Most people have the goal of getting married one day, and possibly starting a family. But in modern times, it has become more and more common for people to choose to be life partners without ever getting married Some people would rather not have the 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. Here at Self-Made, we will go over all of the advantages couples will have with money once they tie the knot.
40. Tax Incentives and “Bonuses”
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, which often leads 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.
39. The So-Called “Marriage Penalty” Applies to Very Few
There are some people out there who never want to get married because they are afraid of the dreaded “marriage penalty.” This is when two partners making a lot of 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.
The vast majority of Americans who get married, one partner is making significantly more money than the other. Or, 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.
38. Lower Insurance Rates
When shopping for home and life insurance, married couples will always qualify for lower rates than people who are single. 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.
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. This provides relief on their mortgage if it’s more expensive than what the house is actually worth.
For example, if a couple purchased a house during the bubble at $400,000, and it since dipped down to $200,000, they could sell their house 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.
36. Free Child Care
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 consume a full-time salary. Couples have the choice to either continue being a two-income household and pay someone else to look after their children. Or they can choose to have one partner stay home to raise the children.
By having one partner stay at home, they save 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.
35. Easier Mortgage
It is possible to get a mortgage if you are single. 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 income.
However, if you marry someone who has declared bankruptcy or has a terrible credit score, buying a house together might actually make it more difficult for you to qualify. Before you apply, make sure you discuss these details with your spouse.
34. Sharing Costs of a House
We already mentioned the fact 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 cost with you. If one of the people is not working or makes significantly less money, their help is still very valuable in terms of moving, repairs, and meeting with contractors.
33. Potential for a Raise
Years ago, people would find a career and stick with it until they were ready to retire. In today’s world, there is not as much job security, and Millennials have little loyalty when to comes to sticking with a gig. A lot of employers are 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 you get married if they believe you’ll stick with the company. Or a boss may try to suggest bringing you on for a higher-paying position.
32. Paternity Leave
The Family and Medical Leave Act makes it possible for new fathers to take time off of work to be with their new babies. This also counts for same-sex couples who are choosing to adopt a child. A few select companies offer paid paternity leave so that fathers have the ability to 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, which limits the amount they can afford to spend with their new child.
31. Double IRA Contributions
Normally, 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 person who is working now gets the opportunity to save on behalf of them both.
This is a huge benefit of being married versus single because you can double down on your retirement. This can be especially useful if your employer has agreed to match your IRA contributions.
30. Financial Gifts For Your Wedding
Throwing a wedding is very expensive, so any financial gifts you might get during your wedding 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. Even some friends may decide to give a financial gift if they’re not sure what to give as a present.
If you choose to never get married, your friends and family are never going to have a ceremony where it feels appropriate to give you money for your future together with your partner.
29. Wedding Registry
Nearly every couple who is planning a wedding chooses to sign up for a wedding registry. This is a system where you can get free items given to you from 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 items, making it worth a total of $4,853. Sure, that free stuff is usually not enough to make up for the massive expense of a wedding. But if you choose to keep your costs low for your ceremony, you just may end up coming out ahead from the gifts on your wedding registry.
28. Cheaper Car Insurance
On average, married people tend to drive more safely than single people. This is especially true once they start having children and there is a tiny baby on board they need to remain concerned about.
Once someone is married, they should notify their car insurance company right away. This will result in an immediate discount on their premiums.
27. You Are More Likely to Become Wealthy
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?
26. Greater Financial Accountability
When you’re single, you only have to worry about your personal 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 really 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 irresponsibly their entire life, many of them get serious after tying the knot.
25. Joint Budget
Everyone should make a budget, even if they are single. Even though this is very common advice, few people actually follow it, and their financial status may not be as strong as it could be. 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.
By making a joint budget, it becomes clear how long it will take for the couple to reach their financial goals and pay off debt.
24. Tax Incentives For Selling a House
Some married couples choose to buy a “starter home” before they move into the residence they plan to live out the rest of their lives. Or, they decide that they want to downsize once their kids are grown up. 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.”
23. Spouses Don’t Pay Estate Taxes
When you inherit money from a relative who has passed away, you normally 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 husband or wife.
This gives an advantage to a married couple in terms of lifelong security compared to a couple who is living in a domestic partnership.
22. Spouses Can Avoid Taxes With “Financial Gifts”
Normally, 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, but if it is a substantial gift over $10,000 being deposited into a bank account, these are flagged and reported to the IRS regardless.
In 2013, The American Taxpayer Relief Act made it so that spouses could give one another an unlimited amount of 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 can give as much money as they want to their spouse without having to worry about any tax penalties.
21. Social Security Benefits
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 were receiving your own social security payments from your previous employment history.
20. Life Insurance Benefits
It is possible to buy private life insurance whether you are married or not. But if you are receiving a plan through your employer, they typically expect you to put your husband, wife, and/or 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 has been changed to next-of-kin.
19. Joint Accounts
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. Or they can keep the joint account as a means 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.
Most single people don’t get a joint bank account with their boyfriend or girlfriend. This 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 own individual accounts for their personal spending as well. It just depends on what they have agreed upon.
