Most people desire to get married one day and start a family. However, many couples remain unmarried for decades. They decide to live together and raise families without getting legally wed. Some people would rather not have a legal contract between the two of them to prove their love. However, getting married has loads of legal and financial perks compared to staying in a regular relationship.
Let’s go over all of the advantages couples will have with money once they tie the knot. Check out the 50 financial advantages of being married.
50. Build Joint Credit
Many people grapple with no credit from either not opening credit cards or lines of credit early in life. Poor credit comes from struggling to make payments when they did, missing payments, and racking up penalties for late fees. It can be hard to rebuild good credit once yours is damaged. However, getting married to a responsible borrower is one of the significant financial advantages of marriage. Of course, if you have poor or no credit, it’s essential to discuss that with a potential spouse. Do so before you combine your finances. That way, they aren’t hit with a nasty surprise rejection on a mortgage or car loan application.
You and your spouse can reach a mutual understanding about credit, debt, and making responsible payments. Then, taking out a joint credit card with your spouse’s solid credit can help you rapidly build good credit as well. All of the good credit created through a joint credit card will apply to both of your credit scores, and it will be far easier for you to access new credit cards and lines of credit to build your score with the co-application of your spouse. While it’s better not to have to rehab anyone’s credit score at all, it is a positive bonus of marriage.
Health insurance is one of the fastest-growing costs in the United States right alongside college tuition, and it routinely far outpaces inflation and dwarfs measly income growth. Medical debt is the leading cause of bankruptcy in the United States. So not having health insurance isn’t an option anyone can afford, no matter how expensive and poor coverage the insurance is. Thankfully, married people who both work and have employer-sponsored health insurance face a luxury most Americans can’t afford. They can choose between plans or possibly even have both their separate insurances paid for or subsidized by their employer.
A single working person only has the option of their employer-sponsored health insurance or possibly buying through their state’s private insurance marketplace. However, going through the market carries no employer subsidy and can be incredibly expensive, even for young, relatively healthy people. When two married people work, they can choose which employer-sponsored plan is better and have the other spouse go on that at a reduced employer + spouse rate. Alternatively, some companies allow married employees to stay on their insurance as individuals, leading to zero-premium payments. However, many employers require married employers to join their spouse’s insurance if possible to save costs.
Married people typically have, by default, the ability to make legal decisions for their spouses. That is true in the unfortunate event that illness or injury incapacitates them. It is a sad possibility and indeed not a glamorous financial benefit of marriage. However, it can be imperative if disaster strikes. This benefit is typically not available to unmarried and sometimes even common law married couples. A power of attorney is a critical role granted to a loved one if you can’t make decisions for yourself. It can apply to both health decisions and large, expensive financial decisions.
For single people or people in unmarried domestic partnerships, the power of attorney and the decision-making powers it gives are for next-of-kin. That includes parents, siblings, or children. Here is one of the significant strengths of legal marriage that caused the LGBTQIA+ community to fight hard for marriage equality. That way, they can retain the same say for their partner’s wellbeing as heterosexual married couples. As with any team, including married ones, you and your partner should create living wills. These will dictate the power of attorney, desired medical treatment, and any financial decisions like creating trusts that you want in the event of your illness or death.
Another unglamorous benefit of marriage is the ability to roll over their IRA to secure your retirement future. An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) can be employer-sponsored or individually maintained and comes in multiple forms like Traditional and Roth. Each has its pros and cons in terms of the ability to withdraw funds and tax liability. However, you roll over any form of IRA to a legal spouse upon the owner’s death. That is a benefit beyond simply being a sole beneficiary, as that would mean a disbursement of the funds.
In the event of a spouse with an IRA dying, you can rollover the IRA into a new or pre-existing IRA under the widowed spouse’s control. That allows them to continue investing in the IRA and growing the investment throughout the rest of their life until retirement, unlike a simple disbursement of a retirement fund to a designated sole beneficiary, as is customary with 401(k) retirement plans upon the death of the owner. This flexibility is a vital asset of an IRA for married couples. It could be considered one of the strongest financial advantages for being married for those able to invest towards retirement heavily.
If someone is dying with no will decreeing who gets their belongings, the law typically favors the legal spouse. If a couple isn’t married, the question of inheritance gets far murkier, with children or even parents or siblings having a much stronger claim to the dearly departed assets and belongings. There are countless court cases of children and romantic partners fighting in court over land, money, houses, and more on account of the lack of a will. Furthermore, courts don’t view non-married romantic partners as automatic inheritors the way legal spouses are.
Everyone should have a living will and last will, but it’s vital for the wealthy or have many assets or property. If you value your partner’s financial security in the event of your death and you are not married, a will is an absolute must. There is also the factor that legally married partners can inherit an estate without any taxation. In contrast, a common law or domestic partnership partner would have to pay quite exorbitant taxes on the same estate due to the simple lack of a marriage certificate. Consult your financial planner and write your will if you aren’t married.
The United States is often thought of as an overly-litigious nation due to our habit of frequent lawsuits and few, if any, controls on the size of damages awarded in said lawsuits. However, it truly is vital to sue in the event of fraud, a wrongful death, or any other cases. Suppose your partner is an unmarried domestic partner or even just a boyfriend/girlfriend. In that case, there is little to no legal ability to sue on behalf if negligence or malfeasance incapacitates them. That would necessitate a lawsuit leaving both you and your injured partner in dire financial straits.
