Talk Wealth to Me

#108 Ready to Get Married? It May Not Pay to Be Single

October 29, 2021 Felipe Arevalo, Chase Peckham, Katie Utterback Season 5 Episode 6
Talk Wealth to Me
#108 Ready to Get Married? It May Not Pay to Be Single
Show Notes Transcript

As I was growing up I always had an idea of what marriage was like. I was a born romantic so to me it was all about love and passion. As I got older that didn't change but I did enjoy my single years immensely! I could spend my money how I wanted, on what I wanted. That thinking got me in a lot of credit card debt! My wife of 15 years  was just saying the other day, "I had so much money when I was young and single". We laughed because we as a couple feel like we never have money as it seems to go out as fast as it comes in.

This week the Talk Wealth to Me crew discusses new research that seems to say that couples tend to be more well off than their single counterparts. And for some reasons that might surprise you.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to Talk Wealth To Me, a safe space podcast, where we chat about anything and everything related to personal finance. The information contained in this podcast is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It does not constitute as accounting, legal tax or other professional advice.

Katie Utterback:

So my husband's birthday is coming up the holiday season's coming up. I was talking to him about all the gifts that we have to buy, take care of and all of that. And I was realizing like, oh my God, being married is really expensive. Like you have to take care of a whole other person.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah.

Katie Utterback:

I started longing for like, I really started thinking, like, if I was single, would I actually have more money? Or like, have you guys ever wondered that

Chase Peckham:

It's interesting. You say that I know that my wife felt like she had way more money before she was with me. Um, and I , I, but I never felt that way, but I think it's because I spent most of my single days trying to claw my way out of debt. Um, and you know , at that time didn't make a lot of money , uh, as a young professional working my way through, you know, the early stages of when , when I was working in major league baseball, you know, you , you, we just didn't get paid a lot. And so I always felt like being single for me was a struggle more financially than , um, when I was married, because I, I feel like I, I married a woman who made more money than me. Um, but I, I do all the decisions that we make though now, or for then it was two . And then your family is double , uh, so all the decisions and financially that you're making , um, are now for more. Um, but it is an interesting thought. I , I guess I , I loved the blog that you wrote about it and, and realistically, it looks like it is cost . It does cost more to be married. Uh, but I, but I never got that feeling.

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah. I don't think I got that feeling either, but it's funny that you mentioned, I told Sarah half joking, half serious. Like we just bought a house that's birthday, anniversary, Christmas presents . That's all of them for at least a few years for both of us , but

Chase Peckham:

You say that but that's not the way it's going to end up.

Felipe Arevalo:

In theory,

Chase Peckham:

In theory,

Felipe Arevalo:

That sounds like a good, like , I'll make her a card or something.

Chase Peckham:

There you go.

Felipe Arevalo:

But it's funny in the office with people when we were in the office , uh , people knew that we were like, what are you getting Sarah for Valentine's Day? What are you getting Sarah for this? What do you? And my response was always one of two things. It was like, I'm going to go bring her eat somewhere nice, like Jack in the box, or I'm going to buy a Snickers. Um, that wasn't really what I was getting her for Valentine's or anything, but that was always my default response to everyone in the office. It's like a Snickers bar and then a nice dinner at Jack in the box. Um, I don't think, you know, with dating being so expensive and, and, and everything like that, I don't think single, if you're a single home body , who's not looking for a relationship. Yes. That might be cheaper if you're, you know , a single person who's looking for a relationship or, you know, like I did lots of times overspent , um , then, you know, being single can be expensive as well.

Katie Utterback:

Yeah. So according to a new Pew study, if you're single, it's actually taking a larger toll on your finances than I ever realized. So single men get hit more than single women, but on average, the single man earns $8,000 a year, less than their married counterparts.

Chase Peckham:

Really.

Katie Utterback:

So you're welcome all husbands.

Chase Peckham:

I mean, you want to talk about hitting our , my me. I mean, that that's exact, I mean, well , I don't know exact, but that that's me.

