Money and marriage

The economics of marriage: to have and to hold expenses

When we think about marriage, a lot of us think about falling madly in love and living the rest of our life in bliss.  Or some of us might churn at the idea believing that marriage is the worst thing for a relationship.  But there is another way to see marriage.  Because marriage is supposed to be about love many do not consider that there is a large economic benefit to marriage. Indeed, it can be argued that marriage is so common simply because it’s beneficial economically and has nothing to do with love. To put it simply, marriage offers many benefits to both the man and woman that are hard to ignore. These benefits include: lowered cost of living; a support system for difficult or unforeseen situations; and sharing the workload.

The idea behind the cost of living is this: it is cheaper to live together than separately. When a couple lives together, expenses such as rent and utilities are shared. Where a single person might pay $1,500 per month in rent, if two people live together, they can share the cost.  There are also other cost savings opportunities which are less obvious.  These include consumables, which can be purchased in larger quantities, like groceries.  For example two individuals might each pay $100/week in groceries for a total of $200/week, but as a couple they can purchase in bulk and might only pay a total of $150/week.

The second idea touches upon the fact that there is a support system when we share a life with someone else. A single person has to handle everything by themselves, but with the help of a partner, many problems, such as coming down with a flu, or loss of a job, become easier to deal with.  There is someone to buffer a job loss financially and make you chicken noodle soup when you’ve got the flu!

Lastly, it is also saves time to live together.  The reasoning behind this is twofold:  specialization, and efficiency. As an example, if one person cooks and the other cleans, the couple would save time by each performing one of the tasks.  It becomes even more efficient if each person does the task they are fastest at completing.  For examples, if you are a 30 minute meal wizard but take an hour to clean the bathroom, your time is better spent cooking dinner than cleaning the bathroom.  In addition, each individual only need to perform one task (cooking or cleaning), whereas if the individuals are single, they would need to both cook and clean which takes considerably more time.

What do you think about the economics of marriage? Should the two ideas be thought together in the same sentence?  Tell me by leaving a comment below.

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