Want to be wealthy? Try marriage
Study: Married individuals have almost double the net worth of those that are divorced, single.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Saying 'I do' is supposed to be for love, but recent research suggests that it is also a way of building wealth.
The study, published in the Journal of Sociology by Ohio State University researcher Jay Zagorsky, revealed that individuals who get married and stay married have a net worth almost twice as great as their single or divorced counterparts.
Zagorsky, who looked at a group of 9,055 young baby boomers aged 41 to 49, found that married individuals accumulated net worths that were 93 percent higher than single or divorced individuals. And married individuals tended to experience average wealth increases of 16 percent annually.
Married individuals fared better building wealth, according to Zagorsky, primarily because they share expenses and may have two incomes.
"I think it's really one of these really simple stories that two can live cheaper than one," said Zagorsky, a research scientist at the Center For Human Resource Research at Ohio State.
Single and divorced people accumulated wealth more slowly than married ones, with 8% and 14% annual increases respectively, according to the study.
While divorce usually means splitting things up 50-50, the study estimates that on average, divorced individuals lose roughly three-quarters of their net worth.
The study, which defined wealth by such factors as home value, stocks, cash, and savings vehicles as 401(k) accounts and IRAs, also revealed that men fared better financially than women overall, although in divorce the gender difference was relatively small.
"Looking at net worth it's really devastating for both," said Zagorsky.
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