Millennials, Money, and the Modern Marriage

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Wedding PhotosWhen I married my husband at age 22, I was considered on the “old” end by the standards of my state. Now, 11 years later, getting married at 22 isn’t out of the ordinary in Utah — and it’s considered somewhat young by many in the rest of the country.

For Millennials, the marriage age is rising. Not only that, but the way Millennials approach money in their marriages is changing as well. Jane Greer, a marriage and family therapist with more than 20 years of experience, and the host of Doctor On Call at HealthyLife.Net, points out that a lot of the changes are due to more resources, as well as more options for women.

Marriage Isn’t Everything

“Not only are Millennials marrying later,” Jane Greer says, “but they are being more meticulous about balancing career with choice of partner.” This is a trend that applies to members of both sexes. “Women and men are putting off marriage until they have more financial security,” she continues. “They put it off until they finish the academic program, or complete the project.”

There is a growing emphasis on security, and making sure each partner has the option to pursue a desired career. “Marriage is not trumping everything,” Greer says. “Women are coming into the world of marriage out of law, teaching, advertising, and other fields where the work is gratifying. Even when they do come to marriage, they are mindful of when to start families. There are more options for women now — more options to feel their oats professionally and spend time making money.”

Not only that, but men are taking a step back as well. “There are reservations about getting married,” Greer points out. “Many of them want to pick the right person. Many men want the financial security in place before marrying.”

For both sexes, though, there is a definite trend toward living together before tying the knot. “Many Millennials see the divorce rate, and the way their parents have been affected, and they are taking their time, living together more frequently and for longer, and keeping finances separate,” Greer says.

Preparing For a Financially Stable Marriage

Millennials have their own challenges as they get ready to marry. Even though they may already have careers and financial resources, there are issues to consider. With men and women earning more before marriage, the question of separate finances comes up.

“It’s important to talk about financial goals,” Greer says. “You need to figure out how to start saving in a joint account for things you mutually want together.” While Greer sees value in having separate accounts, and in having control over your “own” money even when you are in a marriage, she thinks that couples also need to have some shared expenses and responsibilities.

“Whether you contribute to the honeymoon, or save up for a down payment, or do something else, you need to prioritize the ‘we’ and create a shared financial plan,” Greer insists. “You can do this while keeping some finances separate. Agree to what you will contribute to jointly so that you are free ans still have a sense of independence with financial matters.”

This blending of joint effort and individual freedom seems to define the money in the modern Millennial marriage. What do you think? Is Greer correct in her observations? How do you handle money in your marriage?

(Photo: Katsunojiri)

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “Millennials, Money, and the Modern Marriage”

  1. I’ve noticed some of these things in my own children. It seems to be a good thing that they are more careful now.

  2. admiral58 says:

    Interesting to get married so young at 22. Wow

  3. Shirley says:

    I seldom see couples marrying these days without having first lived together and I think that is a good idea. There is no better way to know and understand a person’s work ethics, goals, attitudes and personality than living with him or her.

  4. William @ Bite the Bullet says:

    Waaaay back in time my wife and I married when we were 21. Best decision I ever made. The younger you marry, the more what you build, you build together. There is real value in that IMHO.

    As for separate finances, I have never seen that work. That doesn’t mean it can’t work, of course. But in all the marriages I know of where finances were separate, that was because there were other trust and compatibility issues, and those issues eventually caused the termination of the marriage.

  5. Gloria says:

    I have been married for 25 years and consider
    myself lucky being from the old school, but the trick has been we have grown with change of mentality and time . We consider that marriage it’s in a way a contract between two people that live together and what makes it different from a company, although both of them begin with the same concept of sharing,it’s not always an equal sharing like in Business, and also there is something that makes that difference which is love, it’s a constant give and take. You have to make your partner happy sometimes with things he wants to buy or do and he has to do the same with you.Sometimes you loose sometimes he looses. One of the most important things to consider when you choose a partner,is not being selfish.If you are always going to wait for the right one to come or the perfect moment then you take the risk of loosing the train, ok you want to graduate before you marry that’s a good choice , but expect to have a good income etc etc. When the right one comes you have to risk, if he is your friend you can grow and fight together and get all the stability you want.


  6. JV says:

    Millenials living together before marriage is not ok. Living together first will not tell you necessarily if you are right for one another.

    No it won’t. You are comparing apples to oranges. Just because one tastes good or bad to you doesn’t mean the other will taste the same. Marriage is a totally different proposition than simply living together. Marriage is built upon a promise before God to remain faithful to one another. Living together involves no such promise. You could fail at living together with someone you may have succeeded with in marriage. It all depends upon how much both people are relying on God for assistance and love. By the way, the divorce rate of couples who live together first is significantly higher than for those who do not.

    If your partner will not commit to you for life, don’t deceive yourself into thinking that he or she will be willing to make that commitment at some later point. Marriage is a promise to stay together. Living together for many couples lasts about 18 months, give or take. At the end of that year and a half, you still have no idea how your partner might have done if you both had taken the plunge and made a lifetime commitment to one another. Now you will never know. You settled for the easy way in and the easy way out. Your shot at true love with that person gets blown away with the wind if you decide to shack up first.

    Living together prepares people to find reasons not to get married. Marriage, on the other hand, is based on unconditional love and a lifetime commitment. It is not an “audition” for marriage like you have with cohabitation. All of us are imperfect and bound to slip up at various times during the audition. Talk about conditional “love.” It’s “I love you” now….and “I will really love you” once you prove you are worthy. You better walk on eggshells in that situation. It’s get pretty dicey in a hurry….and awkward.

  7. jsbrendog says:

    “Marriage is a promise to stay together. ”

    until you don’t…and yuo get divorced…and lose a lot in the process…because you didn’t wait long enough through the initial phase to get to where people actually get comfortable enough to be themselves ad you can finally tell whether you are in fact compatible or not.

    marriage shouldn’t be a work in progress to figure out if you are compatible or what you are
    aren’t compatible in. It should be the fleshing out and improvement and strengthening of the compatibility you already have. you can have your old school and religious views but in this day and age people are becoming less religious, and, unrelated, more cautious and aware (one would hope based on the living together first.)

    i also find it hilarious that you actually believe marriage is a lifetime commitment when it is so easy to get divorced and divorce rates are rising. but hey, more power to ya

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