Suppose you are legally married and your spouse is incapacitated or killed through questionable means. In that case, you have the right and legal ability to sue the responsible party on your partner’s behalf. It is incredibly important in the event of large medical bills or unexpected funeral expenses. It’s a horrible possibility to have to think about and plan for. Nevertheless, incidents like these can be a sad reality. It’s far better to be prepared to face them than to be left in the lurch of legal limbo. If your partner works in a dangerous field, it is imperative to discuss marriage with your financial planner.
Federal student loans in the United States are subject to several different Income-Based Repayment plans (IBRs) and Income-Driven Repayment plans (IDRs). These plans use the borrower’s income against the size of the current loan balance to determine the appropriate financial hardship reduction in loans. It can reduce loans to as little as $0 per month with no interest for single borrowers. Also, a 10 to 15 year forgiveness period. IBRs can be more complicated for married couples. However, you can still be an important benefit of legal marriage. That is especially true if both spouses have similarly low incomes.
In some cases, filing joint taxes as a married couple can lead to an increase in student loan payments under IBRs and IDRs, especially if one spouse has a large amount of debt but a significantly lower income. The increase in income from their spouse could put them on the hook for substantially larger monthly payments. However, suppose two spouses have relatively similar low incomes; for example, say they are both social workers or young teachers. Furthermore, say they have large loan amounts. Then, combining their incomes could result in similar or possibly even lower payments than filing individually. As with all tax balancing acts, talk to your account.
There is absolutely nothing romantic about the idea of using your beloved spouse as a tax shelter for any reason. However, it is one of the potentially largest cost-saving financial benefits of being legally married to your partner. Generally speaking, a tax shelter is any method of reducing your taxable income so that you pay less tax. Some tax shelters are common and perfectly legal, like retirement funds and pre-tax deductions for medical and childcare benefits. Others are considerably dodgier and can get you in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS.) One legal and commonly used shelter is one’s spouse.
For example, suppose you operate a business with severe losses in a given year. Let’s say you filed separately; you would only be able to lower your taxable income to zero by writing off those losses. However, if you are married, you can apply those losses jointly and reduce your spouse’s income accordingly in addition to your own. That allows you to write off more of your losses. This strategy also works for high medical expenses in the same manner. While not a pleasant benefit, it can be incredibly valuable.
There is bountiful data that married people live longer than single and divorced people. Whether this is due to companionship, another person to remind you to take care of yourself, or other factors is less clear. However, there can be no doubt that marriage directly impacts your life expectancy. If you live longer, and especially if your health remains at a high level during most of your life to keep working full time, you can work for more years and save longer for retirement resulting in both higher lifetime earnings and larger retirement nest eggs.
This benefit of marriage boils down to simple mathematics. Suppose being married is associated with a longer and healthier life, according to numerous studies. You will likely be able to keep working and earning an income for more years versus having to retire early or go on disability, both of which sharply impact your lifetime earnings and retirement income. So a healthy married person who can keep working until 68 instead of having to retire early will earn considerably more over their lifetime through sheer years of income. Also, they should be able to save and grow their retirement account for longer before using it.
In addition to living longer, there is abundant evidence that married people are happier throughout their lives than single or divorced people. Despite the many jokes in our culture about the “ball and chain,” having a spouse has many physical and mental health advantages. We are far more likely to be better off emotionally as a result of our spouse. This emotional wellbeing can, and often does, translate to financial well being as a similarly large body of research indicates that happy, optimistic people earn more money over their lifetimes.
One of the strongest predictors of someone becoming wealthy, aside from the most natural predictor of being born into wealth, is someone’s sense of unbridled optimism. Pessimists typically are not an excellent fit for finance and investing. They are also more likely to earn less over their lifetime due to interpersonal conflict and less than stellar work performance. What about a married person who is happy with their spouse and sees optimism in life? They could well end up earning more, working longer, and having a larger retirement nest egg built up than a single or divorced person. Plus, you have someone to enjoy that wealth with.
For most married couples, they will pay less in taxes when they file together under one household. They typically get a higher exemption since they are two individuals coming together. Even if only one spouse is working, they still get that double tax exemption, leading to bigger tax breaks on their taxes. The tax benefits don’t stop there either. You can also use your spouse as a tax shelter in case of a business deal gone awry, and you can protect the estate if one of the spouses passed away through the lack of tax on estate transfers between married partners.
Numerous other factors give an advantage to married couples filing jointly, such as deducting both partner’s student loan interest even if only one partner contributes income towards the filing. Some people fear paying higher taxes due to the increased income of two-income earners. However, it rarely ends up causing an overall increase in taxes due to the additional deductions available and the comprehensive tax system being set up to the advantage of legally married couples. If you are worried about your taxes going up drastically due to marriage, you are likely concerned with nothing, but still, consult with your accountant before popping the question.
39. The So-Called “Marriage Penalty” Applies to Very Few
Some people out there never want to get married because they are afraid of the dreaded “marriage penalty.” That is when two partners making much money are bumped up to a higher tax bracket once they combine their income into one household. However, this only affects people who are already in the upper-middle-class or considered wealthy. For most Americans who get married, one partner is making significantly more money than the other. Alternatively, one partner gives up their job so that they can raise their children at home. They almost always have tax benefits rather than the penalty.
It is worth noting that the dreaded marriage penalty may well not apply to wealthy people anyway since there are often numerous loopholes and deductions that can be used to shuffle around income and save money on taxes. It’s no secret that the wealthiest among us normally pay the least in taxes thanks to arcane, favorable tax laws. If you are wealthy and want to get married, don’t be discouraged by the idea of higher taxes since you’ll likely be able to dodge paying them through creative accounting anyway. If you are concerned about the marriage penalty, talk to a qualified financial advisor before tying the knot.
