How Much Will Ashley Madison Really Cost People?

When hackers recently exposed a reported 32 million Ashley Madison customers’ names, credit card numbers, emails, home addresses and sexual preferences, the world went into a virtually tizzy.   Does this mean that the notorious dating website for cheaters failed at the very thing its business was supposed to be built around which was letting its customers have secret affairs?   So, what’s the price of these undercover rendezvous going to really cost America?  Here’s a breakdown from your smart money moves on what it might cost people when it is all said and done.

Despite the fact that probably all e-mails weren’t into having a secret affair, there’s no doubt that the widespread exposure of hacked e-mails is going to cause a ton of divorce or a ton of marital counseling.  One woman said, I looked up my husband’s email and he was on there. I confronted him and he denied it. We both went to the Ashley Madison site together and there was an option to reset the password. We entered his email and lo and behold we received a link to reset the password.” Even though these innocent cases may happen, here are some sobering statistics.

According to the CDC (www.cdc.gov) the 2014 statistics showed that the marriage rate was 6.8 per 1,000 of total population and the divorce rate was 3.6 per 1,000 population (44 reporting states and D.C.).   This means the average divorce rate per 1,000 of total population was approximately 53% in 2014.

Now, let’s assume that half the user names/e-mail hacked from Ashley Madison were completely fake.   This would leave 16 million e-mails that were active of people seeking a relationship while still being wed to their spouse.  Let’s also assume that only (and I say only) 25% of those e-mails led to actually be found out by another spouse.   Let’s assume last that only 50% of those found out end up in divorce.   This means that the exposure of all of the e-mails leads to an extra 2,000,000 divorces.

What kind of fees can you expect in a divorce?   There are many types of statistics out there on the internet, but the generally accepted figure is between $15,000 and $20,000.

  • Attorney’s Fees
  • Court Costs
  • Costs for parent education classes
  • Fees for neutral evaluations
  • Mediation Costs
  • You may also have business valuation costs
  • You may also have real estate costs

This means a cost of $35,000,000 alone for just the 2,000,000 divorces.   What if you add in marital counseling, family disruptions, job changes, and much, much, much, more.   The website says, “Life is short. Have an affair.”   It turns out this could have been the worst financial decision people made when they signed up for the service.

Written by: Ted Jenkin
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About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves


My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid...

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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor regarding your individual situation. 

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