Author Topic: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision  (Read 14504 times)

mustachianit

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Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« on: January 31, 2014, 08:24:43 AM »
I got married two years ago.  Before we were married we got back nice refunds up to $5,000.00 a year.  This year we are only getting $100.00 dollars.  This is a huge loss every tax year in my eyes.  Are there financial benefits to being married?

We file jointly.  Should I try married but file seperate? 

I would appreciate any advice at all. :).

CommonCents

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2014, 08:44:21 AM »
Also, did your income go up any, sending you over to a different marginal tax rate?

But yes, the marriage penalty sucks for those earning roughly equal (or people making mad bucks).  This is why some people delay marriage or don't get married.  Just discovered a few weeks ago that my brother-in-law is actually not married despite attending a nice wedding for him 6 months ago.  They didn't file the paperwork because he wants her to file and get the mortgage interest deduction on her taxes this year.  He's trying to persuade her to not file next year too.

blackfedora

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2014, 08:46:15 AM »
Is everything else constant? As your investments grow the tax on dividends can start to eat into your refund, or if one of you has moved into a new job that doesn't withhold taxes that can be an issue to. My wife is technically an independent contractor, and paying her income tax just about nullifies the refund I would normally receive.

I'm no tax expert, and individual circumstances can vary wildly, but just a quick look at the irs tax table shows that you don't want to file separately or as individuals (which I think is essentially the same thing as being unmarried and filing two individual taxes?). My guess is that you're either missing something or your financial life has changed dramatically.

IRS tax table:http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040tt.pdf

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2014, 09:10:09 AM »
You're looking at the wrong part of the equation. Look at your prior years tax returns and see how much tax you paid minus credits compared to your taxable income. I would bet that you both changed your withholdings to "Married" so they are just taking less taxes out of your paychecks so there's less to give back to you

As for married filing separate, as a general rule you should never file that way unless you are actually splitting up and can't reconcile enough to file together one last time. It's a horrible way to file and rarely comes out better than filing together

Agree on both counts. You shouldn't compare "how much you got back" year over year, you need to compare "Tax Paid." That's line 61 of the 1040, or its equivalent on the 1040-EZ or 1040A. Let us know what those numbers are, and we can dissect.

dandarc

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2014, 09:26:26 AM »
Agreed with everyone else on this post - tax withholding and the tax you owe are two pretty much unrelated numbers.

Assuming no mistakes were made, you're actually better off getting a $100 refund compared to a $5,000 refund - if you got $5k, you overpaid your taxes throughout the year and gave the IRS an interest free loan.

Also, the marriage penalty does not apply to everyone - depending on your individual incomes, you could be paying less tax, the same, or more compared to filing as 2 singles.  Your combined taxable income has to be over $146,400  for there to even possibly be any marriage penalty at all.

Now that you are married, filing jointly is probably the way to go.  It is pretty rare that Married filing separately works out better than jointly - usually it is a situation where you have roughly equal incomes and one person has very high medical expenses.  Even then I'd be careful about it because filing separately also limits many other things, like your ability to contribute to a Roth IRA.

TheDude

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2014, 09:56:50 AM »
Also, the marriage penalty does not apply to everyone - depending on your individual incomes, you could be paying less tax, the same, or more compared to filing as 2 singles.  Your combined taxable income has to be over $146,400  for there to even possibly be any marriage penalty at all.

This is not true. Think deductions and credits. My wife and I both make pretty much the same amounts. If we weren't married I figure our total tax bill would be about 5k less.

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2014, 10:02:46 AM »
Also, the marriage penalty does not apply to everyone - depending on your individual incomes, you could be paying less tax, the same, or more compared to filing as 2 singles.  Your combined taxable income has to be over $146,400  for there to even possibly be any marriage penalty at all.

This is not true. Think deductions and credits. My wife and I both make pretty much the same amounts. If we weren't married I figure our total tax bill would be about 5k less.

I would like to see how you calculated this.

clarkm04

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2014, 10:06:02 AM »
The Tax Foundation has an easy to read graphic on the marriage penalty.  It really is a couple by couple basis with some general trends.

