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The Financial Benefits of Marriage

The Financial Benefits of Marriage

This week's Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act highlighted the many ways couples can legally and financially benefit from getting married. The ruling says the federal government will extend married gay couples the same 1,138 rights as other married couples, in states that recognize same-sex unions.

Those benefits can mean huge savings over the long-term, above and beyond the savings that come just from living together. For example, The Atlantic magazine ran the numbers and found that over a lifetime, they saved married women up to a million dollars versus their single counterparts!

“When you talk about getting married, people are really fixated on that marriage penalty with taxes, and the average $26,000 bill for actually the wedding ceremony itself. But once you kind of look past that there can be some pretty substantial financial reasons to get married,” says Kelli Grant, a consumer reporter at cnbc.com.

Related: The Financial Benefit of Getting Married

While the marriage penalty has gotten a lot of attention in recent years, an equal amount of couples can actually lower their tax bill when they get married, especially if there is a wide gap between the two spouse’s earnings, according to a study by the Tax Policy Center.

Another important benefit is health care. If someone loses their job, they can be added to the working spouse’s plan at a later date. That could lead to big savings down the road, and, provide you with peace of mind.

Lesser items, like cheaper home and auto insurance, can also add up, says Grant. “You might see a drop of as much as 25% in the rate. They just feel that married couples are a little more stable maybe you’re a little less prone to any sort of risky driving behaviors than you might have been previously.”

Finally, Uncle Sam has also made it easier for married couples to save for retirement. Even if one spouse isn’t working, he or she can contribute to what’s known as a “Spousal IRA” to grow savings tax-free, or at least tax-deferred. In addition, retirees can claim their spouse’s Social Security Benefits, even if they’ve never worked outside the home.

See related Calculator: Should my spouse enter the work force?

According to a new study, an estimated 175,000 weddings were postponed or foregone altogether because of the recession. And while the impact of the Supreme Court ruling on the marriage rate remains to be seen, researchers predict that the improving economy will prompt more couples to tie the knot in the coming years.