How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reasons?

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

Do financial considerations affect your decision in getting married?

Yes, I will not marry because of financial considerations
32
23%
Sort of, I am not ruling out marriage, but I will definitely get a pre-nup
41
29%
No, I intend to get married and will work out problems as they come
67
48%
 
Total votes: 140

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Gray
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by Gray »

I met my wife in college and married her six months after I graduated. Seems like a different world out there now from 1994-95. People living with their parents until their 30s and such.

I did make two related financial decisions, however: I would not have a kid until age of 30. After my daughter was born, we did not have another.

The first decision was because we didn't make much, but also to give us, and our relationship, time to mature.

The second decision was because kids cost so much. Otherwise, I would have had two.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by VictoriaF »

PreserveCapital wrote:How many Bogleheads do not marry and erroneously attribute the non-marital status to financial reasons?

(I suspect there might be a lot of "false positives" here.)
Virtually every person I know has or had a chance to marry someone. The number of these "someones" is larger or smaller depending on a particular Boglehead's attractiveness to potential spouses, but it's non-zero. And so I don't believe the implication of sour grapes.

Victoria
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by yobria »

PreserveCapital wrote:How many Bogleheads do not marry and erroneously attribute the non-marital status to financial reasons?

(I suspect there might be a lot of "false positives" here.)
Most of the guys I know who are married really had no choice - the woman would have left otherwise. I'd say it's only the most qualified ones who can cohabitate without having to sign any government documents. I mean Johnny Depp and George Clooney probably could get married if they felt like it...

Nick
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by interplanetjanet »

Rebecca_S wrote:
AndroAsc wrote: I would hazard a guess that this makes 90% of the American population financially incompatible with the typical Bogleheads.
I believe I am emotionally, tempramentally and mentally incompatible for a long term relationship with 99.9% of people.
I think the same thing is true for me. Funnily enough, my current SO thinks the same is true for him - if so, we're both pretty lucky if things work out for the long term.

I do get the impression that the "average" person here is both more driven and more questioning of assumptions than the average person at large, and while I can't imagine being any other way it does probably reduce the set of people who will be a good long term match.

-janet
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interplanetjanet
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by interplanetjanet »

yobria wrote:
PreserveCapital wrote:How many Bogleheads do not marry and erroneously attribute the non-marital status to financial reasons?

(I suspect there might be a lot of "false positives" here.)
Most of the guys I know who are married really had no choice - the woman would have left otherwise. I'd say it's only the most qualified ones who can cohabitate without having to sign any government documents. I mean Johnny Depp and George Clooney probably could get married if they felt like it...
No judgement on gender politics here - but I would hate to be put in a situation like that (get married or get out) and probably couldn't deal with a human being who would put me in that situation.

I'm going to venture a guess that that situation happens more often with younger partners who are looking forward to having a family, and a spouse wants the "security" of marriage.

-janet
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William Million
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by William Million »

Gray wrote:I met my wife in college and married her six months after I graduated. Seems like a different world out there now from 1994-95. People living with their parents until their 30s and such.

I did make two related financial decisions, however: I would not have a kid until age of 30. After my daughter was born, we did not have another.

The first decision was because we didn't make much, but also to give us, and our relationship, time to mature.

The second decision was because kids cost so much. Otherwise, I would have had two.
The happiest parents I know are the ones who had just 1 kid. They have the best of all worlds, experiencing all the pleasures and challenges of parenting, including ties to younger generations, without as much financial burden. They vacation in a single hotel room (perhaps with rollaway bed) until the kid is well into teenage years. Not a bad choice.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by hsv_climber »

yobria wrote:I mean Johnny Depp and George Clooney probably could get married if they felt like it...