For my wife and I we are in the neutral band.

http://taxfoundation.org/article/effects-marriage-tax-burden-vary-greatly-income-level-equality

Eric

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2014, 10:22:25 AM »

mustachianit

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2014, 11:22:02 AM »
Thank you everyone!!!!!  The comments have really helped.  I am going to look back at our taxes prior to marriage to see the difference.  I did not think about how we might be paying less taxes now and it could be why we are getting $100.00 back compared to before. 

It is an nteresting debate.  I tend to hear people saying being married now is more of a penalty.


CommonCents

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2014, 12:02:58 PM »
Thank you everyone!!!!!  The comments have really helped.  I am going to look back at our taxes prior to marriage to see the difference.  I did not think about how we might be paying less taxes now and it could be why we are getting $100.00 back compared to before. 

It is an nteresting debate.  I tend to hear people saying being married now is more of a penalty.

It depends who you are talking to and their incomes.  As I noted above (and the link to the graph shows), it depends in part as to whether your salaries are inequal or equal.  Inequal gets a marriage bonus.  (It tends to reward stay at home parents.)  The folks on this forum might be more apt to have equal salaries.

.22guy

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2014, 12:11:53 PM »
It certainly was for me.  But I married the wrong person so I guess that's on me, ain't it?

Shor

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2014, 12:16:45 PM »
Also, be careful of 'most people'. Turns out, when people hear something from someone they trust, regardless of their qualifications or understanding (and usually without knowing the other person's qualifications or understanding) they will then parrot it on along the grapevine.

I hear all kinds of misinformed, uninformed, partially formed bits of info all the time which is 100% incorrect. People say stuff because it crossed their mind and they remembered it, or because it applies for Their situation and not mine. Doing your own homework is the most dependable thing you can do for yourself.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2014, 02:26:29 PM »
I've never had a tax year where being married penalized us. I've long since given up even running the numbers. Plus, since our finances are completely joint, it feels dishonest (to me).

For what it's worth, my DW is about $50K and I am under $20K (part-time/stay at home parent).

SwordGuy

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2014, 03:44:20 PM »
You're looking at the wrong part of the equation. Look at your prior years tax returns and see how much tax you paid minus credits compared to your taxable income. I would bet that you both changed your withholdings to "Married" so they are just taking less taxes out of your paychecks so there's less to give back to you

As for married filing separate, as a general rule you should never file that way unless you are actually splitting up and can't reconcile enough to file together one last time. It's a horrible way to file and rarely comes out better than filing together

Here's a case where it works out even for loving couples who are staying together!

US couple.
Main earner makes 2 1/2 times the other partner.
Main earner spent 11+ months of the year working outside the USA.  Other partner did not.


Cindy

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2014, 03:52:37 PM »
I am oversimplifying it, but just look at the tax brackets.  If together you make $146,401 or more, you are in the 28% bracket.  Before you were married, you could each make up to $87,850 and be in the 25% bracket (for the 2013 tax year).  Notice that $146,400 is not double $87,850.  Of course, like people said, this only applies if both people are making similar amounts.  I just figured I'd throw some numbers in there to clarify.

dandarc

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2014, 04:16:04 PM »
The Tax Foundation has an easy to read graphic on the marriage penalty.  It really is a couple by couple basis with some general trends.

For my wife and I we are in the neutral band.

http://taxfoundation.org/article/effects-marriage-tax-burden-vary-greatly-income-level-equality

This is the best illustration of this I've ever seen.  I was definitely wrong to say your income had to be above 146K for a marriage penalty to come into play - looks like a more correct statement would be under about 35K or above 146K, and even then it depends on just how the income is split.  Clearly I let my personal situation bias my statement - didn't even consider the low end.

Looks like the low-end has more to do with how things like the Earned Income Tax Credit are calculated.  So as with everything else with taxes, it really is dependent on your individual situation.

FastStache

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2014, 04:52:13 PM »
Awesome graph.... puts me right where I get the highest bonus!!! No wonder my refund is much higher than expected as I recently married.

Evie

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2014, 11:50:45 AM »
The only reason I filed singly was for my FAFSA (was a grad student the first year we were married).  Last year I had three jobs, including three seperate 1099 incomes (one rent, two contract), PLUS two W-2 (pretty simple) and 1089 T income (value of tuition, which I didn't pay due to my fellowship but is taxable).  Husband had 1099 rent and W 2. 

