Smart Reasons to Save, Use and Invest Money

Wealth Myth – Stay Married to Become Wealthy

Like everything in life, the “Stay Married to Become Wealthy” saying really depends on the situation!

I have two different friends that have financial inept spouses from Hell.  One got a divorce and is doing fine, while the other is living in a continually tortured life with constant battles with debt.

Friend #1 (this is really the guy in the story Financial Pig 1, in my story of the three little financial pigs)

Of the three little financial pigs that I’ve mentioned before, he is the most dynamic.  After his divorce, and the purging of his debt, he was able to turn his life around and actually get another great job with potential.  Had he stayed married, he still might be living with his wife in relative’s basements while she spends all of the money he makes.

For him, getting a divorce meant that he has a shot at accumulating wealth like he hasn’t before.  I talked to him recently, and now he’s driving an economical Chevy Malibu (which I have too and hate), and is socking way his money.  And although his new wife (she was his girlfriend in the last update), is much better than his previous wife, she does spend more freely than I feel comfortable doing.  But on the other hand, they aren’t going out as much either though, so perhaps I’m not getting a good read on his situation in this area.

I’m positive if he was still married to wife 1, they would still be in massive debt and trying to declare bankruptcy a third time!  Hooray for him, his divorce probably saved him from permanent financial ruin.

Bad Marriage

Friend #2 (I haven’t talked about her before, but she could use a divorce too, and I’ll explain why now)

My other friend at work (who was laid off a year ago), has a husband that floats in and out of work, but spend all their money on toys to entertain himself.

He buys mostly muscle cars, and car parts, always goes out drinking and like to go on trips with friends while my friend just keeps working away like it’s nothing.

They were married in high school, so they have a long history together.  But unfortunately, they aren’t really that compatible.  Perhaps he realizes this and that’s why he cheats on her.  Yep, and the kicker is multiple people have called her and told her so.  So here you have a guy that spend all the money in the family for toys for himself (and the kids), who goes on trips without her and is even cheating on her, but still she stays married.

And the real punch in the gut is that he’s perfectly healthy, but hasn’t worked a real job in the last five years!

In this friend’s case, it would make total sense for her to divorce her husband, but she chooses not to.  I can guarantee that they will never be wealthy unless they win the lottery.  But even if they win the lottery, the money would be gone in five years.

So have I debunked this wealth myth!  It really does depend on the couple.  For my wife and I it makes sense because we are both frugal and agree on many issues, but for my friends above, divorce is the best answer (and not just for financial reasons).

Do you have any stories about couples that are married but would be better financially if they got a divorce?


19 Responses to Wealth Myth – Stay Married to Become Wealthy

  1. Friend #2: Some people can’t be helped. Her husband’s got no reason to change. She’s enabling him to be a perpetual teenage man-slut. He gets money, toys, and strange-sex.

    • I’m in the same boat as you are, my wife is more frugal than I am too.

      But, my wife only works about 10 hrs a week… Oh well, I guess I can’t have everything lol.

  2. These are sad stories, but probably represent a lot of people. No marriage is perfect, but it should better than what you described. My wife has a friend who husband was a gambler. He died some years ago and left her in debt and just a very modest living although he was successful. He gambled a lot of their wealth away.

    • Yep, I’ve seen enough people with spouses that aren’t responsible to know that it’s a myth to stay married if you want to be wealthy…

  3. I have one friend who’s already married and one who’s seriously contemplating it who I think would be much better off financially without the men they’re with. Of course, money isn’t everything, but I know my friend who’s thinking about getting married to her boyfriend will regret her decision later. She probably loves the guy like she said, but unless he gets his income up and his expenses down (and I’m not sure he cares to), she’ll resent him for it.

    • I’m looking at it manly from a financial perspective. Each of the spouses above were in credit card debt by quite a bit when they got married. One was over $20,000 in debt… Ouch.

      Yeah, sadly in the real world income does matter versus what they show on the movies…

  4. It definitely depends. I would say that if you pick a good partner, getting married is a way to “de-risk” your life and give you a better shot at accumulating wealth and not let one catastrophe wipe you out. If your husband/wife is someone like the two examples you described, however… oy! With spouses like that, who needs enemies?

    • lol, love the comparison of bad spouses and enemies. In fact with the guy that got divorced, his wife is his worst enemy. It ended bad, but better for him because he was able to climb out of massive debt.

  5. This article reminds me of ‘Larry Crowne’, a movie starring Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks. JR’s husband is a bum. He sits at home all day writing a blog and doing other non-productive stuff. Check it , you’ll have a great laugh.

    • lol, ironically I watch that movie 2 days before writing this. I wonder if it had a bearing on this post?

      yeah, my wife looked at me with a bad look when the revealed Julia’s movie husband’s job.

      Leave it up to ole Tom Hanks to cast us in a bad light…

      Thanks Tom!

  6. I don’t have any stories about couples who are currently married that might be better off financially if they weren’t, but I can tell you that getting divorced from my ex-husband really improved my financial situation. Not at first, mind you, because took all the debt in exchange for an equal amount of equity in the house, and I had to give him half of all my retirement funds (he had none), but later. It was amazing to deposit money into my account and have it…stay there. And to send a payment into a credit card and…not have new charges appear.

    • You mirror my friend above that got a divorce. He’s a wealth accumulator and saver by nature, but as he made more his ex-wife spend more…

      It’s definitely a myth for you then!!!

      Congratulations on your decision to get a divorce, sometimes it is best. I bet it wasn’t an easy decision!

  7. I dated a guy for 4 years who was horrible with money. It was a constant source of stress and he pulled me in the hole with him. I didn’t go into debt, but managed to drain the savings I had while I was going out with him. He also borrowed money from my mom. As shallow as it seems, after that, I swore I wouldn’t date anyone with money problems. Then I dated a complete tightwad which was it’s own set of money problems, because I still end up buying everything. Happily, I ended up somewhere in the middle, a frugal guy that’s not in love with money.

    To me, money management skills was a big factor in my compatibility with someone.

    • I totally agree! But if you are in a situation where you are married to someone that doesn’t respect your financial goals in life, perhaps it’s time to sit down with them and see if you and your spouse are on the same life path… Well, not you but others…

  8. Interesting dynamic to the stories! Unfortunately, if I had to apply an “average” to the stories I hear among the folks at work, it’s that divorce devastates your finances. I think, like your stories, it all boils down to what you want to get out of it.