When shopping for home and life insurance, married couples will always qualify for lower rates than single people. Insurance companies see married couples as being committed to staying together and more responsible. Married people tend to live longer as well. So it makes sense that life insurance would become cheaper. It may seem unfair to single people and those in unmarried partnerships. However, these types of discounts are based on decades of actuarial research that has found such demographic factors to be predictive of less risky behavior and thus less expensive to insure due to that lower risk.
Other factors that can save you money on home and auto insurance including having a strong credit score, which provides a relatively significant financial stability discount. Having certain professions such as working in academic institutions can also offer an employment-based discount. As commercials will often remind you, bundling home and auto insurance together through one provider can often save you quite a bit of money. Suppose your bank with certain large chains or some credit unions. In that case, they may offer insurance agent services to shop around to find you the most competitive insurance options available, which is well worth pursuing.
37. Freddie Mac Enhanced Relief Program Initiative
For married couples who already have a mortgage, they may qualify for help from The Freddie Mac Enhanced Relief Program Initiative. This program is meant to help people who purchased a home during the housing bubble. That provides relief on their mortgage if it’s more expensive than what the house is worth. For example, if a couple purchased a house during the bubble at $400,000, and it has since dipped down to $200,000, they could sell their home and still owe the remainder on their mortgage. Not everyone qualifies for this assistance, but if it describes a situation you are in currently, it’s worth looking into.
Many forms of financial relief and assistance are available to single people and married couples but not jointly available to people living together but not legally married. Financial relief programs with income limits can also be challenging for non-married teams. Why? Each of their incomes will be counted separately against the threshold versus together, which often has a more flexible entry based on the larger family size. People who rely on any sort of state or federal benefit like SNAP, disability, unemployment, or others should talk with a financial planner before getting married to ensure that changing income thresholds won’t cause cancellation of critical benefits the spouse’s income can’t replace.
Married couples who choose to have children need to decide what to do about child care. It’s not cheap. According to AmericanProgress, the average cost of child care in the United States is $1,230 per child per month. If you have multiple children together, this can add up very quickly to consuming a full-time salary. Couples have the choice to either continue being a two-income household and paying someone else to look after their children. They can also choose to have one partner stay home to raise the children, thereby avoiding the exorbitant costs of professional childcare Monday through Friday.
By having one partner stay at home, a couple can save many thousands of dollars per year. Two unmarried partners could still figure out a similar system, but it becomes much easier when you are both committed to building your financial futures together. However, there are tax trade-offs and other figures to consider, such as the fact that childcare expenses can be deducted pre-tax through flexible spending accounts, which can significantly reduce the overall taxable income of a dual-income family. It’s important to talk to a financial planner before making any drastic decisions like having one partner leave the workforce entirely to raise children to ensure it’s in your family’s best financial interest.
It is possible to get a mortgage if you are single, especially if you are independently wealthy or have a large, stable income source. However, once you are married, it becomes easier to qualify for larger mortgages with a lower interest rate. Once you are married, both incomes are brought together as one household. This boost means you should be able to qualify for a much larger house than as a single person with just one salary. You also look much more stable on paper with two incomes since the loss of one still leaves you with some money coming in.
However, if you marry someone who has declared bankruptcy or has a terrible credit score, buying a house together might make it more difficult for you to qualify. Before you apply, make sure you discuss these details with your spouse. It’s often beneficial for families with a stay at home spouse or homemaker to leave that person off of the application since they would add their debts to the application without actually adding any income. However, if they have stellar credit, it may still be worthwhile to add their information to the application. A suitable lender will weigh these pros and cons with you.
We already mentioned that it is easier to get accepted for a mortgage if you are already married. While it’s not impossible to share household costs with a partner you are not wed to, this is still a major benefit of being married. Instead of trying to pay for absolutely everything on your own, a spouse can split the costs of your home with you. Suppose one of the people is not working or makes significantly less money. In that case, their help is still precious in terms of moving, making repairs and performing upkeep themselves, and meeting with contractors.
In older times, it was assumed that a married couple would have one person (unfortunately, in those times, it also automatically meant the woman) at home to maintain the house. She would clean it, prepare all food, and just generally run the entire household so the working partner could focus solely on their career. Today, both partners are often required to work for financial reasons leaving both partners responsible for divvying up the heavy lifting of managing a household and maintaining careers. It’s no wonder people often report feeling very stressed in our current era, given the double duty that everyone is forced to do.
Years ago, people would find a career and stick with it until they were ready to retire. In today’s world, companies are no longer loyal, and at-will employment can show you the door in a heartbeat. Many employers are also never sure if their young, single employees are going to job-hop. However, if you are married, it suddenly becomes a lot more serious. You will probably want to keep your job because you need that stability in your life to support one’s family. Some bosses will give you a raise in your salary after getting married if they believe you’ll stick with the company.
A boss may also suggest bringing you on for a higher-paying position after you are married since you may be considered less of a “flight risk” for job-hopping. Of course, this sort of preferential treatment for married people skirts the discrimination line based on marital status. If you are single or with a partner with whom you aren’t legally married and feel you are being discriminated against in terms of pay or advancement due to that status, it is worth talking to your state’s board of labor. You can see what remedy, if any, may be available.
