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Old 05-04-2013, 04:04 PM   #1
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Marriage

I am just wondering why it is that marriage seems to cost more than living single according to the people on this board? I consistently read things like 'if I hadn't gotten married I'd have saved xx,' or 'I'm not married, so I'm able to save xy.'

I am not at that phase in my life, but I've been living with my partner for two years now and things seems to be much cheaper when we're together, while we're earning more combined. Is that just because we're young? Are those posts about the kid factor?

I'm just struggling to comprehend that aspect of the whole deal.
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:12 PM   #2
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Those who think that the marriage costs more may be reflecting on the fact that singles can choose to live very modestly but once they marry the couple wants a nice home and all the things that go with that. Married couples must accommodate each other's spending habits and they may not align.

Then there is the cost of divorce if it doesn't work out.
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:16 PM   #3
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There is also the "marriage penalty", where a couple filing jointly pays more tax than the total of both filing single.
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:20 PM   #4
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Maybe you could have a look at the BLS expenditure level for the households with one person or two people : http://www.bls.gov/cex/ there is a sharp difference.
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:22 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Arifriekinel View Post
I am just wondering why it is that marriage seems to cost more than living single according to the people on this board? ....
It's not the cost of marriage, it's the cost of divorce. Plan carefully.
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Old 05-04-2013, 04:26 PM   #6
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One big issue is that married couples need to compromise and do things to meet the wants and needs of the other spouse. That is not at all a bad thing, but it is more costly.

A couple of examples. DH wanted to have some large dogs as pets (I'm a cat person). I didn't really mind, exactly, but as a result wehad to buy in a subdivision without a typical pet limitation and we needed a property with more land. If it was just me, I would be buying a house that could contain a couple of cats so would be less expensive since I wouldn't need to have the land and would have a larger pool of homes to pick from.

On the other hand, I cared about having a nice kitchen with granite and an open layout. DH didn't care about those things at all. I like a house with more "amenities" than are important.

So to pick a house that meets both of our desires, it costs more than it would to be a house that would only meet DH's wants or would only meet my wants.

And, this type of thing is reflected over and over again on all sorts of thing.
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it just happens
Old 05-04-2013, 04:57 PM   #7
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it just happens

Before getting married I was living on a paltry sum and was fine. So was my then-girlfriend. Once we got married, the first decision was where to buy a house. The house turned out to be too big, but it also drove many other decisions. You can't have a big beautiful house and let the landscaping die, so that costs money. The utilities cost a lot more. If something breaks, you can't use duct tape to fix it b/c that'll bring down the resale value of the McMansion. I don't regret getting married, but I wish I would have fought a little harder with DW to start with a much small home. Also, kids add a lot of cost.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:09 PM   #8
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Living together and later married, we earned double, so although we made some compromises that cost more than either of us single would have, combined we were still very far ahead and saved well. Divorce and then each paying for a full household and the extra expenses that entailed was unimaginably expensive.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:15 PM   #9
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Before getting married I was living on a paltry sum and was fine. So was my then-girlfriend. Once we got married, the first decision was where to buy a house. The house turned out to be too big, but it also drove many other decisions. You can't have a big beautiful house and let the landscaping die, so that costs money. The utilities cost a lot more. If something breaks, you can't use duct tape to fix it b/c that'll bring down the resale value of the McMansion. I don't regret getting married, but I wish I would have fought a little harder with DW to start with a much small home. Also, kids add a lot of cost.
This is all absolutely true - whether or not you are married. Because we are not, and we run into this all the time. S.O. wanted a large house but... didn't realize that maintaining a nice lawn would be important. I can't stand "lawn farming" but if we have the only house with a crummy lawn it hurts resale.

OTOH we normally split the expenses. So that saves money.

We recently had a crisis - as of 2 years ago I have a permanently damaged hand and can't do gardening any more. After watching the lawn die last summer (he didn't water it), I felt we needed a sprinkler system. They add to resale value, here anyhow. He didn't want this. I am paying for them - and the new patio furniture - because it was important to me. Having said this, we split all the other remodeling we did on the house - for some reason he hated paying for sprinklers. We can afford this so that's not it.

Somehow you manage! Financially, I like having things separate - except the house, and I just decided not to continue being mad about the lawn stuff. The relationship is more important than the expense is. But I think my expenses went down because I'm only paying half of what is needed. We've both always LBYM...
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Arifriekinel View Post
I am just wondering why it is that marriage seems to cost more than living single according to the people on this board? I consistently read things like 'if I hadn't gotten married I'd have saved xx,' or 'I'm not married, so I'm able to save xy.'

