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Marriage. Is it Worth It?

Updated: Jan 22

I get it. I understand why you’re asking whether marriage is worth it. 

Around 22% of first marriages end within the first five years due to divorce, separation, or death.

The marriage rate has fallen about 65 percent in the last half-century. Slightly less than one in two adults are currently married, down from about 75 percent in 1960. 

One cliche after another makes marriage sound like a prison.

So, if you're wondering whether marriage is worth it, you might consider who you are asking or whether you are considering the bigger picture.

Yes, it’s true that some marriages rightfully end from infidelity, abuse, or disputes about money. As a matter of fact, money is a leading cause of divorce and stress in a marriage.

However, the bigger picture tells a very different story about whether marriage is worth it.

For the Majority, Marriage is Worth It

“Nothing predicts happiness in life better than a good marriage—not even a hefty bank account or a great career.” - Dr. Brad Wilcox

Married people are twice as likely to be happy with their lives than those who are not married.

About 60 percent of American husbands and wives report being "very happy" in their marriages; 36 percent say they are "pretty happy," and 4 percent report they are "not too happy" in their marriages.

And if you’re young, consider this. Married people in their 20s are 80 percent more likely to be happy than their unmarried peers.


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Marriage is also a wealth hack. 

The median net worth of married couples in the U.S. is significantly greater than that of unmarried people of all ages.

Marriage. Is it Worth It?

85 percent of married Americans are already saving for retirement, compared with 67 percent of singles. Married Americans also express more confidence in their retirement readiness compared to those who are single.

Spouses may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on their spouse's earnings record.

Homeownership rates are also significantly higher, compared to unmarried couples.

Marriage. Is it Worth It?

There are also tax benefits to marriage. 

Married couples can file their federal income taxes jointly, which is often advantageous from a tax perspective. Joint filing can result in lower tax rates, increased deductions, and eligibility for various tax credits.

The standard deduction is generally higher for married couples filing jointly than for single individuals. This can also lower taxable income and reduce overall tax liabilities.



The Income Benefits to Marriage

Individual earners who are married earn more on average than individual earners.

Marriage. Is it Worth It?
Image extracted from The Street

Research has found that married men earn about 10 to 20 percent more than their peers with roughly similar backgrounds, and married twins make 18 to 26 percent more than their identical twins who are not married. 

Men who marry before having children are three times more likely to move into the middle class or higher and four times more likely to avoid poverty by the time they hit their thirties compared to their peers who put parenthood before marriage, even after factoring in socioeconomic differences between these groups of men.

According to the American Community Survey, married women ages eighteen to fifty-five are about 80 percent less likely to be poor compared to single women, even after controlling for other factors that lead to poverty, like low education and unemployment.



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