Posts tagged ‘marriage’

June 5, 2014

Finding your spouse while in college

by Grace

Facebook data offers some information about users whose spouses attended the same high school or college.

  1. 15% of individuals attended the same high school as their spouse …
  2. About 28% of married college-graduates attended the same college….
  3. 12 of the top 25 colleges for women also make it into the top 25 for men….

Religion, STEM, and military service

For Facebook women, the top schools for meeting future husbands are either affiliated with religion or specialize in STEM education.  Some service academies also made the list.  All this makes sense.

Top 25 colleges where women find spouses

20140603.COCCollegesToMeetHusbands1
For men, religious schools are the top ones for meeting future wives.

Although this study has its limitations, it offers some insight that may be useful for those who want to find a spouse while in college.  Susan Patton, the Princeton mother who advised women to “find a husband on campus before you graduate”, might agree.

Keep in mind that the Internet has surpassed college as a way to meet marriage partners.

Tags:
May 7, 2014

College financial aid advice for mothers going through a divorce

by Grace

Forbes contributor Jeff Landers answers a few of the most common questions that women going through a divorce have about college financial aid. First, he explains which parent should file the FAFSA.  (The answer is the custodial parent.)  Then he explains why this matters.

Why does it matter who completes the form?

The FAFSA contains many detailed questions about a student’s family’s income and assets. The responses are entered into a formula that determines the Expected Family Contribution – in short, how much money you will be expected to come up with toward your child’s college expenses.

If you are the custodial parent, it’s your income and assets that go on the form. So if, for example, your ex-husband makes $500,000 a year in his business, and you make a tenth that much working part time from home, your child would likely be eligible for more financial aid if the eligibility is determined based on your income alone.

If the custodial parent remarries, the new spouse’s income and assets have to be listed on the FAFSA. Unfortunately, while it may not seem fair, that can lower your child’s eligibility for financial aid.

In his next answer, Landers goes on to shed light on the sometimes confusing details of non-federal financial aid.  Click on the link at the top of this post to see all the questions and answers.

Related:  Divorced or absent fathers are let off the hook in paying for their kids’ college (Cost of College) 

March 19, 2014

Same-sex marriage laws mean less college financial aid for some students

by Grace

The federal government’s recent recognition of same-sex marriage could lead to children of these couples receiving less college financial aid.  And it doesn’t matter if they are married or not.

The 2014 Free Application for Federal Student Aid or Fafsa—which calculates income, assets and family size—now collects financial information about parents “regardless of marital status or gender.” Since the Supreme Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, same-sex couples must report their marital status if they were married in a state where same-sex unions are legal but reside in a state where they are not, or even if they were married in a foreign country. If the student is one half of a same-sex marriage, he or she may also be considered to have independent financial means. “It’s a recognition of diverse family structures,” says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst with Bankrate.com.

The key factor for all parents is whether they live in the same home as their children.  Whether they are married or just cohabitating, both parents must report their financial information.

There are other new twists in this year’s application: If a student’s parents are unmarried but are living together, they’re now treated as though they were married. “This includes both divorced and never-married parents,” says Mark Kantrowitz, publisher of Edvisors.com , a network of websites about planning and paying for college. “And living apart means maintaining separate residences. Different floors of the same house don’t count.” Fafsa also requires applicants to answer questions about the parent they lived with most during the past 12 months and include a stepparent’s income. In all cases, both partners’ income and assets must be reported on the Fafsa, and all children are counted in household size….

… if the parents of the student seeking aid are unmarried and living separately, only one parent is responsible for completing the Fafsa.

In some cases this new ruling could increase chances of receiving financing aid. 

… However, in some circumstances, the recognition of two gay parents would increase a dependent student’s aid eligibility. (A dependent student’s need may marginally increase with the addition of a second parent because it increases the size of the household. If that increased need exceeds the amount by which the second parent’s income reduces the student’s need, he or she could be eligible for more aid.)

Related:  Divorced or absent fathers are let off the hook in paying for their kids’ college (Cost of College)

January 31, 2014

Changes in marriage patterns have affected poverty and income inequality

by Grace

Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s recent comments on the benefits of marriage in reducing poverty were soundly criticized by some left-leaning voices.  Rubio had offered up “a very old idea”:

Social factors also play a major role in denying opportunity. The truth is that the greatest tool to lift people, to lift children and families from poverty, is one that decreases the probability of child poverty by 82 percent. But it isn’t a government program. It’s called marriage.

National Review Online clarified that “cajoling impoverished single mothers into marrying men who don’t have particularly bright labor market prospects” is not the solution proposed by Rubio or other conservatives.  Rather, the idea is to encourage marriage before having children.

Even amid strong resistance to this idea among liberals, the New York Times has reported about the effect of marriage on poverty.

changes in marriage patterns — as opposed to changes in individual earnings — may account for as much as 40% of the growth in certain measures of inequality.

20140129.COCWeddingTopperRich1
Another notable trend is how the rise of assortative mating has increased income inequality.

