My parents had nothing when they got married, but together they clawed, scraped, and through hard work and perseverance, they built a middle class lifestyle.
More and more, however, this type of shared struggle is old-school. Today’s singles are often deciding to get careers and money issues straight before walking down the aisle.
Check the articles and comments section of popular online sites like Clutch, Madame Noire, and Ebony and you’ll find that a solid credit report and well-defined career path are just as desirable traits in a potential mate as traditional qualities like faithfulness, honesty, and compassion.
For many people it’s simply unimaginable to contemplate marriage before setting money and careers on the right course. As a result, fewer men and women are willing to start out life together broke.
Take this comment from the August issue of Ebony magazine in which one woman explains her evolving views of finances and marriage:
“My husband wanted to be in a certain place financially before we married. I thought we could “struggle” together as we both started our new careers. In hindsight, though, he was right: Wealth should come first.”
Perhaps they have a point. The traditional financial stresses that can tear a marriage apart may be avoided if each partner has built wealth and a career before marriage. Furthermore, a potential mate who has shown the dedication and drive to set themselves up financially before marriage, may make a better marriage partner.
But the danger in getting one’s careers and money straight, and then looking for the right partner, is that we devote so much time and energy doing so that we let potential soul mates pass right by.
And there is something to be said about building wealth together as a couple. Supporting one another as each partner establishes a career can serve to bring two people closer together.
Studies have even suggested that getting married actually makes building wealth easier. The Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, for instance, found that men who get and stay married work harder and earn between 10% to 24% more money.
Likewise, a study at Ohio State University shows that a person who marries and stays married accumulates nearly twice as much as a person who is single or divorced.
So BMWK, what’s your opinion. Is it important to build wealth and establish a career before marriage, or does marriage make career and financial success easier to achieve?