This Helps Women Earn More

This Helps Women Earn More

Maybe you shouldn't just marry him already, especially if you have a degree or two under your belt.

As the average age for marrying reaches a new high of 27 for women and 29 for men, a new report out from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia shows that college-educated women who marry later enjoy higher incomes.

The average salary for college-educated women in their mid-30s who married after age 30 is $50,415, while a woman in her mid-thirties who married before age 20 on average only earns $32,263. That's a 56% difference. Female high-school graduates with some college education also have higher wages, though the difference isn't as stark: $22,286 for those who wait versus $18,234 for those who don't.


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But for less educated women, marrying later hasn't worked out well. While educated women continue to wait for a couple years after marrying to have their first baby, less educated women are having their first child before getting married—putting themselves in a precarious financial situation.

The Atlantic also points out that men, regardless of education, always benefit from marrying earlier.

Why the Discrepancy?

These stark contrasts could be due to a variety of factors. A woman who gets married earlier might have children earlier, and drop out of the workforce before establishing a strong career.

Societal expectation might also explain the difference between income effects on men and woman. There's traditionally an expectation that the husband will be the main breadwinner, taking the pressure off of the wife and placing it on him to earn more—hence the uniform rise in men's wages no matter when they marry. (Ahh, don't shoot us! We said traditionally!)

Still, the report has some food for thought. So, next time your well-meaning mother asks you when you're going to get married and give her grandbabies, tell her you're just making sure you earn enough to support her in her old age.


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