Nick
Johnny Depp & George Clooney were married at some point. Now they just follow the path of Wizard, Navigator, etc (see above).
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by TheEternalVortex »

William Million wrote:The happiest parents I know are the ones who had just 1 kid. They have the best of all worlds, experiencing all the pleasures and challenges of parenting, including ties to younger generations, without as much financial burden. They vacation in a single hotel room (perhaps with rollaway bed) until the kid is well into teenage years. Not a bad choice.
Isn't the reason to have kids so that you can have grandkids later? That's the real payoff. Having just 1 kid is too shortsighted and risky. I plan to diversify with at least 3 kids.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by Midpack »

As important as money & financial independence are, friends & family (including a spouse) are far more important. Money can't make you happy (for long)...
You only live once...
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by Atilla »

All 3 of my marriage events were good for me financially - but I'm sure I'm in the big minority.

First marriage was a benefit - she became a law partner.
First divorce also worked out. After it happened I never had more of my own money in my entire life (an inheritance nicely timed right after the separation along with a stupid big increase in salary she never found out about).
Second marriage is also great financially. She already had a house and a good income - along with excellent saving habits.

At the divorce proceeding with the judge I was offered spousal support due to our difference in income and I refused. So the law is blind when it comes to things like that.

A happy, healthy marriage is one of the best financial benefits there are. Intact, happy, traditional nuclear families are underrepresented in the poverty statistics. :sharebeer
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by yobria »

interplanetjanet wrote:
yobria wrote:
PreserveCapital wrote:How many Bogleheads do not marry and erroneously attribute the non-marital status to financial reasons?

(I suspect there might be a lot of "false positives" here.)
Most of the guys I know who are married really had no choice - the woman would have left otherwise. I'd say it's only the most qualified ones who can cohabitate without having to sign any government documents. I mean Johnny Depp and George Clooney probably could get married if they felt like it...
No judgement on gender politics here - but I would hate to be put in a situation like that (get married or get out) and probably couldn't deal with a human being who would put me in that situation.

I'm going to venture a guess that that situation happens more often with younger partners who are looking forward to having a family, and a spouse wants the "security" of marriage.

-janet
Yes, that sounds right, but starting a family and security are the two reasons 90% of people get married.

Nick
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momar
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by momar »

I only have a 401k and Roth to contribute to. My wife has a 403b, 457, and Roth that we can contribute to.

So that helps financially, even if I can't convince her to max out all of the accounts!
"Index funds have a place in your portfolio, but you'll never beat the index with them." - Words of wisdom from a Fidelity rep
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by yobria »

Atilla wrote:All 3 of my marriage events were good for me financially - but I'm sure I'm in the big minority.

First marriage was a benefit - she became a law partner.
First divorce also worked out. After it happened I never had more of my own money in my entire life (an inheritance nicely timed right after the separation along with a stupid big increase in salary she never found out about).
Second marriage is also great financially. She already had a house and a good income - along with excellent saving habits.

At the divorce proceeding with the judge I was offered spousal support due to our difference in income and I refused. So the law is blind when it comes to things like that.

A happy, healthy marriage is one of the best financial benefits there are. Intact, happy, traditional nuclear families are underrepresented in the poverty statistics. :sharebeer
Yes, if you have a low income, marrying and divorcing a string of wealthy women is a strategy that could work out financially.

Nick
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by tim1999 »

I'm a never-married single man with no kids. And with no interest in marrying or having kids. This seems to eliminate most of the female dating "prospects" my age (30-ish.) I'd consider a co-habitation situation, but the truth is that I'm too stubborn, set in my ways, politically conservative/yet non-religious, insensitive, and selfish to appeal to 99.9% of women anyway. I like my drama-free life, even if it's lonely.

I also believe the entire concept of alimony is absolutely ridicuous. Just because you lived a certain lifestyle while married means you have the right to live it even after a divorce?!?! At one time I got to rent a Mercedes E-Class car a few times while traveling on company business with a former employer years ago...so I guess I get the right to rent one on every future business trip with my current employer since that's what I'm "accustomed" to? :lol:

One really poor move a man can make is marrying a woman who is not currently working or who has limited career prospects. That's pretty much a recipe for permanent alimony in the event of a divorce, with an imputed income of near-zero for your ex-wife.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by interplanetjanet »

Cherokee8215 wrote:I also believe the entire concept of alimony is absolutely ridicuous. Just because you lived a certain lifestyle while married means you have the right to live it even after a divorce?!?! At one time I got to rent a Mercedes E-Class car a few times while traveling on company business with a former employer years ago...so I guess I get the right to rent one on every future business trip with my current employer since that's what I'm "accustomed" to? :lol:
I think the intent behind it is good, even if I happen to be paying it right now.

