Money can tear couples apart, but those who stay together tend to amass more wealth than those who never marry, who divorce, or who live together without marrying, new research finds.
“Married people do better,” says Amelia Karraker, assistant professor at Iowa State University and co-author of a recent working paper on marital histories and financial security in midlife. Specifically, people who stay married to their first spouse enjoy higher net worth on average.
The Iowa State study looked at people’s finances when they hit the 51-to-56 age bracket, a point in midlife when income and assets frequently peak and retirement planning needs to be in high gear. People who never married are at 3.3 times greater risk of experiencing “negative wealth”—that is, having debt that exceeds their assets—compared to continuously married individuals, the study found. And people who are separated or divorced have between a 2.2 and 3.0 greater risk of experiencing negative wealth than people who stayed married.
Tell Us Your Story
Are you and your spouse on the same page when it comes to your finances? For a story in MONEY’s upcoming retirement guide, we’re looking to talk with couples who have worked together to make smart moves on the road to retirement—or who are still wrestling with how to meld “his” and “hers” into a single plan for later life.
We’re interested in hearing from couples no matter where they are in the process, from young families who have figured out how to shoehorn retirement saving into their budgets to people who have made firm plans for one or both of them to leave full-time work in the next few years. Will you share your stories and advice with other MONEY readers?
Use the form below to tell us a little about yourselves and where you are in the journey to retirement, or email reporter Kerri Anne Renzulli at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please tell us the biggest challenge you face in planning for retirement or the single best piece of advice you’d give other couples based on your own experience. We’ll be in touch for more information if we’re considering your story for publication. We look forward to learning your tips!
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