My taxes were so complicated I didn't want to touch trying to file them jointly, especially since I thought they would come out worse, but maybe this year I will run the numbers and consider refiling. 

So excited for tax year this year since I have ONE job and it is all W-2 (plus a small amount of a left over 1099 contract). We are filing joint this year!
 

LauraG

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2014, 06:02:13 PM »
The only reason I filed singly was for my FAFSA (was a grad student the first year we were married).  Last year I had three jobs, including three seperate 1099 incomes (one rent, two contract), PLUS two W-2 (pretty simple) and 1089 T income (value of tuition, which I didn't pay due to my fellowship but is taxable).  Husband had 1099 rent and W 2. 

My taxes were so complicated I didn't want to touch trying to file them jointly, especially since I thought they would come out worse, but maybe this year I will run the numbers and consider refiling. 

So excited for tax year this year since I have ONE job and it is all W-2 (plus a small amount of a left over 1099 contract). We are filing joint this year!
 

Just to be clear, if you're in a legal marriage that the federal government recognizes (I believe that's now all legal marriages in the U.S.) at the end of the tax year in question, you can't legally make your federal filing status "single". You can chose between "married filing jointly" and "married filing separately". Generally, married filing jointly is the preferred status of those two.

My partner and I face a small "marriage penalty" for being legally married. We have similar incomes and in prior years one of us itemized while the other used the standard deduction.

There are other, bigger benefits and drawbacks to marriage in the long-term. An example of a major benefit is the spousal social security benefit. An example of a major drawback is both partners' assets needing to be drawn down before someone becomes eligible for Medicaid.

apoclater

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #20 on: February 02, 2014, 08:16:26 PM »
I'm probably going to get hate on by the females here, but just presenting the facts for my fellow males here.

40-50% of American marriages end in divorce.  66% to 90% of those divorces are initiated by females.  If you're a college-educated couple, 90% of the time it's initiated by the woman.  When you add that mothers will gain custody 68-88% of the time, those are horrible odds for us guys.

By no means am I discouraging marriage for guys.  I just think it's worth looking at more critically and understanding that it's a choice, not an obligation.  Look at your assets and hers, your own liabilities and hers, etc. 

apoclater

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2014, 08:21:35 PM »
I'm probably going to get hate on by the females here, but just presenting the facts for my fellow males here.

40-50% of American marriages end in divorce.  66% to 90% of those divorces are initiated by females.  If you're a college-educated couple, 90% of the time it's initiated by the woman.  When you add that mothers will gain custody 68-88% of the time, those are horrible odds for us guys (if you google these numbers you'll find the links to the sources).

By no means am I discouraging marriage for guys.  I just think it's worth looking at more critically and understanding that it's a choice, not an obligation.  Look at your assets and hers, your own liabilities and hers, etc.

foobar

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2014, 09:12:21 PM »
And how many of those females initiated divorces are a result of the guys action?:)  And FWIW the divorce rate among single people over 25 is a lot less.


I'm probably going to get hate on by the females here, but just presenting the facts for my fellow males here.

40-50% of American marriages end in divorce.  66% to 90% of those divorces are initiated by females.  If you're a college-educated couple, 90% of the time it's initiated by the woman.  When you add that mothers will gain custody 68-88% of the time, those are horrible odds for us guys.

By no means am I discouraging marriage for guys.  I just think it's worth looking at more critically and understanding that it's a choice, not an obligation.  Look at your assets and hers, your own liabilities and hers, etc.

Rural

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #23 on: February 03, 2014, 05:54:52 AM »
66% to 90% of those divorces are initiated by females.  If you're a college-educated couple, 90% of the time it's initiated by the woman.

(citation needed)

SwordGuy

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2014, 06:49:23 AM »
66% to 90% of those divorces are initiated by females.  If you're a college-educated couple, 90% of the time it's initiated by the woman.

(citation needed)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce_in_the_United_States  has citations supporting the first sentence.

Logically, it makes sense that college educated women would initiate divorce at a higher rate than non-college educated women.  They are more likely to have jobs that could support themselves and their children.  They are more likely to know that they don't have to put up with shit from their husband.