I am not at that phase in my life, but I've been living with my partner for two years now and things seems to be much cheaper when we're together, while we're earning more combined. Is that just because we're young? Are those posts about the kid factor?

I'm just struggling to comprehend that aspect of the whole deal.
If you marry a clone of yourself, it will be cheaper, compared to the joint income.

However, most young men find out that women are different from men, and wives are different from girlfriends. As in they have much more power.

If you sometimes wonder about these things, watch HGTV for a few weeks. Very eye opening.

Ha
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:28 PM   #11
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All things equal, my DW and I getting married lowered costs. The marriage tax penalty is a killer though. Also children are very expensive.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:44 PM   #12
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The marriage tax penalty may not be very fair, but I find it hard to believe that's why being married is costing more than being single. For one thing, it means your spouse is making about what you do. How much are people really getting hit on the marriage penalty?

I think the first reply from Brat covers it pretty well.
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:12 PM   #13
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The marriage tax penalty may not be very fair, but I find it hard to believe that's why being married is costing more than being single. For one thing, it means your spouse is making about what you do. How much are people really getting hit on the marriage penalty?

I think the first reply from Brat covers it pretty well.
I've never understood the marriage penalty. I guess I look at from the prespective of a "normal income" household. You can make up to $90K/yr if married and still be in the 15% bracket while if single you can only make around $45K. Seem like an advantage to being married. For high earners I guess it can be the other way around. I certainly wouldn't be complaining though if I made that much money. I'd gladly pay the higher taxes because the bottom line(after taxes) is still larger. JMO
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:18 PM   #14
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I've never understood the marriage penalty. I guess I look at from the prespective of a "normal income" household. You can make up to $90K/yr if married and still be in the 15% bracket while if single you can only make around $45K. Seem like an advantage to being married. For high earners I guess it can be the other way around. I certainly wouldn't be complaining though if I made that much money. I'd gladly pay the higher taxes because the bottom line(after taxes) is still larger. JMO
See

Effects of Marriage on Tax Burden Vary Greatly with Income Level, Equality | Tax Foundation

Marriage penalty or bonus is a function of total income and if the couple's income are balanced or unbalanced. I make about 650K and my DW makes about 350K. Our tax marriage penalty are above 30K.
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:30 PM   #15
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Effects of Marriage on Tax Burden Vary Greatly with Income Level, Equality | Tax Foundation

Marriage penalty or bonus is a function of total income and if the couple's income are balanced or unbalanced. I make about 650K and my DW makes about 350K. Our tax marriage penalty are above 30K.
Ok, so I see how it can both ways. What I was thinking of is what they call "marriage bonus" compared to your "marriage penalty". The marriage bonus that I see is if you make $75K/yr and are married your top bracket is only 15% whereas if you're single then you pay 25% on the last apprx. $30K. That is the marriage bonus that I see most often but can see your point of view as well.
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:41 PM   #16
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30K is a lot, for sure. But still, that's just 3% of your income. And you're wife is bringing in $350K, which is considerably more than the $30K the marriage tax is costing you. I just don't see this as the "I could've save more but ..." reason.
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Old 05-04-2013, 06:50 PM   #17
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30K is a lot, for sure. But still, that's just 3% of your income. And you're wife is bringing in $350K, which is considerably more than the $30K the marriage tax is costing you. I just don't see this as the "I could've save more but ..." reason.
If is more of "My DW and I could have each saved more had we stayed single respectively as 30K is greater than our saving from sharing expenses (like housing). Furthermore having children for sure increased spending so net net from a pure savings point of view marriage is a net negative."
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Old 05-04-2013, 07:13 PM   #18
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Marriage penalty or bonus is a function of total income and if the couple's income are balanced or unbalanced. I make about 650K and my DW makes about 350K. Our tax marriage penalty are above 30K.
My income is in your range and we looked at filing seperately and found we would have had an additional 8% taxes if we did so. One of us needs a new CPA!
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:17 PM   #19
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If you marry a clone of yourself, it will be cheaper, compared to the joint income.
Which is what I did the second time around. Admittedly I have more expensive tastes/toys than she does but since I got off my lazy butt and earned the money to pay for it and then some that's OK with her.

But coming up on 25 years of marriage I'm still trying to understand the female mind. Why does it take an hour and four changes to pick a shirt out of the closet? I know "they all do that" - but why?
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Old 05-04-2013, 08:34 PM   #20
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Theoretically, a two income HH ought to raise chances of reaching FI and ER. But divorce can destroy ER plans, one of the reasons I have stayed single.
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