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Economic Benefits of Marriage

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

posted by Andrew

When you think about marriage, the images that spring to mind are usually brides in white, churches, rings, house and two children, and the like. But one aspect of marriage is often overlooked and was brought to my attention the other day.

I was reading a document about the economic benefits of marriage, part of "The state of our unions 2006", a report published by the National Marriage Project, based at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. The aim of this report, released every year, is to educate people on the social, economic and cultural conditions affecting marital success and wellbeing in America. It is a great read, and full of lots of really great information about what is going on inside our families and marriages.

So in looking at marriages, we often overlook what wonderful wealth-generating institutions they really are. Married couples create more economic assets over a lifetime than single people or cohabiting couples. So why is that?

The first reason is that marriage provides economies of scale in the fact that it is cheaper for two to live together than it is separately. The second reason is that as a couple, each person can specialize in certain areas and in doing so increase efficiency.

Married couples on average save and invest more in their future to secure a stable lifestyle, and married men tend to earn between 10 and 40 percent more than their single counterparts.

In addition to this, married couples qualify for more government and workplace assistance in the form of maternity leave, subsidies, and tax relief as an incentive to build families and do their bit for population growth.

So if marriages are such wealth-creating units, what happens if couples divorce?

Things go downhill economically if a couple decides to end the marriage and divorce, and research has shown that divorce can increase child poverty which significantly increases the cost to society in the form of health and welfare programs and initiatives.

A lot of the information here may seem logical once you consider it, but the actual reading of the impact of marriage and divorce and its associated social benefits and costs makes for very interesting reading. The economics of it may not be interesting for some, but it is a worthwhile incentive in doing all you can to save marriages and decrease the risk of divorce.

The cost to you financially both in the immediate and long-term may come as a surprise. Equally, it may cause both of you to reconsider divorce and re-evaluate the worth of maintaining and saving your marriage.

It is one of many important factors to consider.



Comment by Bart D

October 11, 2006 @ 11:10 am

I wish I had thought more about the economic impact of my marriage problems before I let them get so bad. Thanks for this article. It certainly helps people open their eyes to the value of trying to work things out.


Comment by Dennis Richard

October 11, 2006 @ 1:26 pm

I totally agree with this article. My wife of twenty-five years is divorcing me as I write this, it should be final in She says nothing will change we just won’t be living in the same house. I know that going from two incomes and one mortgage to two morgages is going to make a big impact on our lives and futures. She on the other hand thinks that it won’t be any different. Of course it will be different living on one income suporting the same house and bills. I have given up and am not even trying any more because she does not care.


Comment by chris dale

October 11, 2006 @ 7:53 pm

I wish with all my heart that she my wife would think about our marrage our son but all she s got is a new boyfriend which he visits my home takes my son and wife out on trips stays overat night.Its realy hurting at the moment ,but thank you for your emails thay do help ,wish i had had an idea what was going on in the past i would have sorted it out with your help .all marrages need help but she does ent want it wish she would.


Comment by Anthony

October 11, 2006 @ 11:47 pm

Hi, I’m from Barados and here we have what we call “common law marriage”, that’s when a couple lives together for five or more years. This has been a regular practice for many generations. The point is that you don’t have to be married to live together and so derive the benifits that this article speaks to.


Comment by sunshine

October 13, 2006 @ 8:06 pm

Great advice! But what if your partner is in an affair and has no intention of stopping? Let it go on forever to make ends meet?

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