Is marriage a wealth-building institution?

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills

Postby WhiskeyJ » Mon May 23, 2011 11:57 pm

I think marriage and children can actually enhance wealth building. I got married in my mid 30s and 3 years later have two kids. I find more motivation to do well at work because I want my kids (and wife) to be proud of me as they get older and as I was of my dad. Rather than doing what I can to get by at work and earn a good income, I think I've grown a lot more recently. I put in a little more effort, look for opportunities to be a better leader and I have seen some measurable outcomes really change since getting married and having kids.

Maybe I'm not a good self-motivator. So for me, marriage and kids have really filled in that motivation gap.
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Postby ShowMeThe... » Tue May 24, 2011 5:35 am

+1 on Bruin's post above
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Postby rustymutt » Tue May 24, 2011 8:02 am

dm200 wrote:Regarding Catholics and divorce rates - How would you "count" Newt Gingrich? Not a Catholic, divorced twice - then becomes a Catholic after the second divorce?


Sounds as if he's running.
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Postby Martello Shores » Tue May 24, 2011 8:59 am

The book "Millionaire Next Door" examined the offensive (earn money) and defensive (frugality) strategies of rich people. I remember that wives who stayed at home had a high proportion of coupon-clippers among them!

Re RC wedding prep, it forced a couple I know to discuss money matters. This was years ago, but each was asked to write down how much one could spend without discussing it with the other. One wrote $20, while the other wrote $200. When they exchanged the pieces of paper, both exclaimed, "WHAT?!" :lol:
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Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Tue May 24, 2011 9:03 am

Martello Shores wrote:The book "Millionaire Next Door" examined the offensive (earn money) and defensive (frugality) strategies of rich people. I remember that wives who stayed at home had a high proportion of coupon-clippers among them!

Re RC wedding prep, it forced a couple I know to discuss money matters. This was years ago, but each was asked to write down how much one could spend without discussing it with the other. One wrote $20, while the other wrote $200. When they exchanged the pieces of paper, both exclaimed, "WHAT?!" :lol:


My wife clips coupons, so do I - we both work. Guess we are the exception to that rule. As far at the wedding prep - that was my wife's reaction to my spending habits - What!!!! :lol:
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Postby hsv_climber » Tue May 24, 2011 9:52 am

My wife does not work (i.e. stays at home), but does not clip coupons either.

We save money by not clipping coupons; thus, limiting our purchases of the processed food. Has anyone ever seen coupons on fresh vegetables? raw meat? fruits?
Nope. Coupons are always for XYZ brand super-duper processed food.
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Postby raddle » Tue May 24, 2011 11:04 am

hsv_climber wrote:My wife does not work (i.e. stays at home), but does not clip coupons either.

We save money by not clipping coupons; thus, limiting our purchases of the processed food. Has anyone ever seen coupons on fresh vegetables? raw meat? fruits?
Nope. Coupons are always for XYZ brand super-duper processed food.


That's not true. You don't use toilet paper? laundry detergent? paper towels? trash bags? ziploc baggies? over-the-counter medications?

You can find coupons for all those things.
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Postby Martello Shores » Tue May 24, 2011 11:18 am

I think point of the Millionaire-Next-Door author was that both husband and wife tended to share a frugal outlook, even if one was at-home. Coupon-clipping was just an example.
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Postby SP-diceman » Tue May 24, 2011 11:23 am

raddle wrote:
hsv_climber wrote:My wife does not work (i.e. stays at home), but does not clip coupons either.

We save money by not clipping coupons; thus, limiting our purchases of the processed food. Has anyone ever seen coupons on fresh vegetables? raw meat? fruits?
Nope. Coupons are always for XYZ brand super-duper processed food.


That's not true. You don't use toilet paper?


Not when you eat "the good stuff". :)
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Postby hsv_climber » Tue May 24, 2011 11:27 am

raddle wrote:That's not true. You don't use toilet paper? laundry detergent? paper towels? trash bags? ziploc baggies? over-the-counter medications?

You can find coupons for all those things.


Sam's Club.
And they don't accept coupons.

BTW, we don't use trash bags, since we use free plastic/paper bags from the stores instead of them.
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Postby hsv_climber » Tue May 24, 2011 11:28 am

SP-diceman wrote:
raddle wrote:
hsv_climber wrote:My wife does not work (i.e. stays at home), but does not clip coupons either.

