There was a time when getting married in your 30s was considered scandalously late. That attitude has since changed, especially given the increasing number of people who are delaying marriage, whether for their education, their career, or another reason. Back in the 1950s, the average age to get married was 20 for women and 23 for men. Nowadays, women are tying the knot at 27 on average, while men are doing so at 29.
While holding off on marriage is a matter of circumstance rather than choice for some folks, there are benefits to getting married later in life that you should consider.
1. You're more likely to have an established career
When you first graduated college, you probably took the first job you could find to pay the bills and get your foot in the door. But with any luck, your career advanced over the years, along with your salary. Entering marriage with an established career can be a major advantage, and not just for the money. Once you and your spouse are both set on a specific job or industry, you can make an informed decision on where to live. Plus, having established careers gives you some degree of job security, which may be good for your marriage, especially since research from Ohio State shows that long-term unemployment is a risk factor for divorce. And the more secure you are in your career, the more easily you can jump into other life changes that often go hand-in-hand with marriage -- namely, homeownership and parenthood.
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2. There's more time to have built savings
Although a longer stint in the workforce doesn't always translate into higher savings, it stands to reason that someone who's been working for, say, 12 years has amassed a bigger nest egg than someone who's only been at it for a year or two. Getting married later in life means that both you and your partner may enter the marriage with a bit of money, and that could go a long way toward helping you achieve goals such as buying a house.
Furthermore, having some money in the bank will make it easier for you to pay for your wedding in the first place. In the U.S., weddings cost upward of $30,000 on average, and about 33% of couples take on debt to finance their nuptials. Starting your marriage $30,000 in the hole won't exactly work wonders for your relationship or your bank account. Not only that, but borrowing $30,000 will cost you much more than $30,000. Even if you manage to pay off that loan over three years, if you're charged 10% interest -- less than what many credit cards demand -- you'll wind up paying over $35,000 when all is said and done.
Furthermore, being financially stable might allow you to start building a family sooner. Raising kids from birth through age 18 costs an estimated $250,000 per child on average, not including college, so the more money you have when you first get married, the more prepared you'll be.
3. You're more likely to have paid off student debt
Most people who borrow money for college have 10 years to pay back those loans. If your student debt is gone by the time you get married, you and your spouse will have more flexibility to spend your salaries elsewhere, be it to upgrade your car, travel, or, better yet, save and invest. According to a recent survey by SunTrust Bank, money is the leading cause of stress in relationships, and it's also a leading cause of divorce. Entering a marriage debt-free means there's less room for resentment when you can't buy new furniture or take that vacation because one of you still has a nagging student loan balance.
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While there are certainly some financial benefits that come with getting married later in life, there's another advantage to consider as well: For many of us, with age comes experience, clarity, and wisdom. Taking the time to understand who you really are and what you want out of life makes for a pretty solid marital foundation.