Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Married, with children, pays

Money talks at the Economist, and the talk in this item from May 12,which has just been brought to our attention, is that in most of thedeveloped world it pays to be married with children. That is becausemost governments offer some form of tax breaks or cash benefits tooffset the cost of bringing up children.

1 comment:

Ken said...

While I am happily married with children and I do think being marriage-and-family-focused is good for society, I am hesitant to tout the "plus" of "you'll make more money" as a reason to get married.

Since I am a man, I will come from that perspective.

1. How do we know what the married men in the study would be earning if they weren't married with children? Men tend to earn more as they gain experience. Men also tend to marry as they get older. Coincidence? Perhaps these men would be earning even more if they could spend more time working, networking, moving for promotions, and traveling?

2. Is the cart being put before the horse? Maybe it is that women tend to marry men who earn more, which means the unmarried men will be the ones who earn less, but it won't be that they earn less because they are unmarried.

3. Speaking of that, women tend to marry men who earn more than they do, so even if she stops earning income entirely "she" will have more money (though it is half his, strictly speaking in community property states, even if she does make more of the purchasing decisions).

4. Speaking of that, the money a married man earns is not all his. He may need to earn twice as much as he would have if he was unmarried to actually have more than he would if he was unmarried.

5. This will be very clear if his wife files for divorce and gets custody of the kids, and thus both alimony and child support. Women ARE much more likely to file for divorce, and much more likely to get custody, and since women tend to marry men who earn more than they do, this is a common outcome of marriage.

Again, I do support marriage. But we should not oversell the benefits.