In her 2013 TED talk, University of Virginia clinical psychologist Meg Jay explained that around two-thirds of lifetime wage growth occurs during the first decade of your career, so it makes sense to delay marriage so that you can focus on your profession during these years.The surprising thing is, women who decide to marry later benefit much more than those who tie the knot in their 20s, but the opposite is true for men. A recent report published by the University of Virginia’s National Marriage Project titled “Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America” says that college-educated women who settle down in their 30s — on average — bring in 56 per cent more personal annual income than those who marry a decade earlier. The graph below shows this:
American Community Survey
American Community SurveyOn the other hand, men who marry in their 20s — regardless of education — make more money than those who marry after the age of 30. The graph below shows this:
With the upsurge of females in the workforce in that last decade, women are still playing “catch up” with their male counterparts when it comes to salary and a seat on executive boards, so any break from their professional stride to focus on having a family risks putting a detrimental dent in climbing the corporate ladder. In short, women are “reaping most of the benefits [from a] later marriage,” wrote Eleanor Barkhorn in a piece published in The Atlantic.
But if this is the case, then why doesn’t the same hold true for men? The answer could point at many different factors, but one of the reasons could be men are just more productive after settling down because they can now focus and are more sure of themselves compared to single men.
Whatever the argument is, it seems being confident in your personal future plays a vital role in the confidence you’ll have in your professional future, but until we come closer to solving the wage inequalities between men and women in the workplace, we’ll continue to have differences in what’s considered the “right time” for either gender to marry.
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