It is not uncommon for one spouse to make more career sacrifices in order to help grow or maintain a family. In most cases like this, alimony is supposed to be reparative - it's to give the lower earning spouse a chance to catch up, train themselves or gain the experience they otherwise would have whilst married. Most alimony is granted for a limited period - lifetime maintenance is relatively rare.

Now, if you marry someone and they sit on the couch eating bonbons all day while you're off working, and then you divorce after five years, I see less of a need for alimony - but I don't think I could stay married to someone like that for long enough for the courts to decide that it was owed. My own ex may not have held much in the way of jobs over the years, but was dedicated to the kids and the house, 24x7x365. It was a worthwhile partnership and I'm glad to pay money for a few years while he gets on his feet.

-janet

Edit: nontraditional families can work very well too. I'm still living with my mother in-law, and she's in many ways a partner in raising my children. They grew up with her always around as almost another parent figure. There's no legal bond between us but after living with each other for 18 years and counting, there sure as heck is *something*.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by William Million »

Cherokee8215 wrote:
One really poor move a man can make is marrying a woman who is not currently working or who has limited career prospects. That's pretty much a recipe for permanent alimony in the event of a divorce, with an imputed income of near-zero for your ex-wife.
I guess it depends what the woman brings to the marriage beyond financial assets/earnings power. If she's a 20-year fashion model beauty, I don't think she'll have trouble finding a man . . .
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by TedSwippet »

rrosenkoetter wrote:
The Wizard wrote:
mptfan wrote:You have ignored many of the financial benefits of marriage....
I think you have this backwards.
Consider just a couple, no kids.
Taxes are HIGHER for a married couple making $100K each vs two single people.
Even health insurance is higher for a Family plan vs two Individual plans...
One bigger house that costs less then two smaller houses. One cable bill that costs less than two cables bills, etc., etc. etc.
Sure, but not advantages of marriage. These are equally available and advantageous to non-married couples.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by tnhooper45 »

interplanetjanet wrote:
Cherokee8215 wrote:I also believe the entire concept of alimony is absolutely ridicuous. Just because you lived a certain lifestyle while married means you have the right to live it even after a divorce?!?! At one time I got to rent a Mercedes E-Class car a few times while traveling on company business with a former employer years ago...so I guess I get the right to rent one on every future business trip with my current employer since that's what I'm "accustomed" to? :lol:
I think the intent behind it is good, even if I happen to be paying it right now.

It is not uncommon for one spouse to make more career sacrifices in order to help grow or maintain a family. In most cases like this, alimony is supposed to be reparative - it's to give the lower earning spouse a chance to catch up, train themselves or gain the experience they otherwise would have whilst married. Most alimony is granted for a limited period - lifetime maintenance is relatively rare.

Now, if you marry someone and they sit on the couch eating bonbons all day while you're off working, and then you divorce after five years, I see less of a need for alimony - but I don't think I could stay married to someone like that for long enough for the courts to decide that it was owed. My own ex may not have held much in the way of jobs over the years, but was dedicated to the kids and the house, 24x7x365. It was a worthwhile partnership and I'm glad to pay money for a few years while he gets on his feet.

-janet

Edit: nontraditional families can work very well too. I'm still living with my mother in-law, and she's in many ways a partner in raising my children. They grew up with her always around as almost another parent figure. There's no legal bond between us but after living with each other for 18 years and counting, there sure as heck is *something*.
Did I miss the reason why you have lived with your mother-in-law for 18 years? Seriously, 18 YEARS!?!
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by tnhooper45 »

VictoriaF wrote:Any man who thinks that he will be able to screen his future wife for financial prudence should first read Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational". Go straight to Chapter 6, "The Influence of Arousal : Why Hot is Much Hotter Than We Realize."

