and possibly the necessity of replacing some portion of woman's salary if she is living at home and sharing her income to support a common Russian household.)

Children: Unless a fellow is expending all his efforts pursuing girls which have never been married and have no children, very often the Russian lady of choice will come with a bit of baggage left over from her "other" life. One of the most endearing traits of Western men is that they tend to love children. Not just their own kids, but any kid. As a matter of record, we are a civilization of softies when it comes to a kid, that's just the way we are. It does not go unnoticed by the women of the world. It is one reason why so many foreign ladies find us an attractive alternative to the home boys.

The additional expense of raising a step child cannot be stressed enough, because it will probably be more than the cost of supporting his mother in the overall scheme of things. Children will place huge burdens on a family's finances as an ongoing and ever increasing cost. Growing children need balanced nutrition, new clothes, shoes, toys, trikes and bikes, movies, and other sundry youth oriented entertainment, and just in-general, additional expenses virtually all the time. Further, the cost goes up exponentially as the child grows until you reach the peak of expense down the road; educating a child beyond his or her high school years.

Men who are divorced with children from a previous marriage, and are contemplating a blended family will have the added mental strain of keeping things fair and balanced, because your new Russian wife will be doing battle everyday to ensure her child gets its share of the bounty.

Extended families left behind in the FSU: This is an area often not well understood by the newbie. The FSU does not have adequate retirement plans such as Social Security or 401Ks, Company funded retirements, or other comprehensive plans to take care of the elderly. Mostly the older generation is largely dependant on the younger family members to provide for their old age. Her salary, meager though it might be, is usually some part of what keeps a family going. Any man proceeding down this path should make sure he is aware of all of the facts for this part of his new family’s life and be prepared to shoulder the responsibility of ensuring his new wife’s old babushka does not suffer.

All in all, I think it is safe to say that successfully pursuing a Russian wife, especially one with a child, would add to the cost of the usual monthly budget, a number somewhere to the tune of an extra $500-$1,000 monthly, as a projected ongoing expense not associated with the cost of supporting just a new bride.
This is definitely a large *YMMV* area, but one a man must consider carefully.

It is my personal opinion that men who can only afford one trip per year, because of either lack of funds or an inadequate number of vacation days available, ought to seriously reconsider this venture. But,,, what do I know? It has been done before with some degree of success, and at the same time a lot of failures haunt these hunting grounds.

During my tenure on these RW boards I cannot count the number of newbie posters who began this process, and never put one foot wrong in the initial stages, only to lose his love for lack of spending money when the rubber finally met the road. They just didn’t have the financial staying power and the girl left because of the fiscal uncertainty. One theme that most constantly pervades the Russian MOB profiles is these girls want a man who is not “greedy”. The translation of that term is; girls want a man who can afford to support them without pinching pennies. Most of these women have spent a lifetime where she had to count every RU three times before she spent it, I can’t think of a single Russian woman I know who would willingly give up everything she knows, her family, her friends, her home, her language, and her country, for the opportunity to move to a new land where she had to count every dollar three times before she spends it.

The reason I cannot put a dollar value on this question is that I don’t know if a man will find the love of his life on his 1st trip, his 2nd trip, or his 6th, or 10th. Much will depend on how picky and choosey he is, how willing he is to settle for the first girl who will give him the time of day, and probably most important, how smart he is to avoid the clever scams out there just waiting for Mr. Desperate and Lonely.

It’s a jungle out there,,, and a very costly one at that.

Title: Re: How much does it cost to marry a Russian woman?
Post by: Rvrwind on June 23, 2006, 12:45:33 PM
It is my personal opinion that men who can only afford one trip per year, because of either lack of funds or an inadequate number of vacation days available, ought to seriously reconsider this venture. But,,, what do I know? It has been done before with some degree of success, and at the same time a lot of failures haunt these hunting grounds.
Mine as well...
jb my standard answer to this question is very simple, 'If you have to ask, you can't afford it!'
Many guys have no idea the expeditures they are about to face & not just the big ticket items but many little things that soon add up & become big things.
When I started this process, some time back, I looked at it as a Saturday night poker game, 'If you can't afford to lose it, don't belly up to the table!'

Title: Re: How much does it cost to marry a Russian woman?
Post by: Vaughn on June 28, 2006, 07:27:40 PM
As a man who married a young lady's Mom, I missed out on the trikes and bikes stage, but was immediately drafted into fashion and cell phone expenses. Now we are faced with impending University tuition and probable
automobile/insurance purchases. It never gets easier, the size of an initial nestegg is seldom overestimated. Anybody living from check to check and thinks it'll all work out just because she's Russian needs a sure and swift lobotomy.

Title: Re: How much does it cost to marry a Russian woman?
Post by: catzenmouse on June 29, 2006, 07:56:47 AM

An excellent overview of some of the costs/issues involved in this adventure. One thing that I was aware of but not of the depth and breadth of, is the emotional costs involved in someone giving up everything and everybody they know and love to be thrown into an alien and often hostile environment. It's often stated (and very truly too) that you will find new levels of patience and understanding if you are to be successful in your relationship. This is an understatement. You will have to be more patient than you know. More emotionally solid than you know. And more understanding and supportive than you could ever have imagined you would or could be. Personally I would not, nor would I have been willing to, go to these extremes for any AW that I ever knew. But for this wondrous lady that I have found it is not even a question of will I do it but rather of how can I do it better. Easy? Hell No! Worth it? More than I dreamed of and more than I'll ever really know.


