In Career, Discussions, Discussions, Money, Salary, Wealth, Women

Want to make more money as a woman? Don’t get married.

“As women pursue more education and more lucrative careers when they can’t find a husband, the ironic effect is that it will only get harder to find a husband as women become more educated and earn higher salaries,” said researcher Kristina Durante, Ph.D., in the study report.

“This is because a woman’s mating standards keep increasing as she becomes more educated and wealthy, which further decreases the number of suitable mates. More than ever before, modern women are increasingly forced to make tough choices such as choosing briefcase over baby.” Via

QUICK SUMMARY OF RESEARCH FINDINGS:

  • In college, if women feel like they can’t find a husband, they pursue higher-paying careers instead
  • Single women who continually can’t find a husband will continue to focus on their careers instead
  • And single women are characterized as being undesirable and/or unattractive for whatever reason
  • ..or maybe women are too picky because as they graduate & become successful, they want more
  • Educated (read: desirable) men are scarce as well, and the pool is too small for success

So basically if you aren’t considered attractive in college and you can’t really find your mate there, as a woman, you will try and make up for it in two ways, by:

  1. Finding a high-paying, successful career path to throw your energy into
  2. Securing a life for yourself that doesn’t include a man because you don’t have one

Wow.

Are those our only choices? A man or a career?

I am not disputing their findings, but why is it only one or the other?

SO ARE WOMEN ONLY IN COLLEGE TO GET AN MRS DEGREE?

That’s just insane.

It’s like saying that most women who go to college to get an education, are only there for their MRS degree.

Yes, there were girls I knew who did exactly that in college, but not all of us were there to marry a sugar daddy to pay our way for life.

You know, there ARE a few of us out there who want to do something with our careers too.


girl-rich-glamorous-doll-woman

ARE SINGLE WOMEN WHO ARE SUCCESSFUL, UNATTRACTIVE AND/OR TOO PICKY IN SOME WAY TO FIND LOVE?

I wrote a whole post on how single women may be too successful to find love.

So, I partly agree but it isn’t the whole story.

I see this in my single friends, especially as we’ve gotten older.

(Although my one friend says she wants some 6’4″ guy who is skinny like a toothpick with nerdy glasses but has a million in the bank.

Talk about unrealistic.)

It does make a bit of sense that as you get older and become more successful, you will raise your standards and require any future mates to be just as successful as you are.

Heck, if I were single, I would be picky too.

As a woman, you (consciously or unconsciously) eliminate the whole pool of candidates below your social position, and the pool only gets smaller or creepier as you age.

You also don’t really hang out in different social circles.

Your friends and colleagues are very likely to be in the same social stratosphere as you are, and you won’t be meeting guys below or above that, so that doesn’t help either.

Perhaps all that free time goes into building up a career instead of hunting for some guy.

The other side of the story is that maybe there’s something wrong with the men too.

They don’t want to have someone who is more successful than they are, because they’re stuck in this stereotype that men have to work and bring home the bacon, not the women.

Maybe the woman doesn’t care that he isn’t as successful, but if he has other redeeming qualities, she’s all right with that.

Or maybe some women just WANT to be single.

Who knows? I’m not in that position, but it isn’t always so one-sided.

CAN WOMEN WHO ARE SUCCESSFUL CONTINUE TO HAVE CAREERS EVEN WITH A HUSBAND AND A FAMILY?

You’re damn right we can.

Why should the man be the only one to be successful in a family?

We should both be equally as successful.

It’s the reason why I track and care about my own savings and net worth. I’m expecting that he will bring just as much to the table when we retire.

There’ll be none of this: “You bring 75%, and I’ll bring 25%.

My reasoning is as we make the same amount of money, and we should be able to save the same amount because we spend a common budget and share the workload of the home between us as well.

Okay, so maybe at this point you’re saying:

Well but that’s how it seems to work in my world.

Most of the women stay at home, or have lower levels of success to care for the family, and there’s more pressure on men to go out and do it all.

I only know of one woman or two who is different.

If you are not okay with staying at home all the time and relying on someone else to bring home the bacon, why not find another role model and change the story?