Victoria
Cliff notes please?
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by The Wizard »

interplanetjanet wrote: Edit: nontraditional families can work very well too. I'm still living with my mother in-law, and she's in many ways a partner in raising my children. They grew up with her always around as almost another parent figure. There's no legal bond between us but after living with each other for 18 years and counting, there sure as heck is *something*.
You mean the mother of your ex-husband?
That would be "interesting"...
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

TheEternalVortex wrote:
William Million wrote:The happiest parents I know are the ones who had just 1 kid. They have the best of all worlds, experiencing all the pleasures and challenges of parenting, including ties to younger generations, without as much financial burden. They vacation in a single hotel room (perhaps with rollaway bed) until the kid is well into teenage years. Not a bad choice.
Isn't the reason to have kids so that you can have grandkids later? That's the real payoff. Having just 1 kid is too shortsighted and risky. I plan to diversify with at least 3 kids.
Some couples are unable to have multiple children and/or adopt due to financial considerations. If you're able to have/raise multiple kids, good for you, but to make comments about shortsightedness and risk really shows how shortsighted you really are. As in investing, you can plan all you want, what you desire and what you get are two different things.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by interplanetjanet »

The Wizard wrote:
interplanetjanet wrote: Edit: nontraditional families can work very well too. I'm still living with my mother in-law, and she's in many ways a partner in raising my children. They grew up with her always around as almost another parent figure. There's no legal bond between us but after living with each other for 18 years and counting, there sure as heck is *something*.
You mean the mother of your ex-husband?
That would be "interesting"...
It has been, but it's also not unusual in my family's culture or hers. The nuclear family is far from universal.

-janet
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by Sheepdog »

I don't know how many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reasons, but I bet that there are Bogleheads who stay married for financial reasons....
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by cheese_breath »

I view marriage like I view housing. It's a lifestyle choice, not an investment strategy.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by VictoriaF »

tnhooper45 wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:Any man who thinks that he will be able to screen his future wife for financial prudence should first read Dan Ariely's "Predictably Irrational". Go straight to Chapter 6, "The Influence of Arousal : Why Hot is Much Hotter Than We Realize."

Victoria
Cliff notes please?
Study: Decision making and arousal
Research participants: heterosexual men, over 18 years of age, mostly students.

Sets of questions were posed in a "cold" (normal) state. The same questions were repeated when research participants were brought into a "hot" (aroused) state. Read the book for the details of the states.

Some results
question | % agreed in the "cold" state | % agreed in the "hot" state

Are women's shoes erotic? | 42 | 65
Can you imagine having sex with a 40-year-old woman? | 58 | 77
Can you imagine having sex with a 60-year-old woman? | 7 | 23
Could it be fun to have sex with someone who was extremely fat? | 13 | 24
Is a woman sexy when she's sweating? | 56 | 72
Would you tell a woman that you loved her to increase the chance that she would have sex with you? | 30 | 51
Birth control is the woman's responsibility | 34 | 44

Victoria
Last edited by VictoriaF on Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by scouter »

William Million wrote:
Gray wrote:I met my wife in college and married her six months after I graduated. Seems like a different world out there now from 1994-95. People living with their parents until their 30s and such.

I did make two related financial decisions, however: I would not have a kid until age of 30. After my daughter was born, we did not have another.

The first decision was because we didn't make much, but also to give us, and our relationship, time to mature.

The second decision was because kids cost so much. Otherwise, I would have had two.
The happiest parents I know are the ones who had just 1 kid. They have the best of all worlds, experiencing all the pleasures and challenges of parenting, including ties to younger generations, without as much financial burden. They vacation in a single hotel room (perhaps with rollaway bed) until the kid is well into teenage years. Not a bad choice.
The happiest parents I know are the ones with 4+ kids. Their lives are total chaos, (and I imagine their finances, too) but there's no denying that they absolutely glow with joy, even through their exhaustion. We split the difference and had two kids, and that's been fine for us. We also waited, (about seven years) before having our first child.

