Can’t Buy Me Love

The New York Times had an interesting article about the modern marriage. The article states that the recession has taken a toll on marriage since there are more people in the age range of 24-34 who have never married are less than the number of people who have. For the first time ever, American college graduates that are married at age 30 is higher than people who have not attended college. However, statistics show that the number of marriages and divorces has remained the same, but the reasons for marriage and types of people getting married is what has significantly changed.

The article goes thorough a lot of reasons – but the number one reason is money. The recession has brought financial uncertainty, and people have less money to marry. College grads have more security, so it makes sense that they are the ones getting married. The roles of men and women have changed in modern society. Men aren’t looking for a pretty face who can cook, clean and take care of the children. Now people are looking for an equal in their partner for life.

It all makes sense when you look at the legal aspects marriage. One of the effects of marriage is the ability to be first to inherit according the intestacy statutes. In some states, there are statutes that state that any assets acquired during the marriage are considered community property of both spouses no matter who earns it during the marriage. When a couple gets divorced, the two things they fight about is custody of the children and separation of the assets. Even before marriage, many modern couples execute pre-nuptial agreements, so money isn’t as much of a factor.  I know growing up a lot of my parents fighting had to do with money, not their differences in child rearing strategies or philosophies on life. Even looking at my friends, many of them are not married, but moving in together during this recession. Most of them have also split up since moving in . So, money constraints are bringing people together, but a lack of common goals, ideology, and tastes will tear them apart.

Looking to tax law, I always thought that marriage was a tax break. In tax law, I discovered that couples making the same amount of money would be better off if they weren’t filling taxes together. Together their income can be taxed at a higher tax rate in a higher tax bracket. This idea in tax law is considered a marriage penalty. Congress renewed their legislation that was set to expire in 2011.

With all these money issues that arise, one can clearly see that marriage isn’t always about love. Power couples are taking over the roles of the bread-winning husbands and stay-at-home wives. In this case, this more educated generation is trying to build marriages on a common ground, which sounds a lot to me like love.