We save money by not clipping coupons; thus, limiting our purchases of the processed food. Has anyone ever seen coupons on fresh vegetables? raw meat? fruits?
Nope. Coupons are always for XYZ brand super-duper processed food.


That's not true. You don't use toilet paper?


Not when you eat "the good stuff". :)


Better than that - only use restroom at work for that. I've seen it posted on a Fat Wallet "frugal things to do thread" :).
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Postby VictoriaF » Tue May 24, 2011 11:34 am

Financial perspective
A marriage is similar to home-ownership:
1. It (marriage, home ownership) can impose forced savings on those who need help saving. But disciplined personal finance managers can more easily get ahead by doing it alone.
2. Home owners and married people do better on average. Still, both groups are facing large risks if their home ownership or marriage falls apart.

Romantic perspective
One can be logical and determined when one is not romantically afflicted. When one is, all prudence goes away and one may marry the most inappropriate person.

Side note
Has anybody done research of the per cent of divorces among introverts and extroverts, respectively?

Victoria
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Postby chaz » Tue May 24, 2011 11:47 am

I worked harder to provide a good life for my wife.
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Postby protagonist » Tue May 24, 2011 12:02 pm

Quick thoughts:
1. Romance and logic are incompatible, and both necessary and desirable. That makes life way interesting.
2. Marriage is a good financial investment for the poorer member of the couple (low risk, high return) and a bad investment (high risk, low return) for the richer. With divorce rates exceeding 50% and a legal system that tends to split assets down the middle, this is not being cynical- it is obvious.
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Postby protagonist » Tue May 24, 2011 12:04 pm

VictoriaF wrote:Side note
Has anybody done research of the per cent of divorces among introverts and extroverts, respectively?

Victoria


This is a very interesting question, Victoria.
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Postby touchdowntodd » Tue May 24, 2011 12:09 pm

in my case, marriage was about finding my soul mate.. someone i cant live without..

now because i chose the right person, our goals aligned and we plan our financial future together..

if you plan on marrying for money or as a "business" decision, plan on losing a lot of that money eventually due to a divorce, spousal support, etc...
tryin to do this right... thanks guys
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Postby Call_Me_Op » Tue May 24, 2011 12:11 pm

imagardener wrote:There is a positive correlation between marriage and wealth and health. Marriage does not cause wealth but it is an attribute of it.

If you wish to emulate millionaires then you should take on their characteristics which includes long-term marriage. Men benefit in multiple ways from marriage, money being just one measurement.


I don't know about you, but I don't want to emulate anyone or any particular group. If you are implying that one needs to be married to become a millionaire, that is certainly false.

As for the many benefits of marriage, they accrue to the minority who are happily married and remain that way for life. There are too many cases where the end of a marriage brings disastrous financial consequences.
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Postby protagonist » Tue May 24, 2011 12:29 pm

touchdowntodd wrote:in my case, marriage was about finding my soul mate.. someone i cant live without..

now because i chose the right person, our goals aligned and we plan our financial future together..

if you plan on marrying for money or as a "business" decision, plan on losing a lot of that money eventually due to a divorce, spousal support, etc...


I might be going out on a limb here, Todd, but I think that most of us who have married have married for the same "soulmate" reason, but none of us have a clear view of the distant future regardless of what our heart or brain tells us (read "Chaos" by James Gleick). Assuming you have been married a very long time and have a rewarding relationship, you are one of the winners, regardless of your finances. Congratulations.
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Postby Beantown85 » Tue May 24, 2011 3:36 pm

I'm not totally sure, but I can tell you that a wedding certainly doesn't help build wealth.
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Postby Exige » Tue May 24, 2011 4:21 pm

I agree on the expensive wedding comment mine is coming in august and ouch! haha will be fun though... I really like the comment from chaz I too feel like I work harder and strive for more becuase of my fiance and wanting a good life for the both of us. I could easily see doing half or none of what I do now if I was single im a better person because of her.
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Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Tue May 24, 2011 4:25 pm

hsv_climber wrote:My wife does not work (i.e. stays at home), but does not clip coupons either.

We save money by not clipping coupons; thus, limiting our purchases of the processed food. Has anyone ever seen coupons on fresh vegetables? raw meat? fruits?
Nope. Coupons are always for XYZ brand super-duper processed food.


