The cost of marriage

The ever-entertaining, ever-insightful Terrence Popp put up a video over at a while back that weighed up the expenses of being single versus married for the "average" American. The mathematics, as you will see, are brutal:

For all that I'm Asian and therefore have no problem with difficult maths, the numbers here are scary even so. And that, I reiterate, is for the average American. If you're living in a major metropolis on the East Coast or a satellite city (like I do), then you can multiply the numbers that Popp presented by three- even four.

Yeah. Seriously. In that sort of situation, it would cost you over 280K to be married, versus "only" about 120K to be single.

Now as brutal as that sounds, it's important to understand that in America, a self-aware male has some recourse to the legal system. Not much, but some. I know you red-pill Americans like to loudly proclaim the virtues of foreign nations over Western ones- and I've been seeing Asia pop up a bit over the last few weeks- but it's important to remember that in some cases, at least, the grass is not always greener on the other side.

During the meetup last December, I was gobsmacked to learn from both The Observer and the other guys there that until quite recently, pre-nuptial agreements were not enforced in Singapore. A Singapore Court of Appeals decision back in 2009 changed this substantially, but it is still the case that prenups are simply not quite the legally binding agreements in foreign lands that they are here.

That aside, if you're planning to get married, you really need to understand what you're getting into. Popp's video is a powerful reminder of what an independent, financially secure man could potentially give up when he gets married.

I have made my opinion about marriage clear, and I stand by that opinion: marriage is the foundational bedrock of civilisation, and should be entered into with a clear awareness and understanding on both sides that it is a binding agreement on both parties. If you are not willing or able to shoulder the responsibilities of marriage- and, more importantly, if she is not- then you have no business whatsoever getting married. Stay single, stay cheap, and stay free.

If, for whatever reason, you do decide to get married, then take Popp's mathematics into account. Do whatever is necessary to protect yourself. Educate yourself about divorce law. Be sure that you have assets stashed away, somewhere, that no one can access other than you. I am not saying that you should expect your marriage to fail- far from it. I am simply saying that you need to manage that risk* and assign an appropriate probability to it. If you have educated yourself about the consequences of divorce and the destruction that it visits upon you as a man, then you can shield yourself from them.

And if, after doing all of the research and the homework, you still decide to get married, and you believe that the woman you are with is truly worth it, then understand one more thing: marriage isn't about one or the other of you. It's about both of you. You can no longer think of yourselves as "me and her".  You must think of yourselves in terms of "we" and "us"- a single, unified entity with unique and sacred status.

If indeed you do decide to take that course, as a self-aware and careful man, then Godspeed to you and your bride. The world lies before you both; make the most of it together.

* Understand the difference between risk and uncertainty. Risk means that all possible events are known; all that is unknown is the probability associated with each event. Uncertainty means that the events themselves are unknown. Of the two, risk is easier to handle.


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