Why You Should Not Get Married (Financial Speaking)
By David Dierking
Let me clarify one thing right off the bat…I’m all for the institution of marriage. If you fall in love with someone, you should be able to enter in to a marriage and aim for a lifetime of happiness.
That being said, absent the romanticism and committing yourself to the person you love for the rest of your life, marriage is really little more than a legal agreement. As with many legal agreements, there are sometimes unintended consequences of entering into the agreement and marriage is certainly no different.
Those who are married enjoy advantages that unmarried folks do not such as tax benefits and credits but there are some cases in which the unhitched hold the upper hand. The story of Rachelle Friedman recently made the news and makes the case in point. Friedman suffered a freak accident at her bachelorette party and became paralyzed from the waist down. She was also scheduled, up until the accident occurred, to get married in June. Those plans are now being postponed but not because her fiancé is getting cold feet. The real reason is because Friedman’s medical bills are currently being covered by Medicaid. Should she get married, her and her spouse’s combined incomes would leave them ineligible for coverage. So, for now, they remain unmarried.
Medical issues and insurance coverage can be reasons for choosing to remain unmarried but they’re not the only ones. Bypassing marriage will make the most sense for those that have something to lose by getting married – namely a regular income stream.
If you’re receiving Social Security income courtesy of an ex-spouse and you get remarried, in many cases that income stream goes away. As with many who need to carefully manage their finances, those who are considering remarrying need to assess if they can live without the extra money.
Social Security isn’t the only income from an ex-spouse that can influence your remarriage plans. Alimony shares a lot of similarities to Social Security in that in many cases you can count on losing regular alimony payments if you get remarried. Many states assert that you are no longer in need of spousal support once you gain a new spouse (although in many cases you can live unmarried with a partner without it affecting your alimony payments).
The choice of whether or not to get married can be especially hairy to those who’ve been previously married but it can also be an especially important decision to those who have children nearing college age. Financial aid decisions are based on the parent with whom the child lived the longest during the prior year and a current spouse if applicable. That means getting married just prior to Junior heading off to college could have serious ramifications to any government aid that could be received. While this reason may not cause you to avoid marriage altogether, it’s certainly a reason to consider delaying it.
While the decision to marry should realistically be based solely on love and finding your soulmate, the business side of the decision necessitates thinking about the financial impact of it. Once you understand all impacts, there’s no reason you can’t have happiness both personally and financially.
Photo credit: Justin Lucarelli
This article was originally written or modified on . If you enjoyed reading this post, please consider subscribing to my full RSS feed. Or you can also choose to have free daily updates delivered right to your inbox.