Do people who get married younger take less risks?

April 21, 2009          Comments (8)

Life is ultimately about 3 actionable questions: Where you live, what you do with it and who you share it with.

If you’re lucky in love and you meet your ‘partner’ in life at a very early age (say high school – college) you may feel as though you’re done and ready to focus on what you want to do.

I think we’re all wired to tolerate a certain level of risk. But even more so, how we’re raised impacts this tremendously. If your parents are conservative, chances are you’ll be too. If your parents bet the farm – you probably would too.

Let’s say you meet an amazing person. She/he has everything you could ever want. And you’re really happy with them. You’re extremely content! But you’re in high school or college. Or maybe just a few years out of college when you meet them.

This person becomes all you ever know. But just because you’re extremely close and comfortable with one another does that mean this person is for you?

How could you be 1000% certain when it comes to your significant other especially when you meet at such a young age?

And to be clear, I’m not saying you aren’t happy. But what if you could be even happier? You’ll never know. Or will you?

The person who thinks the grass is always greener would probably make an insanely hard decision and want to test the waters.

The more conservative person would probably fight through their thoughts and doubts and make the best of it.

Clearly, they are both risky but one is riskier.

You’d think single people are able to take more risks than married people. I’m curious to know whether someone who holds out for marriage until say their late 20’s or 30’s is a much bigger risk taker than the person who gets married in their early to mid 20’s.

Would a married person make different business decisions than a single person? Could the person who waited until later in life to get married be a lot more patient?

Most corporate bios include if the person is married and has children. Is it because marriage is a sign of stability?

But maybe getting married early can be a sign of impatience and being highly risk adverse?

In places where marriage happens at a young age is economic development the slowest? According to this link it is.

Could it be that places with an early age of marriage have less entrepreneurs?

Could your soul mate from college or high school be impeding your growth professionally?

[Some interesting comments over at]

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  1. Oh Adam. I don’t even know where to begin.

    So my husband never dated anyone before me. And I dated everyone and their brother. B did two years at community college. I went to the best school I could get into and have my degree. We went on one date and then decided to get married… that was probably a huge risk.

    But our return was huge.

    We bought a house when we were 25 – which was a huge financial commitment – but we also bought a house that would have an apartment to rent. We never could have done that on our own.

    In most aspects of our life, our early marriage has enabled us to take more risks. Without our combined resources, none of it would be possible.

    But I don’t think most people are ready for marriage at a younger age. For the people who make that decision before both parties are 110% ready, I can see marriage as a liability.

    I will say that I’ve never encountered anyone who makes me as happy as my husband does but my happiness comes from the blessing of being able to love him.

    Great questions to ask though.

    Comment by Dorie Morgan — April 21, 2009 @ 12:35 pm

  2. Hm, I can see shades of what you’re saying. What I can tell you from my experience with early marriage is that it has allowed me to do more and allowed her to take more risks than we could have done individually. We can share household duties when one of us is busy. We can hire a cleaner if we are both busy. If one of us loses a job, it isn’t the end of the world.

    We’ve moved twice as a couple and only accomplished it because we were married. It has also been a catalyst for risk. When my wife wanted to move for a job, it pushed me into doing something else.

    Comment by Lance Haun — April 21, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

  3. @Dorie – I didn’t know that! It seems like both you and Lance feel it can double your capacity to do exciting things. To take more risks because you have a back up.

    @Lance – Thanks so much for your comment! I happen to agree with both you and Dorie. I feel that being lucky in love…early on…is a huge advantage!

    Comment by Adam Gilbert — April 21, 2009 @ 1:47 pm

  4. I personally think that married people are able to take more risk, since they have someone to depend on. However, I firmly believe that they are more apt to think through their decision and make sure it’s worth it, and not just taking risk for the hell of it.

    Comment by Norcross — April 21, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

  5. @Norcross – Well said! Thanks for the comment!

    Comment by Adam Gilbert — April 22, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

  6. I married a girl I dated since the age of 13. We married at 21. I am only 24 right now and have a great career, a house, a son, two dogs, and I run a number of entrepreneurial ventures. I do not think that marrying at a young age stops someone from taking risks.

    I agree with Norcross. I have been able to take more risks because I have the support to do so. I also do think about how each risk will impact my family. So I think it is a benefit to get married young. So much of our time in youth is spent chasing the opposite sex we don’t focus on things like careers and entrepreneurial ventures until later in life.

    Great post!

    Comment by Chris — April 23, 2009 @ 10:18 am

  7. @ Chris – Thanks so much for your comment! So you’re saying that once you find the answer to one of the three questions I mentioned above you have way more time to focus on the other two, or really, the other one? I think I agree. I’m just wondering if people might settle at an early age so they have that security?

    By the way, congrats to you! Seems like you’re doing amazing thing!

    Comment by Adam Gilbert — April 23, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

  8. […] I was thinking about my life and how long we have been together a post from Guru Gilbert entitled “Do people who get married younger take less risks” came to […]

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