Title: Re: How much does it cost to marry a Russian woman?
Post by: beattledog on August 10, 2006, 07:46:58 AM
if I had to quess, it would probably be about twenty thousand dollars


Title: Re: How much does it cost to marry a Russian woman?
Post by: BC on August 10, 2006, 11:17:40 AM
Basically reinforcing everything jb said:

Being self employed a good part of the cost involved was the loss of business during this venture. I guess this would be comparable to unpaid leave for those that are employed. My guesstimate is about 30K in lost revenue over 6 months, during visits to FSU and 'down time' I took after they arrived to get everyone settled in and halfway comfortable in their new environment.

I think all in all it took a good 20K for expenses.. travel, hotels, chasing documents, wedding etc from the time we met until my wife arrived. This included four visits and a total on ground time in FSU of around 2.5 months. My wife then returned to RU to pickup our daughter and bring her back after the school year ended. This included four visits and a total on ground time in FSU of almost 3 months.

After arrival major expenses were clothing, in-law visits, visits back home, a pregnancy and some remodeling/improvements around the home, medical, dental, a set of braces and of course the phone.. Lets call it 30K for the first couple years above and beyond normal family costs like food, utilities recreation, insurance etc.

So.. around 75 to 80K over two years and I didn't have any costs at all for searching (agency fees, additional trips, translators, etc etc).

This was about double what I originally expected.

Just my experience.

Title: Re: How much does it cost to marry a Russian woman?
Post by: engaged on August 12, 2006, 01:32:15 AM
Marrying an AW also costs. Is it more to start? Probably. More than all marriages to AW? No. Most AW's also like cars, houses, clothes, kids...
The travel costs of course. But what have I done on my past vacations? Hmmmm Chamonix, Western Europe, Vail.... Ok, I would have spent the travel money somewhere, didn't ski in Argentina last summer. Found more rewarding experiences ;). Yes, spent more on the UA travels so about half extraordinary.

The home improvements? Yes, can use the help. Money set aside not spent on this yet. Again, a normal function in a marriage.

JB, your poker game comment is true for any marriage. The men should look at it in terms of a stay at home wife at least initially if she eventually chooses to work.
$500 to $1000 per month in extra costs for a wife and child not unreasonable.

My point, obviously higher costs initially, extraordinary but not extravagant for a marriage.

The time and emotional effort to help the wife become accustomed to the foreign land is certainly a valid point and maybe the most understated.

Title: Re: How much does it cost to marry a Russian woman?
Post by: BC on August 12, 2006, 03:16:33 AM

The costs I noted were what I considered to be above and beyond those incurred with a woman living in my country.

Wardrobes (if they exist) don't fit in two suitcases. There is a lot of 'catch up' involved and shopping is fun, double fun if kids are involved.

If newborns are involved there is a certain 'push' to do things right while the opportunity is there.. expect your baby to be coddled in luxury to include a teaspoon or two of good caviar for breakfast if available. Our son is nuts for the stuff.

I usually don't have to travel to date. A couple of gallons of gas usually does well, maybe a hotel depending on circumstances and goal ;D

Usually a western woman will have an established life, likely supporting herself in some manner and can continue if she wishes. A RW starts from ground zero and will need to be supported for quite a while even if she wants to work.

With a western woman there is little or no time loss adjusting to her new environment.. even if moving across the country.

Use your nestegg wisely and plan for external disasters that can really ruin you. Life around you does not stop because you married a RW.. In fact I have heard from a couple if not a few that have lost their jobs or had other disasters come up. Quite honestly I did loose a few customers because my relationship had to take priority.. a decision that was tough but that I never regretted, but a balancing act that could have tipped easily.

Last remarks, some restating jb's thoughts:

The cost is relative to the person doing the spending.

Think disposable income.. a couple hundred at the end of the month won't hack it.
If you're juggling credit or even thinking about financing this venture forget it.
Use this FAQ to prepare a solid estimate of what you think it will cost, multiply by two. If you don't have the resulting figure under your mattress wait until you do.
Write down the resulting figure and subtract the costs you expect or can afford in the search phase. If you exceed this sum cut your losses and move on to more reasonable playing fields.

DON'T GAMBLE!!!!! Taking high financial risks can ruin you both.

NEVER CONSIDER A RW AS AN INVESTMENT. You will never see financial return or benefits.

ALWAYS REMEMBER WE ARE DEALING WITH HUMAN BEINGS.. NOT MERCHANDISE. If for whatever reason she has to return, your life is practically untouched. Hers is likely in shambles and may require some assistance.

Title: Re: How much does it cost to marry a Russian woman?
Post by: engaged on August 12, 2006, 04:07:20 PM

Well never consider another human being a financial investment. The investment is emotional though and maybe higher than a comperable domestic marriage.
Once again, most women improve the wardrobe every season, not unusual. However, I know two suitcases to start is not sufficient.
Adjusting to environment is once again an emotional issue for both you and her.
Overall a man and the RW should be happy with their investment both emotionally and financially throughout all phases.
Ever notice that most of the sad stories involve a man never experienced in marriage?

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