6 Ways Marriage Can Improve Your Finances

By Linsey Knerl | March 29, 2011 AAA
6 Ways Marriage Can Improve Your Finances

The cost of a destination wedding aside, matrimony can do more than just double your earning power overnight - it can actually lower costs and create additional opportunities. While marriage shouldn't be seen as the quick way to riches, financial stability can be had with proper planning and long term commitment to your significant other. Here are the best perks to joining lives and wallets, though marriage. (Does signing a prenuptial agreement put your marriage on shaky ground, or is it just smart planning? Check out Marriage, Divorce And The Dotted Line.)
IN PICTURES: 9 Ways To Use A Tax Refund

Save Money on Car Insurance
It's true for most couples that discounts on auto insurance will occur immediately after you tie the knot, provided you notify your agent, of course. While you run the risk of incurring higher premiums for adding a spouse with a shaky driving record to your own policy, the opportunities to save money for responsible married drivers is significant. According to State Farm's own website, rates for men under the age of 25 drop once they get married. Additional opportunities to save include discounts for consolidating policies, multiple policies per household (having your car and home with the same provider, for example), and having multiple vehicles under one policy - all common practices for married couples.

Raise Your Credit Score
If you hitch your horse to a spouse with an excellent credit score, you can likely see improvement. (Likewise, the spouse with the great credit may suffer some credit setbacks.) If done wisely, however, two spouses can combine accounts to experience an immediate increase in available credit. Married couples will want to see copies of their credit histories and fix any negatives before putting their names on each other's accounts, as it's twice as much work when both need mending.

Get Favorable Loan Offers
The obvious bonus to being married is that two incomes can secure about twice the loan as before. That house you want for your future brood could be obtained with the earning history of a duo, making those loan processes less daunting and the rate terms quite possibly better. With greater opportunity comes more responsibility, of course, so work out the details of how you'll pay for all that lending, should one of you not be able to contribute financially in the future.

Increase Financial Stability
Two wallets are better than one, and it's not just because of the earning power. Having a wingman (or woman) to back you up when trouble strikes can be one of the best benefits to sharing your life with someone. Even if one spouse decides to stay home with a future family, the possibility of earning is always there. Newly married couples are encouraged to work out a long-term plan that keeps job skills and resumes polished - even when not in use - so that both partners can re-enter the job field when necessary and continue to earn Social Security credits through retirement. (Strengthen your marriage by discussing these financial pitfalls. See Top 6 Marriage-Killing Money Issues.)

Combine Expenses
While some costs will likely stay the same for the two of you, certain budgetary categories (like housing and the cable bill), will be lower per person after the ceremony. Don't forget about the opportunity to save money on tiered plans that accommodate the addition of your spouse. Cell phone companies, for example, will give you the minutes you need in a larger plan, but often at a lesser charge per minute.

Share Employer Benefits
One of the most celebrated benefits to marrying your partner can be the instant access to their employer health and benefit plans. Since marriage is usually considered one of the events that don't require waiting until open enrollment, gaining health, life and disability coverage may be possible within 30 days of the vows. If both partners are already covered, carefully consider whether it's more affordable to keep your own plans before merging into one. Some companies offer aggressive discounts to the employee only, giving you reason to avoid committing to just one plan.

IN PICTURES: Top 10 Solutions For A Big Tax Bill

The Bottom Line
Take each decision to change your current financial accounts as a major one, and don't hesitate to take advice from the couples who have been before you, as well as a financial professional. If done with care and complete understanding of each partner's current financial situation, marriage can be beautiful for both the companionship and economic gain. (Check out the perks designed to promote and preserve your post-work savings - if you're married, that is. Check out The Tax Benefits Of Having A Spouse.)

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