Being Single Is Getting a Lot More Expensive

It took 16 months to pay off my husband’s student loans after we got married. It’s a feat that he couldn't have accomplished as a single person. There wouldn’t have been enough time in a day to work a full-time job and a side hustle, and handle the tedious tasks of laundry, cooking, cleaning and general adulthood without some level of additional support.

As a cohabiting couple, we split household responsibilities and were each able to pick up the slack when the other hit a busy season. Bills were shared and once we were married, our joint financial powers enabled us to aggressively pay off debt while also living a balanced life. As a self-employed person, I reaped the benefits of my husband’s high-quality and low-cost health insurance.

All of this amounts to what is often referred to as “couple privilege.” An admittedly obnoxious term for the way in which twosomes, especially married people, tend to benefit from a society that is set up for couples. That advantage is only growing, with a report from the Wall Street Journal (based on data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve) showing the median net worth of married couples aged 25 to 34 was almost nine times the median net worth of their single peers in 2019, in part because of rising home prices.