… Income inequality has gotten worse in past decades in part because college-educated, high-earning men and women are more likely to marry each other, rather than get hitched to partners with divergent education or wage levels.

This is the finding of a research paper, “Marry Your Like: Assortative Mating and Income Inequality”  authored by economists Jeremy Greenwood, Nezih Guner, Georgi Kocharkov, and Cezar Santos.

No “solution” is proposed.

The rich, married, and educated get richer while the poor, single, and uneducated fall further behind.

… College-educated households are more likely to be married and thus more likely to have secondary earners contributing to household income.

… “assortative mating” … married college-educated persons are more likely to have a college-educated spouse. Thus, they are more likely to have a spouse with high earnings.

Related:  Lack of college-educated men may be a reason for declining marriage numbers (Cost of College)

November 28, 2013

Should tax policy encourage two-parent families?

by Grace

Tax policy has often been used as an incentive for certain desired behaviors, and now it’s being considered as a way to strengthen two-parent families.

“The problem of poverty is linked to family breakdown and the erosion of marriage among low-income families and communities.”

Those are the words of Utah Senator Mike Lee in a speech to the Heritage Foundation.

Lee is careful not to cast opprobrium on single or divorced parents. But he insists on pointing to the uncomfortable but undeniable fact that economic outcomes for their children have been far worse than those of children raised in two-parent families.

That produces many personal tragedies. And in cold economic terms, it means that society is losing gross domestic product because of less than optimal development of human capital.

Government policy can’t force people to get or stay married. But it may be able to encourage them to do so.

That happened in the years after World War II. A steeply progressive income tax combined with generous dependent deductions ($500 originally, later raised to $600) played some unquantifiable part in stimulating the Baby Boom and family stability for a generation after the war.

Over the years, more tax policies have been implemented to encourage retirement savings, home ownership, energy savings, and other behaviors.  In addition, a profusion of tax incentives exist on a corporate level.  Would tax incentives actually work in encouraging parents to marry?

Lee proposes a $2,500 child tax credit — less in real dollars than the postwar deduction — applied to both payroll and income taxes.

He also proposes allowing employees to claim flex time when they have worked overtime, as federal employees can do. He wants Congress to hack away at the marriage penalties embedded in various benefits programs and Obamacare.

Would it work?

While I am a strong advocate of two-parent families, I’m not convinced these proposed changes would encourage marriage.  Additionally, with the tax code already burdened by complicated rules and regulations that often promote inequity, I tend to favor simplifying the process.  Social engineering through government intervention has too many unintended consequences for me to place much faith in ideas like Lee’s.

Related:  Missing fathers are at the core of a ‘vicious cycle’ of poverty (Cost of College)


Thank you for reading my blog!  I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving.

October 16, 2013

Discuss student loans before getting married

by Grace

Student loans are at the top of the list of “Financial Issues to Discuss Before You Get Married”.

According to Fidelity Investments, 2013 graduates who had borrowed had an average of $35,200 in college-related debt, so lots of millennials bring debt into their marriages. The average household headed by someone under 35 carried $89,500 in debt in 2010, including mortgage debt, the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances shows. (That’s up from $53,700 in 1989, measured in 2010 dollars.)

The first thing to do is have an open conversation with your spouse in which you both disclose all the skeletons in your financial closets. You should also make a plan for tackling that debt that makes clear whether each person will help pay down the other’s debt or if it’s the responsibility of the borrower alone. Before even getting married, you should also share credit reports with your spouse so you can work to improve your scores in advance of a major purchase, says Theresa Fette, CEO of Provident Trust Group in Las Vegas.

What other financial issues should engaged couples discuss?  Here’s the entire list from the Wall Street Journal article.

1. Student loans
2. Making a budget
3. Planning for children
4. Combining finances
5. Retirement

It’s hard to imagine what there is to say about retirement when you’re in 20s or 30s.  Things are likely to change so much before retirement age comes around, so the only relevant issue would seem to be the details about saving for retirement.

Related:

Tags:
October 15, 2013

College-educated households are gaining in economic clout

by Grace

College-educated households account for a growing share of income. a trend associated with an overall increase in the number of college graduates,  a growing college wage premium, and changing marriage patterns.

20131007.COCCollegeEducatedIncome1

For the first time on record, households headed by someone with at least a bachelor’s degree received nearly a majority (49.7%) of aggregate U.S. household income; nearly one out of every two dollars went to the college educated.  In 2012 one-in-three households was college educated, so, put another way, half of the aggregate U.S. income goes to one third of the households.

While most of the income gain is due to the growth in the percentage of college-educated households, the growing wage premium and the state of marriage  may also be influencing the disproportionate income growth among this group.

COLLEGE WAGE PREMIUM — The college wage premium has been growing, from a ratio of about 1.7 in 1991 to almost 2.0 in 2010.

Earnings of four-year college-educated workers remain nearly twice those of high school-educated workers.

20131007.COCCollegeWagePremium2

MARRIAGE –

… College-educated households are more likely to be married and thus more likely to have secondary earners contributing to household income.