Funny story on that topic.  My wife had a female friend in school.  :)  She and her friend were riding on the subway in Moscow when she noticed that a Kazakh man seated nearby on the subway was very obviously smitten by her friend's beauty.  My wife speaks a bit of Kazakh so she greeted him.   He got very excited and inquired about her friend's bride price, suggesting a number of herd animals as an opening offer.  When he found out her friend had a college education he dropped his price in half on the spot.

CommonCents

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #25 on: February 03, 2014, 09:16:08 AM »
I'm probably going to get hate on by the females here, but just presenting the facts for my fellow males here.

40-50% of American marriages end in divorce.  66% to 90% of those divorces are initiated by females.  If you're a college-educated couple, 90% of the time it's initiated by the woman.  When you add that mothers will gain custody 68-88% of the time, those are horrible odds for us guys.

By no means am I discouraging marriage for guys.  I just think it's worth looking at more critically and understanding that it's a choice, not an obligation.  Look at your assets and hers, your own liabilities and hers, etc.

From the cite you provided, I read the more recent article (I didn't think one from 1975 or 1988 to be as relevant today).  http://www.unc.edu/courses/2010fall/econ/586/001/Readings/Brinig.pdf
You may find it interesting to know that the paper does conclude one reason people file when they are being exploited in the marriage.  Another is to gain custody.  Re the horrible odds you describe, note that: "Even by the most conservative accounts, the average divorced woman's standard of living declines from the one she enjoyed during marriage, and it declines relatively more than does the average husband's." 

When you say women gain custody 68-88% of the time, are you talking physical custody?  I saw support for your other comment, but not this point in the wiki article you discussed.  Today it is extraordinarily rare for parents not to share joint legal custody.  Arrangements for physical custody vary, but my understanding is that most states follow "Best interests of the child" standard, which is then interpreted to be in the best interests of the child that they have time with both parents.  Thus, most parents do share joint physical custody too, although one parent may have more time overall than the other.  It's also a chicken and egg problem - one reason women tend to get more time than men when sharing physical custody, is that they are more often to already be working part-time (or staying at home) to take care of kids than dads.

I've worked pro bono for a family law clinic and served pro bono as "Lawyer for a Day" in the family court in another state, and I observed that many men do not seek custody.  (Note, many more of course do, but it is worth noting more men choose not to than women, thus skewing your above figures.  Ancedotally, I can say this is often lower income families where the father has children by multiple women.)  Sadly, in other cases the men seek custody solely to avoid paying child support.  One thing we would advise a parent is to consider this likelihood (and how much it mattered to them), in deciding whether to file just for custody or for custody & support.

I can only speak ancedotally on this, but at least in the cases of divorces I've known - when it was mutually agreed to divorce, the men "let" the woman file as some type of courtesy.  I don't exactly understand it, I'm just reporting what they told me.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #26 on: February 03, 2014, 09:28:39 AM »
I'd argue marriage isn't a financial decision at all.  Sure, it has financial implications, but those pertain mostly to having shared values about money. If FI is one of your values, you probably shouldn't marry a shopaholic with no impulse control. :)

Marrying my DH had nothing to do with money. And frankly the idea that some might hesitate to marry because of a few K on a tax return makes me sad.

There are a lot of reasons not to marry. A tax return shouldn't one of them IMO.

It's kind of like kids, for those who want them. You do it for love, not to save a buck.

OK. I'll put a sock in it. I realize you were not asking for a lecture from an old married chick. :)

MissPeach

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #27 on: February 03, 2014, 02:41:00 PM »
I'm probably going to get hate on by the females here, but just presenting the facts for my fellow males here.

40-50% of American marriages end in divorce.  66% to 90% of those divorces are initiated by females.  If you're a college-educated couple, 90% of the time it's initiated by the woman.  When you add that mothers will gain custody 68-88% of the time, those are horrible odds for us guys.

By no means am I discouraging marriage for guys.  I just think it's worth looking at more critically and understanding that it's a choice, not an obligation.  Look at your assets and hers, your own liabilities and hers, etc.

