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Married couples are richer

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Posted: 2 pm ET

Whatever your feelings are about taking a trip down the aisle, being in a long-term marriage could leave you up to four times richer than your single or divorced peers.

NBC News reports that there are a variety of reasons for this. Married couples can take advantage of economies of scale, allowing them to build wealth faster. Couples can also divide and conquer when it comes to household and financial responsibilities, while sharing the expenses. For example: When one spouse helps with household duties, the other can concentrate on getting ahead in a career.

Couples who stay married could end up four times richer than their single or divorced peers.

Jay Zagorsky, a research scientist at The Ohio State University, told NBC that his research shows people in long-term marriages each have about twice as much wealth as single people who never married. Together, a couple's wealth is four times that of a single person's. He added that the key is to stay married. In his research, those who get divorced see a dramatic decline in wealth, leaving them in worse financial straits than those who never married.

Interestingly, couples in a committed relationship, but not married, don't fare as well as married couples, Zagorsky says. He believes it's because they don't fully commit to sharing their finances and expenses.

Finally, there's also a demographic element behind the statistics: Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, says the people getting married are more affluent to begin with, and more educated. They are also less likely to get divorced, perhaps because they don't have the financial pressures of less educated, financially strapped couples.

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Christine Kackley
February 24, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Marriage is a financial institution and hopefully a loving one as well. The article is fair. However; staying married forlife is not advisable when the following goes on in the relationship:
1. Physical, Sexual or Mental Abuse
2. Impotency
3. Debt creator by one or both spouses
4. Addictions of any kind
5. Infidelity
6. Different values about Money, Sex and Kids
7. One partner enabling adult children to remain dependent and spending thousand of dollars on them without the consent of the other partner.
Those issues will affect your marriage like it or not. So lets say, staying married is idealistic and wonderful but can work against you when the problems cannot be solved.

Rapid Roy
February 24, 2013 at 9:54 pm

I think if people can keep their marriage going, marriage is better. However, divorce rates are high, and as mentioned when you have to split your wealth in half and then have to pay alimony or child support the couple living together are better off, because they can always say goodbye. Sometimes tax brackets are better to be single too.