pencil and watercolor art of single person standing amid crowd of coupled people

Addressing the Financial Burden of Being Single in America

As the economic landscape becomes more uncertain, the weight of financial hardship is felt disproportionately by singles. With the cost of living alone on the rise, coupled individuals, particularly married ones, enjoy a clear advantage. This post seeks to shine a light on the often-overlooked “singles tax” and inspire singles to band together to advocate for each other in the workplace and beyond.


Unveiling the Singles Tax: A Closer Look

The term “singles tax” describes the extra financial burdens that single individuals face compared to those who are coupled, married, or otherwise partnered. This discrepancy arises from the increased costs associated with living alone, which are not borne by those in relationships or singles who share their living arrangements. As the cost of living continues to climb, this singles tax has become increasingly burdensome.


The Stark Reality of the Numbers

A recent Forbes Advisor-commissioned survey of 1,008 U.S. adults (both single and partnered), conducted by market research company Prolific offers valuable insight into the reality of the singles tax. A staggering 93% of single respondents acknowledged the financial strain of the singles tax, with one-third admitting to prolonging a relationship to reap its monetary benefits.

In addition, 35% of singles reported sharing some expenses with others, such as parents, roommates, or siblings. This financial challenge is only exacerbated by inflation, with 59% of surveyed singles indicating that the singles tax has worsened due to rising prices. Housing, utilities, and groceries emerged where inflation is hitting singles hardest.


The Monetary Perks of Partnership

According to the same survey, 85% of all respondents (single and coupled) believe those in relationships fare better financially than their single counterparts. An impressive 76% of married participants reported improved financial status since tying the knot, while nearly half (48%) of unmarried relationships noted a similar improvement to their pre-relationship financial situation.


The Corporate World’s Role in Supporting Singles

The singles tax extends beyond personal finances and infiltrates the workplace as well. Singles often pay more taxes, insurance, and other benefits than their partnered colleagues while shouldering the full weight of living expenses. It is imperative for corporate America to recognize this disparity and prioritize supporting singles in their career progression, advocating for their interests, and acknowledging their minority status in the workplace.


A United Front: A Call to Action for Singles and Couples Alike

The singles tax is an undeniable burden, with coupled individuals enjoying a significant financial advantage. It is crucial for singles to stand up for themselves and their peers, sparking discussions about the impact of the singles tax and challenging the status quo in corporate America. By forming networks, singles can support one another in achieving career goals, sharing resources, and raising awareness about their unique needs in the workplace.

Coupled individuals can also play a crucial role in acknowledging and helping to alleviate the financial burden faced by singles, fostering a sense of solidarity and understanding.


In Conclusion

The singles tax is a real and pressing issue, with coupled individuals reaping clear financial benefits. It is vital for corporate America to recognize the unique struggles faced by singles and offer support accordingly. This call to action encourages singles to unite and support each other while urging coupled individuals to acknowledge and help ease the financial burden experienced by singles. We can create a more inclusive workplace catering to all employees’ diverse needs by working together.

Ways to Advocate (For Yourself and Others)

Single Workers Advancing in a System Tilted Toward Coupled or Married Individuals

  1. Build a strong network: Single employees should focus on expanding their professional network both within and outside their organization. By forging strong connections, they can gain access to resources, opportunities, and support that can help them overcome any systemic bias.
  2. Seek mentorship and sponsorship: Singles should actively seek out mentors and sponsors who can provide guidance, advice, and advocacy in the workplace. These relationships can help singles navigate career challenges and enhance their professional growth.
  3. Develop negotiation skills: Learning to negotiate effectively is essential for singles to advocate for themselves in terms of compensation, benefits, and promotions. By honing their negotiation skills, single employees can ensure they receive fair treatment and recognition for their accomplishments.
  4. Engage in continuous learning: Single employees should invest in their professional development by pursuing relevant training, certifications, and educational opportunities. This not only helps to sharpen their skills but also signals their commitment to growth and excellence.
  5. Participate in employee resource groups (ERGs): Many organizations have ERGs for various demographic groups, including singles. By joining and actively participating in these groups, single employees can connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences, and work together to drive positive change within the organization.

Coupled People Advocating for Single Counterparts in Corporate America

  1. Encourage equitable policies: Coupled individuals can advocate for workplace policies that level the playing field for singles. This might include pushing for equal benefits, insurance premiums, and family leave policies that accommodate various relationship statuses and living arrangements.
  2. Raise awareness: By discussing the financial burden faced by singles, coupled employees can help increase understanding and empathy among their colleagues and managers. Sharing articles, research, and personal experiences can contribute to this dialogue.
  3. Mentorship and sponsorship: Coupled employees can act as mentors or sponsors for single colleagues, offering guidance, support, and connections to help them advance in their careers. This can help counterbalance any systemic bias against single employees.
  4. Advocate for diversity and inclusion initiatives: Coupled individuals can push for diversity and inclusion programs that address not only race, gender, and sexual orientation, but also relationship status. This can help ensure that singles are considered in decision-making processes and company culture.