Comment Cents wrote a lot of good points on this comment. Also I wanted to point out that it's often the higher wager earner that has to pay support - it's not necessarily a man thing. In my case as a woman I made a lot more than my ex husband and I was the only who had to pay 40% of my wages in support. My lawyer commented to me that she had 6 cases like mine where the women were divorcing guys who were way below them financially speaking.
From the cite you provided, I read the more recent article (I didn't think one from 1975 or 1988 to be as relevant today).  http://www.unc.edu/courses/2010fall/econ/586/001/Readings/Brinig.pdf
You may find it interesting to know that the paper does conclude one reason people file when they are being exploited in the marriage.  Another is to gain custody.  Re the horrible odds you describe, note that: "Even by the most conservative accounts, the average divorced woman's standard of living declines from the one she enjoyed during marriage, and it declines relatively more than does the average husband's." 

When you say women gain custody 68-88% of the time, are you talking physical custody?  I saw support for your other comment, but not this point in the wiki article you discussed.  Today it is extraordinarily rare for parents not to share joint legal custody.  Arrangements for physical custody vary, but my understanding is that most states follow "Best interests of the child" standard, which is then interpreted to be in the best interests of the child that they have time with both parents.  Thus, most parents do share joint physical custody too, although one parent may have more time overall than the other.  It's also a chicken and egg problem - one reason women tend to get more time than men when sharing physical custody, is that they are more often to already be working part-time (or staying at home) to take care of kids than dads.

I've worked pro bono for a family law clinic and served pro bono as "Lawyer for a Day" in the family court in another state, and I observed that many men do not seek custody.  (Note, many more of course do, but it is worth noting more men choose not to than women, thus skewing your above figures.  Ancedotally, I can say this is often lower income families where the father has children by multiple women.)  Sadly, in other cases the men seek custody solely to avoid paying child support.  One thing we would advise a parent is to consider this likelihood (and how much it mattered to them), in deciding whether to file just for custody or for custody & support.

I can only speak ancedotally on this, but at least in the cases of divorces I've known - when it was mutually agreed to divorce, the men "let" the woman file as some type of courtesy.  I don't exactly understand it, I'm just reporting what they told me.

foobar

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2014, 02:49:01 PM »
Sloth. Why do work when you can let someone else do it.:) And depending on the situation, there is some posturing. "I wanted to work on the marriage, but she just left me" goes over better at the family reunion. She doesn't have this problem. She just goes" I filed for divorce because he was boning the secretary or he came home drunk every night" and everyone understands.




I can only speak ancedotally on this, but at least in the cases of divorces I've known - when it was mutually agreed to divorce, the men "let" the woman file as some type of courtesy.  I don't exactly understand it, I'm just reporting what they told me.

LauraG

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2014, 06:46:14 PM »
When you add that mothers will gain custody 68-88% of the time, those are horrible odds for us guys.

If you have kids, custody and child support issues exist whether or not you are married to the other parent. If you don't want kids and take adequate steps to avoid having kids, then custody issues (and child support) are a non-issue.

Marriage =/ having kids =/ child-rearing.

apoclater

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #30 on: February 03, 2014, 06:53:44 PM »
Ok, toss out divorce then, for the sake of argument.

If marriage doesn't benefit me as a man financially and I'm not religious, why marry?  I just don't see the incentive to do so, beyond wistful older people who tell me it's "part of traditional values" and "a commitment every man has to make".   

CommonCents

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2014, 07:19:46 PM »
Ok, toss out divorce then, for the sake of argument.

If marriage doesn't benefit me as a man financially and I'm not religious, why marry?  I just don't see the incentive to do so, beyond wistful older people who tell me it's "part of traditional values" and "a commitment every man has to make".

Taking your statement as true that it doesn't benefit you financially (which I think is wrong based on what I've read), studies show married men are happier than single men and women. I also believe married menu live longer statistically.

There is of course the issue if your partner wants to marry and you don't. Bit of a dilemma then as you both can't get what you want.  But be very upfront with anyone you date is all I can suggest.

Other reasons: Societal pressure/legitimacy, rights (to make health decisions, be in hospital room, get spousal benefits from work/govt, get days off from work if something happens to spouse, to inherit w/o losing money to govt, and so on...  Read same sex websites lobbying for full marital rights for more.

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #32 on: February 03, 2014, 07:42:06 PM »
Ok, toss out divorce then, for the sake of argument.

If marriage doesn't benefit me as a man financially and I'm not religious, why marry?  I just don't see the incentive to do so, beyond wistful older people who tell me it's "part of traditional values" and "a commitment every man has to make".