The Family and Medical Leave Act makes it possible for new fathers to take time off work to be with their new babies. That also counts for same-sex couples who are choosing to adopt a child. A few select companies offer paid paternity leave so that fathers can take 30 days off of work. Unfortunately, most companies don’t give new fathers any payment during this time off. Check with your employer to see what their policies are. More often than not, new fathers have to go with unpaid time off, limiting the amount they can afford to spend with their new child.
If you live outside the United States, you are in far better luck since the US is one of the only developed countries in the world that doesn’t offer paid parental leave. Parents in most other countries can take at least a month off, with pay, and sometimes even more. In some countries, both parents can take paid leave to spend time bonding with and care for their newborn or newly adopted child. Unfortunately for US parents, one or both parents will likely have to stay working without leaving or returning to work very shortly after having or adopting a child.
Usually, single people can contribute to their Individual Retirement Account (IRA) with their employer. Once they are married, if their partner does not already have their own IRA, the working person now gets the opportunity to save on behalf of both. That is a massive benefit of being married versus single because you can double down on your retirement. It can be advantageous if your employer has agreed to match your IRA contributions, giving you free money only to invest in yourself. The various forms of IRAs have different rules and tax obligations, so consult with your financial planner.
The other most common retirement account managed by employers is 401(k)s, which also benefit married people over single workers. For spouses of employees with an employee-sponsored 401(k), IRS rules require your spouse to list you as the sole beneficiary of the 401(k.) While many benefits allow you to list children or other family members in addition to or instead of a spouse, the 401(k) requires the spouse named the sole beneficiary as long as you are married. All funds contributed to a 401(k) during the marriage are considered joint property and subject to the same rules as other property during divorce.
Throwing a wedding is very expensive, so any financial gifts you might get during your marriage will probably go back into paying for the ceremony. You could always choose to elope and save as much money as possible. Most couples receive financial gifts from their parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles when they get married. Some friends may decide to give a monetary gift if they’re not sure what to give as a present. If you choose never to get married, your friends and family will never have a ceremony where it feels appropriate to provide you with money for your future together with your partner.
However, it is vital not to throw a lavish wedding in anticipation of receiving enough money to offset that cost. Many couples are now starting their marriages deep in debt due to spending tens of thousands on elaborate weddings. A wedding is a special day; it’s fun to throw a great party with friends and family. However, unless you have a wealthy family willing to subsidize a luxurious wedding, it is in your best financial interest to throw a more modest ceremony. That way, you can start your new life together without credit card debt from a massive wedding that only lasts a day.
Nearly every couple who is planning a wedding chooses to sign up for a wedding registry. That is a system where you can get free items given to you by family and friends to make it cheaper to start a life together. Most couples choose to ask for items like blenders, coffee makers, and cookware. According to The Knot, the average wedding registry had 125 things, making it worth a total of $4,853. Sure, free stuff is usually not enough to make up for a wedding’s massive expense. However, if you choose to keep your costs low for your ceremony, you may end up coming out ahead of the gifts on your wedding registry.
For some, the wedding registry is becoming a relic of a bygone era. Many couples now live together before getting legally married, so the traditional wedding registry items of the salad spinner and silverware set no longer make sense for couples who have already combined their household items and manage a household together. Some teams are instead using honeymoon registries to gather donations for lodging, food, airfare, and more or even money for investments instead of traditional household goods to allow family and friends to give more meaningful gifts they are on their financial and household journey together.
On average, married people tend to drive more safely than single people. Whether this is due to generally calming down and becoming more responsible or having a co-pilot yell at you for speeding is probably only known to actuaries. This safe driving trend is especially true once they start having children and there is a tiny baby on board they need to remain concerned about, as evidenced by the number of ‘baby on board’ bumper stickers you see out and about. Once someone is married, they should notify their car insurance company right away. That will often result in an immediate discount on their premiums.
Numerous factors can drastically reduce your car insurance rates. Living in certain parts of the country or even certain cities can raise or lower your insurance depending on the traffic, road conditions, and more. Having a good credit score can give you a significant financial stability discount. Even working in specific fields, including some as obscure as physics, can give you a reduction in your premium. Actuarial science has found numerous factors that reduce your likelihood of getting into car accidents, and all of those factors can save you big money in the long-run on car insurance.
Believe it or not, if you are married, you are more likely to become rich. According to a study conducted by the Journal of Sociology, people who get married increase their net worth by 77%. On top of that, their average net worth increases by 16% for every year someone remains married. Of course, this may be a “chicken or the egg” sort of scenario. Are rich people more likely to get married because they are successful and have a lot going for them? Or do people become more successful after marriage thanks to the increased accountability for a partner?
It’s also quite possible that the numerous financial advantages of being legally married, ranging from the ease of transferring trusts, tax-free gifts, and considerable tax savings, can help give married couples a leg-up on the road to wealth. This list alone has 50 reasons why being married is financially advantageous, and no doubt they all add up to have quite the impact on overall financial health. Two incomes are also better than one, especially for DINKs (dual income no kids) who don’t have to manage the large expenses that come with raising children and can focus more on investing and saving.
When you’re single, you only have to worry about your finances. Even if you’re in a relationship, your boyfriend or girlfriend’s financial status is not your legal responsibility. If you don’t make a budget or save for the future, you are only hurting yourself. When you are in a relationship, both partners usually keep their finances separate until they get married. Once you get married, these financial decisions affect both people, as well as your future children. If someone has been spending their entire life irresponsibly, many of them get serious about their finances after tying the knot.