As far as marriage and finances, we married 30 years ago, not really thinking too much about finances. My wife had some minor debt and I had no debt and a pretty healthy nest egg for a 25-year-old guy. She immediately said, "you're obviously better at handling money, so that can be your job."
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by Noobvestor »

Cherokee8215 wrote:I'm a never-married single man with no kids. And with no interest in marrying or having kids. This seems to eliminate most of the female dating "prospects" my age (30-ish.)
I think you're just running in the wrong circles. I ask because of this comment above but also because you mention being conservative: are you in the south and/or outside of a major (let's say 500,000 people+) city? I run around in the north and stick to cities and find there are a lot of people in my age group (same as yours) not interested in having kids, both male and female. Then again, these are fairly liberal people and places, generally, too.
"In the absence of clarity, diversification is the only logical strategy" -= Larry Swedroe
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by Minot »

gkaplan wrote:So many misogynists, so little time.
:lol
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by tim1999 »

Noobvestor wrote:
Cherokee8215 wrote:I'm a never-married single man with no kids. And with no interest in marrying or having kids. This seems to eliminate most of the female dating "prospects" my age (30-ish.)
I think you're just running in the wrong circles. I ask because of this comment above but also because you mention being conservative: are you in the south and/or outside of a major (let's say 500,000 people+) city? I run around in the north and stick to cities and find there are a lot of people in my age group (same as yours) not interested in having kids, both male and female. Then again, these are fairly liberal people and places, generally, too.
I live in the northeast, but in a medium sized city. The fact that I work with pretty much all men, and have hobbies where pretty much all other participants are other (mostly older) men doesn't help any.

A friend in NYC tells me he meets many women who aren't interested in having kids. However, I have zero interest in living in a big city. I don't even like visiting NYC. Guess I've eliminated 99.999999999999% of women now. :lol:

Even if I met a woman who didn't want kids, was physically attractive, agreed with me politically (or didn't care about politics at all), and liked some of my hobbies.....if she couldn't manage her finances, had lots of credit card debt, $150k in student loans for a degree in a low-paying field, high end shopping addiction despite low end income, etc. I wouldn't be interested in her for anything long-term.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by FelixTheCat »

My simple advice is marry your financial equal.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by LazyNihilist »

:lol:
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

imgritz wrote:My simple advice is marry your financial equal.
That's exactly what I did. :sharebeer
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by epilnk »

AndroAsc wrote:(3) assumes that you find a reasonably Boglehead-ish partner, which I've argued is statistically unlikely. (4) can be mitigated by having a larger emergency fund.
Again (5) is statistically unlikely and (6) is not a major concern for me as I have no dependents to pass my assets on to. I haven't considered (7) though...
Statistically unlikely is irrelevant, unless you are choosing your spouse at random. If I were to walk into a bar and pull one of the guys off a stool, I would be highly unlikely to end up with a PhD scientist. And yet I'm married to a PhD in the very same field as my own, and he's a guy who just happens to share my values. The statistical odds against this are astronomical. Yet most of the people I know are paired this way. Go figure. It's enough to make you question whether the variables are independent.

I do think that you have made a convincing case against marriage for yourself. It's not for everyone.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by epilnk »

rrosenkoetter wrote:
yobria wrote:I'd say 100 million years of evolution demanding we pass down our genes is the main reason people procreate. There's a reason so few people adopt, despite all the needy kids out there.

Nick
I'm sure you understand the difference, but just to clarify, evolution doesn't demand anything... People who don't want kids remove themselves from the gene pool, so over time, naturally, people who want kids pass on that trait, and people who don't want kids don't pass on anything.
+1

Nick has the driver reversed. Aside from relationship adoptions (family, guardians, friends), people don't adopt because kids need them, people adopt because they need kids.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by travellight »

It is funny how not all decisions are done logically or are financially driven.

I would not marry again and consider this a logical and financial driven position.

I would in a half a heartbeat choose to have my son all over again even though this depletes me financially considerably.

Maybe both are logical: my son provides great joy which is the dividend. I believe one can have most of the benefits of marriage without the risk by having a committed relationship without the legal entanglement of marriage. I think it is wrong to designate a common law marriage and associated liabilities. It is sad that our legal system has introduced this whole concept of risk to what should be a beautiful institution, marriage.