No "shoulds" because it is your life. As someone who did choose to marry here are some of my reasons:

1. Commitment - I value the permanent commitment and stability that is a marriage. Just because some other couples don't make it doesn't change how much I value my commitment to my spouse. And no, I don't see cohabitation as the same level of commitment. Marriage is a process of binding two people together - with deep emotional significance. A promise, witnessed by family and friends, recognized by the community - it changes things. I know it sounds airy fairy but there it is. I cohabitated before marriage but marriage is different. Better. I wish I could put it into words. :)

2. A raft of legal protections and benefits. Here are a few: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/marriage-rights-benefits-30190.html

3. For men there are health and financial benefits. http://www.menshealth.com/mhlists/benefits_of_marriage_and_commitment/index.php?cm_mmc=MSNCAN_Lifestyle-_-MH_News-_-The%20Perfect%20Age%20to%20Get%20Married-_-The%20Health%20Benefits%20of%20Being%20Married%20RL

4. Sharing Everything - Being married turns you into an "us" instead of a "me." You're part of a team, you share unselfishly, you have each other's back. Always. Perhaps that is the biggest reason to marry. It's not for you, it's for them.  To show them you're not going anywhere. To be generous. To put them first. When you can do that for each other - it's a damn happy life.

I don't celebrate marriage because it's logically superior. I do so because it is irrationally delightful. And I hope you get to experience that delight too.

You know... if you want to. :)

SIS

apoclater

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2014, 09:51:35 PM »
I think you guys made a pretty exhaustive list of reasons for men to get married. 

It's still not for me though.  To me, the main difference between a relationship and marriage is the ability to walk away easily and without consequence.  If I marry, I risk 50% of my assets AND I lose my power to walk away without loss when something is unacceptable.

To me, marriage is extremely archaic.  We aren't loyal to the companies we work for anymore because they don't provide the same benefits and wages they used to, and we aren't loyal to retailers who provide poor service or unfair prices.  We don't have to be as committed to these things because they offer so little benefit in return compared to the recent past when we had retirement pensions and people were loyal to the hardware store with good service.  Why do I have to commit to someone and take a massive risk that offers no benefit that matters to me?

milla

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #34 on: February 08, 2014, 10:45:38 PM »
I got married because I'm foreign and the paperwork is much easier if you're married. Isn't that stupid? Since we're married I get to be a US resident and he gets residency in any European Union country of our liking. That was pretty much the only consideration. If you don't see a benefit to getting married, don't.

Psychstache

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #35 on: February 09, 2014, 09:03:08 AM »
I think you guys made a pretty exhaustive list of reasons for men to get married. 

It's still not for me though.  To me, the main difference between a relationship and marriage is the ability to walk away easily and without consequence.  If I marry, I risk 50% of my assets AND I lose my power to walk away without loss when something is unacceptable.

To me, marriage is extremely archaic.  We aren't loyal to the companies we work for anymore because they don't provide the same benefits and wages they used to, and we aren't loyal to retailers who provide poor service or unfair prices.  We don't have to be as committed to these things because they offer so little benefit in return compared to the recent past when we had retirement pensions and people were loyal to the hardware store with good service.  Why do I have to commit to someone and take a massive risk that offers no benefit that matters to me?

Does it not matter to you to recover from cancer? http://jco.ascopubs.org/content/early/2013/09/18/JCO.2013.49.6489.abstract?sid=87b46b91-6031-4f48-a8b8-4b4569f58260

Or to avoid dying from an accident?  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0049089X13001348

Do you not care about living longer?   http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mens_Health_Watch/2010/July/marriage-and-mens-health

Do you not like having lots of sex?   http://www.kinseyinstitute.org/resources/FAQ.html#frequency


Obviously these are about the averages and don't always speak to the individual, but there are some benefits to be had in true commitment.

Your comments remind me a lot of a guy I once knew. I remember he explained this theory he had about how the happiest married people could not be happier than a single person. Obviously, this would lead to some arguments in groups (especially with women around). One day during one of his defenses of his thesis he said something that something that made everything clear.

"Look, happiness is being able to do whatever you want whenever you want..."

