Recipe for Wealth: Live Together Before Marriage?

Laura Shin

couple cooking in kitchenPop quiz: Which of the following is proven to likely double the rate at which you and your significant other accumulate wealth?

A) Max out our 401(k) contributions and establish a foundation to promote world peace
B) Cut out cable, make our own lattes and sew all our own clothing
C) Get master’s degrees and Ph.D.’s and read The Economist
D) Move in together

Recent research supports answer D (though we don’t see how the others could hurt).

A new study says that couples who move in together before marrying accumulate wealth at double the rate of those who wait until marriage to live together.

The obvious conclusion is that this happens because cohabitation roughly halves the couple’s rent and utilities.

But a lot of less tangible factors could be at play. The authors point out that about half of cohabitations that result in marriage tend to be white couples with high earnings potential. So, it could be that an already financially well-off group is attracted to living together before marriage.

Another explanation is that many couples prefer to get married when they are economically secure. Moving in together could spur them to change their financial habits, which would then lead them to start growing their wealth.

Either way, this study does not make moving in together a slam-dunk solution for your financial problems. We’ve written about both the financial pros and the financial cons of cohabitation: While this study is interesting, it should just be one of several factors you weigh carefully when making your decision.

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  • Lyhyd11

    I met the man of my dreasms on the place mentioned in my pic ==–TallLoving.c’0m—it gives you a chance to make your life better and open opportunities for you to meet the attractive young man and treat you AS a queen!

  • Chelsey Evans Funk

    It seems to me that the higher statistics on divorce for couples who cohabitate before marriage might outweigh – either financially or emotionally – the possible benefit.

  • Guest

    This article really makes no sense whatsoever to me. Sorry!

  • Eva

    I am really glad that my husband and I waited until after marriage to move in together. It seems like that commitment was much more drastic and real and scary and wonderful because we did. Despite the fact that the move-in saves many couples money (for instance, paying one rent, not two), it worked out really well for us because we were both coming out of the college life with roommates and money-saving sublets, so we both actually took on a larger rent (together) after marriage. We were able to come into the marriage having saved up for the awesome honeymoon!