it pays to stay single|
Married people who argue
with a spouse about money sometimes long to be single again and in total financial
control. That wish usually subsides -- how quickly depends in part on the dollar
amount in dispute. But that fleeting thought raises an interesting question.
Are there times when being single
is more financially desirable?
Sure, marriage has many economic advantages, such
as pooled income, shared health-insurance coverage, although more
companies now also offer this benefit to unmarried couples, and
Social Security survivor benefits. Even the marriage tax penalty
has been eased in recent years.
But in some instances, it's more practical to remain unhitched.
thing to keep in mind is that it's always a mix of financial and emotional decisions,"
says Scott Farber, a wealth management adviser based in Natick, Mass. "It's
difficult to look at a relationship from a strictly financial standpoint.
there are some general instances when it might be better not to be married."
That's how Sheryl
Garrett, a certified financial planner in Shawnee Mission, Kan.,
sees it, too.
"There are definitely
way more advantages on [the married] side of the fence," says Garrett. "But
there are some clear ones on the unmarried side, too."
While there's no "typical couple" that should
consider living together without official legal status, there are
some typical issues. Basically, says Garrett, staying legally unattached
could be financially beneficial for one or both partners when these
five issues come into play:
2. Credit and debt concerns
3. Survivor's benefits
Liability for married
One of the great things about marriage is you get to share everything.
That's also one of the worst things about marriage, especially when
it comes to liability issues. You could be financially responsible
for judgments against your spouse, such as personal lawsuits or
Internal Revenue Service liens and all types of legal actions in
Hobbs, owner of Jan
Hobbs Financial Group in Orange, Calif., says this is a concern of many of
her clients who primarily are high-income individuals.
"We have a lot of doctors as clients, both partners
are physicians, which is a high-liability profession," says
Hobbs. If one of the doctors is sued, the other person's assets
are just as liable -- if they are married. By staying single, Hobbs
says, only the one physician's income and assets would be at risk.
The liability issue doesn't just worry still-working
people who are making a good living.
Garrett says a book buyer raised similar concerns
at a signing for her book "Money without Matrimony" that
she co-wrote with Debra Neiman.
woman, in her late 50s, had a new man in her life and they were considering another
go at marriage. She was in a good financial position, but a combination of previous
marital and business problems had left him dealing with the aftermath of a divorce,
bankruptcy and some lingering financial issues.
had much of a chance to recover financially, although he had moved on emotionally,
and he had a terrible credit score. He was a great guy with completely understandable
credit problems," says Garrett.