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Meeting and marrying my wife are two of the best things that have ever happened to me. I still can’t believe she said yes. The past 5 years of marriage have been truly wonderful.
While most couples might avoid money talks, early on in our relationship, we held nothing back. We were totally transparent when discussing money and the financial milestones that we were hoping to achieve later in life.
I was incredibly thankful as my wife hated debt as much as I did. She was willing to eschew excess material possessions so that we could save for the future. So early on, I knew she was the one. Since we were financially compatible, I knew that we would be able to build a great life together.
While I thought that I was pretty efficient when it came to my finances when I was single, my wife has taken it to a whole new level. As an example, I use to spend $500 on groceries for just myself. I was lazy and went to the closest grocery store with wide aisles and everything laid out perfectly. In contrast, my wife loves shopping deals and has no problem going to discount grocery stores to save a buck.
Since we wed, she has been able to reduce our food bill from $500 when it was just me, to nearly $400 for the two of us. Not to mention I’m eating much healthier, as she buys a lot of organic produce and meat. It is nice to have a wife who seeks to save our hard-earned money.
Related article: How We Save Money on Food
Marriage & Money
Since my wife and I recently joined the Marriage Ministry at our church, I am more interested in studies on money and marriage. I recently stumbled upon a survey conducted by TD Ameritrade called Marriage and Money. They polled 2,000 adults- 1,000 unmarried and 1,000 married, in the United States (ages 37 and older). The survey revealed some incredibly interesting statistics.
Source: TD Ameritrade
Nearly 4 out of 10 married Americans report that they are they pay more attention to their finances now that they are married than when they were single.
I guess this makes sense when you consider that you have to factor in someone else’s expenses along with your own. In our marriage, my wife and I delegate our finances in such a way that she takes care of the day-to-day bills while I focus more on the long-term, e.g. investing. While most of our bills are on auto-pay, we still check them to verify accuracy and rightness.
Another great thing about a spouse is they sometimes remember things that might slip your mind. For instance, I received a bonus from work the other month. I figured I would just throw that money into the stock market, but thankfully my wife reminded me of a few upcoming bills that weren’t on my radar. Those property taxes and auto insurance bills always seem to creep up on me unexpectedly. You would think I would remember when they are due by now. I’m glad one of us does!
Saving More Money
Nearly 33% of married men and 28% of married women report that they save more money as a married couple.
I can definitely attest to this one. When I was single, I went out a lot more. Whether it was going to movies, hanging out with friends at bars, or eating at restaurants, that spending adds up quickly.
Thankfully my wife is a great cook, so I don’t eat out as much. On top of that, my friends and I have kids, so we do a lot less bar-hopping. Now, we playground-hop, which conveniently is free :). Since we’ve reduced our expenses as a result of going out less, we save more and can allocate our excess money towards things like 529 plans.
Related article: How Can Parents Raise A Child Without Incurring Debt?
The one concerning stat on the chart above is that nearly 22% of respondents said that when they got married, nothing changed. Hopefully that is because both individuals are on the same financial page, but I’m not that naive to believe that.
The Single Biggest Financial Benefit to Getting Married
Source: TD Ameritrade
Interestingly, 30% of married Americans believe that the moral support of keeping each other on track is the biggest financial benefit. That makes a lot of sense. Your spouse is the perfect accountability partner when both of you are working towards a common financial goal.
Admittedly, I was disappointed to see that 24% of unmarried people saw no benefit to getting married. Sure, moral support and combining incomes are great. But there are also smaller benefits such as receiving better car insurance rates, more options when it comes to healthcare plans (if both are working), or even an increase in the capital gains exclusion when buying a home.
According to JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist and managing director at TD Ameritrade…
“For many Americans, wedding bells serve as a wake-up call to get their finances in order as they now have a partner to think about. Having a spouse, and perhaps for some a family, can encourage better financial habits, deter overspending, and keep long-term goals in focus.”
Truthfully, I would not be in the financial position that I am in today without my wife. However, the financial benefits to marriage pale in comparison to the having a loving spouse support them.