10 Financial Perks of Marriage

By Ben Edwards on 7 October 2010 (Updated 30 September 2011) 19 comments
Photo: Orin Zebest

Have you heard the stories about how finances are one of the leading causes of divorce? What exactly are people arguing about? Being married actually has some pretty good financial perks!

I don't mean to downplay the financial challenges of married life. We've had our share of heated discussions over money; but there are some definite benefits to pooling together your resources in marriage. Here are ten ways that you and your spouse are hooking each other up. (See also: 8 Tips for Planning a Last-Minute Wedding)

1. Employer benefit options

If you're both working, you have access to each other's employee benefit plans. You can mix and match between the two to pick the best fit for your family. If one spouse loses their job, they can fall back on the other's benefits. If only one spouse is working, then the obvious benefit is that the non-working spouse has access to benefits.

2. Multi-car auto insurance discount

As a married couple, you have the added benefit of being able to add multiple cars to one insurance policy. This multi-car discount can help you save money on car insurance.

3. One rent/mortgage payment

For those who live separately before getting married, the notion of combining homes or apartments is one of the best financial perks of marriage. By consolidating to a single mortgage or rent payment you can save hundreds of dollars each month.

4. One utility bill

Similar to making only one rent or mortgage payment, married couples enjoy the added advantage of having to only make a single payment for their utility bill. When you take away a whole set of water, gas, electric, and trash bills you'll definitely save money each month.

5. One insurance bill

See a pattern here? Consolidating to one set of bills can really make a difference. Not only are you getting rid of an insurance bill, now you're covering all the same stuff with only one deductible instead of two.

6. One set of furniture/appliances

When married couples move in together, they often downsize their furniture and appliances to only one set. Not only does this mean less to take care of and maintain, you can also make decent money by selling your furniture and appliances.

7. Fewer property taxes

This one only applies if you owned a house or apartment before getting married. Since marriage usually means moving in together, you only have to pay property taxes on a single property instead of two.

8. One tax return

Filing your taxes can cost a chunk of change if you hire an accountant. If you file jointly, suddenly you have one tax prep bill instead of two. It won't save you as much if you're just using tax prep software, but it still saves you at least an e-file.

9. More valuable rewards points

If you use a rewards credit card with a tiered reward structure, having both spouses using the same account can boost you into the higher tier of rewards more quickly. For example, we use the Blue Cash card where the higher tier means 5% cash back instead of 1% — a big difference.

10. Spending accountability

While everyone likes to splurge on purchases every once in a while, doing so too often can put a big dent in your bank account. If you know your spouse is going to see a big charge on your card or debit from your bank account you may be less likely to spend money on something you don't really need.

It's not just the fear of being quizzed by your spouse about a big bill that keeps you honest with your money. Having to share the same financial resources means you're more likely to discuss spending ahead of time and make shared decisions. That other voice of reason can sometimes help save you from bad money choices.

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Guest's picture
Guest

I'm not married, but my partner and I have all but two of the benefits - 1. and 8. The rest are open to everyone. One will matter some day, and with 8, the only benefit that we know of is the single return - we are not paying more in taxes, and we use tax-prep software anyway.

Guest's picture
Kasey

Marriage really is great just for the fact that you have someone to lean on. And someone else to blame :) !

If you've got the right partner - you can handle any financial challenges that come your way.

Great post!

Guest's picture
Tina

Perhaps you should specify "marriage to an opposite-sex partner." My wife and I enjoy only some of the benefits that you listed, and we must create EXTRA tax returns to account for the discrepancy between state and federal tax laws.

Guest's picture
Charles

These are GREAT! I needed some financial encouragement because i've been stressed financially about getting married in March. But your list gave me hope a little!

Guest's picture

Great post and points! I like the positive spin on this angle of ways to make marriage succeed!

The best way to help a marriage is to get off on the right foot financially.

Guest's picture
Guest

Please clarify that many of these (and other benefits) are only currently associated/allowed with heterosexual marriage.

Guest's picture

Great stuff

Unfortunately, I could write an article with about 50 things that are detrimental to you financially by tying the knot...

...especially if your spouse is a spender and you aren't.

Ben Edwards's picture

@Kasey, you nailed it! If the two of you approach it as a team and not from different sides then you'll figure it out.

@Tina & Guest, sorry I didn't think to make that clear. Honestly, I don't know much about the financial challenges of same-sex couples but that could make a useful post in the future.

@Charles Congrats on your upcoming wedding!

@Nate, sometimes its easy to get frustrated with money issues in a marriage so I thought I'd point out some bright spots.

@David - yeah if you don't see eye to eye on spending/saving habits that can certainly cause some tension. If they're out shopping at least you'll be racking up the rewards points :)

Guest's picture
Matt

I'm actually quite disappointed in this article. As was pointed out, all but 2 or 3 of the above are available by simply living together. Heck, half of them can be summarized as "sharing expenses," which can be done by having a roommate.

I am recently married, but I lived with my wife for nearly 4 years before tying the knot. We already had joint checking accounts, multiple service discounts with our insurance agency, and owned a house together. Most of our married friends were in very similar situations as well before marriage.

And, as others have pointed out here, this is also assuming a recognized heterosexual marriage. Although some insurance agencies do allow "partnership" benefits, it's fairly uncommon.

The author of the article clearly made a number of assumptions that are less common in modern society. Or, perhaps he/she was stretching to come up with 10 things. That being said, here are a few that being "together" with my wife has benefited us financially:

1) Having dual incomes and resources has allowed us to make joint investments, such as purchasing and fixing up a rental property. Either if us individually would have been unable to afford to do so.

