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10 ways getting married will make you richer

What's love got to do with it? Getting hitched can save you serious cash. Let us count the ways.

By Stacy Johnson Apr 29, 2011 12:35PM

This post comes from Michael Koretzky at partner site Money Talks News.


My 12th wedding anniversary is sometime in the next two weeks. I seriously can't recall the exact date, and I'm desperately trying to figure it out. But here's one thing I do know and will never forget: Getting married was the best decision I ever made. And not just because I love my wife.


"Marry for love, not money," my mother told me. But it seems most of us can marry for both if we're smart about it. Marriage has lots of financial benefits, and only a few of them are so obvious that I knew about them as a bachelor:


Getting together and splitting the bills. This one is easy. Everything is cheaper as a couple. I save half on everything from the water bill to the electric bill, but especially the food bill. When I lived on my own, I had to buy more-expensive individual portions, and I had to throw out food that spoiled before I could get to it.


Unlike me, my wife had roommates. But couples eat together much more often than roomies do. And over the years, my wife and I have developed the same taste for certain foods, which means we buy more in bulk than she did living with friends.


Then there's the tech savings. We have a family plan for our cellphone, we share a laptop and desktop computer, and it's easier to justify the high price of cable TV when I use many of the channels she doesn't (ESPN, Spike) and vice versa (Lifetime, Food Network).


Combining the furnishings. Between the two of us, we nearly filled our first apartment with furniture we owned separately. We still chose to buy some big items (couch, bed) so we could call them our own, but everything from the TV to the kitchen table came with the marriage merger.


And yes, we did squabble over my apparent lack of taste in home furnishings, but thankfully, like most guys, I had enough neutral stuff (TV stand, office desk, recliner) that met spousal standards and saved us money.


Keeping (credit) score. When we got married, I had better credit than my wife, but she had a higher income. I helped her wipe out her debt -- with cash and nagging -- and now she has a much higher credit score than she did before we met. And we both have more cash on hand, which really helped us when it came to the next benefit. Post continues after video.
Buying a house at a bargain price. Of course, we got a much better mortgage rate with our shiny new credit scores, but we profited in other ways too.


First, we played good cop/bad cop with the seller. (I was good cop, since my wife had bought a house before.) Second, when it came time to review the fine print in that intimidating contract, we had two sets of eyes perusing it. And sure enough, my wife spotted an error that could've cost us $400 (basically, a hidden fee that was covered elsewhere in the document).

Getting the benefits of marriage. My wife works for the state, and I work for myself. Guess whose benefits we use? Even for couples who both work for big corporations, one normally has better benefits for their specific needs. And if both work for the same company? Costs can be even lower. 
Living a less-taxing existence. Filing one tax return instead of two is a big deal to me and the wife, not because it saves us a lot of money -- in fact, it may cost us a couple hundred bucks a year -- but because it saves us time and aggravation.
Driving each other happy. My car insurance premiums went down when we got married. It could have been a multiple-car discount. Also, insurance companies think married guys are less likely than single ones to have accidents.

Keeping a balance on the checks. My wife is a sucker for boots -- black boots that all look the same to me. Every time Apple releases a new laptop or iPhone, I start salivating. Together, we keep our whims from winning. One dirty look from the other is usually enough to snap us back to reality and realize we shouldn't crave what we don't need.


Enjoying peace of mind. In these uncertain times, it's nice to know that if one of us gets laid off, we have at least one check coming in. And that did indeed happen to us briefly.


Forging the future. Drawing up a long-term financial plan is not our idea of a fun weekend, but when you make a commitment to each other, you force yourself to do it. And this is the big reason I use to counter the living-together argument: "Hey, we live together and do almost all of this same stuff, so you're overstating the marriage advantage."


Yeah, maybe. And I do know lots of domestic partners (both straight and gay) who use some of these same methods. But at least for me, being married just makes me a little more serious about love and money.


