When I decided to step aside from my COVID-19 regiment (wake up, log into work, eat, peloton, sleep, repeat) to put together this blog post, I anticipated being met with some scrutiny from friends, family and peers (yes, I am a millennial; no I’m not trying to target my generation), but hear me out: based solely on my personal and social experiences, we (millennials) are not getting married as young as the generations before us, and I believe there is a reason why. Money – or more specifically – the lack thereof.
Our generation is plagued with over-priced universities, undervalued degrees and a job market that, thanks to COVID-19, is seeing record setting levels of unemployment. But what does that have to do with marriage? Even before unemployment skyrocketed, millennials were suffering from being under-valued in a world where their degrees cost more than most houses. This is old news. The ripple-effect this causes, in my opinion, is fear to move forward with personal and emotional ventures. Most men and woman our age have student loans larger than mortgages, with no real way to pay them off. Generations before us paid a fraction of the price for their educations, and at similar ages and stages, were building towards their futures: getting married, buying houses and having children.
For most of us, marriage just simply doesn’t fit into the picture. How are any of us supposed to get married when the cost of wedding invitations alone sends a shiver down our spines? And what does that mean for those of us that do take the plunge? There is no real answer to these questions, but while marriage may seem scary for the “mortgage-value student loan” generation, it doesn’t have to be. There are vehicles that you and your future Mr./Mrs. can put in place to protect each other. Prenuptial agreements, for example, aren’t just devices meant to let your significant other know that you “don’t love” them and anticipate an eventual “expiration date” to your marriage, as some pop-culture would have you believe. In fact, for millennials, they can mean quite the opposite. With fewer assets and higher debts, millennials can use prenups to protect one another from these huge liabilities throughout the course of their marriages, and not just in cases where things fall apart. Even though times are more uncertain than ever, we don’t have to be afraid to move forward. Our society, and our generation, will persevere. We were doing it before COVID-19, and we will continue to do it after. None of us should be afraid to take the plunge into something more. Because millennials are marriage material. More-so now than ever before.
Leonidas L. Bezanis II, Divorce and Family Law Attorney