In Sickness and In Wealth: Why Married Men Bring Home More Money

In Sickness and In Wealth: Why Married Men Bring Home More Money

There are certainly plenty of advantages to getting married ... but we bet "salary boost" isn't the first one that comes to mind.

And yet, recent research reveals that tying the knot is actually associated with a healthy boost in income.

That was found to be the case for married men especially, who rake in at least $15,900 more annually than their single counterparts, according to the report, "For Richer, For Poorer: How Family Structures Economic Success in America." As for married women, their individual incomes don't tend to vary significantly compared to single females. But both married men and women enjoy a shared family income that's higher compared to couples of similar characteristics who are cohabiting, but not married.

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The study suggests that the difference marriage makes in income is so sharp, in fact, that if rates of married parents were the same today as they were back in 1980, the median income of families in the U.S. would be as much as 44% higher.

What might explain the phenomenon?

To start, the study's authors note that couples tend to benefit both from economies of scale—in other words, the cost advantages that come with living as a bigger unit—and from increased financial support from extended families.

Further, as co-author W. Bradford Wilcox told MainStreet: "Married men work harder ... we learned that they work 400 hours more per year [even] controlling for education." Men also tend to be more strategic about their careers once they've gotten hitched. "They are not inclined to leave a job," Wilcox said. "Whereas a single guy would quit his job regardless of whether there was another one waiting for him."

For a more personal take on how tying the knot refocuses financial priorities, read one man's story on why marriage made him better with money.

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