Felipe Arevalo:

Well, that was interesting that, that the earning average earnings was included because see, that's not the part before reading your blog. I hadn't thought of it that way. I was just more thinking, spending wise, not really income wise, but I could see it where it's, you know, married men tend to make more , um, you know purely from , uh , just , uh , I would imagine married men, especially if they're become parents have more motivation to excel or to, you know, try and do better. They have more encouragement or maybe the married men, the people who have their finances together are more likely to get married than the people who don't put them into that category.

Chase Peckham:

And Katie, you tell me, but I would think that most of when the younger single men , um , when we're growing up and at least in my day and age is we felt like we got to make our own decisions. We got to buy the things that we felt were important. So if I wanted to buy a couch for my Ikea in my place, I did that without thinking, because it wasn't important to me to have a $3,000 couch in my apartment. I could buy things from Ikea and put them together and I'd be perfectly happy with that. Uh, and so I, I don't, I think with when we're single, we get to make choices based on our own situations solely. So that does give you the feeling of being like having more doesn't it, where when you get married,

Katie Utterback:

It does in a way.

Chase Peckham:

You know, now you're dealing with another person's feelings on things and, you know, you might want a new kitchen. When I think that the current kitchen is just fine. Um, but you've got to come do a , a conclusion on that together. Um, and, and come up with a game plan to do the things that you want to do together versus just making decisions based on yourself.

Katie Utterback:

Yeah. And I think that's why I thought that it would almost be easier to manage your finances if you were single, not necessarily pay off debt, if you're single, because two incomes pay off debt is always going to be a lot more easier than just one. However, it's interesting that married men tend to get paid more. They're employed at higher rates than single men. So it's almost like this chicken and the egg scenario, right. We don't know if men who are more motivated to have a family are looking for jobs, are looking for that higher salary to provide and take care of a family. Or if women are attracted to men who earn more, who are more motivated, right. And then you don't know if, cause you've heard of these jokes, right. Of employers say like, oh, I have to promote this person because he or she has a family or they need the money more than this person. Right? Like we've all heard that kind of anecdotal story. So it makes it very interesting to see this research confirm a lot of

Felipe Arevalo:

Does the research, does the research hold true for women? Because I've seen like on Twitter, there are some people who are very , uh, who may have been married at some point or had significant, serious, significant relationships. And they're like, ah , I'm never getting married again. I'm never, you know, I don't need this. Don't need that. Does it hold true? Does the research hold true for women?

Katie Utterback:

So the research findings were less dramatic for women than they were for men. And part of that was because there's some skewed data in there. So single women are less likely to have a dependent or a child to care for. And then the other problem on the other side of the spectrum is that you get these women who marry the high earners, who then resigned, they leave the workforce and they become a stay-at-home mom, or they just, they do something else. So they're not making that income, which skews all of the data. And that's why it's kind of inconclusive for women. But for single men, it was very dramatic. You're earning on average $8,000 less. If you're single

Chase Peckham:

I would love to see the age, the average age of the men, that because I would imagine that most men that are earning more when they're married, they're married a little bit older and a lot of single men are younger. So just earning wise at age wise there , you know, it takes more time to build up your income. Uh , you're making less when you're in your twenties than you are when you're in your thirties. Typically.

Katie Utterback:

So pew , because I think we've even talked about this on the show that marriage has been delayed overall by American .

Chase Peckham:

Oh yeah, children.

Katie Utterback:

So we're getting married much older. So they took that into account in this research. And they still found that even if you delay marriage into your thirties, it's still not explaining the significant wage gap between single and married people. If you compare 1990 data to 2021,

Chase Peckham:

2019 we are in 2021. That is super interesting. And it's the interesting numbers. Isn't that when they started 1990, I was graduating from high school then. Uh, and so I am right in between all of that research , uh, where I was earning nothing in 1990 , uh, and paying out well, paying whatever I was paying for going to college to now it's a big difference. Huge difference.

Katie Utterback:

Yeah. I mean, look at this. So in 1990, 24% of adults aged 40 to 54 identified a single or unpartnered in 2019, that went from 24% to 31%.

Chase Peckham:

Wow.