18. Better Credit Cards and Loans
You may have noticed that in some credit cards and personal loans, they will sometimes ask if you are single, or married. 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 partner who is legally responsible for their debts as well.
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.
17. Transferring a Trust
Some people have a trust fund that was set up by their parents as a way to give them financial security. Normally, this trust fund is protected during the course of 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. Or they can give someone power of attorney in order to control the trust in their absence.
This is incredibly helpful, especially if there ever comes a time in their life when they need their spouse’s help to manage their finances.
16. Smoother Adoption Process
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, at-home evaluations, and require you to take classes. 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.
Single people can adopt children, and make up 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.
15. Veteran and Military Benefits
If someone is a veteran or currently serving in the military, they get certain perks that civilians do not get. This includes veteran discounts at many major retailers, as well as the ability to use coupons long after they expire.
Being a veteran 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 down payment at all.
14. Sharing the Cost
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.
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 big expenses makes it much easier for both partners to succeed with their financial goals.
13. Family Care Leave
In the United States, the Family and Medical Leave Act gives certain employees the right to take up to 12 weeks off of their job per year in order to take care of a sick family member or help their spouse with a new child. This is not a paid leave of absence, but it helps to guarantee people cannot be fired for a medical emergency.
This would only extend to married couples. For example, if your boyfriend or girlfriend was very sick, you cannot use the FMLA to take time off of work. While you would not be getting paid either way, this can be a huge financial detriment to a couple if they realize that they have to quit their job in order to care for a sick partner.
12. Retirement Plan Benefits From a Deceased Spouse’s Employer
Some employers will provide their workers with a retirement benefits plan. Once this person passes away, their spouse becomes the beneficiary of this plan. However, if both partners chose to never get married, the surviving partner will never get those benefits from their loved one after they are gone.
It is important for couples to write a last will and testament even if both partners are in good health and plan to live for a long time. This will make the process a lot smoother once the other person has passed away.
11. Tuition Discounts and Perks
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. This can help someone save thousands of dollars if they are trying to complete their higher education.
And, of course, if they have children together, the kids can get a free college degree and will be far less burdened by student loan debt.
10. Filing Taxes as a Couple is Faster and Cheaper
For most couples, they will discover that filing jointly is a lot 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 or have an accountant work on one file instead of two.
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.
9. More Time to Concentrate on a Career
Single people spend a lot of time going out on dates, hanging out with friends, and focusing on their lives while they are still young. But 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. This is a turning point for a lot of people to begin concentrating on spending more time on their careers.
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 more rare to find people with this sort of drive compared to people who are already settled down.
8. The Right to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
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.
If your husband or wife is killed during an accident that was caused by the negligence of a person or company, you will be eligible to file the lawsuit and potentially get money out of it. But if you were never legally married, and you were just boyfriend and girlfriend, the eyes of the law may not see you as being eligible to receive any such payment.
7. Crime Victim’s Recovery Benefits
In the United States, victims of crimes are able to receive financial assistance if they have incurred expenses as a result of being a victim of a crime. For example, if 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 or anything else related to the event.
When a spouse is killed because they were a victim of a crime, their husband or wife also becomes eligible to apply to have their expenses paid for the funeral, income loss, etc. Sadly, if two people were in a regular relationship, the boyfriend or girlfriend would not be eligible to apply for these kinds of benefits.
6. Shared Debt
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. This is great news for the spouse who has less debt. However, many couples decide to help the other conquer their debts because they see their finances as being a joint effort.
Any debt created during the course of the marriage becomes the responsibility of both parties. This 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 with the goal of becoming debt-free. However, if one comes with a lot more debt than the other person, it can cause issues.
5. Sharing Responsibilities
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 may need to hire help to get all of this done.
There’s a lot going on in people’s busy lives. But 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.
4. Immigration and Residency Benefits
There’s a huge 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 for them to get their citizenship.
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 foreigner can be considered for American citizenship. However, it is a lot easier (and less expensive) compared to 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.
3. A Share of Property In Divorce
In most divorces, assets are split 50/50 between the couple once they break up depending on the laws of the state. The assets that are eligible to be split come from the income earned and property purchased during the course of the marriage. Anything that was earned before the marriage is solely the individual’s property. This can be a financial benefit to the partner who was making less money and a serious detriment to the person who was making more.
Of course, in a normal relationship, both parties break up without having to worry about splitting assets. This may be a huge reason why many people choose to remain unmarried. If you happen to be the partner who is making more and this concerns you, consider signing a prenuptial agreement before you get married.
2. Alimony and Child Support
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, but in the event that it does happen, this is a financial benefit for the spouse who is receiving the alimony.
In most cases, the recipient of child support would be the wife. But there are a few select 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 if both spouses want a clean break where neither party pays alimony to the other.
1. Overall Sense of Security
Last and certainly not least is that getting married gives both people a certain sense of security, both in an emotional and financial sense. In a regular relationship, there is no legal contract forcing the two to stick together. So no matter how deeply you may love and trust one another, there is always that knowledge they are free to leave whenever they want.
Once you have a marriage certificate, it is a sign that you are both very committed, and that splitting apart would be an incredibly difficult endeavor. Most people tend to relax once they are married, knowing that they have found the person they want to spend the rest of their life with.