BOSTON (CBS) – Starter marriages are often called beta or test marriages. The definition of a starter marriage is a first-time marriage that lasts less than 5 years and there are no children. Starter marriages have been around for a while but seem to be gaining in popularity with the millennials.

The average age for couples going through their first divorce is 30 years old with 20% of first marriages ending in divorce before their fifth anniversary.

These kids have had front row seats at their parents’ divorces and they view divorce as the norm. With a starter marriage, a couple ends up splitting very few assets because there are very few assets to split. Or worse, they end up splitting the debt they’ve accumulated.

Starter marriages are an expensive dress rehearsal for the real thing. The average cost of a wedding today for 140 guests in Boston is over $39,000, nationwide it is about $10,000 cheaper.

Often the couple throw themselves into the planning of the wedding and after the honeymoon they realize that marriage was not the best next step in their lives.

Some of these young people chose marriage as a way to get out of their parent’s home or they had been dating a long time and marriage seemed to be the next logical step.

Studies have shown that living together before the wedding does not give a couple an edge in creating a lasting relationship. And more and more couples are living together because it is cheaper to combine households.

But either way, marriage or living together you need to do some planning as a couple so you don’t end up as a statistic. You should be having the money conversation with your significant other long before you start to pack the boxes to move in together.

A book you might find helpful is Money Without Matrimony by Deb Neiman, who is a local financial planner.

Marriage should not be treated as a throw away commodity. Getting married requires commitment from both parties, emotional as well as financial.


You can hear Dee Lee’s expert financial advice on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 each weekday at 1:55 p.m., 3:55 p.m., and 7:55 p.m.

Subscribe to Dee’s Money Matters newsletter here.


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