Suppose you struggle with overspending or paying yourself last. In that case, both financial habits can hurt in the long run, having a spouse help hold you accountable for improving your financial practices can be a huge benefit. It’s often hard to make significant changes alone without an accountability partner, and often a spouse functions as a built-in accountability partner. You and your spouse can make a joint budget and work together to hold each other accountable on progress towards a goal like buying a new car or saving for a down payment on a new home mortgage.
Everyone should make a budget, even if they are single. Even though this is general advice, few people follow it, and their financial status may not be as strong as possible. For newly married couples, they should sit down and create a new budget together. After all, if both of their incomes are now coming together in a joint household, it only makes sense that they go forward figuring out their expenses together. While not an incredibly romantic way to celebrate a new marriage, a fresh joint budget will give a newly married couple a firm financial footing.
It becomes clear how long it will take for the couple to reach their financial goals and pay off the debt by making a joint budget. Whether it be homeownership or a new car, the more carefully a couple budgets and manages their new combined incomes and obligations, the sooner they will be able to start working on their long-term financial goals. Suppose couples decide to keep separate accounts for discretionary spending, even if it’s the bulk of their incomes. They should still collaborate on a joint budget that includes all expenses and savings for future investments or purchases to keep on a stable financing path moving forward in their marriage.
Some married couples choose to buy a “starter home” before they move into the residence, where they plan to live out the rest of their lives. They decide that they want to downsize once their kids are grown up and move into a little retirement cottage. Luckily for married couples, they get a larger tax break on the profits when it is time to sell. According to TurboTax, “If you owned and lived in the place for two of the five years before the sale, then up to $250,000 of profit is tax-free. If you are married and file a joint return, the tax-free amount doubles to $500,000.”
Buying a home is already much easier and more affordable for legally married couples, so the fact that selling a home is also easier and more profitable for a legally married couple is just icing on the cake. A jointly owned home is also far easier to deal with in the event of separation if the couple is legally married, with most states defaulting to a 50/50 split of the sale proceeds unless there are extenuating circumstances like infidelity or abuse. A home is typically a sound investment for anyone, but it can be particularly advantageous for legally married couples.
When you inherit money from a relative who has passed away, you usually have to pay estate taxes. In 2013, President Barack Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act, which made it so married couples do not have to pay the estate tax when they inherit money from their husbands or wives. Since assets are considered to be joint between spouses in almost every way, it only makes sense for estates to be viewed as already the spouse’s property and not subject to taxation as an estate transfer. While this benefits the wealthy more than most, it is still a good change.
That gives an advantage to a married couple in terms of lifelong security compared to a couple living in a domestic partnership. For an unmarried couple, suppose one partner had significantly more money or assets than the other and named them sole beneficiary of those assets. Then, the surviving partner would likely have to pay relatively high estate taxes on property that would simply be considered joint property for legally married couples. Of course, this may vary by state law regarding common-law marriages, so consulting a financial planner for estate and retirement planning is a must for married and unmarried couples alike.
22. Spouses Can Avoid Taxes With “Financial Gifts”
Usually, if you received a large financial gift from a friend or relative, you would have to count that on your taxes as part of your income. Of course, many people choose not to report this. However, if it is a substantial gift over $10,000 being deposited into a bank account, these are flagged and reported to the IRS regardless, so you will likely end up having to pay taxes on the gift in one way or another. However, recent changes to laws have made it possible for spouses to give each other large sums of money without triggering any tax burdens.
In 2013, The American Taxpayer Relief Act made it so that spouses could give one another unlimited money as a financial gift without the other person paying anything in taxes. So if one partner made a lot of money before they got married, they could give as much money as they want to their spouse without having to worry about any tax penalties. While this no doubt can be used in an exploitative way by incredibly wealthy people, it also allows regular people to transfer savings to their partner to use for down payments, college education tuition, and more.
Social Security is paid out of someone’s paycheck when they work full time, and it guarantees they’ll have money to survive on during their retirement. So, what happens to a widow when their husband dies? Thankfully, there are laws in place to protect widows and widowers so that they continue to receive social security benefits even after their partner has passed. However, this is only available to people who are legally married. If you live in a domestic partnership without any legal paperwork binding you both together, you would be left with nothing once your partner died unless you received your social security payments from your previous employment history.
The ability to access a deceased partner’s social security death benefits is vital for stay at home parents. It is critical for disabled spouses who weren’t able to work full time and didn’t earn enough work credits to receive social security independently. If not legally married, such people could face great financial difficulty in their retirement years if they are left ineligible for their partner’s social security benefits through a lack of legal marriage. As part of retirement planning, it is essential, especially for non-married partners, to ensure that any retirement benefits will protect their partner equally in the event of their death.
It is possible to buy private life insurance whether you are married or not. Nevertheless, are you are receiving a plan through your employer? They typically expect you to put your husband, wife, and children as the beneficiary on your life insurance policy. Many people who are not married yet do not expect their boyfriend or girlfriend to put them as the beneficiary on a life insurance plan. It is very uncommon to do this because if they were to break up, it would be a hassle to call up the company and make sure the information changed to next-of-kin.
There have also been more than enough movies and mystery novels written about partners bumping the other person off to access their life insurance. So much in fact that there is a bit of cultural hesitation to name a beneficiary who isn’t your legal spouse. Why? That person would theoretically have more freedom in the event of gaining your life insurance. This idea is, of course, an extreme hypothetical. However, it is merely the cultural norm to not name anyone other than a legal spouse or child as a sole beneficiary of life insurance. Often, single people will name parents or siblings as the sole beneficiary over a non-married romantic partner.
