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Your Take: Married Women Outearning Husbands

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Money money money!An MSNBC article this week discussed how women are increasingly earning more than their husbands. Twenty years ago, 17.8% of women outearned their husbands. In 2007, 25.9% outearned their husbands if they both worked and 33.5% of married women outearned their husbands period. It’s estimated that the percentage bas probably jumped because of all the jobs lost in the recession, it’s estimated that nearly 75% were held by men.

The Shriver Report conducted a survey and found that 65.3% of women and 61.2% of men were comfortable with women earning more than men. I want to know, what do you think?

I’m totally comfortable with married women earning more than their husbands. The key question is whether I’d be comfortable with my wife outearning me. I’d like to say I’m pragmatic and I’d be OK with it, but I have no idea and wouldn’t know until the situation presented itself. My guess is that I would be OK with it because I view our relationship as a partnership, an “us against the world” rather than a race only one of us can win. I’m never going to secretly hope she fails, that’s just stupid.

However, I also have a lot of pride. I fully recognize it’s sexist to think that the breadwinner of the family is the man, but part of how I was raised was that I am responsible for my family. If I was out of work and Martha were the sole breadwinner, it would bother me not because she’s outearning me, but because I’m not earning. When I think about it that way, it really has nothing to do with her earning more… so I imagine I’d be fine with it. :)

One thing I do know, it’s about time we eliminated the income tax marriage penalty. The income tax marriage penalty is the name given to the fact that the income tax brackets for Married Filing Jointly aren’t twice that of the income tax brackets for Single filers. If men and women are equal, why don’t the tax brackets reflect that? The MFJ bracket stops being double the Single filer bracket starting in the 25% bracket. I think it’s about time we adjust that to reflect both reality and equality.

What are you thoughts on married women outearning men?

(Photo: alexik)

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59 Responses to “Your Take: Married Women Outearning Husbands”

  1. CatastropheCathy says:

    Ok so I’m single so slighty different side of things but I want a guy who earns at least close to what I do. I don’t really want to be the breadwinner. I don’t need anyone to support me but I definitely don’t want to have to help support a guy. A guy seems more manly and desirable if he has a good meaningful career that allows him enough money to enjoy life. That’s just my personal take. No offense but you asked.

    And on the marriage penality. I’m all for removing that but lets remove the benefit for having a house and having kids too. Why should I pay more taxes since I don’t have a home or kids? Taking that into consideration since most married couples probably have kids and a home I think it all evens out.

  2. Shirley says:

    Jim, you may well have opened a can of worms with this one. ;-)

    I have always earned more than my husband did, and he has always just been glad for the extra income. We both feel that each person should do whatever they do best and what makes them happy. The dollar amount of income does not define a person or his/her worth.

    On the other hand, I would not be available to support an able-bodied layabout adult (of either gender) who didn’t even try to contribute to the household expenses. And that includes adult children. Give and take don’t necessarily have to be equal, but effort does have to be evident.

    I would like to see the income tax marriage penalty eliminated simply because I feel that it deters marriage in many cases. While it’s true that it doesn’t cost twice as much for two to live in one household as it does for the combined amount of two households, I don’t feel that should create a monetery penalty.


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