When it comes to finances, being in a relationship inherently makes things more difficult. Even if there are only two adults in the equation, that means serious discussions. Add more partners to the mix and the financial complexity increases. On the other side of the equation, a multi-partner or polygamous relationship might actually save you money.
Polyamorous vs. Polygamous Relationships
Before discussing the potential money-saving advantages of having multiple partners, it is important to point out the difference between polyamory and polygamy.
Many people assume the terms are interchangeable. However, they refer to two separate things. Polygamy involves being in more than one relationship that is treated as a marriage and is illegal under U.S. law.
Polyamory is a form of nonmonogamy. This type of relationship includes multiple romantic partners but no more than one (and, at times, none) are considered married. Polyamory is legal in the U.S., as long as the relationships don’t shift into being polygamous.
How Much Money Can You Save?
The exact amount of money a person can save in a polyamorous or polygamous relationship depends on a range of factors. The savings will vary depending on the unique circumstances surrounding the relationships.
If multiple partners choose to reside under the same roof, the potential to save on housing costs can be significant. For example, an average mortgage payment in the U.S. is $2,300. If this is split by a couple, each person is responsible for $1,150.00. However, if a third person is there, each partner pays just $766.66.
The same division of costs could apply to any household expenses. Help with utilities and maintenance expenses can result in savings for each person. Similarly, food costs could be split, saving each individual a bit of cash.
However, property insurance can be more complex. You may only be able to secure homeowner’s insurance for those who are legal owners. So, unless every partner is a legal owner of the house, a single policy won’t cover everyone. Separate renter’s insurance policies may be necessary for certain partners.
Child Care Savings
Another potential point of savings is child care. If a partner can stay home with the children, savings can be major. Eliminating the need for child care, results in a savings of $6,615 to $19,805 annually, depending on your state. But, if someone has to quit their job to stay home, it will offset the savings. Job loss lowers the household’s total income.
You may be able to reduce other expenses as well. For instance, you may be able to carpool. Eliminating the need for a vehicle or lowering fuel costs helps with savings. If two partners wear similar size clothes, they may be able to share parts of their wardrobe. If large household purchases, like televisions or appliances, are split equally, each person only pays part of the total cost.
Ultimately, there is potential for significant savings, especially if all of the partners choose to live together.
Can You Really Save Money?
To put it simply, no, there is no guarantee that a polyamorous or polygamous relationship will save you money. For example, if multiple partners move in together, each person can save on housing costs. However, if you end up maintaining more than one home, those expenses go up.
Having more than two romantic partners doesn't mean everyone wants to live together. This could leave some people contributing to more than one partner’s household. Expenses such as splitting rent or mortgage payments, utilities, maintenance costs, or others, add up quickly.
Similarly, maintaining multiple romantic relationships could create costs beyond being in one relationship. For instance, you might pay for more date nights, birthday and Christmas gifts, or similar expenses could be higher.
If saving money is the goal, then each person needs to review their budgets and income as a starting point. Then, open discussions are necessary to ensure everyone does their fair share in maintaining the household(s) or for deciding if cohabitating is the best approach.
Significant Risks of a Polygamous Relationship
If a relationship is genuinely polygamous, there are additional risks. First, criminal charges are a possibility. Bigamy is illegal in most U.S. states (here). This can lead to serious financial costs, ranging from lawyer’s fees to fines. Plus, if there is jail time, that results in lost wages and potential employment difficulties in the future.
Second, estate planning in a polygamous relationship is also challenging. Multiple marriages complicate who has rights to a person’s property or financial assets after their passing. These complexities are one of the reasons polygamous relationships are illegal, especially in common law marriage states where a formal marriage isn’t a requirement to gain certain rights.
Even individuals exploring polyamory can find estate planning difficult, particularly if they want to leave assets to their various partners. With this in mind, it’s always wise to explore state laws regarding polyamorous and polygamous relationships, as the definitions and requirements can vary from one jurisdiction to the next.
Money Saving Opportunities Do Exist
Ultimately, polyamorous and polygamous relationships can result in money-saving opportunities. They can also come with additional costs. Open communication and active planning steps are necessities. Otherwise, it will be challenging to find workable solutions that can help each person to save.
Additionally, it’s wise to avoid crossing into polygamy. The legal ramifications are significant. They can also be potentially dire, and incredibly costly if there are any charges.
Polyamory doesn’t necessarily come with the same risks. If you want to maintain multiple relationships, it’s wise to explore state and federal laws thoroughly, especially in common law marriage states. That way, everyone can stay on the right side of the law and avoid the legal and financial complications.
Are you in a polygamous or polyamorous relationship? Share your thoughts about finances in the comments below.
Looking for more articles about relationships and money? Give these a try:
- How a Polygamous Relationship Can Impact Your Finances
- Romancing Your Sweetheart on a Budget
- 6 Financial Tips I Learned from “Crazy Rich Asians”
Tamila McDonald is a U.S. Army veteran with 20 years of service, including five years as a military financial advisor. After retiring from the Army, she spent eight years as an AFCPE-certified personal financial advisor for wounded warriors and their families. Now she writes about personal finance and benefits programs for numerous financial websites.