No matter how you look at it, being single right now in the U.S. is expensive. From facing fewer tax advantages to not being able to split everyday costs like rent or groceries, living solo can come at a much higher price than with a partner.
That said, more and more Americans are continuing to opt for a single lifestyle. According to the U.S. Census, 37 million adults at or above the age of 18 lived alone in early 2021, up from the 33 million who did so in 2011.
At the same time, stagnant wages and record-high inflation rates mean being single is now more expensive than ever — and in the U.S., those trends are also leading to a widening wealth gap between those who are married and those who are not.
So, why is this happening? Select takes a closer look at how the so-called “singles tax” works and what single Americans can do to fight back against rising costs.
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Managing finances as a single individual
One thing to note before we get started: For the purposes of this article, we are defining single people as those who live alone and are not splitting any expenses with either a romantic partner or a roommate, while ‘the singles tax’ refers to the higher cost of living single people face compared to their partnered or married counterparts.
With that in mind, consider the following analogy: Imagine you are trying to fight a fire all by yourself. If you’re trying to contain it, having another firefighter at your side would certainly give you a better chance of dousing the flames.
This same idea can be applied when it comes to covering everyday expenses. Whether you’re dealing with larger monthly payments such as rent or a mortgage or smaller bills such as gas or groceries, having two incomes in one household, or someone to split the cost with, can be a huge help.
Of course, inflation hasn’t helped matters and, according to The Wall Street Journal, has been a major contributing factor of the widening wealth gap between single people and their married counterparts. Single Americans are also falling behind in every facet of personal finance, including spending and saving habits, income levels, taxes and net worth. Here’s a look at how that’s happening in each category.
Spending and saving habits
The gap between married and single people starts when you look at how much money people are spending — and how …….