Felipe Arevalo:

So more older people are,

Katie Utterback:

They're single meaning. They're not even cohabitating . They don't have a partner at all, which is why pew also found.

Chase Peckham:

That a huge number.

Katie Utterback:

Single men are more, they're increasingly likely to live at home with mom and dad now than ever before.

Felipe Arevalo:

Really. So it's not an age thing, like Chase is mentioning . They they've taken that into account.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah.

Felipe Arevalo:

It has , uh, shifted. And there's a difference between that.

Katie Utterback:

Yeah. So 40% of America is single or was single in 2019.

Chase Peckham:

That's a huge number,

Katie Utterback:

Huge Right it also explains Low birth rate too.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. Why? Yeah . Why, why are, why can't I think I hate it when I can't think of certain words. Thank you. Population growth , uh, was much , uh, where it hit . It increased every year, every year, every year. It is the last couple of years has decreased , uh, for a number of reasons. I would imagine that's the big part of it. We're just not as having as many babies.

Katie Utterback:

Yeah. So if you're a single person and this is actually more for single men and single women, not only are you likely to experience lower earnings than your counterparts, but you're less likely to be employed. So 73% of single people are employed compared to 91% of partnered or married people. So 91, 73, that's the difference? Um, you're less likely to be economically independent, lower educational attainment , uh , more likely to live with parents. It was like 31% of single men live with their parents currently versus 2% of married or partnered.

Felipe Arevalo:

See, that's one where it's like, you mentioned the chicken and the egg debate. If you were single and you met your husband, but he was sitting at home, not working. Would that automatically have made them less of a, less of a catch?

Katie Utterback:

Yes.

Felipe Arevalo:

Yeah. Right.

Chase Peckham:

For sure.

Felipe Arevalo:

So then it's like, so is it that just the ones that are out working are the ones that are actually getting married. Um, and I don't know that there's a statistic or a way of measuring that.

Chase Peckham:

That's really funny. You talk about the weight. You know, the, the, the , uh, prospective men were, my Kerry loves the show. Um, oh man, my brain is not working today. Um, Lorelai and Rory.

Katie Utterback:

Gilmore girls.

Chase Peckham:

Gilmore girls Um, and my daughter is now watching it over with my wife because my daughter's never seen it. And Kerry was a big fan of it. But in that show, Laurally's mom is constantly trying to set her up with potential suitors who make good, you know , put very big earners. Uh, kids could give a very supporting life and she keeps fighting that. But it's interesting that we're having this discussion. That was a big part of that show. And that was back in the two thousands.

Katie Utterback:

Okay. So here's a 2017 study on that topic from pew 71% of Americans believed that an adult man in order to be a good spouse or partner had to provide financially that's compared with 32%, who believe that women need to be the one who's providing financial .

Chase Peckham:

I firmly believe that , um , women should be providing no, I'm just kidding. I really don't. It just worked out that way. It worked out that way for me.

Felipe Arevalo:

I think it's a , it works easier when it's , uh , in a team. Um, but it , I, again, I go back to like, if you're dating and you see that you're going to have to carry the full weight of it. And you're like, I don't know if this person's going to ever join the team.

Chase Peckham:

That's gotta be taken into consideration.

Felipe Arevalo:

Right.

Chase Peckham:

You . Of course it is. You're looking at the whole package. Right. Right. I mean, you're not, you don't, that's why it's so interesting that Kerry, you know, I had to be honest with Kerry about my debts when we first started dating. So she could make an educated decision on whether she even wanted to go down that road with me and thank goodness she did. Uh , and she looked at the honesty with which I was with her over the mountain of debt that I was having to pay back. But I guess she didn't see it as a mountain of debt at that time. Like, okay, we can handle that or I can handle that or he's worth, you know, so I guess it just depends. She, she, but I gave her the options of weighing it all is what is really important.

