Marriage is in the news again. With the Supreme Court deciding who is worthy of being married, it seems worth taking a moment to think about why even get married in the first place. Sure we can talk about the benefits of togetherness and the importance of the institution as a foundation for society and how marriage keeps you healthy, but let’s get to the heart of it: Marriage is about money. There are many financial benefits to marriage that can’t be overlooked.
Back in the day, I mean way back in the day, marriage was fully understood to be a financial contract. Wealthy nobility merged their offspring in order to secure land, titles, and power. Commoners traded cattle, food stocks, and other goods. Love? That just wasn’t in equation.
Theses days, marriage (at least in the United States) isn’t necessarily about money. We think about love, commitment, and that oh-so-fantastic wedding party. We want our soul mate and wonder is s/he the ONE? Then we think about the risks of divorce, the fear of betrayal, and the claustrophobia of waking up next to the same person day in and day out for the next umpteen years and suddenly aren’t so sure anymore. For these reasons, many Millennials are postponing marriage. But that might very well be one of the biggest financial mistakes you could make.
Research has shown the financial benefits of marriage. Long-term marriage offers a 77% better rate of return than staying single and total wealth of married persons increases 16% year over year. In other words, the longer you are married, the more money you make. Heck, if this was the reported returns on a stock growth fund, we’d all be jumping in.
Here are some of the ways marriage can be a financial benefit:
- Spouses don’t pay estate tax.
- Married couples filing jointly can save on their taxes (although there can be a “marriage penalty” depending on your joint income).
- Spouses can gift each other money with limited tax consequences.
- Social Security, Medicare, disability, and veterans benefits can be transferred to spouses.
- Health insurance savings are greater when a couple can combine into one single health plan.
- Joint ownership of checking and investment accounts offers savings as does joint ownership of property.
- Various beneficial instruments like trusts can only be done between married persons.
You can get a full list of the financial benefits of marriage here at NOLO Law For All.
If you are in a committed relationship and are lucky enough to be able to get legally married, then consider saying “I do” sooner rather than later. There are a host of people out there who would love to be in your shoes. In fact, they are fighting for that right at this very moment. Unlike them, you could make this important investment in your future today. It just might be the best one you ever made.