How Marriage Affects My ER Prospects (part 1)

The M word has come up recently, which has prompted me to think about whether I am the marrying type.  Of course there are pros and cons.  My first impression was that the pros were mostly emotional, while the cons were mostly financial.  For example, one benefit to marriage is that it gives a warm and fuzzy feeling — that you can spend the rest of your life committed to someone else.  A con of marriage is that expenses go up and it takes longer to accumulate 25 times annual expenses for early retirement.  Of course, if the spouse earns a large salary, then this con might turn into a pro.  There’s also the freedom aspect of it all.  A single person is much more free than a married person.  Free to move around, explore.  On the flip side, maybe a solid foundation actually contributes to increasing happiness — after all that’s the ultimate goal right?  Married people also tend to get the itch to have kids.  You can forget early retirement when kids enter the picture!

Then there’s the whole financial outlay in order to get married.  Engagement ring — $10K; wedding — $30K; honeymoon — $5K.  That’s 1.5 years of living expenses right there!  The thought of “throwing” away $45K to get married really makes me uncomfortable.  Of course, other people spend that much to get married.  I’m good at cutting expenses.  Maybe I could get total costs down to $20K (including an impressive 1.25 carat diamond ring for $8K, a decent wedding for $10K, and $2K + frequent flier miles for the honeymoon).  Still that’s a lot of money…

In the end, the two important questions are: is marriage worth it?  is the traditional wedding process worth it?

One thought on “How Marriage Affects My ER Prospects (part 1)

  1. Don’t let the “costs” of marriage dissuade you. You could always elope if it was the costs which are worrying you. One main reason why the costs of weddings are so much is the enormous guest lists and expenses that people feel pressured to have. How to avoid it? Have a destination wedding. If you have your wedding in the Carribean, the destination is the attraction so you can spend less, less people will come (b/c the cost is shifted to them), and you are already at your honeymoon location.

    On Kids: they are definitely expensive, but not total ER killers. I have a kid (I’m a lawyer) and am still retiring by 40. Studies show people who have kids are less happy in the day to day moments of their lives (parenting is hard work) but more satisfied overall with their lives and less depressed (less feelings of regret.

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