Katie Utterback:

Yeah. It's just interesting too. Cause I was just even thinking about health insurance and when AJ and I got married, we both had separate health insurance from our employers. And so we were comparing the two plans against one another and his monthly copay or whatever, not the copay , his monthly insurance premium was like $4. So that was very attractive to him because he didn't have any sort of preexisting condition. He's just paying $4 in whatever. He's fine. I have a preexisting condition. So I was coming from a place of that. $4 is not going to work for me. So I was looking at it almost like, oh no, I'm costing him more and more money. But then when you start looking at it, it's like, you see like the amount of opportunities he's had since we got married and he's gotten promoted like twice. And now I can point to this study. I might be the reason why

Felipe Arevalo:

Have him buy you dinner.

Chase Peckham:

He owes you.

Katie Utterback:

But it's interesting that like, it does sometimes feel like you're sacrificing when you have to put someone else's hobbies or interests or needs into your budget or make it a priority. Cause it's a , it's an adjustment from your single days when you can go to Ikea and buy whatever you want or whatever it is you were doing. And yeah, it takes time, but here's the proof married . People's finances tend to be better.

Felipe Arevalo:

Oh yeah. See , as a single person, I would just be like, oh, the bright green running shoes or yellow, bright orange running shoes are the ones that are cheapest. I don't care. I'm going to buy them. Now I know if I show up with bright orange running shoes, Sarah is going to shake your head and be like, are you kidding me? That's what we're going to go with. And , and it's just something where you do have to,

Chase Peckham:

She was worried about having to walk down the street with you beyond the fact that it's expensive too. So there's both of those,

Felipe Arevalo:

She said you could have paid five more dollars and gotten the regular gray or black running shoes. But you had to save the $5 and get the bright lime green ones.

Chase Peckham:

So bottom line, are we just talking about the fact that if you want to make a better living, you should just get married. Is that what this comes down to?

Felipe Arevalo:

Well, that's not cheap either.

Katie Utterback:

I mean, we can talk about divorce in the next episode of talk about how that could her marriage could cost you a million and of course costs a hundred million,

Felipe Arevalo:

Look at Jeff Bezos

Chase Peckham:

Hey, stay tuned. Cause we were on the next one. We will talk about divorce. Cause I think we've all been, have experienced in that, in that way. And , and I don't, this, this research is kind of blows me away. I would have thought just the opposite on all of it. But um,

Katie Utterback:

I mean, that's why I wrote about it. Cause I was feeling the pinch of my husband needed a new computer. My husband's birthday is coming up the holiday season's coming up and we have to get gifts for his family. And his brother just got married. Like it's just all of these things.

Chase Peckham:

There's just more stuff.

Katie Utterback:

That I wouldn't have right. If I , if I hadn't been in this relationship with him. So I just started thinking about like single days versus married days. I'm so happy. I'm married. I'm not trying to say that I'm not, but there is this adjustment financially to putting somebody else's needs before your own wants.

Chase Peckham:

Correct. But that's marriage, that's part of. That's part of wanting to be with somebody,

Katie Utterback:

So it took me three years but that's marriage

Felipe Arevalo:

You add in .

Chase Peckham:

Well , and if you decide to have children and those have , I mean, then, then.

Felipe Arevalo:

I was going to say.

Chase Peckham:

That's a third, you know, pot that you're throwing stuff into

Felipe Arevalo:

Right now you have to take that into account and those needs and those expenses, you know, we've done the cost of baby and all that in the episodes. And it's like, that's a whole nother expense that sometimes single people may not have. I mean, yes, obviously single people can have children and they're single moms, single dads and all that. But you know, it , it correlates, I would imagine more married, higher percentage of married people have children. Um, that's yeah . That's very interesting. I wonder if the , in the research they have a thing where it's single people who had previously been married. That would be interesting to see how those people preform.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. Do the single people did yeah. Does that mean the people that were counted as single have , are divorced and have been,

Katie Utterback:

That was in the research, but I did not put it in this blog because it would have been really long .

Chase Peckham:

So we can, we can talk about that next time. So for this episode, we just say, if you want to make more money, go, go get married. That's crazy.

Katie Utterback:

But probably To the right person to that.

Chase Peckham:

Yeah. That I think, I think there's a lot more to take into consideration here than just finance

Speaker 1:

[inaudible] .