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Working wives can mean happy husbands

Now more than ever, men -- not women -- are the ones improving their economic status through marriage.

By Money Staff Jan 21, 2010 10:18AM

Good news, gentlemen: Marrying can mean working less and having more money.

 

A new study released by the Pew Research Center found more American men today, compared with 40 years ago, are married to women who have a higher education and level of income than they do. 

 

The report highlights the quickly changing roles of men and women in the home. Now more than ever, men are the ones gaining economically from marriage when they say "I do" to a woman with an MBA and six-digit income.

Yes, many women have more power than men in the marriage (a 2008 study by the Pew Research Center found that wives who earn more than their husbands are more likely to have decision-making power). True, men have more daddy duties like diaper changing and disciplining than before. (Another Pew pole found 59% of men and 62% of women think being a dad is harder today than it was 20 or 30 years ago.)

 

But there's no need for men to beat their chests and demand their manhood back. Men with working wives have it pretty good. 

 

"More and more husbands are pleased to have the income a wife brings in," Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University, told The Washington Post.

 

Having two incomes can relieve husbands of some of the pressures of being the sole breadwinner. In 1970 it was mostly the men bringing home the bacon. It was in the husband's hands to ensure his family was provided for -- even if that meant taking two jobs or a job he despised. 

 

Especially now, when more working men than women have been affected by the economy, a working wife has kept many families out of the red. 

 

At the same time, married men have more money. The Pew study found the average household income of married men, as well as married women and unmarried women, is about 60% higher than that of their counterparts in 1970. Unfortunately for those men without a ring, their rise in real median household income was just 16% from 1970.  

 

Even if the trend continues, chances are the future doesn't mean women will be working while men stay at home. Rather, spouses will most likely share the work, cash … and chores.

 

A look at the change in wives' income compared with their husbands', and the division of power in a marriage:

Charts from the Pew Research Center.

Related Reading:

35Comments
Oct 21, 2010 4:59PM
avatar
I think it's important that working wives, and especially those returning to work after having a child know about the Childcare Vouchers scheme, because it is due to change very soon (April 2011) and if you join before it you can gain the maximum benefit.

You can find an article on some of the issues here:
http://www.articlecat.com/Article/100-000-parents-to-return-to-work-when-their-child-hits-5-years-old-according-to-government/434389

You can find out about the new rules here:
http://bit.ly/bPVxe9

Hope this helps
Mary x

ps it's open to working parents of both genders - to avoid being sexist :D

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