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  Being married and staying married makes good economic sense   

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The New York Times recently published an article about the growing gap between the “haves and the have nots”. It talked about two women, Jessica, and her boss Chris, who have so much in common that a visitor to the day care center they run might get them confused.

They are both friendly white women from modest Midwestern backgrounds who left for college with conventional hopes of marriage, motherhood and career. They both have children in elementary school. They pass their days in similar ways: juggling toddlers, coaching teachers and swapping small secrets that mark them as friends. They even got tattoos together. And although, Chris, as the boss, earns more money, the difference is a gap, not a huge chasm.

However, a comparison that evokes parity by day becomes a study of inequality at night and a testament to the way family structure deepens class divides. Chris is married and living on two paychecks, while Jessica is divorced and raising her children by herself. That gives Chris’s family a profound advantage in income and nurturing time, and makes their children statistically more likely to finish college, find good jobs and form stable marriages.

Chris goes home to a neatly trimmed subdivision and packs weekends with children’s events. Jessica’s rent consumes more than half her income, she can’t afford the swimming and karate and baseball and Boy Scouts that Chris's kids enjoy and she scrapes by on food stamps.

That “gap” is not uncommon.

Money bouquet.jpg"At every age level between the ages of twenty-five and sixty-five, married individuals were more likely to have experienced at least one year of affluence – that is, a year in which the family’s income was ten times the official poverty threshold – than unmarried peers, and this advantage increased as individuals aged. By age 45, 33 percent of married individuals versus 16 percent of their peers who were not married had experienced at least a year of affluence. That is, “marriage in early adulthood double[d] the odds of affluence.” Among individuals between ages 45 and 65, the odds were even higher; some 42 percent of married individuals will have experienced at least a year of affluence compared to 18 percent of their peers who were not married."

The paragraph above is an excerpt from "Does Marriage Increase the Odds of Affluence? Exploring the Life Course Probabilities" based on data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), a (US) nationally representative sample, with twenty-five years of longitudinal data. The analytical sample for this particular analysis consisted of 2,213 individuals between the ages of 25 and 65.

Study after study shows us that married people live longer, healthier, wealthier lives and in general, are much better off than single or divorced persons. Children of two parent families do better in school, are more likely to go to college and are less likely to abuse drugs and/or alcohol, join gangs or commit criminal acts. Married people are shown to be better credit and insurance risks and more likely to contribute to charitable or community service.

And despite all this, no company in the world has ever stepped up to provide this group of people with an opportunity to enhance their financial security by investing solely in themselves and their marriage.

By stark contrast, people who suffer the consequences of divorce are often forced to lead very different lives than they had envisioned when they made the choice to divorce. Although divorce rates in the US haven’t changed much in 40 years, back then the typical household had only one parent that worked, they weren’t strapped with more house than they could afford, they had some savings in the bank and they had little, if any, credit card debt. If their marriage failed, there was an opportunity for the non-working spouse to create additional income in addition to any support they received.

Today that landscape is drastically different. The typical household today has $12,000 or more in credit card debt, a much higher percentage of their overall income goes to their mortgage and both parents are working full time. If they split now, there’s little opportunity to find additional income to offset the costs of setting up an entirely new household. Add the average cost of $15,000 to $30,000 in legal fees for divorce in the US and that’s a recipe for financial disaster.                         

According to a number of studies, divorce is the number one common contributing factor for bankruptcy and poverty among single mothers worldwide. Nearly half of American families experience some period of poverty following a divorce and more than 20% of women who apply for welfare benefits for the first time do so because of divorce or separation. In addition about one in four mothers who were first propelled onto welfare by divorce are still welfare-dependent five years later. Divorced fathers with child custody often fall into the same category.

Here are some of the key points from Patrick Fagan and Robert Rector's research "The Effects of Divorce in America" from the Heritage Foundation:

In fact, in the December 2005 issue of the Australian Journal of Sociology, Jay Zagorsky’s study titled “Marriage and Divorce’s Impact on Wealth” makes the point clear. Zagorsky, an Ohio State University sociologist followed US baby boomers from youth to their 40s through the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Zagorsky found that on average, by their mid-40s, married individuals will have nearly double the wealth per person that singles will, but the divorced are far worse off, losing an average of 77% of their net worth.

For more information on these and other studies and academic papers that we use as source documents click here.

People in other countries fare even worse. The average cost of divorce in England is approximately half of the average total annual household income and more than one third of couples have to sell their homes just to finance the divorce proceedings.

WedLock Divorce Insurancesm was the first insurance product developed by SafeGuard Guaranty. Introduced in 2010 and originally underwritten by a Utah Surplus Lines insurance company, WedLocksm only provided insurance coverage in the event of divorce due to restrictions by the underwriter. However, WedLocksm is no longer available to the public. While providing simply divorce protection would certainly keep people from falling below the poverty line, and we’ll continue to offer that financial safety net, we think the biggest reward go to those that have the good fortune to stay married. Our new product, Marriage Assurancesm was developed with that in mind.

Multiple independent market acceptance studies show a documented high demand for this type of “win-win” coverage and we'll be happy to share those results with interested parties. Here are a couple examples done by well known media providers, CBC News and Huffington Post (the polls are at the bottom of the articles). And be sure to see how others voted on a recent poll here on the website. Click here to see those results.

Moreover, regardless of the source, focusing funds on reducing divorce will save significant tax dollars in the long run and have a positive impact on our economy because it will reduce the need to subsidize and sustain many single-parent families. Today, according to a study jointly presented in 2008 by the Institute for American Values, the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, the Georgia Family Council and Families Northwest, divorce in the United States costs taxpayers at least $112 billion dollars each and every year in direct and indirect costs.

And inasmuch as divorce and out-of-wedlock births are known to be major routes into poverty, it should stand to reason that our governing bodies already understand that encouraging, preparing for and maintaining marriage is sound public policy. And considering unwed mothers account for 41 percent of all births, that should be a red flag to our elected officials that something is already amiss.

We'll lobby the federal government to make our Marriage Benefit a tax exempt financial event; establish pro-marriage projects; establish a national goal to reduce divorce by a reasonable figure over the next two decades; create public service campaigns informing the public at large of the long-term benefits of marriage and the risks associated with divorce; and give an ongoing tax credit to any couple who stays married at least until their youngest child reaches 18.

And in turn we'll push for the individual states to establish their own goals to reduce divorce rates by establishing pro-marriage education and mentoring programs; require that couples with children under 18 years of age complete some form of divorce education (i.e., end “quickie” divorces for couples with young children); and promote community-wide marriage programs.

Our governing fathers around the world are well aware that marriage, as a cornerstone of civilized society around the world is eroding, and perhaps, with your help, we can reverse that trend, together.

If you are interested in learning more about this ground breaking company, please contact us by sending an email to


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