Marriage is a beautiful institution that binds two people together over one commonality: love.
However, when you pop that special question or get ready to say, “I do,” often the last thing on your mind are the financial and legal benefits of marriage.
Don’t worry – you’re not alone. It’s fairly common for many people to overlook the legality of something that’s considered so precious and emotional. That’s why we’ve put together some helpful information to remind you of the more practical benefits of marriage.
If you’re not sure about getting married, the benefits of marriage might sway you.
Why Marriages Makes Financial Sense
In many ways, getting married makes good financial sense. Despite the widespread belief that married couples pay more in taxes, there are many reasons why being married can help you and your spouse be more financially successful.
Overall, married couples tend to qualify for better credit, secure discounts across various insurance, and obtain more affordable healthcare plans from employers. Married couples can also qualify for various tax bonuses and deductions.
Finally, married couples often work out financial plans together, which can lead to a more structured future in terms of savings, retirement, and investments.
What Are the Benefits of Getting Married?
Generally speaking, being married can certainly make a lot of financial sense. That’s not to say it’s a poor financial practice to stay single, but it also means you shouldn’t avoid marriage for the sole purpose of saving money.
Aside from a combined incomes and joint bank account, there are plenty of benefits of marriage, including tax benefits, health insurance benefits, and survivor benefits in case your spouse passes.
Additionally, there are other benefits – both financial and legal – to becoming a wedded couple under the law that are outlined below.
Health and Employment Benefits
In many cases, getting married means that a spouse can enjoy the same employment benefits offered to their husband or wife through their job. Some of these benefits can include:
- Insurance plans
- Family, medical, and pregnancy leave
- Worker’s compensation
- Pension/retirement plans
- Access to company events and assets
In some instances, getting married may mean that one spouse no longer has to work. If one spouse earns enough money at their job, the other spouse is free to pursue other goals such as community service or parenthood.
There are various insurance benefits to your marital status as well; married people can share policies on homeowners insurance, car insurance, and of course health insurance, which we’ll discuss later.
Married couples can choose to file their taxes separately or jointly. Depending on your specific situation, filing jointly can benefit you.
If you or your spouse has a high-paying job while the other stays at home or has a low-paying job, filing jointly can prevent you from paying more in taxes. And in many cases, filing together can result in a better tax return.
Likewise, being married offers you and your spouse unlimited marital tax deductions. This means that you can transfer as many assets as you want to your spouse, whenever you want, free of taxation. These and other tax breaks show that there are certain financial perks to marriage!
The financial benefits of getting married are many. We can break them down into a few different areas:
When you enter into a legal marriage, you become eligible to receive your spouse’s Social Security benefits. This means that if you don’t qualify for your own benefits, you can use theirs once you reach the age of 62. The ability to receive social security benefits is one major benefit for a married couple.
Even if financials are particularly concerning to you or your spouse before getting married, you can always benefit from the use of a prenuptial agreement. This agreement is a legal contract that details the possessions of each party and dictates who gets what should the marriage end.
Keep in mind that a prenup may be more to one spouse’s benefit than the other. If one spouse has more marital assets, they can be protected by a prenuptial agreement. It can also set the terms for spousal support in advance, which may be good or bad depending on who gets what.
An IRA, or an Individual Retirement Account, lets you do a couple of things. For one, you can contribute to your spouse’s retirement account if they’re unemployed.
Spousal IRA contributions mean that you can roll over your deceased spouse’s IRA to your own, meaning that married people benefit from improved retirement savings.
As a spouse, you are automatically counted as your husband or wife’s next-of-kin, which grants you the legal ability to make medical decisions if your spouse becomes disabled. Spousal Privilege lets you speak privately with your spouse during a legal proceeding and excuses you from testifying against your spouse.
Likewise, you can also sue for the wrongful death of your spouse should this occur.
At the time of death, your legal benefits allow you to make all decisions for funeral arrangements.
Your legal benefits also extend to family benefits, which allow you to do things like apply for joint adoption or foster care rights. Being married also gives you parental rights if you are raising children together, allowing you to make decisions on behalf of your children and receive spousal or child support upon divorce.
The government benefits of getting married often fall under financial benefits, including Social Security, disability, pensions, and military benefits. Married couples can also receive public assistance benefits and special government loans.
In most cases, married couples can benefit from family health insurance plans. This can include both employer-provided and government plans. Typically, a spouse can join their partner’s health insurance plan and receive a better rate for their family.
Your marital status also allows you to take a leave of absence if your spouse becomes seriously ill. You are also qualified to take bereavement leave should your spouse or someone in their immediate family die.
And as mentioned earlier, a spouse has special rights to make emergency medical decisions for their husband or wife if need be.
Estate and Housing Benefits
By getting married, you ensure that you or your spouse will inherit the respective estate of one another should either become deceased. Marriage secures an exemption from estate taxes and gift taxes for all of your property that you’ve left to them.
What About Same Sex Couples?
As of 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that laws banning same sex marriage are unconstitutional, effectively making gay marriage legal in all 50 states. That being said, some states still cling to outdated laws against same sex marriage.
Before the 2015 ruling, many LGBTQ couples opted for a domestic partnership with similar perks as the benefits of marriage. There are, however, legal differences between a marriage and a domestic partnership that you should be aware of if you are considering either.
Throughout the engagement timeline, there are many things to consider: wedding plans, finding a house or an apartment, talking about starting a family, balancing a budget. But not a lot of people take the time to consider the legal ramifications of becoming bound in holy matrimony.
The article above should help you understand some of the legal and financial benefits that are possible if you do decide to tie the knot. If you think you’ve found the one but you’re not sure what marriage entails, this is a great place to start.
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