MARRYING FOR MONEY PAYS OFF
These thoughts are purely the blunt, no nonsense personal opinions of the author and are not intended to provide personal or financial advice.
This Washington Associated Press article appeared in the Calgary Herald on January 19, 2006. Since it may be difficult to find online, it is reproduced in full here, and is followed by the author’s comments.
‘Marrying for money, it turns out, works.
A study by an Ohio State University researcher shows a person who married – and stays married – accumulates nearly twice as much personal wealth as a person who is single or divorced.
And for those who divorce, it’s a bit more expensive than giving up half of everything they own. They lose, on average, three-fourths of their personal net worth.
“Getting married for a few years and then getting divorced is clearly not the path to financial independence,” says Jay Zagorsky, whose study divided married couples’ assets so they could be compared with singles.
Zagorsky, a research scientist at OSU’S Centre for Human Resource Research, tracked the wealth and marital status of 9,055 people from 1985 to 2000. Those people have been participating in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, which has repeatedly interviewed them about various aspects of their lives since 1979. The participants are now 41 to 49 years old, making them the youngest of the baby boomers.
Zagorsky cautioned results could be different for older and younger Americans, who have faced different attitudes about marriage, divorce and living together without marriage.
Zagorsky’s study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Sociology, defines wealth as assets, such as real estate, stocks and bank accounts, minus liabilities, such as mortgages.
A big reason married people accumulate more wealth than others is simple economies of scale – one house is cheaper to maintain than two, he said. Divorce reverses those benefits, Zagorsky said.
“Divorce looks like one of the fastest ways to destroy your wealth,” he said.
David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, said people become more economically productive after they marry.
“They work harder, they advance further in a job, they save more money and maybe invest more wisely,” Popenoe said. “That’s because, one can speculate, they are now working for something larger than themselves. They are working for a family.”
Zagorsky showed singles slowly accumulated wealth during the study. Married people accumulated wealth much faster, accumulating 93 per cent more than single or divorced people over the life of the study, Zagorsky said.’
Further discussion on this article by Ohio State University “DIVORCE DROPS A PERSON’S WEALTH BY 77 PERCENT, STUDY FINDS” states: (researchnews.osu)
‘…The data in this study can’t say why marriage is so helpful in building wealth, and why divorce so devastating, Zagorsky said. But sociological research offers some potential clues: Married people can benefit because two people can live more cheaply than they could separately. In addition, because two spouses can share household responsibilities, they can each produce more than if they were single.
Divorced people have a variety of costs associated with the divorce, which increases how much they spend and decreases how much they can save, he said.
“We can’t tell from these data the reasons why divorced people have so much less wealth than those who are married, but the results are clear, Zagorsky said…..’
Blog Author’s Comments
No matter how the pie is sliced, families are generally wealthier than singles. In this study after 15 years, married persons (who stay married) accumulate nearly twice as much personal financial wealth as a person who is single or divorced, even though many have had the expense of raising children.
So what does a family have in wealth after 30 years and again after 45 years – three, four and five times the wealth? The answer is ‘yes’. Fast forward to year 2009 and see MoneySense, October 2009 (all-canadian-wealth-test). The table “Are You Rich Yet?” shows that if one examines the upper middle class 20% net worth quintile, the worth of unattached individuals is $81,001 to $270,000 compared to the worth of families of two or more which is $358,600 to $697,000. The gap is even wider between unattached individuals and families of two or more because single parents with children are included in the family of two or more statistics. (To portray a more accurate picture, single and divorced/separated, especially at a younger age, parents with children must be pulled out of the family of two or more column and put into their own column).
The All-Canadian Wealth Test, January 2015 (based on Statistics Canada 2011 data) (all-canadian-wealth-test-2015) shows for upper-middle 20% net worth quintile the wealth for unattached individuals is $128,088 to $455,876 and families of two or more $589,687 to $1,139,488. Again, the statistics are skewed because single parents with children are included in this category).
It should also be noted that middle class family net worth is not disappearing. Review of statistics from the All Canadian Wealth Tests show that in just two years net worth has substantially increased. The richest of the rich net worth has increased the most, while the net worth of the poorest of the poor has proportionately the least (added January 20, 2016).
The “Marrying for money pays off” article also states that ‘…people become more economically productive after they marry. They work harder, they advance further in their job, they sae more money and maybe invest more wisely…that’s because, one can speculate, they are now working for something larger than themselves. They are working for a family…’
Really??? Participants at the end of the study were 41 to 49 years of age. So what is being said is that somehow at the age of 41 to 49, married people have managed to become brilliantly smart at accumulating wealth while singles have remained brilliantly stupid at accumulating wealth. Yet in the same article, it clearly states ‘a big reason married people accumulate more wealth than others is simple economics of scale – one household is cheaper than two.
The Ohio State University State article states: ‘The data in this study can’t say why marriage is so helpful in building wealth, and why divorce so devastating, Zagorsky said. But sociological research offers some potential clues: Married people can benefit because two people can live more cheaply than they could separately. In addition, because two spouses can share household responsibilities, they can each produce more than if they were single.’
They can’t say why marriage is so helpful in building wealth??? Reference to “Six Reasons Why Married/Coupled Persons able to Achieve more Wealth than Singles” (six-reasons) gives six clear reasons why married/coupled persons do so much better financially than singles or divorced/separated persons.
Just another study where society continues to denigrate singles, and considers them to be less financially intellectual than families. Reasons why married/coupled persons are able to accumulate more wealth is because of marital manna benefits, not because of financial intelligence or that they are more dedicated to financial well-being because they are family.
This blog is of a general nature about financial discrimination of individuals/singles. It is not intended to provide personal or financial advice.