Smart for the wallet: Stay happily married

While we read the dismal news on the state of marriage in the US, a new survey from Parade Magazine reports that more couples are happily married than previously thought. According to the findings of a new national poll, about 88% said they were happy or reasonably content in their marriages. Only 12% ranked their marriages at the bottom of the scale.

Respondents also offered positive explanations for why they've stayed married, with 71% choosing "deep love" as a reason and 73% citing "companionship." On the negative side, close to 30% of the respondents admitted that they remain married either because of financial reasons or because "it's too much trouble to get out."

No matter why people stay in a marriage, it is good for the pocketbook. The longer people stay married, the greater their wealth accumulations. At retirement, a typical married couple has accumulated about $410,000 compared to about $167,000 for never married, about $145,000 for divorced and just under $96,000 for the separated.

It is simply cheaper living together. There are economies of scale and access to insurance, annuities, pensions, and social security. Even in-laws have value as they often leave assets to their offspring. Especially if you are older, it may be better to stay married even if you are no longer feeling "deep love." Better yet, work a bit and rekindle the feelings that brought you together in the first place.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. To sign up for her webinar to improve your relationship, visit: Webinar

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