Tag Archives: money

FOR COUPLES: The Secret Power of Marriage: Financial Domination

Couple holding billFree of most sexual restraints, today’s fast driving career women are often choosing to forego the legal side of marriage, wondering why it is even necessary at all. In the last couple weeks I’ve shown you research that links marriage to a healthier heart, positive health habits, and even a speedy recovery after surgery. But did you know that marriage can even lead to good financial health?

Our hunter/gatherer ancestors recognized the importance of providing for family to avoid starvation during harsh winters, but today the road to being a good provider is muddled with degrees, certifications, and job opportunities. But one human behavior hugely increases chances for economic success: legal marriage. Research shows couples who get married and stay married, dominate in the financial department. In his study on how marriage and divorce impact wealth, Jay L. Zagorsky, of Ohio State University, found that married couples will build twice the net worth of people who stay single. There are countless reasons for financial success in marriage. Investopedia offers up six financial benefits of marriage that could lead to financial domination: married couples save money on car insurance, have higher credit scores, get better loan offers, share employer benefits, combine their expenses and increase their financial stability. As Marsha Garrison put it in her article published in the Journal of Law and Family Studies, “Because a married-couple household requires less income to maintain the same living standard as two single-person households, there is considerable logic—and equity—in benefit and tax rates that treat two married individuals differently than two single individuals with the same combined incomes.” She also mentions that married individuals are less likely to lose their earning to gambling. Starting to see the dollars add up?

Although the relationship between marriage and money isn’t fully understood, it’s logical to assume that people who are well off also tend to marry. A new analysis from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth found that individuals with personal wealth, like a car or money saved, are more likely to get married. They also have tendency to be more educated. The analysis also showed that once married, couples grew their wealth together, widening an economic gap between those who are married and those who aren’t. A partner with money might be attractive, like a strong hunter, but financial gains are also acquired during marriage as well.

FOR SINGLES: Is Marriage in Your Future? Why Money & Education Matter

Couple holding handsWhile marriage rates are low, wedding bells and an alter could be in your future, but much depends on if you fall into a category demographers call “marriage-eligible Millennials” – people whose marriage rates are actually on the rise.

An analysis released to USA TODAY reveals what so many of us already know: the U.S. marriage rate is low and in fact, has reached its lowest point in over a century. But this decline may not apply to you. While the economic recession resulted in the number of marriages decreasing by more than 5%, this study predicts there will actually be more weddings among the over the next two years.

The low rates of marriage are mostly related to two factors: couples eschewing legal marriage and instead dipping their toes in commitment by co-habitating and the recession, that makes couples slower at saving money for the big nuptial bash.

But the future looks brighter for some who want to get married. Not everyone will experience the decline firsthand – U.S. birth forecast provider Demographic Intelligence anticipates a 4% bump in the number of weddings from 2009. According to the study, women ages 25-34, the college-educated, and the affluent, are likelier to soon exchange vows than those with a high school education or less, younger Americans, and the less affluent – all who’s marriage rates are stagnant or steadily decreasing. In lower socio-economic classes, marriage and parenthood have become two distinct concepts and the middle-class is beginning to follow suit. But in the highly educated and high earning group, marriage rates highest and predicted to be going up.

Of course, there are the naysayers. Some demographers, including co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green University, fear this study may be “overly optimistic.” In a 2012 report conducted by the center, Manning and her team found that one-third of people that said, “I do” last year were not marrying for the first time, and that these remarriages were not among younger generations.

Manning also points to the fact that the average age of first-time brides and grooms is getting older each year. Three years ago, the average age was 28.2 for men, and 26.1 for women, compared to the estimated 29.2 and 27.1, respectively, by 2015. What’s more is that experts, including Demographic Intelligence president Sam Sturgeon, expect these numbers to only continue escalating – and for at least another decade.

Bottom line: Get a graduate degree, a good job and by the time you hit the age of 27, you’ll be part of that lucky group of “marriage-eligible Millennials.”

Children of the Recession – The Decline of Consumer-Kids

(Note: The Series on Emotional Intimacy Skills will Continue after the Christmas weekend)


The biggest gift of the recession is the opportunity to re-parent a population of American kids who were growing up in a consumerism craze.

Yesterday I was walking through a festive shopping mall and my eyes were spinning with the exciting displays. My hands almost trembled as I stroked the piles of soft cashmere sweaters and the smooth leather wallets. I was having this fabulous sensory stimulation for one big reason — I hadn’t seen the inside of a shopping mall for about a year. True story. This Mom’s sneaky way to tighten purse strings during the recession was to avoid stores at all costs. (Grocery stores and pharmacies were exempt.) And yesterday I had a new appreciation for the joys of consumerism. Even though my budget was small, the actual shopping experience took on new meaning.

And if it felt this good to me, imagine how my jaded kids who had once used shopping as a play date activity (I know. Shoot me.) will come to appreciate money and stuff.

I like to say there is an opportunity in every crisis. When the money machine that ate our time and our attention screeched to a halt over a year ago, many people panicked. Was this the dawn of another great depression? Then, as time passed and we were all still breathing, eating and exercising, we adjusted our lives to this new world. Now my kids and I have gotten used to this slower way of life and have a new respect for work, money and leisure time. The psychology of money is a learned behavior.

So, beginning last spring, when my kids continued their habit of asking for stuff (Had they not heard about the stock market?) I suggested selling old toys on ebay or holding yard sales. Let me tell ya, those gently used American Girl dolls are like a war survivor’s gold. And what a lesson in entrepreneurial skills to be a shop owner in the free market.

It’s also surprisingly fun to purge our stuff and plan for the mother of all yard sales. Yard sales, which I sheepishly admit, used be regarded by “moi” as an industry of the lesser class, have today become a cherished family activity. It takes us a whole weekend to sort, price and “stock” our yard. And watching my kids try to upsell a customer (Really, if you’re going to take the shoes, you must have the cute bag too!) is priceless. After the clean up and final load given to charity, I have to say that living with less stuff has felt somehow liberating. There’s room in my house to breath and relax.

I think the greatest gift of this “readjustment” is the gift of time. We share meals with other families far more often. I love to have the time to really build deep relationships. Since all those pricey after school classes have become prohibitive — Really. Do children need to be spinning pottery at 30-bucks an hour? — my kids are now far less scheduled, and far more relaxed. We have had unexpected moments of happiness doing “nothing.” Our summer was spent at the beach being lazy. Just like when I was a kid.

I think this recession is a huge gift to our children. Things had gotten out of control. When a version of Barnum & Bailey showed up for two-year-old birthday parties, and kids owned jeans that cost nearly as much as Mommy’s mortgage payment, well, things were clearly out of whack. Now are children are learning the wonderful lessons of thrift, value, and the beauty of relationships. Happy New Year!