When your budget won't let you give gifts to everyone in the world—which is always, by the way—who should you give...
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A new study by the Pew Research Center says that four out of 10 people think marriage is going the way of the record player, the VCR and dial-up internet: obsolete.
There has also been a spike in unmarried couples who live together. According to the Census Bureau, there are 7.5 million people who do just that, up 13% last year. There's nothing wrong with not getting married in life. There is a problem with a couple acting like they're married when they're not.
Shacking up isn't the way to have a successful relationship. For starters, the sense of commitment and permanency is not there like it is with a married couple. A marriage is about building something, giving yourself to the other person, and staying in the relationship for the long run.
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Someone whose idea of commitment is hiring a moving truck to haul their stuff into someone else's apartment, odds are, doesn't have the right level of maturity to keep a relationship going. The level of support for the other person won't be there when real trials in life hit. It’s too easy to get out.
On top of that, it's too easy for you to mix and mess up money when you live together. In a marriage that's working properly, two people sit down, make a budget and goals together, and then work toward them. What if you co-sign on a car loan with someone who isn't sporting your wedding ring? You're just one big fight away from paying for a car that the other person is using.
Think that's bad? Picture buying a house with someone to whom you're not married. When the break-up happens, you've got a mountain of a headache to deal with. Whose name is on the deed? Does someone want to stay in the house, or should you sell it? Who gets the money from the sale, and how much? Good luck if you have to do a short sale ... both your credits will be trashed, and you'll be dealing with the consequences of it for years.
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Mixing money between unwed people is about as good an idea as playing the lottery: The odds of anybody winning are slim to none.
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