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Some people may suggest that managing your finances as a couple is more difficult than as a single individual. After all, it takes much more communication and control because you would be in financial ruins if you both went on a shopping spree without telling the other person.
While there may be certain challenges to managing your personal finances as a couple, there are many benefits as well. In fact, I want to suggest that the benefits of being married (or serious relationship) outweigh the costs. In other words, it is financially better to be a couple than two individuals.
Financial Improvements When I Got Married
When I got married, I was doing pretty well with myself. I was working as a Resident Director in a dormitory at a college campus while finishing up my undergrad. I was receiving full-tuition as a benefit of my job, while earning a salary. I had practically no living expenses, so I decided to save first before doing anything else. As a result, I was able to fund my entire emergency fund of $10,000+ in less than 6 months. I could have easily spent the money elsewhere, but in preparation for getting married, I wanted to save all that I could. It is easy to see that my financial situation was pretty good before getting married. So, how could it be better after getting married and increasing my expenses?
Yet, when I get married I found that my finances improved radically. While there is nothing magic about getting married (you don't say, “I do” and automatically receive a $10,000 deposit from uncle Sam or anything) there are inherent benefits to getting married.
When I got married, I found out that my wife, who had little savings, already had a Roth IRA. She didn't have a lot of savings because her father-in-law, who is a CPA, had strongly recommended her to open this retirement account while in college. She had put most of her savings into this account. While it doesn't sound like a great move (to move 90% of your liquid assets into a retirement fund), it was a huge benefit for us. It helped us realized the benefit of saving for retirement at an early age. If I had remained single, who knows how long it would have taken for me to open this account. In case you are wondering – we both have Roth IRA's (and maxed them out last year – even in our mid 20's).
Another huge financial benefit for me after getting married was the transition to eating in. During college, I enjoyed eating out like any other college student. I didn't go overboard, but I did eat out at least once a week on average. Once I got married – this came to a stop. I realized that in managing our finances, there was someone else that felt the impact of my every day decisions. Instead of spending money to go out to lunch every day (like most of our coworkers do), we bring out brown bag from home. This is just one example of how the priorities change when you get married. When you are a couple (and actually care about the other person more than a cheap thrill), you become more frugal. The little things don't matter as much as the big things like anniversary vacations or life insurance coverage for each other in case something happens to the other person. Simply put: Your priorities change and with them, so do your finances.
Other Financial Benefits of Couples
While I recognize that my situation is different than everyone else's, I still hold that managing your finances as a couple has more benefits than being single even without considering the priceless aspect of love. Some of the other benefits include:
- Less Rent per person: If you are renting and able to keep the same size of apartment (or close to it), living with someone is always the cheaper option. You pay less rent per person. Think about it this way. If you can rent a 2 bedroom apartment and are trying to save money, what do you do? You find a roommate because that means you are paying less rent.
- Double the Income: Another way to improve your financial situation is to have two incomes in the same household. Who would ever think that you could spend all the time that you want with someone while also practically doubling your income. If your partner or spouse doesn't work, think of the other money you are savings in lack of daycare or not hiring someone to manage home life, etc. Either way, it's an easy way to radically increase your earnings.
Regardless of how you look at it, being married or a couple has its clear advantages. I'm not saying you should go out there and marry someone just for the money. That would most likely lead to divorce and cost you more money in the long run. But, I am saying that being in a relationship does not just mean more expenses.
What are some other financial advantages to being in a relationship?
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