I do think the law is gender blind; I am female and pay my ex. I know many other women who do. The law does punish the earner.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by madbrain »

Victoria,
VictoriaF wrote: Virtually every person I know has or had a chance to marry someone. The number of these "someones" is larger or smaller depending on a particular Boglehead's attractiveness to potential spouses, but it's non-zero. And so I don't believe the implication of sour grapes.
I gather that you don't have any gay friends, or they all happen to live in jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is recognized.
madbrain
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by madbrain »

TedSwippet wrote:
mptfan wrote:You have ignored many of the financial benefits of marriage....
Also possible tax disadvantages.

http://money.usnews.com/money/personal- ... rriage-tax
I think the article is misleading.
While Congress eliminated the marriage penalty in the bottom two tax brackets—that's for couples with taxable income lower than $67,900 in 2009—it still exists for couples earning more than that, which means they could pay more than they would if they were single, earning the same amount. "The more equal the two incomes are, the greater chance of a marriage penalty," explains Luscombe.
In fact, what the author meant is that for couples where each spouse earns over $67,900 of taxable income, they will pay a higher amount of income tax filing jointly, ie. household income of $135,800, rather than each filing single and reporting $67,900 of taxable income.
I ran the numbers and for tax year 2011, the penalty starts when each spouse makes over $69,675 taxable income.

I think it's disingenuous to mention only "taxable income". The federal standard deduction is double for couples, as is the federal exemption.
Thus, the more accurate figure for 2011 is the case where each spouse makes over $79,175 gross income, ie. household income of $158,350 where both spouses have equal or similar incomes, and no itemizing of taxes. This household income is near the 90th percentile.
With a current 9% national unemployment rate, each spouse has a 9% of chance of being unemployed. Thus, couples have a 17% chance of having at least one spouse out of work, assuming both want to work. So, we are down to 83% of the top 10%, or 8.3%, potentially affected by the marriage penalty. Out of those 8.3%, we still don't know the income disparity between spouses, so not all of them are affected by the penalty either.

If one spouse stops working, either by choice or through unemployment, the marriage bonus suddenly may offset many years of marriage penalty.
For example, a couple where each spouses earns $100,000 gross would have an $836 marriage penalty. But if one spouse is out of work, or taking care of the children for one year, the marriage bonus is $6,457 - that makes up for about 8 years of marriage penalty. Over the duration of the marriage, it's much more likely there would be a net tax bonus than penalty.

Also, many benefits are granted only to married couples, not least of which are social security survivor benefits, which only married couples are eligible for. This one benefit alone should more than offset the marriage penalty - but of course it is paid much later.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by madbrain »

mptfan wrote: That is not a reflection on the legal system, because the legal system is gender blind...
Well, I don't think there is any pretense that the legal system is gender-blind. In most jurisdictions, only opposite-gender marriage is legal, so it isn't neutral.
madbrain
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by madbrain »

The Wizard wrote: Taxes are HIGHER for a married couple making $100K each vs two single people.
Yes, the tax would be 2.2% higher for this case in 2011, not a significant difference.
Even health insurance is higher for a Family plan vs two Individual plans...
Really ? When I look at insurance rates through my employer - the only insurance either of us can get, which makes the choice very easy - the rate for myself + my partner is less than double the rate for myself alone. And also less than the rate for the "family plan" which would include both spouses + dependents (children or other).
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by madbrain »

Buysider wrote: I think some unmarried folks just don't plan to live that long, whether through active means (suicide) or passive (smoking/abuse), there are ways for those who don't have a life partner or children to ensure they exit the earth while they still have relatively full control of their mind and body (and as the OP pointed out, a big bank book). The need to save money is basically eliminated if you plan on leaving before 70. SWR can be 30%, etc., etc.
Well, that depends how much pain you intend to leave in. Dying from lung cancer without any treatment or pain reliever can be very painful. Or alternately, very expensive. SWR 30% is optimistic. My partner's father lasted 4 years with it. But he was on Medicare. His brother who was 45 on the other hand, and without insurance only lasted 4 months. Both passed away from it last year. Neither of them planned on it though, and they were both married.

