According to Statista, 6.1 per thousand people in the United States get married, with an average marriage expectancy of 8.2 years. That’s a small percentage of the population signing up for what seems to be a short-term venture. Why is that? When analyzed from a financial perspective, it’s both cheaper and more profitable to be single.
This is obvious if you’ve ever used a debt repayment calculator to add up household debt for a married couple. Even without a mortgage and children, married couples tend to spend more and accumulate greater debt. Their reliance upon one another can be a positive financial reinforcement, but it can also create a false sense of security. Here’s why:
1 Personal Accountability Necessitates Tighter Budgeting
Being single means that you only have yourself to rely on. When your money is gone, it’s gone. There’s no partner to turn to for financial support. That necessitates tighter budgeting and inspires people to save. It’s not always the case, but those who understand their personal limitations tend to be more financially disciplined.
2 Single People Don’t Need to Support Others
Dependents are expensive. Being the head of household comes with increased responsibilities. Single people are not exposed to either of those. While they don’t have the benefit of a second income in the household, they also are not obligated to others. This freedom can manifest itself in increased savings and bigger retirement funds.
3 Job Changes and Relocation Don’t Require Spousal Approval
Taking a new job or relocating when you’re married involves a discussion and “approval” from your spouse. It’s not about asking for permission. Couples function best when they’re on the same page. That’s not the case when you’re single. Taking a new job across the country is a personal decision. Moving to a more affordable neighborhood is a unilateral choice.
4 Wedding Debt and Marriage Penalties
According to The Knot, an average wedding in the United States costs $30,000. That’s a big expense to start out an eight-year partnership, especially if you use credit cards to fund it. Worse yet, once things settle down, you and your spouse will pay a “marriage penalty” when you file a joint tax return. Look it up. The IRS does not promote wedding bliss.
5 Financial Losses from Divorce
Just to be clear, we’re not advocating against marriage. This is about making you aware of the potential financial implications. One of those is the cost of divorce. Attorney’s fees, alimony, child support, and the cost of relocation or dual residency can add up. Prenuptial agreements can protect you from some of that, but divorce is still expensive.
The Bottom Line: Understand What You’re Getting Yourself Into
In 2000, the marriage rate was eight out of every one thousand people, so it’s declined in the past two decades. Financial concerns are one of the reasons for that. It’s cheaper and more profitable to be single if you make sound financial decisions. That’s not to say that marriage is not the right choice for you, but you should understand what you’re getting into before saying “I Do.”