First Person: How Marriage and Motherhood Made Me Better With Money

Yahoo Contributor Network

I'm better off financially now than I was before I was married and it's not because my husband earns more money than I do. Rather, I found that being married and having children gave me more of a motivation to save and invest in stocks as well as our home.

According to a recent CNBC article, marriage provides a major financial boost for men, although mothers received the lowest wages in a study of different workers.

Married men between the ages of 18 and 64 had a median income of $55,958 in 2011, which compared to $34,634 for single men, the U. S. Census Bureau reports. Meanwhile, the median income for married women was $40,489, compared to $32,593 for single women.

Earning more money

The first way my finances improved after getting married and having children was not just a higher household income, but a higher personal income. I used to earn what the average single woman earns or about $32,000, but I gradually doubled my income. Having children motivated me to earn more because I wanted to save money for their college education. Also, my husband and I wanted to save up enough money for a down payment on the home we now own.

Investing in real estate

One of the best financial investments my husband and I made was purchasing our home. Most of our friends and family would beg to differ because they know we bought our home near the top of the housing bubble. However, I've found that we actually made a good move by buying a new construction home. It still costs more to buy a new home in our area today than it cost us to purchase our home during the housing bubble. While we could have purchased a foreclosure or a short sale bargain, we would not have achieved our personal dream of owning a new home. By paying down our mortgage early and often, we will find ourselves with no mortgage debt in another 8 years. I think as a single person I would have been much less likely to purchase a new home or work to pay it off.

Learning how to trade stocks

After getting married, I realized my husband and I needed to think about our eventual retirement. We decided to become better educated about the stock market and our different options with regard to saving and investing for retirement. We decided to take advantage of our company-sponsored retirement accounts as well as open Roth IRA accounts. Instead of making frequent trades, I found the best approach is to dollar cost average into stable ETF (exchange traded funds) that are diversified. When I was single I didn't see the need to invest for the future. Now I want to be able to leave an inheritance for our children.

After getting married, I also stopped overspending and shopping for recreation. My husband and I have stayed out of credit card debt by paying off our balance every month and saving up for big ticket purchases. Overall, marriage has made me more careful with money.

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More from this contributor:

Getting out of Credit Card Debt

Remodeling our Empty Nest will Save us $50,000

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