Hey All! Today I’ve got a great guest post from Mrs. Picky Pincher! Mrs. Picky Pincher is the blogger and money-saving maven at Picky Pinchers. She writes about living the good life while paying off $225,000 of debt. Enjoy and comment!
When I announced my engagement in October of 2014, family and friends were elated. And I was elated, too! The shiny, new diamond on my finger gave me butterflies every time it glinted in the sunlight. I was fresh out of college and excited to start the rest of my life with my fiance. But in the midst of the well-wishes, I got comments like, “Wow, you’ll be kind of a young bride, huh?” or “How do you feel about getting married so young?” or “Haha, you’re getting married and I’m over here, like, trying to adult.”
I was 22 when I got engaged and 23 when I tied the knot. At the time my age didn’t occur to me as a factor at all. Mr. Picky Pincher and I both knew it was time for the next step and make a future together. Why wait?
It’s no secret that my generation is delaying marriage these days. According to Gallup in 2014, just 27% of all Millennials were married. Comparatively, “according to historical U.S. Census Bureau data, 36% of Generation Xers, 48% of baby boomers and 65% of traditionalists were married when they were the age that millennials are now.” As a result of our more educated (and debt-ridden) generation, many people are choosing to delay marriage, or forgo the institution altogether. It’s a refreshing take on the stuffy relationship conventions we’ve followed for the past 100 years.
Nowadays it’s seen as odd if you marry before the age of 25. After marrying young myself, I’ve always wondered whether the finances of young marriages were hurt or aided by a youthful union.
With all the hubbub I heard from my friends after my engagement, I thought, “Surely research must indicate that young marriages are unhealthy or horrible for you!”
But after doing research, I’ve realized that no institution says that marrying under age 25 will ruin you. In fact, research suggests that couples who marry early tend to earn more and are happier. It all comes down to finding the right match for you. The good news is that, if you think you’re ready, there’s no real financial benefit to putting off marriage.
With research suggesting that early marriage may be a good thing, why are Millennials putting it off?
I think part of the Millennial trepidation to marry early is that we want to make sure we’ve found the right person. We’re pretty aware of our own immaturity, so I think there’s something admirable in trying to wait to marry until you have more life experience. You have time to really get to know your partner–you can live with them and learn each other’s quirks, manage money together, and maybe even rear children together (research says more non-married couples are choosing to parent before marriage). There’s nothing wrong with delaying marriage, but our judgment of those who marry early might be misplaced.
I used to judge people who got married right out of college. I figured there was no way I would ever be mature enough to make that kind of decision at such a young age. In fact, I had a self-imposed age limit of 30 before I wore a ring on my finger. I was determined to go far in my career and my travels before settling down with a beau.
And yet, here I am, with nearly three years of marriage under my belt at age 25. Oops!
I have absolutely zero regrets about getting married young. In fact, our early marriage has enabled us to soar financially. It’s been anything but the burden I thought it would be!
As a result of getting married early:
- We have two incomes: This has been a biggie. I have no idea how I would have been able to work towards financial independence without my husband’s income. I have the higher income, but we’re able to live solely on my husband’s earnings, as well as his insurance. We live on his income while we squirrel mine away for our debt payoff. This would be much harder to do if I were single!
- I became a homeowner at age 24: Oh hey, thanks, dual income. I was also able to own a house at a young age, thanks in part to our dual income as well as our combined credit. There’s no way in hell I would have bought a house for just myself. Mostly because I know nothing about home maintenance–I’d burn the whole thing to the ground if left to my own devices. But I love that hubs and I are able to divide and conquer to take care of our home. As an added bonus, our mortgage is actually cheaper than the rent we used to pay.
- We’ve paid off a #$%*ton of debt: Because we’re able to live on one income and use mine to pay off debt, we’ve started annihilating our debt. We’ve already paid off one car, $14,000 of credit cards, $25,000 of student loans, and renovated our house with $16,000 in cash.
- We have support: This has been crucial to our success. Being married at a young age provides constant support. Young adulthood is a scary, busy, and frantic season of life. Life doesn’t come with a manual, and it’s much harder to figure things out when you’re flying solo. Mr. Picky Pincher has enabled me to be stronger. In many ways, I can attribute his support to the reason my earnings are so high for my age and industry.
The Bottom Line
Marriage is a highly personal and important decision. Our definition of marriage is changing nowadays, and that’s something we should embrace and celebrate. Although we’ve changed the playbook on what ever-after looks like, there’s no reason we should knock people who choose to marry early. In fact, research suggests early marriage may be better for your finances, provided it’s the right time for you to get hitched and you find the right match for you. I’m very happy with my choice to marry early; I wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure, it might be a little unconventional for the times, but financially it was a great decision.