Fortunately, my partner has never smoked, just like me.
We do have $70k of annual household healthcare expenses though, which are mostly paid by insurance at this time. Those patented HIV meds cost a lot.
We probably won't make it past 70, but it still won't be cheap to last that long.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by madbrain »

rrosenkoetter wrote: I'm sure you understand the difference, but just to clarify, evolution doesn't demand anything... People who don't want kids remove themselves from the gene pool, so over time, naturally, people who want kids pass on that trait, and people who don't want kids don't pass on anything.
Not necessarily anymore, science has made it possible for people who don't want children of their own to still pass on their genes, perhaps even after they are dead, provided they have frozen their sperm/egg/embryo during their lifetime.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by yobria »

madbrain wrote:
The Wizard wrote: Taxes are HIGHER for a married couple making $100K each vs two single people.
Yes, the tax would be 2.2% higher for this case in 2011, not a significant difference.
TurboTax tells me it being married doesn't hurt you much Federally at 2X$100K ($822 higher than 2XSingle), but it is significant at 2X$150K, where you'll pay $4,271 more than 2XSingle. There are other penalities - eg lower combined income limits for IRAs if married.

Nick
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by madbrain »

yobria wrote: TurboTax tells me it being married doesn't hurt you much Federally at 2X$100K ($822 higher than 2XSingle)
I'm using a spreadsheet with the IRS tax tables that says $836, pretty close, using $100k gross income.
but it is significant at 2X$150K, where you'll pay $4,271 more than 2XSingle. There are other penalities - eg lower combined income limits for IRAs if married.
Yes, the marriage penalty peaks at 9% for highest for gross household income of $367,800 / taxable income of $348,800 . Ie. each spouse making $183,900 gross. That is well into 1% territory. The penalty goes back down from there. If each spouse grosses $1 million, the marriage penalty is back at 2%.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by madbrain »

My partner and I chose to enter into a California domestic partnership last month. We will celebrate our 6 year anniversary this weekend.
I am the bigger earner - and bigger spender, by far. My bf doesn't earn much, but he is also very thrifty. I guess we both know to live within our means.

Currently, strictly from a federal tax point of view, the California RDP status is more advantageous than marriage, thanks to a recent, but complicated, IRS ruling.
Since we are a same-sex couple, the IRS won't let us file married - neither married filing jointly nor married filing separately.

The essence of the recent ruling is that we get to add our income, divide it in half, and report that half on two individual 1040s, filed as single. We file one joint 540 for California. For a couple in a California RDP, there is never any federal "RDP penalty". Regardless of income level, and how much each of us makes. The federal tax is always the lower than if we were to each file single with our actual (in reality, very different) income on each 1040, and also lower than if we were allowed to file federally as married with joint income reported on one joint 1040.

Married opposite-sex couples in California (or other states with community property) can also use this income-splitting method, but they each have to file a 1040 as "married filing separately" rather than "single", and the single tax table is always more favorable, so there is still a marriage penalty for those who file separately.

Technically, the California RDP status is open to same-sex couples, or opposite-sex couples older than 62. However, older opposite-sex couples in an RDP would be giving up federal social security survivor benefits by opting for the RDP status - benefits we still cannot get as a same sex couple, no matter what status.
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VictoriaF
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by VictoriaF »

madbrain wrote:Victoria,
VictoriaF wrote: Virtually every person I know has or had a chance to marry someone. The number of these "someones" is larger or smaller depending on a particular Boglehead's attractiveness to potential spouses, but it's non-zero. And so I don't believe the implication of sour grapes.
I gather that you don't have any gay friends, or they all happen to live in jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is recognized.
madbrain,

My statement was in response to this one:
PreserveCapital wrote:How many Bogleheads do not marry and erroneously attribute the non-marital status to financial reasons?

(I suspect there might be a lot of "false positives" here.)
Am I wrong to assume that when gay people cannot legally marry they don't "erroneously attribute the non-marital status to financial reasons"?