I hesitate to inquire if you bathe, wash clothes or just rely upon nature to practice generally recognized methods of personal hygiene in a cost efficient and practical manner. :lol:
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Postby hsv_climber » Tue May 24, 2011 4:44 pm

GRT2BOUTDOORS wrote:I hesitate to inquire if you bathe, wash clothes or just rely upon nature to practice generally recognized methods of personal hygiene in a cost efficient and practical manner. :lol:


I do better than that - I read all posts in the thread before coming up with my own question that was already asked & answered (see both above).
:P
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Postby ryuns » Tue May 24, 2011 4:49 pm

I do find it easy to save with my gf (no shared accounts, but we split everything) for the same reason our relationship seems to be working. Common goals. She's far less frugal at heart than I am, but we both embrace knowing that material goods aren't going to enhance our life.

I will add that marriage, from the get-go, starts out as the Shiva of your bank account. Average cost of a wedding is some $29,000. http://www.moneyunder30.com/how-much-av ... dding-cost
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Postby Exige » Tue May 24, 2011 7:11 pm

We actually split everything 50/50 now as well house food etc and have fully seperate finances. we do plan to have a joint account for the bills after the wedding though. (our wedding will end up being 39k without a honeymoon! OUCH)
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Postby Stupendous » Tue May 24, 2011 10:02 pm

If it works out and both work then yes. Otherwise, no and especially no if you're the one that contributed more financially. When getting married I look at the average yearly income per person. In my case I make $121K/year and if I married someone making only $45K that is $83K/person. I could not imagine going back to $83K/year. And now my would be wife almost doubled her salary by simply saying and acting out she "loves me" (for now).

I'd probably have more saved if I did have a wife though because my ~$100K in toys most likely would have required permission from the wife and she would have said no most likely. Being single I have the ability to randomly decide I want to buy something one weekend assuming I have the money to do so.

ryuns wrote:but we both embrace knowing that material goods aren't going to enhance our life.


IMO, if material items aren't enhancing your life then you're buying the wrong ones ;).
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Postby scouter » Tue May 24, 2011 11:32 pm

Stupendous wrote:If it works out and both work then yes. Otherwise, no and especially no if you're the one that contributed more financially. When getting married I look at the average yearly income per person. In my case I make $121K/year and if I married someone making only $45K that is $83K/person. I could not imagine going back to $83K/year. And now my would be wife almost doubled her salary by simply saying and acting out she "loves me" (for now).

I'd probably have more saved if I did have a wife though because my ~$100K in toys most likely would have required permission from the wife and she would have said no most likely. Being single I have the ability to randomly decide I want to buy something one weekend assuming I have the money to do so.

ryuns wrote:but we both embrace knowing that material goods aren't going to enhance our life.


IMO, if material items aren't enhancing your life then you're buying the wrong ones ;).


But you're assuming that it costs twice as much for two people to live together as either one separately. When we got married, we were able to easily live on just my income while saving and investing my wife's income, (which was just slightly less than mine). That put us way ahead of what either one of us could have attained on our own.
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Postby bearcub » Wed May 25, 2011 7:52 am

,,,
Last edited by bearcub on Sat Jun 18, 2011 9:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SP-diceman » Wed May 25, 2011 9:34 am

Beantown85 wrote:I'm not totally sure, but I can tell you that a wedding certainly doesn't help build wealth.



Unless you do catering, flowers, photography. :)

Thanks
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Postby SP-diceman » Wed May 25, 2011 9:37 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Side note
Has anybody done research of the per cent of divorces among introverts and extroverts, respectively?


If “opposites attract” the data would cancel.


Thanks
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Postby HomerJ » Wed May 25, 2011 10:19 am

Exige wrote:(our wedding will end up being 39k without a honeymoon! OUCH)


Ouch is right... If you're like 30, that $39k could be worth $300k at 60 (at 7% interest).

That may equal 3-5 years of savings... When you're working at 58, think to yourself... "Wow, I could have retired 3 years ago if I had a smaller wedding way back when"

Just kidding, you'll make yourself crazy thinking about every purchase like that... Life is more than a balance sheet... The whole point of making money is to spend it on life experiences... So enjoy your wedding!!

(Of course, if you get divorced, you're REALLY going to be mad working at 58 thinking about all that money you spent on that wedding... No, no, kidding, kidding, ignore the evil man behind curtain!)

