Marriage

Why The Current Wedding Vow Is Not Realistic Enough And What It Should Say Instead

We like to think that marriage is a beautiful thing, and that getting divorced is the worst ending anyone can have. But the truth is, the divorce rate today is so high that we shouldn’t be shocked if someone we know tells us they’re getting a divorce.

The map above lets us compare the divorce rate around the world. We can see that a lot of the areas are coloured red, indicating a divorce rate of 40% or above, which means a high divorce rate is now a worldwide phenomenon.

As of 2016, the Maldives has the highest national divorce rate, with 10.97 couples out of 1000 people divorcing each year.[1] Not far behind is the US at 3.6 divorces per 1000 people each year. This makes us wonder: why do we want to get married in the first place? Do the reasons for getting married also explain why so many of us regret later on?

In fact, there may be some ‘right reasons’ and ‘wrong reasons’ when it comes to marriage…

Initially, people get married because it somehow locks themselves up from temptations which can be bad for them in the long term.

Sometimes, we get sudden, strong feelings that compel us to do things that we know we shouldn’t. Sometimes, we lose control and make the wrong decisions. We get scared when that happens, and we wish we had a way to stop ourselves. This is perfectly normal. Psychologists even believe that some of us were born like this:[2]

You may have heard of a psychology experiment called the ‘marshmallow test’. What it tells us is that some children have a harder time resisting the temptation of instant happiness, even if they are told waiting will bring more satisfaction at a later time. And, unfortunately, their lack of impulse control seems to continue to affect them when they grow up, making them less successful in life.

This perhaps explains why affairs and one-night stands—the regrettable mistakes, usually happen on the spur of the moment. It is human to have impulses, but we need something powerful to help us fight the bad impulses at moments of weakness.

Which is why some people choose to get married: they voluntarily get ‘locked up’ by committing to a marriage, hoping that it would make them feel guilty enough to stay away from their darkest desires when any arise.[3] They want to be reminded of what is important in the long run.

And instead of getting married out of wants, some people get married out of…

8 Money Moves to Make Before You Remarry

Every year, about three per 1,000 Americans divorce from their spouse. Since about seven per 1,000 Americans marry every year, there is a chance that some divorcees will eventually tie the knot again with a new partner.

But before you remarry, you should evaluate your finances. Let’s review eight money moves that will set you both up for financial safety and success.

1. Make Amendments to Your Will (or Make One!)

The joy of finding love again can make you look at everything through a rosy filter. While no one likes thinking about their mortality, especially close to a big wedding day, the reality is that not updating your will could leave your new partner (and potential dependents) with a messy court battle for your estate. Review your current will and update it as necessary. For example, you may redistribute your estate to include your new dependents and choose a different executor — a person who will manage your estate and carry out the orders in your will.

If you don’t have a will, then setting one up should become the top priority of all money moves before you remarry. In the absence of a will, a judge will appoint an administrator who will execute your estate according to your state’s probate laws. What is legal may not be the ideal situation for your loved ones, so plan ahead. (See also: What You Need to Know About Writing a Will)

2. Update Beneficiaries Listed on Your Retirement Accounts

Even after setting up or updating your will, you still need to update the list of beneficiaries listed for your retirement accounts. This is particularly important for 401K plan holders. The Employee Retirement Security Act (ERISA) stipulates that a defined contribution plan, such as a 401K, must provide a death benefit to the spouse of the plan holder.

Your beneficiary form is so important that it can supersede your will under many circumstances. When updating your beneficiary form before you remarry, there are three best practices to follow:

  • Get written consent from your previous spouse, if applicable, to make changes;
  • Second, designate only children who are of legal age so they can actually carry out their wishes;
  • Third, find out the tax implications for beneficiaries other than your spouse as a large windfall could unintentionally create a financial burden.

3. Consider Setting Up a Trust

Since we’re talking about potential financial burdens, many of them could come out of an estate with lots of valuable assets being divided among many beneficiaries, many of them very young.

When you have accumulated a lot of wealth over the years, you could be better served by a trust than by a will for several reasons, including keeping your estate out of a court-supervised probate, maintaining the privacy of your records, and allowing you to customize estate distribution. While the cost of setting up a trust can be up to three times that of…

Here’s How Your Taxes Will Change After Marriage

Life tends to get more complicated after marriage. And your taxes are no exception.

Getting married will change the way you file your taxes every April 15. There is good news, though: Many of the changes will be positive ones that can help boost your deductions and save you money.

Let’s look at five of the biggest tax changes you’ll face after the wedding bells stop ringing.

1. Filing Jointly vs. Separately

Once married, couples have to face a big tax decision: Should they file their taxes jointly or separately? In most cases, married couples who file their taxes jointly save more money. But there can be exceptions.

Couples who file their taxes jointly in 2017 will qualify for a standard deduction of $12,700. When married couples file separately, they each can claim a standard deduction of $6,350. Note that if your spouse chooses to instead itemize their deductions, you will have to as well.

Filing jointly makes especially good financial sense for married couples in which one person earns significantly more than the other. The averaging effect of combining two incomes can bring these couples out of higher tax brackets.

When couples file jointly, they might also qualify for several tax credits and deductions that they wouldn’t otherwise get if filing separately. This could include the earned income tax credit, child and dependent care tax credit, American Opportunity Act education credit, and the Lifetime Learning education tax credit. Couples who have adopted might also qualify for adoption tax credits when they file jointly. You also will not be allowed to deduct student loan interest if you and your spouse opt to file separately.

This doesn’t mean that filing jointly is always the right decision for married couples. Say one spouse has significant medical expenses, casualty losses, or miscellaneous itemized deductions. Taxpayers can deduct medical expenses and casualty losses only after they pass 10% of their adjusted gross…

A Recent Time in British History When Husbands Sold Their Wives


wife-selling

Let’s say you’re an 18th-century British peasant, and you
and your wife just aren’t getting along anymore. What do you do?
Divorce her? Too expensive. Kill her? Too risky. Oh, well, looks
like you’ll have to auction her off. Welcome to the wacky world of
wife selling!

HARDY HAR-HAR

Hands up all of you who’ve read Thomas Hardy’s classic of
19th-century British misery,
The Mayor of Casterbridge
. You know, the one where
everybody dies and life is shown to be a pointless parade of
squalor, pain, and death? You haven’t gotten around to reading it
yet? Well, it’s worth filling you in on a key plot point, namely,
that the main character, Michael Henchard, sells his long-suffering
wife at a public auction. Surely not, you cry! Not in civilized old
England. Thomas Hardy must have made it all up. Well, we’re here to
tell you that it’s all true. Right up until the early 1900s,
husbands in Britain were able to offer their wives to the highest
bidder.

GOING, GOING…

The Golden Age of wife selling was between 1780 and 1850, when
some 300 wives were sold (and that’s just those that appeared in
the record books—doubtless many more spouses were gotten rid of
more quietly).

One of the earliest recorded wife sales took place in 1733, in
Birmingham, central England. The local paper of the day records how
“Samuel Whitehouse…sold his wife, Mary Whitehouse, in open market,
to Thomas Griffiths. Value, one guinea [about one English pound].”
As part of the deal, the paper comments, Griffiths was to take Mary
“with all her faults.” Another wife, in 1801, was put up for sale
by her husband for one penny. Not surprisingly, this bargain
sparked a frenzied bidding war among the locality’s lonely farmers,
and Mary eventually went for five shillings and sixpence. One
husband even managed to off-load his old lady for eighteen pence
and a quart of ale. An even luckier chap managed to trade in his
other half for…