Notes From a Single Mom: Is Marriage Insurance the Answer to Happily Ever After?

Lynn Armitage
10/13/12

Did you know that Native Americans intermarry at higher rates than any other group in the country? In fact, more than half of us don’t marry other natives, so says the U.S. Census.

The reason behind this revelation is another column for another day. What I want to discuss is the financial implications to intermarrying. As the bloodline becomes more diluted through intermarriage, natives could lose in the long run.

"The protections and benefits that go to tribal members or to people who qualify as Indians on the federal side can be significant," said Debra Donahue, a professor of Indian law at the University of Wyoming. Some of these benefits include access to free health care, education and land ownership.

I’m a romantic at heart and believe people should marry for love, regardless of ethnic origin. But if you’re a native who has married outside the tribe, you may want to consider marriage insurance, especially if there are children in the picture.

Come again?

John Logan, an entrepreneur from North Carolina, hopes to offer couples in the U.S. and Canada the option to buy marriage insurance through his company, SafeGuard Guaranty Corporation.

“Almost half the families that suffer through divorce spend at least some portion of time at poverty level” as they’re forced to set up separate households, says Logan, who spent $35,000 on his own marital dissolution.

He claims divorce creates financial devastation for many people who have to start all over again. “It is the No. 1 reason for bankruptcy and poverty among newly single mothers worldwide.” And a study out of Ohio State University found that people lose an average of 77 percent of their net worth during a divorce.

Really, though, it makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? We have life insurance, fire insurance, house insurance, medical insurance, travel insurance and even pet insurance—so why not marriage insurance?  With an estimated 10 million marriages in America expected to end in divorce by 2015, getting married appears to be one very risky venture.

Just ask rocker Rod Stewart, who said, “Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house.”

Logan is quick to point out that the premise of his idea isn’t to get rich from a divorce. But rather, to reward couples who “invest in themselves” and stay married for a long time. “Our goal is to give people real incentive to make their marriages last.”

So if you buy the insurance and stay married for years and years, the cash benefit will be greater than if you divorce, and your marriage will, literally, be golden. “We hope divorce is never on their minds because we’d be happy to hand them a very large check after 25 years of marriage.”

The bad news is, the U.S. Census estimates that only 33 percent of married couples today will celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

But wouldn’t this encourage people to marry for the wrong reasons? “Quite frankly, we think few criminals would be willing to pay substantial money into a program for years on a timely basis simply to commit fraud. More importantly, we won’t lose money if they do.” Logan estimates the market for divorce insurance to be nearly $200 billion worldwide.

Logan developed SafeGuard’s divorce and marriage insurance policy in 2010, but it is currently unavailable. The company is seeking a new underwriter, according to its website.

Gee, all this talk about marriage insurance is making this divorced columnist a little soft and sentimental. Hmmm . . . if only the ex and I could start all over again—I’d eventually own property in the Bahamas!

Lynn Armitage is an enrolled member of the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. She believes the best insurance against divorce is to marry the right person to begin with—native or not.

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andre's picture
andre
Submitted by andre on
Great bit of wishful thinking. Fact is, people change like the seasons of life. One day your " in love " and 10 years later, the love has left, or you get left. The divorce rate statistics do not lie. It's evidence that people move on, they take what's left and start over if there lucky. Some people do get that opportunity and stay in a bad relationship. I guess it just validates that, there are no safe bets in life. It will either work or it does not work. I have seen people who do fine after getting divorced and others that crumble. The worst cases are people who stay together just playing house and being in a miserable relationship. Insurance? Probably a bad idea that encourages people to waste yet more time in a relationship that's terminal. We have all seen or known someone who is trapped in a bad marriage. If the only incentive is to stay together and suffer 20 years to build cash value on an insurance, that's not good.
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