I have at least 3 women in my immediate and extended circle whom I look up to (secretly and not so secretly).

One is my mother. She brings home all the bacon, and is starting to resent having to cook it too. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is more that my mother raised 3 kids, got a second degree in her late 50s, changed careers and is now making 3X the average Canadian household income.

Second is a friend of BF’s. She is more successful than her stockbroker husband, and she has companies headhunting her all the time. In fact, she tried to quit once, and they handed her a very sexy 6-figure cheque in advance before she left as an incentive to “return whenever she felt like it”. She went back after 2 years to open arms.

Third is a friend of mine. She is equally as successful as her husband, paid off her house in 3 years of starting her new business, and had 2 kids to boot.

As you can see, what you see in your own situation is not necessarily the story out there.

Don’t like it? Change the narrative. Find another way.

Do you agree with the findings?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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24 Comments

  1. Bubbles

    My personal experience has taught me to value the person rather then what they have. Do I desire a man who makes a higher salary than I? Yes, if I am raising his children. Would I accept a man who made less than I did? Absolutely, If I were not raising his /our kids and more importantly he could do more with a dollar than I could (management, discretion). I don’t know that there is a right or wrong answer for this.

    Everybody has their preference. What works for me may not work for you and vise-versa

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Great point. It’s a preference thing, and some partners as you pointed out, may earn less in the money department but have other skills and great attributes like being able to cook, repair cars, etc. All of which are valuable as well.

      Reply
  2. Tania

    Wow! WTF? This study is so insulting and sexist. I’m a woman who advanced in my career, while married (met my ex hubby in college). My ‘standards’ for a man did not go up as I made more money (if standards refer to the resume and salary of said man, I’m assuming that’s what they meant). I’m a professional managerial career woman dating a blue collar dude. I don’t need a man to bring home my bacon therefore other qualities are of higher priority to me. I do have high standards though if you count preferring a man who doesn’t stay out late drinking, doesn’t lie to me and accepts for who I am. Guess I’m kind of high maintenance that way. Also, as we all know what you make is not the whole enchilada. A man may make more but have less leftover due to spending habits (women too).

    Most of the cpa women I worked with all got married in their twenties, had children and had successful careers. Some have high wage earning husbands and others make more money than their hubbies.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Tania: The new studies have shown that 40% of breadwinners and bacon bringers are now women in the U.S.

      I’ve dated lots… okay. MOSTLY blue collar guys but we always broke up because of various reasons — not in the same spot in our lives, financial issues, etc.

      Most of the time though, I just got really annoyed when they would joke (every joke is a half truth) that I was their “sugarmama” who paid for everything.

      I felt used and was quite insulted so I ended the relationships as quickly as my stupid brain would let me.

      I will say that I’ve noticed that as women age and make more money in my social circle, they are expecting the guys they date to make the same amount, but definitely MORE as a general rule. 😐

      They say they can’t bring home guys who are not on their level.

      You might be the exception .. or the new rule!

      Reply
  3. maria@moneyprinciple

    I’ll have to say that studies like that are examples of bad social science; it doesn’t have to be like that and, of course, in many cases it isn’t. I know because I have successful academic career, I blog, I raised three sons (two step-sons and one born by IVF treatment), am still with my husband and am cherished every minute of each day. One of the great things that happened to me in life is that I know what it means to be loved which in turn teaches you to love.

    We don’t do the ‘money thing’ as you mentioned though – we both have serious financial provisions separately (pensions, for instance) but for sometime now I have earned much more than my husband. I don’t mind – if it were not for his support I won’t be able to do what I do. He spends more time with our son. We are very good at using our complementary talents – I am better earning money, he is better and making the money work for us.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @maria@moneyprinciple: You are part of the 40% of the U.S.!

      I think it’s great that it worked out for you. We have to definitely think about women as being the bacon-bringers, and men as playing the supporting roles, although a lot of men I know chafe at the sound of that.

      Reply
  4. Natalie

    When women go to college to look for MR degree they were also being judged by their degree or their accomplishment. Case in point, I know some MR degrees would not date women with degrees that are outside of their “recognized” degrees.