Some married couples find it helpful to create joint checking and savings accounts. Once they have a joint account, they can choose to have their entire paycheck direct deposited there. Alternatively, they can keep the joint account to pay for the shared expenses like the mortgage, rent, and utilities. By having a joint account, both partners can see exactly where the money is going each month. Some married couples choose to keep their financial lives and spending largely separate but may still use a joint account for shared bills like utilities, saving time and money over writing checks.
Most single people don’t get a joint bank account with their boyfriend or girlfriend. That could be potentially dangerous to open an account with a non-legal partner because you cannot close down a joint bank account unless both parties consent. Married people can still have their accounts for their spending as well. It just depends on what they have agreed upon. There is no right or wrong way for a married couple to set up their finances. Flexibility is just another advantage of legal marriage; their finances are protected by their legal marriage status regardless of how they choose to set up accounts.
You may have noticed that they will sometimes ask if you are single or married in some credit cards and personal loans. Lenders use marital status as a determining factor because they believe that married people are more responsible with their money. They are also less likely to default on a loan when they have a legally accountable partner for their debts. Married couples today also typically have two incomes, making their income stream more reliable even if one person temporarily loses a job, making loans and credit card debts less likely to be defaulted on.
Many loan applications will ask about your marital status. If you are single, you carry more of a responsibility to make your credit score nearly perfect and bring in as much money as possible. Since it will be more difficult for you to be qualified, you need to demonstrate your financial worthiness in other ways. You will also likely get smaller loans and credit lines since your income will probably be much smaller than what two people together can provide evidence of. While non-married couples can apply for credit jointly, it’s considered higher risk than married couples due to such relationships’ legal limbo.
Some people have a trust fund that their parents set up to give them financial security. Typically, this trust fund is protected during a marriage, even if it earns money from interest. However, once two people are married, someone can choose to transfer the trust to their spouse. Alternatively, they can give someone power of attorney in order to control the trust in their absence. Trusts can also be an essential way of protecting property such as an owned home for elderly relatives in the event of declining health, be it mental or physical.
The ability to transfer a trust is beneficial. That is especially true if there ever comes a time in life when they need their spouse’s help to manage their finances or protect their family’s finances in the event of being put in a nursing home. Trusts can be complicated to transfer and control, even with marriage, so anyone with a trust or who may need to start one should consult with a non-commission based financial planner to ensure the trust is created in the safest and most financially sound way. Trusts are an essential part of financial security and should be handled carefully.
Even for married couples, the adoption process can be a very long and expensive ordeal, especially if you plan to adopt a child from another country. Adoption agencies will go through background checks, in-home evaluations and require you to take classes on child care and parenting. They are also making sure that the child will enter a household where they can have the best chance of being matched with parents who will be a good fit for their needs. While it can seem like a huge burden, the process helps ensure children are placed in safe homes that will best meet their needs.
Single people can adopt children and makeup nearly 30% of the parents who go through the process. However, during this evaluation process, a single person or someone living with an unmarried partner will be judged more harshly than someone who is already married. An adoption agent will sit down with the future parent to make sure they are financially capable of taking care of a child as a single parent and that their lifestyle is suited for parenthood. Unfortunately, in some US states, LGBTQIA+ spouses, even when legally married, are still subject to extra scrutiny or outright discrimination.
If someone is a veteran or currently serving in the military, they get certain perks that civilians do not get. It includes veteran discounts at many major retailers and the ability to use coupons long after they expire. Being a veteran also means you are now eligible to apply for a low-interest VA Loan from the US government. After marriage, the spouse of the veteran now gets to enjoy the same perks and privileges. Couples can save on their down payment as well or potentially get a mortgage without a down payment at all, saving thousands up-front at the cost of larger amounts.
While it is a possibility no military spouse wants to think about, there is always the possibility that an active service member may be injured or even killed during a deployment or even in training. Suppose this happens to a service member who is not legally married to their partner. In that case, the survivor is not entitled to survivor benefits, which would include their military pension if applicable and any life insurance and death benefits. That is why many young couples get married as soon as one partner enlists. It ensures the other person is protected in the event of a tragedy.
Couples in a relationship can split the cost of large items, and marriage is not necessary. People who cohabitate do this all the time. However, people typically keep these larger purchases like a car or appliances separate before marriage. Without a legal marriage in place, an expensive item like a car or home could be a source of costly and contentious litigation in the event of a break-up since there is no clear law about who would get the item. Married couples can more confidently make joint purchases since most state laws ensure a 50/50 split if the relationship ends in divorce.
Both people may even have their own houses and apartments, making it necessary to have two of everything. Once you are married, it becomes a joint effort to get these items together. Having two people pay for these significant expenses makes it much easier for both partners to succeed with their financial goals. Having only one rent check, even for a slightly bigger place, or only one mortgage and upkeep cost is a massive saving in the long-run and one of the greatest benefits to cohabiting with a partner. Being able to downsize to only one of the things like coffee pots, silverware, and more is also a considerable saving.
In the United States, the Family and Medical Leave Act gives certain full-time employees the right to take up to 12 weeks off their job per year to take care of a sick family member or help their spouse with a new child. That is not a paid leave of absence, but it guarantees people cannot be fired for a medical emergency. For people with disabilities like Multiple Sclerosis or migraines that can be unpredictable, intermittent family leave allows the 12 weeks of unpaid leave to be taken in smaller segments throughout the year whenever the disability or health condition requires.