More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:

Apr 29, 2011 6:43PM

I keep trying to figure this out. When i was single i had half the bills and still had tons of money while i made only half of what i do now. Now im married, have to pay all the bills x2.5(She is a big eater)

and while the wife ran up all her and my credit cards, she has money left over and i get about 5 bucks a month. So for having a small savings on insurance and a decent amount on taxes there is no way i am coming out better. At least she does the laundry but very little cooking and cleaning. I would of been better off staying single, eating out and hiring a maid and a monthly hooker visit. At least then i would get some.

Apr 29, 2011 8:17PM
Don't forget, marriage is the #1 cause of divorce...
Apr 29, 2011 6:07PM

There is a tremendous saving on taxes if you are married and one makes a lot of money and one makes very little when you file a joint return. A single person has to start paying 25 percent of their income to taxes when they hit 34,000. Married filling joint doesn't pay 25 percent until they hit 68,000. You get double standard deductions married and if your are over 65 you get 2  senior deductions also.


As a single I paid 5 times the taxes that my brother and his wife did. No sheltered income by either of us with similar incomes. Singles get hosed at the lower brackets. It evens out somewhat when both marrieds make higher similar incomes.

Apr 29, 2011 7:51PM
All that was said above may work in an ideal situation,  after our first child, my wife never went back to work.  22 years later, I work 2 jobs to keep up with all of the bills that have racked up even after my constant nagging her about her spending and our daughter still lives at home.  Now the recession has killed my second job and bankruptcy is looking like a good solution.   Should have divorced years ago!!
Apr 29, 2011 6:31PM
lets see....marriage penalty for fed and state tax, health insurance higher(many young people don't marry, just have kids together and the state pays for the kids health ins thru medicaid as the household threshold for medicaid doesn't bundle both incomes), higher college costs for the kids(less scholarship and low income-low interest loans).  seems the writer lives in a dream world or just had a jounalistic deadline so cobbled together another poorly researched article.  unfortunately the federal and state give away programs have provided disincentives for marriage at just about every turn.  moral decay as an unintended consequence of tax and benefit laws is all i see day in and day out.  incentives to game the system as a single.
May 20, 2011 1:12PM

all fine and dandy if you have the team mentality and have the income. lacking the team mentality is a recipe for disaster.

Apr 30, 2011 9:13AM
Uh... About half of these "ways" are applicable for all couples, not just married ones. Might want to narrow the list down a bit you're talking specifically about marriage.
Apr 29, 2011 8:30PM
Someone should issue this site a "Gold Card".  Not two weeks ago there was a story about being married and having to pay more in taxes. Now that's rich.
May 20, 2011 2:44PM
I don't know all the whys and wherefores but I have been married and I have been single. As far as finances go, i.e. being able to afford things and keeping out of debt I am much, much better off as a single. I think it's because I only have my own spending to worry about and not have to deal with someone else's
Apr 29, 2011 6:44PM
Oh geez! There is no financial gain big enough to ruin you for the rest of your life when she decides she wants to leave. If you are OK with putting your entire financial future on Red or Black and gambling it away, then get married. 50% end in divorce and with the current laws, you are guaranteed to be put in bankruptcy while she nets the house and tidy little income for allowing you to sleep with her. The conspiracy the government sets up is to try to get you to get married...and once you do, they control your life for you.

Do NOT get married...ever! Stay separate so you can actually reap the rewards of your hard work and dedication. You want to hand over everything you have worked so hard for to someone else, just say, "I do." Your government will happily oblige.

Apr 29, 2011 7:10PM
8 out of 10 described WEREN'T financial, just hypothetical
May 20, 2011 3:48PM

I've been divorced twice...the first was just the mistake of being young and stupid and marrying too quickly...the second was 'rebound guy' from the first, who turned out to be a leech looking for a 'sugar mama' to support him.  While the first was a mutual and fairly peaceful split, I was burned hard financially and emotionally by the second and determined to never marry again...ever.  Now after a decade-long relationship and a 4-year engagement, I find myself preparing to take the plunge for the third time.  It's a true 50/50 relationship, both emotionally and financially, like the one my parents (childhood sweethearts and best friends) had for 43 years.  We've lived together for four years now, and most people assume we're already married.  To us, the piece of paper that would legally bind us isn't a symbol of love and commitment, because we have that's more a symbol of trust that one won't screw the other over financially if it doesn't work out.  We have every intention of growing old together, but we're also realists as well as romantics.  We're going into this with good credit and no debt, hence the long engagement...taking baby steps toward a more durable, lasting union.