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by robocop »

I wonder if views on marriage will change as the workforce changes. Women now constitute more of the college enrollees and graduates, and as a result as a group they may be the higher earners in future generations. I know this is the case in many people my age (28)- often the women will earn far more than the man.

Similarly, I see people in my generation sharing custody much more 50/50 than in prior generations. It will be interesting to see if views on child support change as more men may have the option to receive support if they are lower earners and there is a 50/50 custody split, or if they have full custody.

I personally don't think it would affect my decision to get married. I agree with those who have said it is more of a lifestyle decision, similar to housing. Prenups can deal with most of the things that might be seen as unfair (alimony, etc.), and those don't bother me too much anyway despite the fact that I am the high earner in my partnership. I'd be ok paying alimony for a limited time to make up for sacrifices in earning power my partner made for the benefit of the family. There are plenty of ways to adjust child support based on your income and whether you are willing to share custody.

I do think it is important to maintain separate emergency accounts and to plan how things will be separated if a divorce were to happen- both before you get married and while you are married. I don't view this as unromantic or setting yourself up for failure, but similar to insurance for disabilities, saving for emergencies, etc.- I see it as just planning for that option so that you aren't caught off guard if the unfortunate were to happen.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by civi68 »

A big challenge is finding someone that thinks like a boglehead. I remember reading in Scott Burn's book, "Spend til the end" that research indicated that 70% of Americans live for today and only 30% were savers. From my dating experience and what I see from people at work, (my work has 700 employees and the pay is good. Most live beyond their means and save little) it seems to be the case. Add in that many people divorce even when the other spouse wants to stay in the marriage, and you take a lot of risk.
When I was in my mid 20's starting my career at my job that I have had for 20 years, a lot of people that worked there were married and saved for retirement. 20 years later, it's filled with divorced and single people that either have no money or live for today. I can't speak for women's experiences but most women my friends and I have known over the years don't want to hear that you have to save for retirement and build an emergency fund. Most want to hear that they can buy what they want, have a big home, nice car, and as many kids. Yes, they will be willing to save if it means little sacrifice. But tell them they can't go out to eat or shop as much, or that only 1 or two kids is all that you can afford, and guys find themselves being labeled as cheap or the wife leaves. Add in that most guys want an attractive woman in good shape and the risk goes up that she may want it all or will look elsewhere.
There are some women at my work that think like a boglehead. Interestingly, they have been married for years, love their husband, and have little debt. If I could find one of these kind of women, I would consider marriage. Otherwise, you are in for a rocky ride that ends in divorce and you being labeled cheap, controlling, and no fun. At 44 and single, I am in better financial shape than most men I know that end up being divorced.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by stoptothink »

civi68 wrote: I can't speak for women's experiences but most women my friends and I have known over the years don't want to hear that you have to save for retirement and build an emergency fund. Most want to hear that they can buy what they want, have a big home, nice car, and as many kids. Yes, they will be willing to save if it means little sacrifice. But tell them they can't go out to eat or shop as much, or that only 1 or two kids is all that you can afford, and guys find themselves being labeled as cheap or the wife leaves.
There are some women at my work that think like a boglehead. Interestingly,
I married the first woman. Luckily I have met the second.
david99
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by david99 »

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, but this poll should be adjusted for age. When you are older( say over 50 ) you usually have more assets and are less likely to get married. Also when you are over 50 you are less likely to have children so there isn't that much incentive to marry.
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Re: How many Bogleheads do not marry due to financial reason

Post by Call_Me_Op »

I apologize for not having read all of the responses to the OP's post. Basically, I agree with him. I think this does not apply to couples who marry at 20 and grow their lives and assets together. The challenge is for those who are older (say, 40+) who have significant assets. I voted in the middle category. I would not preclude marriage based upon financial considerations, but I would have to be very careful.

In my own experience, mention of a pre-nup always causes a blow-up complete with lots of tears. In middle age, trying to find a woman with comparable assets and a similar sense of financial responsibility significantly narrows the field.
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