This benefit currently only extends to married couples. For example, if your boyfriend or girlfriend was very sick, you cannot use the FMLA to take time off of work since it is not a legally recognized relationship under the law. While you would not be getting paid, either way, this can be a substantial financial detriment to a couple if they realize that they have to quit their job to care for a sick partner. Since unmarried couples take on the same risks and burdens in caring for each other, it’s essential to plan for the financial obligations that such care can cause.
12. Retirement Benefits From Deceased Spouse’s Employer
Some employers will provide their workers with a retirement benefits plan, also known as a pension. While this is sadly becoming far less common in the age of 401(k)s, it is one of the best retirement plans out there. Once an employee subject to a pension plan passes away, their spouse becomes the beneficiary of this plan. However, suppose both partners chose never to get married. In that case, the surviving partner will never get those benefits from their loved one after they are gone unless they live in a particularly generous state in terms of common law marriage benefits, but employers may still legally fight it.
Couples need to write a last will and testament even if both partners are in good health and plan to live for a long time. That will make the process a lot smoother once the other person has passed away. It is especially true for unmarried partners since the government will not treat their relationship the same as a legal marriage. In a marriage, the surviving spouse is typically the sole beneficiary for all benefits by default. Without a legal marriage, the services may default to a surviving parent or child instead of the long-term unmarried partner.
If one spouse works full time for a college or university, their spouse can enjoy getting the family discount on tuition if they choose to get their degree. That can help someone save thousands of dollars if they are trying to complete their higher education. College tuition keeps going up year after year at an astounding rate that far outpaces inflation, so the benefit of free tuition will only keep becoming more and more valuable in the future. The long-term financial gains from the other partner finishing a higher education degree without the added debt could be hundreds of thousands of dollars over their lifetime.
Furthermore, if they have children together, the kids can get a free college degree and be far less burdened by student loan debt. Other benefits can be shared when one married partner works for an academic institution. It might include access to the university library or athletic facilities on campus for the spouse. Given how expensive gym memberships can be, little perks like a campus gym membership or free parking on campus to avoid tickets can quickly add up. Spouses are often entitled to their partner’s workplace benefits, even if it isn’t an academic institution.
10. Filing Taxes As A Couple Is Faster and Cheaper
Most couples will discover that filing jointly is a much smoother process compared to doing their taxes as individuals. Instead of each person filing their own taxes, they can sit down and do it together. Alternatively, they can have an accountant work on one file instead of two. All incomes, interest paid, debts, and other factors are simply combined. In turn, the resulting tax bracket is often much cheaper than it would be for two people filing individually. There are some cases, such as two high-income earners, where filing separately may be worth it. Nevertheless, in the vast majority of cases, married filing status saves money.
According to TurboTax, “If the spouses have to file just one tax return, there’s a good chance that it will take less time to assemble the paperwork—at least for the one not doing the taxes—and cost less to have it prepared.” In some cases, tax software may even give you a discount on the amount they charge for you to get your taxes done through their service. For many couples, the joint deductions gained through two people paying student loan interest and other factors makes filing jointly far cheaper than filing two individual tax statements. Of course, always consult with an accountant to be safe.
Single people spend a lot of time going out on dates, hanging out with friends, and focusing on their lives while still young. However, once you are married, all of that changes. People typically become more settled and comfortable in their relationship, knowing that there is a concrete plan for their future. That is a turning point for many people to begin concentrating on spending more time on their careers. When you know you have a stable, supportive partner at home, it’s much easier to turn your time and energy into building your professional network and career.
It’s not necessary to be married in order to be serious about your career, of course. Many single people have this mindset from an early age to be focused on their goals. However, it is far rarer to find people with this sort of drive than those already settled down. Simply having someone to share the burden of managing a household gives married people far more time and energy to focus on their careers than those trying to manage it all alone. However, people with children have often drained anew of this time and energy since raising children is such a huge commitment.
We truly hope that no one will ever have to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their spouse. However, it is a major benefit of being married versus being in a normal relationship. Was your husband or wife is killed during an accident caused by the negligence of a person or company? You would be eligible to file the lawsuit. Moreover, you can potentially get money because of it. However, if you were never legally married, that’s not the case. Suppose, you were just boyfriend and girlfriend during a death. The eyes of the law may not see you as being eligible to receive any such payment.
Some states have conditions that meet “common law” marriage. Examples may include living together for a certain number of years. Alternatively, proving you have combined finances. Common law marriage can help protect non-married people from falling through the financial cracks. This notion is especially so for wrongful death. If you live in the United States with a long-term partner, it’s worth checking your state’s common law marriage definition. Why? It can vary drastically between states. The descriptions of what benefits common law spouses are entitled to in the event of wrongful death can vary. Several factors include the state laws, the terms and conditions of insurance, and more.
In the United States, victims of crimes can receive financial assistance if they have incurred expenses due to being a victim of a crime. For example, suppose someone was mugged and had to go to the hospital. They may be able to have those medical expenses paid for free. If your spouse was the victim of a crime, you would both benefit from recovering the cost of lost property. Also, you can claim anything else related to the event. Many state and federal benefits apply to legal spouses. Moreover, crime victim recovery benefits are no exception that can protect both parties.
Was your spouse killed as a victim of a crime? As the husband or wife, you are eligible to apply to have their expenses paid for the funeral and income loss. Sadly, if two people were in a regular relationship, the same would not be true. The boyfriend or girlfriend would not be eligible to apply for these kinds of benefits. The same typically applies to social security death benefits and life insurance. That is, unless the non-married partner named the other person their sole beneficiary. Regardless, legal marriage eliminates a huge hurdle to obtaining survivor benefits. And that goes for all kinds, including various crime survivor benefits.