2) Switching to a family plan with our mobile phone provider has saved us quite a bit of money - both in monthly costs and in the free mobile-to-mobile calls to each other. The author does state lower utility costs, but only covers the general cost savings in splitting bills with someone. The discounts of a family plan are quite a bit steeper than that.

3) Simply taking advantage of each other's strengths has helped us to save money. My wife is very good at clipping and keeping coupons, and basing where we shop and where we eat dinner on the coupons we have. I was always very bad at that, so I indirectly benefit from her coupon proficiency.

Of course, none of the 3 items above require you to be married - they are simply benefits of living with someone.

Ben Edwards's picture

Hey Matt, thanks for adding a few more benefits. You're right, using a family plan on our cell phone has saved us considerable amounts of money over the last 10 years.

Except for the month my wife went over by a few hundred minutes, but that'll be the topic of a different article....

Guest's picture
Kristen

Can I just point out at least 5 of these can be accomplished WITHOUT actually getting married. In addition, this post seems to have a pretty fairy-tale idea of blindly hoping that your spouse/lover will be responsible with their credit and money. In a country where around half of all marriages end in divorce within the first couple years, I'd be a little wary of jumping on board a spouse's credit or bank account.

Ben Edwards's picture

Kristen, I agree that putting blind faith in any person can end up coming back to bite you. It's better to understand what someone is capable, or incapable, of before putting total trust in them.

In terms of trust and marriage, if a person doesn't have or can't build a level of trust in their spouse then they'll probably have bigger things to worry about than their credit score.

Guest's picture
Lazy Man

While I realize that a lot of these benefits are realized by couples who are not married, nearly 99.9% of all married couples receive all these benefits.

So while the article could have been 8 Benefits of Living with Someone, that isn't what the author chose to do. I think that's fair.

Guest's picture
Steve

In all fairness (I'm replying to some of the comments), this article was about financial perks of marriage, and not a political statement or an attempt to make people who aren't married feel bad. Of course, some of the points apply to unmarried couples who live together, and of course, some of them don't apply (and in my opinion, should) to same-sex couples. And maybe the title should have been financial perks of the widely-accepted-in-50-states-heterosexual-marriage. Just don't read too much into it. Ben was just trying to point out some benefits to marriage - and despite sitcoms to the contrary, there ARE some benefits! :)

Ben Edwards's picture

Thanks Steve. You're right, many of these perks don't require marriage but if you are married and living together then they certainly apply.

If two people are in a committed relationship, whether they're married by law or not, they share many parts of their lives together. And one benefit of sharing is that you get to save money on many of the things I outlined above.

The main thing I wanted to point out is that although you have to do a lot of compromising over money in marriage, there are benefits as well!

Guest's picture

Good article, but there's a problem with multiple cars on your insurance once you have kids that are old enough to drive. My parents have had 2 cars and 1 farm truck for their whole marriage...then when I started driving, even though I would seldom drive, I was considered a full time driver which raised the rates even higher since I was only 16. Good thing I am a girl and a good student, so we got a bit of a discount for that. Just something for families to think of.

Guest's picture
Mississauga Dad

Actually, the VERY WORST thing from a financial viewpoint for any man is to get married. Over 50% of all marriages today end in divorce. Over 75% of divorces are initiated by women. And men can be sure that the socialist feminazi court system will do everything it can (legal or otherwise) to ensure that men will be left financially destitute. Women will be given the children so that outrageous "child and spousal support" awards can be made, in many instances amounting to more than the father's total income. Women will not have to justify or even account for any of the money they receive and spend - fathers will have to report every cent to the courts (assuming they even have one cent left over). Splitting of family assets means everything she has or ever had is hers and everything you have or ever had (even from before marriage) is hers. I have done volunteer work with many, many divorced husbands and fathers and I have not yet found a single one who wasn't totally destroyed financially by the Divorce Industry (and of course the emotional and psychological destruction is another story).

Finances are definitely one of the leading causes of divorce because women are told by the Divorce Industry lawyers and judges that the courts will give them anything they ask for. And, tragically, the total financial destruction of men by the Divorce Industry is responsible for driving thousands of fathers and husbands to suicide. I have known some of those men.

Guest's picture
Leslie

@Mississauga Dad........wow, she really did a number on you.

On the flip side, there are just as many women like me who have raised children alone because the father never paid child support, even though he could afford it. My youngest is now nineteen and of course, any support stops at age 18......so when our support order ended, he has a balance of $43,000 and change........because he never paid a dime because he resented that he had to pay at all.

What did I do? Well, I had a young child who needed food and shelter so I did what I had been doing all along....I took care of her. I had always worked so I continues. She was half my child too so I never looked at it like "she is his responsibility."

If he had died, there would have been no child support or life insurance money (he did not believe in buying insurance) so I would have had to raise her on my own anyway, which is exactly what I did.

So while I understand your pain, I do not generalize all men as jerks like my ex and hope you judge women independently also.....it will make you a happier person.

Guest's picture
Travis

Another one is joined cell-phone plans. Couples who both have a cell phone from the same company can get fantastic bonuses in costs. It also gives you more leverage in a situation wherein there is a dispute.

Furthermore by combining internet and cable onto the same plan can lower costs further. 2 Cell phones, 1 Cable, 1 Internet, that's 1 package that any provider would drool over. Also adding home phone if you so choose (I don't believe it's necessary, but others may).

In Canada at least, the best cell phone plans come when you sign a 3-year commitment. Signing a three-year commitment is a big deal for me when I did last year at aged 18, but nothing compared to marriage! By having both of you sign a three year commitment, you've got a particularly good leveraging point over the cell phone company!