Well, what’s the best way? A review of Kay Hymowitz’s book Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age in the Economist suggests it’s getting married:
“Marriage itself is ‘a wealth-generating institution’, according to Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and David Popenoe, who run the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. Those who marry “till death do us part” end up, on average, four times richer than those who never marry. This is partly because marriage provides economies of scale-two can live more cheaply than one-and because the kind of people who make more money-those who work hard, plan for the future and have good interpersonal skills-are more likely to marry and stay married. But it is also because marriage affects the way people behave.
“American men, once married, tend to take their responsibilities seriously. Avner Ahituv of the University of Haifa and Robert Lerman of the Urban Institute found that ‘entering marriage raises hours worked quickly and substantially.’ Married men drink less, take fewer drugs and work harder, earning between 10% and 40% more than single men with similar schooling and job histories. And marriage encourages both spouses to save and invest more for the future. Each partner provides the other with a form of insurance against falling sick or losing a job. …
“Perhaps the most convincing work showing that marriage is more than just a piece of paper was done by Mr Lerman of the Urban Institute. In ‘Married and Unmarried Parenthood and Economic Wellbeing,’ he addressed the “selection effect”-the question of whether married-couple families do better because of the kind of people who marry, or because of something about marriage itself.”