One of the financial aspects of marriage is that both spouses have to share their debt once they are married. Depending on the individual situation, this can be both a good thing or a bad thing. Whatever debt was acquired before the marriage took place is the sole responsibility of the individual person. So if one spouse is debt-free and the other has $100,000 in student loan debt, the debt-free spouse is not responsible for paying on the pre-existing debt. That is excellent news for the spouse who has less debt. However, many couples decide to help the other conquer their obligations because they see their finances as joint efforts.
Any debt created during the marriage becomes the responsibility of both parties. It can make it easier to attain certain goals, especially if both partners are working and willing to split the cost of borrowing money down the middle. In the best-case scenario, both people are determined to come together to become debt-free. However, if one comes with a lot more debt than the other person, it can cause issues. There have been sad cases of people becoming involved with multi-level marketing schemes and sinking their families into thousands of dollars of debts that both spouses are responsible for, ending in acrimonious divorces.
When you run a household, there is a lot to worry about. Between pet and child care, commuting to work and school, chores, finances, grocery shopping, and house repairs, there is a never-ending list of things that need to get done. If you were single, you might need to hire help to get all of this done. However, with a spouse, you have a person to help you carry the burden of managing your household. While this can be managed with a non-married partner as well, marriage has the long-term financial stability that encourages equal participation in managing the home.
There’s a lot going on in people’s busy lives. Nevertheless, a housewife (or stay-at-home husband) typically does all of these responsibilities while the other spouse is at work. The value of this work being done by the partner who stays at home is incredibly valuable for how smoothly their household runs. The value of their work is typically worth tens of thousands of dollars. In the earlier half of the 20th century, society was structured to think that a spouse would be at home to manage the house. That meant to do all of the cleaning and cooking and often grow some produce to supplement the family’s food. At the time, it was always the woman.
There’s a substantial financial perk to getting married when one spouse was not born in the United States. When a foreign person gets married to an American, that does not automatically make them a citizen. The foreign-born spouse will get a green card, and the American spouse must petition them to get their citizenship. However, that green card status is still a considerable benefit that puts the immigrant spouse miles ahead in line with people trying to immigrate without an American spouse’s support. The green card is such a powerful benefit that “green card marriages” are even a joke about those who marry simply for that access.
They still have to go through tests to gain their American citizenship, and it is a process that takes years. Couples have to be married for at least three years before the immigrant partner can be considered for American citizenship. However, it is a lot easier (and less expensive) than trying to become a citizen or permanent resident without getting married. Single people must be a permanent resident for at least five years and prove they have lived in the country the entire time. The barriers to citizenship without a spouse petitioner are incredibly high and difficult, time-consuming, and expensive to overcome.
In most divorces, lawyers split assets 50/50 between the couple once they break up, depending on the state’s laws. The assets that are eligible to be split come from the income earned and property purchased during the marriage. Anything they acquired before the wedding is solely the individual’s property. That can be a financial benefit to the partner who was making less money and a serious detriment to the person who was making more. The split can be even harsher in abuse and infidelity cases, where the court may choose to award a larger percentage and alimony to the harmed partner.
Of course, both parties break up in a normal relationship without having to worry about splitting assets. That may be a huge reason why many people choose to remain unmarried. Do you happen to be the partner who is making more, and this concerns you? You should consider signing a prenuptial agreement before you get married. However, it’s reassuring for most couples that the life they have built together can be equitably split if the marriage ends up no longer working. Outside of genuinely acrimonious divorces involving infidelity or other issues, it is likely a comfort source that both partners can walk away financially sound.
Biological fathers are expected to pay child support whether they are married or not. Women do not get alimony unless they have been legally married and divorced. We do not wish divorce upon anyone. However, there is a financial benefit for the spouse who is receiving the alimony if it does happen. Blended families are one in which one or both partners had previous marriages and children. They may end up having a surprisingly large income from alimony and child support payments in addition to their incomes. Of course, children are also costly and negate that income.
In most cases, the recipient of child support and alimony would be the wife. However, there are a few exceptional cases when husbands have received alimony from their wives. It depends on which spouse makes more money at the time of the divorce. If both spouses sign a prenuptial agreement, this would be arranged ahead of time. That way, if both spouses want a clean break where neither party pays alimony to the other. Courts are also becoming far fairer in awarding equal or even sole custody to deserving fathers. This notion has led to an increase in men receiving child support payments.
Last and certainly not least is that getting married gives both people a certain sense of security. This notion is true both in an emotional and financial acumen. In a stable relationship, there is no legal contract forcing the two to stick together. It doesn’t matter how deeply you may love and trust one another. There is always that knowledge they are free to leave whenever they want. There are legal consequences to separation. When married, there are procedures and laws to follow for the separation. You have to undergo a splitting of assets to protect both parties with marriage. Combine this stability with the tax and insurance benefits of being married, and you get much security.
Once you have a marriage certificate, it is a sign that you are both committed. Moreover, it shows that splitting apart would be a complicated endeavor. Most people tend to relax once they are married. They know that they have found the person they want to spend the rest of their life with. Some couples choose to draft prenuptial agreements that specify how assets would be divided in the event of a divorce. They usually do this if one or both people are wealthy. For marriages in which both partners work, the two-income sources provide a much higher financial security level.