Monday, July 20, 2015

Is Getting Married a Smart Short-Term Financial Move For a Man?

I was listening to podcasts from the Dr. Laura Show from mid-June 2015, and she took a call from a woman whose grown daughter was in a five-year relationship, and NOT shacking up with the guy. Both of them had been pursuing graduate degrees. The reason the guy had given to the caller's daughter about not yet being married was financial. Dr. Laura scoffed at this and noted he's supporting himself and paying rent, so there would be no cost to to marrying and moving in the caller's daughter.

I've heard Dennis Prager express similar ideas.

Dr. Laura did acknowledge that having children would increase costs.

A lot of guys fall for the mistake in thinking that moving in a wife or a shack-up honey will be 1) financially efficient and 2) a good financial decision. Let's just stick to moving in a wife, since shacking up is a horrible idea all around, and Dr. Laura would discourage it.

The reality is, it isn't as simple as "Oh, now she's here so she can contribute to rent." The ideal portrayed is that, after marrying, these two will continue to earn at least as much as they already are in their respective jobs, and they will eliminate redundant expenses. and would be able to buy some things they'd usually buy separately "in bulk" together. But how often does it really work on that way?

In no particular order:

1) Moving a wife in means getting married. While Dr. Laura often tells the joint biological parents who are shacking up to run down to the county office and get married (because marriage is correlated to benefits to the children), it is highly unlikely this woman, who has been dating this guy for five years and not shacking up with him, would agree to that. Instead, an expensive wedding and related expensive events/purchases would be "necessary".

2) Once married, women tend to push for children (and others also apply pressure to have children) or "forget" to take contraception.

3) Most likely, his utility and grocery costs will increase, along with his vehicle maintenance and operation costs.

4) She will start buying all sorts of stuff they don't really need, since she won't feel like she needs to be tight with her money for survival. His money will now legally be her money, so she won't feel the need to be thrifty. Also, she will insist on redecorating, and throwing out and replacing everything from cookware to furniture, especially if some other woman he had sex with ever touched any of it.

5) For much the same reasons as #4, she might push for a bigger apartment or a home purchase.

6) She will pressure him to work less and avoid networking happy hours, to make social engagements she's arranged, and to keep him from spending time with other women, who are now fully integrated into workplaces. She will also likely discourage him from taking promotions that would involve moving or changing health plans or might put him on the radar of women she thinks are more attractive than her.

7) She will likely work less.


Don't even try the "married men earn more money" line.

There's probably a bunch I'm forgetting. The point is, dismissing financial concerns as unfounded fails the reality test. Now maybe he's just using it as an excuse. But it isn't necessarily the case. And  these things  are just the short-term, because that was the issue. The claim was that the man wanted to be on better financial footing before marrying. For the long term, marrying will definitely be against his financial advantage, as at least half of everything he'll earn will be hers by law.

1 comment:

  1. A blogger I regularly read pointed out once that married men earn more money than single men for one reason, namely they HAVE to. I remember taking a cab from my home to the airport at 4:30am and getting into a conversation with the driver. He had a day job but was spending half the night driving cabs to pay for his daughters' private school tuition. To be fair to him, the public schools where I live are among the worst in the country, but it's sad he's reduced to that. There are plenty of men working at jobs they hate simply because they need to earn more.

    After 30 years of marriage, I really don't know why men continue to do it. I guess we must just have a death wish, or maybe we think our ticket will be the lucky one.

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