    (another interesting article by a Princeton alumni advice to current female students http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324020504578394791283850654.html)

    MRS degree are not all that great it could be. I learn my lesson by dating a MR degree with a Msc (Master). It turned out that he is a complete jerk. Because he is a MR degree, he would expect his mate would be at his caliber (also a MS Degree, better with a Msc degree–mind you that I have a Bsc degree).

    His behavior and attitude appalled me so much and we called it off after 3 months.

    Women chose their career because they WANT TO. Same thing as their male counterpart chose to do. Not because they can’t find a suitable partner. That just rubbish.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Natalie: NO KIDDING. “Acceptable degrees”, I guess no.. what, Arts degrees?

      Goodness. Business school is an “Arts” degree too, by the way 😉

      Thanks for the link I’m going to definitely read that article.

      Perhaps it’s a symbiotic relationship — girls who look for their MRS degree (guys with $$) in college, end up finding guys who accept their proposition but also lay down restrictions on them in return.

      Reply
  5. AdinaJ

    I think studies like these are a crock. The subtext is what – a successful career is a second-best alternative to what, in fact, all women live for (i.e. marriage)? Most of the women I know who want(ed) to get married (and not all do), also want a successful career. There may be women whose sole desire is to get married/be a SAHM, but generalizing is silly. It would be like saying that all the women who end up being SAHMs only do so because they fail to hack it in the working world. Generalizations like that are insulting to people’s deliberate choices (on both sides of the equation).

    Reply
    1. femmefrugality

      @AdinaJ: Thank you so much for writing this article and so much for this comment! I really feel like you guys have said it all and all that’s left to say is A-FREAKING-MEN.

      Reply
    2. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @AdinaJ: Agreed!

      Although I think these articles are partly trolling us.

      Reply
  6. LAL

    I think the problem stands with both men and women defining success with money. I agree with Tim. I have quite a few male and female friends who make a lot but who have trouble dating and are single in their 30s. Both genders are at fault. They want the spouse making a ton. What happened to marrying someone who is “successful” because they have a job, save, are happy? But perhaps they make very little?

    Is it wrong? We aren’t talking your consulting job making $150k but CHOOSING to work for $50k, we’re talking people who work as book editors, administrative assistants, fundraisers, social workers, etc. Just lower paying career options in general. Even at working full time and peak earnings they just won’t make as much period.

    And I find in men and women that people aren’t necessarily into finding a spouse who did go to college, working, etc but not exactly a “successful” job. So whose to blame? People who are okay with earning less? Or people who are “more educated and make more money”?

    Maybe in college you are more successful at finding love because you have no preconceived notions of what someone in school will be making. You are with them for them and then they pick careers, switch, and money comes or NOT. But you are with them because you like to be with them. Then sometimes you make money and sometimes not. But the bottom line is that you chose them not on how or what they make or what they do but them.

    And later in your 30s you can judge their career, earnings, savings, etc.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @LAL: I’d agree that as you age you collect more rules. In college you’re all young and at the same starting line, so it’s less discriminatory.

      Reply
  7. Rosemary

    Thinking about the single women I know, it seems to me that most of them don’t really want to be married. They are happy with their lives. No problem there. Some who claim to want marriage do seem to be “too picky.” In some cases it is unrealistic expectations about the man’s education, career, or income. But in a lot of cases it’s petty little things that just seem silly to their friends, sometimes even rejecting potential suitors for characteristics that most of us would find endearing or completely insignificant. Maybe these women don’t really want to be married, but feel that they must live up to some kind of social expectation by seeming to be on the market.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Rosemary: Yes, I know at least 3 single women who are happy. The other 3 are not happy and really want to find someone but can’t let go of their “rules”.

      As we age, we get pickier as a rule. We either have to lower our (unrealistic) expectations or decide to not look for love in that manner.

      Reply
  8. Tina

    I think there’s some truth in that a person has more time to spend on their career when they’re not in a relationship. This is the true for a man or a woman, but women tend to get the shaft as we’re usually the ones who take on the bulk of the housework and child rearing responsibilities. It doesn’t have to be this way though, and it comes down to personal choices.

