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Could Marriage Be Better for Your Finances?

by Miranda Marquit

It’s true that right now, due to the difficulties in the economy, expensive life events are being avoided. Many people are avoiding marriage, divorce and having kids in an attempt to reduce the impact on household finances. But could marriage actually be better for your finances than staying single?

Combined Income = Better Financial Stability

If you both have income, combining finances can mean better financial stability. After all, you now have a more diverse revenue stream. If one of you loses a job, the other still has income to help support the household until the other partner can find a new job. Or, perhaps, two incomes offers the chance for one of you to cut back on the “day job” and start a side hustle, or work to develop passive income. All of this can lead to financial stability. Plus, with a combined income, your borrowing power increases, and you might get better offers for various services because of a higher income. And, don’t forget that there are tax advantages to being married.

Combine and Lower Your Costs

You can also see lower costs if you combine households. Instead of both of you paying for your own place, own utilities, etc., you can move in together and save by splitting these living costs. Everyone ends up with more disposable income. And, of course, this benefit doesn’t even have to come with marriage. Just moving in together can reduce some of your household expenses.

In some cases, getting married can lower your overall insurance premiums, since your risk goes down. You can also combine health insurance. Look at which partner has better benefits and both of you can get on that insurance, and possibly save money. Consider the benefits of, if you don’t combine finances completely, at least combining households.

Improve Your Health

Another benefit to marriage might be better health. Long-term, happy marriages can improve your health. (The so-called “marriage benefit” doesn’t work so well if your relationship is troubled.) Better health is increasingly tied to better finances, due to the fact that you can save on higher health care costs when you have better health — and no need to make a lot of doctor visits or take medications. Plus, when you have a partner to help you, you can encourage each other to exercise and eat right.

When Marriage Might Not Help Your Finances

While marriage can help your finances in some ways, you do need to be careful. In some cases, it can be worse for your finances. Combining finances might leave you exposed to your partner’s debt risk, or you might find yourself saddled with his or her poor credit score (although this is more likely to happen in a common property state). Also, if your partner has a poor driving record, adding him or her to your insurance might increase your costs, so be careful.

Also, watch out for someone with different money values than you. If you are too incompatible, trying to mesh your finances can be frustrating and offset some of the advantages. So, before you decide to combine finances, make sure you consider the pros and the cons, and consider whether you will truly benefit from marriage.


Published or updated November 17, 2011.
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bethy

Marriage certainly helped my finances; when I was struggling to find a “career-focused” job and working retail, my husband’s income was definitely appreciated. And sharing income in San Francisco is extremely helpful when it comes to housing expenses. However, we’ve certainly had our share of disagreements/discussions about money. But, for the most part, it’s usually an experience of growth, rather than anxiety.

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2 Ryan

My wife and I had a few of those discussions early in our marriage, but I think we’re pretty much on the same page now. It was definitely a learning and growing experience!

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3 Krantcents

Itis better for my life and therefore better for my finances. Happy people are generally more successful.

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4 Ryan

Well said. :)

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5 Shaun @ Smart Family Finance

There is also a savings on groceries as well since recipes are better suited for two than one.

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