Married to ... Money? Why More People Are Skipping the Altar

Married to ... Money? Why More People Are Skipping the Altar

You heard Beyoncé. If you liked it, then you shoulda’ found a job with a steady income ... and then put a ring on it.

Well, those are the lyrics today’s 20- and 30-somethings are singing anyway.

A new Pew Research Center analysis finds American adults are increasingly putting off marriage or eschewing it entirely—largely because of financial concerns.

As of 2012, as many as one in five adults ages 25 and older had never been married. Compare that to 1960, when just one in 10 adults in that demo had yet to get hitched.


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So what’s really behind young adults’ reluctance to tie the knot? For many, a key factor is cash—or the lack thereof. 34% of survey respondents ages 25 to 34 cited financial security as the main reason they aren’t currently married, compared to just 20% of those 35 and older.

Specifically, many single ladies in this age group may be searching—fruitlessly—for a spouse with a stable career. The Pew survey found that 78% of never-married women say it’s important to marry someone with a steady job. But for every 100 never-married women ages 25 to 34, there are only 91 employed, never-married men.

What all this data suggests is that Americans today see getting married as a step you take only after you’ve already established financial security on your own. As Claire Cain Miller of The New York Times points out, that’s a big shift from even a few decades ago, when couples married first and then built up a solid financial life together.

Thinking about taking the plunge? No matter where you and your future spouse are in your careers, you should always talk about money before saying, “I do.” Review our comprehensive checklist for an idea of what you should cover.


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