:roll: :oops: :roll:
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Postby HomerJ » Wed May 25, 2011 10:23 am

bearcub wrote:I believe in marrying a rich very old widow,with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. That"s why on Gilligan"s Island I would pick Mrs.Howell"lovie" over Ginger or Maryann any day. :twisted:


Except Mr. Howell was still alive... :)

And I'm a Mary-Ann guy, all the way.
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Postby SP-diceman » Wed May 25, 2011 10:43 am

rrosenkoetter wrote:And I'm a Mary-Ann guy, all the way.


+11
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Postby LH » Wed May 25, 2011 11:04 am

A couple of links to studies

Study: Marriage builds wealth and divorce destroys it

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/200 ... alth_x.htm

MILLIONAIRE COUPLES: THE UNMISTAKABLE
LINK BETWEEN MARRIAGE AND WEALTH
CREATION

http://www.thompsonlaw.ca/pdf_folder/millcouple.pdf
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Postby Exige » Wed May 25, 2011 11:14 am

rrosenkoetter wrote:
Exige wrote:(our wedding will end up being 39k without a honeymoon! OUCH)


Ouch is right... If you're like 30, that $39k could be worth $300k at 60 (at 7% interest).

That may equal 3-5 years of savings... When you're working at 58, think to yourself... "Wow, I could have retired 3 years ago if I had a smaller wedding way back when"

Just kidding, you'll make yourself crazy thinking about every purchase like that... Life is more than a balance sheet... The whole point of making money is to spend it on life experiences... So enjoy your wedding!!

(Of course, if you get divorced, you're REALLY going to be mad working at 58 thinking about all that money you spent on that wedding... No, no, kidding, kidding, ignore the evil man behind curtain!)

:roll: :oops: :roll:


hahaha I agree either way 90% of it is paid for and we planned almost 2 years out so it was small monthly payments and we have lots of help from her family and mine :) and it could compound better im 25!!! lol
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Postby Flashes1 » Wed May 25, 2011 12:53 pm

Being married is good for credibility/stability in my industry and is thus good for promotions. Most managers are married or have been married. It sounds bad, but a single, never been married person in their 40's or 50's would be odd, and co-workers speculate they must have some kind of "issue." Not that the stigma can't be overcome, because it can, but it's something to deal with.
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Postby yobria » Wed May 25, 2011 1:22 pm

Flashes1 wrote:Being married is good for credibility/stability in my industry and is thus good for promotions. Most managers are married or have been married. It sounds bad, but a single, never been married person in their 40's or 50's would be odd, and co-workers speculate they must have some kind of "issue."


Sounds like an episode of Mad Men.

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Postby chicagobear » Wed May 25, 2011 4:17 pm

Flashes1 wrote:Being married is good for credibility/stability in my industry and is thus good for promotions. Most managers are married or have been married. It sounds bad, but a single, never been married person in their 40's or 50's would be odd, and co-workers speculate they must have some kind of "issue." Not that the stigma can't be overcome, because it can, but it's something to deal with.


Interesting. That is certainly not the case in Chicago or New York where there are many professional straight, never-married people.
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Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Wed May 25, 2011 5:05 pm

LH wrote:A couple of links to studies

Study: Marriage builds wealth and divorce destroys it

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/200 ... alth_x.htm

MILLIONAIRE COUPLES: THE UNMISTAKABLE
LINK BETWEEN MARRIAGE AND WEALTH
CREATION

http://www.thompsonlaw.ca/pdf_folder/millcouple.pdf


I tend to agree with the second link. Come to think of it, I have to agree with the first as well - attorneys are very good at milking divorcing couples, of course an angry spouse is essential to this milking exercise.
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Postby Opponent Process » Wed May 25, 2011 5:56 pm

LH wrote:MILLIONAIRE COUPLES: THE UNMISTAKABLE
LINK BETWEEN MARRIAGE AND WEALTH
CREATION

http://www.thompsonlaw.ca/pdf_folder/millcouple.pdf


"Millionaire couples have a unique ability to select mates with a certain set of qualities."

"unselfish, caring, forgiving, patient, understanding, disciplined and virtuous."

maybe this is a shocking opinion but I don't think it's really all that hard to find a spouse with these qualities that can facilitate the transition to millionaire status.
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Postby Opponent Process » Wed May 25, 2011 6:03 pm

VictoriaF wrote:Has anybody done research of the per cent of divorces among introverts and extroverts, respectively?

