We, women, are superb at time management. But one thing we can’t always manage is our life path. It’s impossible to “time” your marriage, regardless of whether you’d like to be wed in your teens, twenties or thirties. It all depends on how and when Cupid pulls back his bow and shoots his arrow.

But marriage is a serious commitment, so before stepping into it, be sure about your decision and timing. Weigh the advantages and the downsides of putting off marriage until later.

In Singapore, more people are choosing to marry later than ever before. According to the annual Department of Statistics report on marriages and divorces, the peak age group for women marrying has shifted from 25-29 years old in 2004 to 30-34 years old in 2014. (The peak age group for men has remained the same at 30-34 years old.) Many people cite a lack of mental preparedness, the priority of their career and concerns about finances as the top reasons why they choose to wait a while until getting married in Singapore.

No matter what your family and friends say, it is ultimately up to you and your partner to decide when and how to marry. It’s nobody’s business but your own. Understanding the risks and rewards of tying the knot later in your life can help you decide whether to delay your marriage.

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Here are several pros and cons of waiting until you’re older to marry:

Pro #1: You have plenty of time for personal growth.

With marriage come responsibilities. Regardless of how organised you are, balancing the time you spend on yourself, your studies/work, and your new family can be quite a daunting undertaking. Delaying your marriage can give you enough time to devote to your personal growth before taking on this new challenge. Further your studies, get an MBA or experience different cultures in other parts of the world. Or simply enjoy your youth.

Con #1: You may find it difficult to conceive.

Couples who put off getting also married usually put off having children until later in life. As you age, you may encounter more problems in conceiving a baby. Your offspring may be at higher risk for Down syndrome and other health problems.

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Pro #2: You can focus on pursuing higher education and establishing your career before you settle down.

If your current goal is to further your educational degree or advance your professional status, then it may be best to focus on your studies or work before taking those vows. Studies and work eat up a lot of time and energy. Delaying marriage could give you the opportunity to get another degree, climb the corporate ladder or start up your own longed-for business.

Hopefully, these ventures also bear the capital you’ll need to pay for your dream wedding and other big expenses like a new home.

Con #2: Single people may build less wealth than married people.

While delaying your marriage can give you more time to focus on your career, being married can also improve your ability to build wealth. Married couples can accumulate money more quickly than their unmarried peers. Incomes get combined, and expenses get shared. This results in an improved balance sheet that can help you and your spouse more easily qualify for a mortgage, car loan or business loan.

Related: Legal Rights & Benefits Of Marriage In Singapore

Pro #3: You are less likely to divorce.

According to a study, putting off marriage until you are 32 years old decreases your chances of divorce: The data shows that “each additional year of age at the time of marriage reduces the odds of divorce by 11 percent.” This is presumably because as you age, you mature in your thinking and your behaviour. As you grow older, you reflect more effectively on what you want from a lifetime relationship.

Con #3: You may miss out on government incentives.

Aside from the wealth-building advantage of marriage, there are some government incentives that you will be eligible for through the Marriage and Parenthood Package. Due to population woes in Singapore, the government offers a broad range of measures from tax deductions and housing incentives to baby bonus schemes and childcare options to encourage marriage and parenthood:

If you are married, you can claim Spouse Relief and reduce your taxes. You may get up to SGD 2,000 provided your partner’s annual income did not exceed SGD 4,000 the previous year. If in the unfortunate case your spouse is handicapped, you can claim Handicapped Spouse Relief of up to SGD 5,500:

Furthermore, you may be given priority for Housing and Development Board (HDB), Built-to-Order (BTO) flats, and Sale of Balance flats, and even rent this flat at a discounted rate while waiting for your property to be ready for occupancy. There are also various CPF Housing grants, such as the Family Grant & Additional CPF Housing Grant, which married couples can apply for to easily afford public housing.

Related: Singapore Housing Cycle and Property Measures– Where Are We?

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