    I don’t like the doom and gloom tone of the article. It’s sending the message that women better get themselves married off as early as possible. I’m fairly well-educated (a lawyer), and I didn’t meet my future spouse in school. My top priority wasn’t on finding a husband, I wanted to make sure I did well in school since I was paying so much in tuition! I put myself out there and joined an online dating site, and that’s how I met my fiance. Online dating isn’t the magic cure all, but some people aren’t willing to give it a try.

    I plan on working after we’re married and have kids because I want to contribute monetarily to the financial success of our family.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Tina: Women always get screwed. We get the short end of the stick of having to bring home the bacon, cook it, AND clean the house. I find it ridiculous.

      Online dating is something a lot of people shy away from because of its implications and stereotypes… but I know a guy in college who found his wife online because they were both shy types who found it hard to meet others otherwise.

      Reply
  9. Tim

    Ok, I agree that finding a spouse is easier on a university campus…after alll the % of single people with your interests results in insanely good odds to find someone.

    Yet why is ‘success’ in your post all about the job and salary? Can’t it be different based on what you personally value. My wife earns 1/10 of what I do, yet defines herself as successful. She owns her business, she has two kids who are great and gets to work with children which is her ideal job. What’s wrong with that? Nothing…it’s what she wants.

    Just pointing out “having it all” can vary depending on the person.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Tim: True! Good point. I only wrote about success as money and jobs, as it was in the same perspective of answering the post about success in their narrowly defined views.

      Success as you have pointed out, can come in different forms, and I’d wholeheartedly agree with that.

      ….

      Okay I give up.

      I was trying to find this post where I wrote this super long comment in reply to a reader about how success is narrowly defined by our society’s “rules” of making lots of money.

      Plenty of people are rich but are useless bums who are unproductive to society, yet we consider them successful when I don’t see them as such, even though they have tons of money which = success.

      I think ever since I switched to Disqus almost ALL my comments and replies have been deleted ;_;

      Reply
  10. SP

    My mom also was an equal (and occaisionally primary) breadwinner, so I had good role models. My high school best friend became a dentist and works 4 days a week with 2 little girls, and I’m sure she makes quite a bit. (her family helped a lot with school costs and then she joined her dad’s practice – not an option for everyone, but still.)

    At my company, there are a few women role models who have careers and families. Sadly, “a few” is really what I mean – but it is enough to give me inspiration. My industry is male dominated anyway.

    I don’t know anyone who went to school for an MRS degree – I think perhaps my background is too working class, or maybe just puritan midwestern work ethic?

    That said, when family time comes along, I know I’ll have more of an impact (unless we adopt or something). I have to birth the baby. I’ll be the one producing breast milk. I do expect a partnership, but it is something to consider.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @SP: I think you were in a Puritan Midwestern Work Ethic!

      Although these are girls I didn’t know as actual direct friends, mostly as girls that I knew in association with others.. and found out they were there hunting for men.

      Reply
  11. Tammy R

    Wow, I love the humor and straightforward style of your writing! First of all, I think we know a man for your friend. We see him every Saturday and Sunday morning on our walk. He’s tall, maybe even 6’4″! He wears glasses and is a total nerd. We call him Bill Gates, and he seems really nice. The houses in the neighborhood where we walk are worth $400,000 or so, so he may be worth her million.

    I personally had never heard of someone going to college to get her MRS degree until I moved to Texas…not sure why, but I think it’s ridiculous. Why go at all? I think everyone gets to choose whether or not they want to get married, have kids, stay at home or work, etc, but you had both better be on the same page about it because I see a lot of seemingly unhappy people out there.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Tammy R: Haha glad you liked it 🙂 I try to make it interesting.

      OH GOODNESS!

      Send me his photo and his net worth statement please. I’ll hook her up. If not her, then I have an aunt who says my cousin has to marry rich to make it in life 😛

      I say go to college to get a degree you can actually use, not to hunt for men.

      Reply

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