Victoria


I don't know, but, as an INTJ, I could probably stay married to just about anyone as long as they left me alone.
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Postby hsv_climber » Wed May 25, 2011 6:18 pm

Opponent Process wrote:I don't know, but, as an INTJ, I could probably stay married to just about anyone as long as they left me alone.


It got me curious, so I've just done a test on http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/jtypes2.asp

and got: Your Type is: INTJ
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Postby interplanetjanet » Wed May 25, 2011 6:20 pm

Opponent Process wrote:I don't know, but, as an INTJ, I could probably stay married to just about anyone as long as they left me alone.

The vast majority of the people I work with are INTJs, and I think that sounds about right, though don't underestimate the need for mental stimulation at times.

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Postby Scott S » Wed May 25, 2011 7:27 pm

Neat, I'm an ENFP. I was born more of an "I", but I've gotten better...

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Postby interplanetjanet » Wed May 25, 2011 8:45 pm

Scott S wrote:Neat, I'm an ENFP. I was born more of an "I", but I've gotten better...

I thought introverts were failed extroverts for a long time when I was growing up, but I've come to realize that for me, it's a difference in how interpersonal and intrapersonal energy drives expression.

I have an ENTJ "business suit" that I put on when I have to to get through a project or an interaction, but it is always such a relief to get it back off. I think it shows itself on here, though - it's become a reflex reaction to strong egos. Not that there are any of those here. :roll:

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Re: Is marriage a wealth-building institution?

Postby aleck » Wed May 25, 2011 10:07 pm

Landmonster wrote:Hi Bogleheads.

This is a bit of a theoretic type question, primarily aimed at men. But women can certainly offer perspective too.

For the modern American man.... is the institution of marriage, a wealth-building one, or wealth-draining one? Why or why not?

Furthermore, if a young man in America is interested in becoming wealthy, is getting married a wise idea?

Finally, what type of woman is an ideal candidate for marriage?


I suggest you marry a sugar momma. There are people and companies that train you how to find and marry a wealthy person. Most of these are geared for women, but if you look hard, you can find these programs for men as well.
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Postby norookie » Wed May 25, 2011 10:18 pm

:D YES,! You immediately qualify for the marriage tax!!!!!!!! If filing jointly. :evil:
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Postby btenny » Wed May 25, 2011 10:51 pm

Yes married life is good for most people but only for moderate wealth I suspect, say $1M to $10M or so. At this level people still have time and energy for romance and significant others and kids, etc.. In this case people like being married and enjoy the support a wife (or husband) gives them and a home base to build on and reasons to stay at home and save money. These people get rich over time and form the back bone of the upper middle class and lower echelons of the new rich.....

But if you want to become really rich I think wives and kids are an impediment until you make your first $50M or so. The key is it takes diligence and perseverece and luck and talent and lots and lots of long hours to get this rich. So wives and kids just get in the way IMO. Look at Bill Gates or dozens of rock stars and many other really rich guys. They got rich and then got married after they made their first $50M or $100M......

Or of course you could also get rich the very old fashioned way. Marry rich or nuzzle up to your really rich uncle, grandpa, etc......

Bill
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Postby sschullo » Wed May 25, 2011 11:09 pm

Yes, it is wealth building IF you have similar values of frugality and money values and don't get divorced.
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Postby Stupendous » Thu May 26, 2011 2:13 am

Flashes1 wrote:Being married is good for credibility/stability in my industry and is thus good for promotions. Most managers are married or have been married. It sounds bad, but a single, never been married person in their 40's or 50's would be odd, and co-workers speculate they must have some kind of "issue." Not that the stigma can't be overcome, because it can, but it's something to deal with.


Seems odd to me as I don't see much difference between a never been married versus a was married person. Technically the was married person should have never gotten married anyways.
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Postby Beantown85 » Thu May 26, 2011 11:56 am

Flashes1 wrote:Being married is good for credibility/stability in my industry and is thus good for promotions. Most managers are married or have been married. It sounds bad, but a single, never been married person in their 40's or 50's would be odd, and co-workers speculate they must have some kind of "issue." Not that the stigma can't be overcome, because it can, but it's something to deal with.


Reminds me of the scene from The Departed, when Matt Damon's character is talking to Alec Baldwin's about getting married.
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