Friends of mine who’ve been together for years have got engaged, which is very exciting. Congratulations! Especially as – as far as I know – they hadn’t really planned it before. He is divorced, and she is a modern career woman who’d never bothered about matrimony because she’s hardly a conventional type. After all, she had a Buffy the Vampire Slayer party for her 30thbirthday last year!
Yours truly went as a vampire while DJ went as a perverted ventriloquist dummy character who only featured in one episode! Before you get worried, she told us who we had to come as. I’m a bit concerned why they thought the sleazy dummy character suited DJ, but there you go!
DJ & I have been together nearly five and a half years and lived together for four. Friends of ours have met, married and had (two) children during that time. But he remains shy of the M word and can’t see the point of it all. Needless to say, my parental-types are scratching their heads/polishing their shotguns.
But my question is this – is marriage frugal? Apologies if this seems heartless but it has to be done! While it might all be very romantic, is there a financial case for matrimony?
Presumably there could be if you get divorced! At least if you’re the Heather Mills/Kevin Federline of the couple and require financial support, you could be laughing. Experts say it’s more likely assets will be divided equally between you if you’re married rather than living together. On the other hand, you’ve got the divorce costs to contend with (Mills claims to be in about £1.5m of debt from lawyer’s fees), not to mention the stress. And if you’re the Britney Spears/Paul McCartney party you’ll wish you’d just cohabited.
The average wedding costs almost £18k now(or 667 water butts!) and there are only a few financial benefits to getting hitched. And the government is considering giving cohabiting couples much the same legal rights as married couples anyway.
There are two big benefits to marriage, however, spouses are exempt from inheritance tax on their deceased spouse’s estate but an unmarried partner has to cough up. Plus a married couple can shift assets between them to make use of their individual capital gains tax allowances. However, IHT is only payable on an estate worth more than £300,000 anyway. Above that level the estate is taxed at 40 per cent. Ouch! Of course, the unmarried partner won’t get anything anyway unless their deceased partner has made a will leaving the estate to them.
So – and I think this is a depressing conclusion – I figure financially it’s probably only worth getting hitched if you have children – to ensure equal custody rights which unmarried fathers currently don’t get – or if your partner is minted. So until DJ or I becomes a millionaire, don’t expect to see a ring on my finger! I just hope I still have all my own teeth and hair by then…
I’m taking a frugal holiday next week so see you the following week. And thanks for all your helpful comments about cheaper ways of getting to Stansted and support for my frugal diet!.
Are weddings a waste of money? Or do you think marriage is a frugal winner in the long run?