I’ve been mulling over the post that James did a couple of days ago on Why Married People are Richer, and the comments that the post generated. I see some truths in the theories that exist around marriage and wealth, and just as much reason not to buy into it.
Certainly from our experience in building wealth as a couple we have enjoyed prosperity along with our relationship. For the most part I would say that the commitment is more important that the actual marriage itself. While emotionally I’m an advocate for marriage, the numbers don’t lie in that our biggest plummet in wealth was due to spending $25k on our wedding and honeymoon. Having socked that money away in an investment would have certainly paid off. But, to me, marriage isn’t about an investment. We paid for our own wedding to relieve the burden from our families and friends. We also didn’t elope because we live across the country from our families and wanted to have their support and coming together of two families as part of our marriage.
Given the divorce rate in the US, there is plenty of reason to not get married as a means to preserve wealth. If marriage is an indicator of wealth, then divorce is an even better indicator of a decline in that wealth.
As for being a loser or not a loser, I don’t buy this bit either. Hard to say how the cards might have fallen another way, but who knows if James or I would be married if it weren’t to each other. I could just as well see myself in the category that one comment mentioned about being stuck with a limited supply of available mates after pursuing ones’ career. I also know as many losers who are married then are not.
I guess that in the end I see that financial management has so many factors that are separate from marriage; marriage simply adds on to the dynamics of financial management. Once you are in a relationship you could just as well support one another as you could instigate poor financial practices. I know that I’ve certainly dated folks in the past that caused me to spend more money than I would have if I had remained single. I would say that it has more to do with personal accountability than whether or not you are married.
Just food for thought.