And that is the phrase that matters. To him, happiness was freedom. Of course he would be unhappy in a marriage. Married people do not get to do what they want, when they want (not if they want to stay married anyways). As long as that is how he defines happiness, I would never in a million years endorse him getting married.

So really it comes down to priorities. If it's important to you to know that your assets are safe and have the ability to step out at a moments notice if the situation doesn't favor you, then you're right there is no point to marriage FOR YOU, but plenty of people find fulfillment and happiness in other values.


P.S. There is a world of difference between committing personally and emotionally to a person and committing professionally to a business.

CommonCents

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #36 on: February 10, 2014, 09:57:22 AM »
I think you guys made a pretty exhaustive list of reasons for men to get married. 

It's still not for me though.  To me, the main difference between a relationship and marriage is the ability to walk away easily and without consequence.  If I marry, I risk 50% of my assets AND I lose my power to walk away without loss when something is unacceptable.

To me, marriage is extremely archaic.  We aren't loyal to the companies we work for anymore because they don't provide the same benefits and wages they used to, and we aren't loyal to retailers who provide poor service or unfair prices.  We don't have to be as committed to these things because they offer so little benefit in return compared to the recent past when we had retirement pensions and people were loyal to the hardware store with good service.  Why do I have to commit to someone and take a massive risk that offers no benefit that matters to me?

That's all fine.  We gave a lot of reasons why to marry, but there's also reasons not to marry, such as you haven't found someone you want to marry.

It's ok not to get married.  My only problem, is if you aren't upfront with the women you are with, that you never intend to ever marry.  (If you are clear and they choose to hope you will change your mind, that's on them.)   If your partner, male or female, is ok with not getting married, then great!  The problem really comes when one party (not always the male - in fact, I know a couple where the woman was the holdout) doesn't want to marry and the other party does.  Those are pretty fundamentally incompatible options right there, so someone winds up unhappy, hence why I suggest sharing your decision at the beginning of all relationships.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #37 on: February 10, 2014, 10:12:35 AM »
I have read this thread heading numerous times and not the replys so i dont know if this is the subject matter or not. Having said that i just want to go on the record that as stated soley on words alone "is getting married a bad financial decision"? to me is not on words alone a question one should be asking. There is no price to be put on the unity of a marriage. I am sure the topic is deaper than that but as i said in the simpicity of the words being asked....just had to get off my chest!


phred

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #38 on: February 10, 2014, 12:07:38 PM »
The benefits of a good marriage outweigh many financial concerns.  Also, was your income less before you were married?  What would the situation be if you both file separately?

samburger

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #39 on: February 10, 2014, 12:31:45 PM »
The Tax Foundation has an easy to read graphic on the marriage penalty.  It really is a couple by couple basis with some general trends.

For my wife and I we are in the neutral band.

http://taxfoundation.org/article/effects-marriage-tax-burden-vary-greatly-income-level-equality

Great graph!

My wife and I fall in the highest marriage bonus category. We timed our wedding to max our tax benefits. Such romance!

Rural

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #40 on: February 11, 2014, 08:53:16 AM »
The Tax Foundation has an easy to read graphic on the marriage penalty.  It really is a couple by couple basis with some general trends.

For my wife and I we are in the neutral band.

http://taxfoundation.org/article/effects-marriage-tax-burden-vary-greatly-income-level-equality

Great graph!

My wife and I fall in the highest marriage bonus category. We timed our wedding to max our tax benefits. Such romance!

My parents did the same thing, and I'm currently planning their frugal 50th anniversary party, so I wouldn't sweat it :-)

iris lily

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Re: Is Getting Married a Bad Financial Decision
« Reply #41 on: February 11, 2014, 09:09:54 AM »
DH and I are a very good financial partnership, and singly we could not have made the economic strides that both of us together have.

When we got married he had the 'stache and I had the income. I have always earned twice as much as he, but he makes huge economic contributions to our financial partnership because 1) he fixes anything and everything, or he builds it from scratch  2)he rehabbed this house  2) he gardens, he cans produce, he cooks and bakes  3) he seldom spends money himself.

and like I said, it was his stash that enabled us to buy a house in need of complete renovation for cash. We never had a mortgage during our married life and without that mortgage we built up net worth. We would not have been able to get a mortgage on this house anyway since lenders don't lend on gut rehabs unless it is a construction loan with lots of hoops.