There's a line from the film "Dangerous Beauty" (biography of 15th century poet Veronica Franco) that sums up my outlook on marriage.  There's a scene in which Veronica is complaining of arranged marriages when her mother interrupts with "Love has nothing to do with it.  Marriage is a contract [Veronica], not a perpetual tryst."

May 20, 2011 10:19AM
May 20, 2011 2:21PM
A couple of years ago there was a house for sale down the street for sale real cheap. It would of been about half of our rent and i wanted it but since i have the the high income and great credit everything we have is in my name. She has bad credit and low income so i couldn't use her on the loan app and was too close to the income margin to do it by myself.  So much for married life making me able to save money much less richer. My wife finally wanted to cut back on bills and get a pre-paid cell instead of a plan since she hardley uses it. I got an iphone and the next thing i know she gets her upgarde to an iphone too. Instead of cheaper it doubled our phone plan.
May 20, 2011 4:27PM

I've been married for 2 years and lived with his for a year before that. I love my husband and I am happily married, however it always amazes me how much more money I had when I was single even though I made less money. My husband is a full time student and doesn't have a job so that does hurt the bottom line. When you get married you tend to upgrade-we moved from an apartment to a house, bills for a house are much more expensive than for an apartment, we had to get new furniture to fill the other new rooms, we are going to have a child (in about 7 months from now), we have a higher cell phone plan because it's for 2 phones, etc. I love the institution of marriage but it hasn't been a money saver for me-and that's just being honest. When I was single I was able to go shopping every week-now I am counting pennies for groceries...

also the price of everything, such as utilities, gas, and food has gone up while the average paycheck has stayed the same so it can't all be tied to 'marriage' per se.

May 20, 2011 4:04PM

This is bull$hit. When I made half of what I make now I was living like a king. After 5 years of marriage, a house, and 2 kids I am pretty much broke. Oh, and don't forget to add in the cost of a wedding. Sorry ladies, but it's all your fault.


By the way, today is my 5th anniversary and I have a 2 & 4 year old, so I'm not complaining, my family is awesome.

May 14, 2011 12:25PM
Ditto Georgia Mom: legal marriage only accounts for a couple of these. I congratulate the author on his successful 12 years, but marriage isn't for everyone. My boyfriend and I don't intend to ever get married by the government definition. For one thing, we're both in our early 20's. People change, and divorce is hella expensive! For another, we're both committed to our financial independence. It's nice to split the bills, but if something happens to one of us or we split up, we need to be able to handle ourselves. We do share a phone plan, the rent and utilities, but if my SO were to be hit by a car, I wouldn't be out on the streets. Our views may change when we get older, but for now we don't see much reason to apply for a marriage license. We can wear rings and go around just the same as if we shared a last name.
May 2, 2011 8:21PM
It is good that your wife is "... a sucker for boots -- black boots" because that is exactly what she will use to kick your butt in Divorce Court! While you offer "10 ways getting married will make you richer" I can offer you 600,000 (U$D) reasons that will make you richer by staying single!
May 20, 2011 1:12PM

It's been said, "If you marry for money, you deserve every penney." 


Ok, the listed "ways" are a joke.  Get a roommate if you wanna cut living expenses. 


Rich is state of mind.  Feeling richer can simply be a matter of living within or slightly below your means.  


I truely feel being in a 2 household relationship is the best way to go (in other words, he has his place and I have mine).  I can't help someone else pay off their debt or clean up their credit when I didn't help them mess it up.  And let's not talk about your partner having alimony, child support, Or being fiscally irresponsible. Or having to battle over how, when, where to spend "our" money.  Money is one of the top reason's for divorce for a reason.  Tread marriage with caution. it's not for every one.

Apr 29, 2011 7:37PM
If you're a woman, don't get married.  Period.  In a relationship - financial fail.  Alone, success.  At least that's the way my life went.
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