There are many emotional benefits to tying the knot with that special someone, but there also financial benefits to getting married. And we’re talking more than just getting some monogrammed hand towels. What’s more is that as of June, same-sex marriages are legally recognized nationwide. This means that no matter which state a same-sex couple is living in, they may now take advantage of the same financial benefits that straight married couples have. With the fall wedding season right around the corner, we want to add to the excitement level by sharing some financial bonuses you have to look forward to.
Financial Benefits for Married Couples:
If you are married, we can most likely assume that you are also co-habiting which means you no longer have two separate utility bills or two separate rent/mortgage payments. In one fell swoop, many of your combined monthly bills were cut in half. Not to mention, you may have doubled up on items of which you can now sell for some extra cash.
Combining two incomes means that you can now qualify for a larger loan, particularly if you both have good credit. This can especially help when buying a home, or any other large purchase. If one of you has poor credit, this can affect your ability to get a loan, but it does not affect individual credit scores. Credit scores are always individual and do not combine, even if you get married. However, if the good credit score owner becomes a joint account holder on any of the bad credit score owner’s accounts, those missed payments will show up on both credit reports.(1)
When one spouse dies, his or her estate will transfer to the surviving spouse tax-free. You can also now make tax-free gifts of any amount to one another.
Another benefit is being able to file joint tax returns. Tax rates for married couples are lower than if filing single or filing separately. If one of you earns a much higher income than the other, filing jointly will average out your total household income which saves tax dollars. However, if you both have combined incomes that push you into a higher tax bracket, you may decide to file separately. Keep in mind though that married filing separately cuts deductions for IRA contributions and eliminates child tax credits.(2)
Once married, you are now eligible to take advantage of your husband’s/wife’s employer health and benefit plans. Even if you both already have health insurance, it’s usually cheaper to have a combined plan versus two separate plans. If you both have employer benefits, you can now both join under whichever company offers the best. There are typically specific benefit enrollment dates but big life events, like marriage, provide an exception and most of the time you can be enrolled pretty quickly.
Social Security Benefits
If you are married, and you are at least 62 years old, it is possible to collect a benefit of up to 50 percent of your spouse’s Social Security benefit. If you are eligible for a benefit on your own record too, you will receive whichever benefit is higher. Also, when one spouse dies, the other can collect Social Security survivor benefits.(3) The AARP website has some great information on Social Security benefits.
Life Insurance Benefits
Married couples have a much easier time naming each other as beneficiaries than non-married couples. With non-married couples, proof of insurable interest can be difficult to obtain. Once married, you can also own life insurance on one another. If your spouse owns your life insurance policy, it keeps your policy excluded from your estate and ensures your policy will not be taxed before passing the death benefits to your beneficiaries.
If you do not yet have a life insurance policy, getting married is a big reason to get one. You will rely on each other’s finances for day-to-day living and an unexpected death of a spouse can be both emotionally, physically, and financially draining. While we can’t help the emotional and physical side of the tragedy, we can help you protect your loved ones from the financial struggles. Take 30 seconds to get a term life insurance quote. One benefit of working with Quotacy is that we don’t ask for any contact information up front, we only need that extra stuff when you are ready to apply. We also do not work for an individual life insurance company, we work for you. Whether you’re married yet or not, let’s work together on getting you covered.
Photo credit to: elsbeth cool