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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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February 24, 2013 at 5:08 pm

Some of my single, never married friends have full lives and own 500K homes... myself owning multiple properties... And I've seen aa lot of married folks held back by a spend thrifty mate or someone who doesn't share the work ethic or save up for anything meaningful. Then there is the young gal who bought her own home and had 40K down. A lot of married folks can't do that... Things are different in today's world and women are becoming more often the bread winners... women are also outliving their husbands and may or may not remarry... but faring better financially and we have to because we typically live longer. I really wish that researchers would be more open minded and get a better sample to make their statements... perceptions and realities are very different and these days marital status has very little to do with quality of life issues as anyone can make it who has the work ethic and some can do!!!

The problem is divorce, which is a wealth divider... unfortunately you can't recover as well because time is against you and starting over is difficult...

February 24, 2013 at 11:09 am

Much of this can't be avoided, like two incomes paying one house payment. Some, however, just take a little planning. Buy food in bulk when possible, divide and freeze it. Do your continuing education online where it is often free.

But some of these cost increases should be illegal. Why should a single person be charged more for health insurance? The cost to treat a single is half that of a couple, yet the married couple's costs are not double a single person's. Stay in a hotel, and you use the same sized room, but often pay more.
This is nuts, since a single person uses less water and fewer towels. Everything else is the same as a couple, yet singles are charged more. Even air fare is more. Two people flying together often get a break in the costs.

Single supplement charges are discriminatory, and should be illegal!!!

February 20, 2013 at 3:37 pm

And it took a university study to figue this out? Lets see, what is cheaper, 2 house payments or one???? Its a good thing we have universities to spend time reseaching the obvious.

February 20, 2013 at 10:31 am

God ordained marriage and liken it to the the sacrifice that Christ made for the church. He blesses those that seek his will and tries to reach those that are astray. It's his desire that none should perish, but his righteous judgement is unavoidable if we don't accept his Son and live a life of enimity towards God. Sin is sin (it was yesterday, today and tomorrow) and God wants us to be holy and secure in his Son's righteousness.

February 20, 2013 at 9:49 am

This is my study:Divorced men are poorer.

Charles Roeseler
February 20, 2013 at 9:26 am

One more reason why marriage equality is so important. Civil marriage will bestow the same rights and responsibilities and allow gay couples some of the same financial opportunites and tax breaks that straight couples take for granted.

February 20, 2013 at 8:00 am


February 20, 2013 at 7:37 am

One more reason why I hate being single. Lonliness is worse than death.

February 20, 2013 at 7:15 am

LOL! If I was single, my pockets would jingle!

Jillian Alexander
February 19, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Marriage benefits include lower per person costs on:
vehicle, health, long-term disability, and life insurance cost;
travel (shared rooms, reduced expectations about frequency of travel to visit distant family);
entertainment (share music, videos);
food (buying in bulk and less waste);
other groceries (i.e., takes same amount of cleaning supplies to clean for one or more sharing same size space);
waste management (i.e., garbage, sanitation);
continuing professional education (spouse is free; shared newspapers and other periodicals);