ONE of the topics in biology class is genetics, and scientists will tell you that choosing a mate with the right genetic markers will result in the best health outcomes for your offspring. For many people, choosing a mate who complements them in other ways — like financially — is equally important, and factors higher on the scale than even love.
Not to discount the blinding euphoria that comes from being physically attracted to, and connecting on a deep level with your choice of partner, but as these people will tell you, marriage is so much better when love is not the most important factor in the equation.
Want to know what makes my marriage work? We go half and half on all bills, school fees and all other expenses. I have someone to rely on when I need things fixed in the house, he has someone to cook his favourite foods, and there's always a companion to talk to when you need to unwind. And when either of us dies, the other has a lot of insurance and other assets to benefit from. It's the best business partnership you could enter into.
I'm self-employed and he works in the public sector. One of the biggest benefits is the health benefits — the children and I get almost 100 per cent coverage for dental and optical, major medical coverage is excellent, so are specialist visits. The plan paid for me to have our last child overseas, with very little co-pay. I wouldn't have been able to do that if I was single, and paying into a private insurance plan, with the kind of job that I do.
Automatic inheritance of a home — what could beat that? We were living together in the home he bought by himself, before we got married, and now, according to law, this is the 'family home', and I'm entitled to half. I'm also entitled to half of other assets too, and though we have no issues and won't get divorced or anything like that, just the thought of automatic inheritance just because I said 'I do' is mind-blowing.
My mom stayed married to my dad, even after they separated and were living with other people, because she studied the NIS [National Insurance Scheme] benefits booklet and knew she stood to get widow's pension when he passed — and a good amount, too, because he had some big job at the bauxite company. She was down at the NIS office days after he passed to make her application. Now she's collecting both her pension and his — and good money too. You see folks, staying married has benefits.
Purchasing a home was so easy — I remember how unattainable it seemed when I was single, even after I had saved up most of the deposit. Every turn I took it seemed like I was getting a fight, like it was a sin for me to be hunting alone, without a co-buyer. After we got married, within months we were approved for a mortgage, and got several benefits — doubling up on some offered by the NHT [National Housing Trust]. Having that kind of joint partnership in such a huge investment is good, and I finally feel like I'm achieving something after working so hard in Jamaica.
Nothing beats sharing the bills — I no longer have to worry about how much I spend at the supermarket, how much the electric and water bill is, and simple things like being able to afford entertainment or activities for the children, because if I don't have the money, I can always ask my husband to chip in. When financial responsibilities are shared it's so much better than trying to juggle it by yourself.
I recently tried to buy a car and my credit score was too low, because we have the mortgage and another loan paying off, plus my credit cards. Ordinarily that would have been the end of my wish to get a new car, but all I needed was my husband to send in his financials, and the loan was approved. Marriage makes it easier to make purchases like these, because you have another income that you can bank on.
As soon as I got married I changed the beneficiary on my policy from my sisters to my husband, and he didn't have a policy, so I called the agent to sign him up. Now we both have hefty policies where each will benefit should the other pass away — and my husband is older than I am, with underlying conditions, and I don't want to sound cruel, but it will be like I won the lottery when God calls him home.
I'm fiercely independent, so independent that my husband and I still split everything 50-50. But, you know what's great about marrying someone who has planned our financial future down to a T? Even with independence and planning, I can still ask him for money to go do my nails or go get a massage, and he won't hesitate. Just having someone who you can 'borrow' money from, and don't have to repay, is pretty awesome.
When I was looking about getting my house, I had to pay up a couple years contribution to NHT just to qualify, and even then I was getting nowhere near what a house would cost, even if I joined with my sibling. When I got married to a man who had been contributing to NHT longer, and who would get the full allotment due, along with a generous offer from the mortgagor, I fully understood how the system worked for those with good financial sense. So marriage for me meant my chance to own my dream home while I'm still young enough to enjoy the investment.