Why Married People Are Richer

by Dual Income No Kids on April 14, 2008 · 0 comments

Married people are richer. If you read much personal finance literature, you’ll have learned this by now. While it’s an interesting observation, what’s more interesting is why this is:

Speculation has involved a variety of topics:

1) Economies of Scale: In married households, there are economies of scale. Basically, its more efficient for two people to live together than for a single person alone.

2) Personality: Married people have personalities which are more conducive to building wealth. For example, if you’re a loser, an idiot or flaky it’s less likely that you’ll both get married or build wealth. In other words, it might be that married people are richer simply because they have personalities more conducive to building wealth (e.g. they aren’t losers). In this case, its a selection effect, that is people with personalities conducive to building wealth are also those who get married.

3) Expectations and Lifestyle Changes: Society values marriage. It might be that after people become married, they change their behavior to meet social expectations. As their behavior changes, they become more responsible, save for the future, etc. It may also be once married, couples receive more financial support from relatives, etc. Basically, social processes surrounding marriage make people get their act together.

If you’re looking to seriously understand why marriage builds wealth, you might consider the following links:

The Case for Marriage
Marriage, Wealth and Housing
Wealth Effects Differ By Race

Personally, I think the reason why married results in greater wealth is probably due to some combination of the three topics.

Most recently, a study last year by Jay Zagorsky has drawn a lot of media and blog attention to this topic. I’ve read the Zagorsky article. While it’s important, one should remember that it’s not exactly a new finding. Sociologists have known that marriage builds wealth for years.

For news on Zagorsky’s study:


Blogland commentary regarding Zagorsky:

Free Money Finance

Young and Broke
Science Blog

In terms of my and Miel’s situation, we got married last July out in Oregon. So far, wealth has increased by 26% this year – From $300,000 at the start of the year of 07, to $380,000 when we added it up couple of months ago.

Hope you enjoy!


p.s. Those long time readers of our blog will note this posting is a re-re-run. Our apologies, I’m prepping for a meeting and have a hot date at the library later on this afternoon!

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