… “assortative mating” … married college-educated persons are more likely to have a college-educated spouse. Thus, they are more likely to have a spouse with high earnings.


Growing divisions?

These trends seem consistent with the idea of a growing class divide in our country.  Although it’s doubtful that economic and political divisions completely overlap, it is notable that the growing concentration of economic power among the college-educated elite coincides with what the Washington Post describes as “deeply embedded divisions in America’s politics”.

Related:  Non-marital births by education level as part of the growing class divide (Cost of College)

September 30, 2013

Higher divorce risk among marriages where wives earn more than husbands, but why?

by Grace

Despite a worldwide increase in marriages where wives are more educated than their husbands, “there are so very few marriages where women earn more than their husbands”.  And these marriages are more likely to lead to divorce.

… Evidence suggests that couples are less likely to get married if the woman’s income exceeds her partner’s. Once married, a wife earning more than her husband is more likely to be unhappy in the marriage, more likely to feel pressured to take fewer hours, and more likely to get divorced.

In what Derek Thompson of the Atlantic describes as a “cool” research paper by Marianne Bertrand, Jessica Pan, and Emir Kamenica, an “intuitive” theory for these unhappy marriages is proposed.  It’s the husband’s fault.

… What if there’s a deficit of marriages where the wife is the top earner because — to put things bluntly — husbands hate being out-earned by their wives, and wives hate living with husbands who resent them?

If this were true, we would expect to see at least three four other things to be true. First, we’d expect marriages with female breadwinners to be surprisingly rare. Second, we’d expect them to produce unhappier marriages. Third, we might expect these women to cut back on hours, do more household, or make other gestures to make their husbands feel better. Fourth, we’d expect these marriages to end more in divorce. Lo and behold (as you no doubt guessed), the economists found all of those assumptions borne out by the evidence.

Wait a minute.  Commenters to this story argue that this is just as likely to be the wife’s fault. 

What is the basis for laying this issue squarely at the feet of men?

What if there’s a deficit of marriages where the wife is the top earner because — to put things bluntly — wives hate settling for men who earn less than them and many women’s hypergamy lead them to resenting husbands whom they out-earn.

If you’re going to resort to random speculation, why not speculate equitably.

This story follows what I’ve seen described as common rule of gender issue reporting; blame it on men.

It’s a fundamental law of gender-issue reporting. Should any inequity be discovered between men and women, it must always be framed as either advantageous towards women, or, if obviously disadvantageous towards women, be framed as somehow men’s fault.

More men graduating – this is obviously a product of a sexist society and we must spend resources and restructure society to rectify this travesty.

More women graduating – the is a natural consequence of earlier female maturity and better communication skills for an information-based economy.

Men make more money – Evil, sexist. We must ban pink princess toys and create a national daycare system.

Women make more money – Hail our new feminist overlords – it’s the End of Men and “Get over it, guys. It’s a woman’s world, now.”

What if “the wives resent their husbands as losers and parasites who are not as good as other men they know”?  Especially since “84% of working women want to stay home with kids”.

Related:  Trouble for some marriages where wives earn more than husbands (Cost of College)

August 15, 2013

The Internet easily overtakes college as a way to meet marriage partners

by Grace

College and other traditional ways to meet marriage partners have become less important as the Internet surges in importance as a modern matchmaker.

20130802.COCMeetMateJ2

From Searching for a Mate: The Rise of the Internet as a Social Intermediary, 2012, Michael J. Rosenfeld, Stanford University and Reuben J. Thomas, The City College of New York

College as a meeting place has not fallen as much as the other non-virtual options.  Along the lines of Susan Patton’s controversial recommendation to Princeton female students that they should find a husband on campus, here’s Ross Douthat’s perspective.

… the university campus is one of the few flesh-and-blood arenas that seems to be holding its own as a place to form lasting attachments. So for those Americans who do attend college, the case for taking advantage of its denser-than-average social landscape might actually get stronger as the non-virtual alternatives decline.

The Internet may be more efficient.

On the other hand, online dating sites allow you to specify a mate with particular college credentials.  Although I think you’d probably want a more subtle way to make your intentions known than putting this in your dating profile:  “Seeking Ivy League graduate.”

Related:  Women who graduated from highly selective colleges more likely to drop out of workforce (Cost of College)

April 15, 2013

Women who graduated from highly selective colleges more likely to drop out of workforce

by Grace

Which women are more likely to drop out of the workforce?

… women who attended highly selective schools are more likely to opt out of the workforce than are their counterparts from less selective schools.

A university professor who was “absolutely infuriated” to see so many highly educated women leave the workforce decided to study this topic.

Joni Hersch, a law and economics professor at Vanderbilt University, analyzed data from the 2003 National Survey of College Graduates and crossed the information with the Carnegie Foundation’s classifications of schools and selectivity measures from Barron’s Profiles of American Colleges. She found that women who attended highly selective schools are more likely to opt out of the workforce than are their counterparts from less selective schools.

Why?  For one thing, these women tend to marry high-achieving men.

Such a divide might have its seeds in the college admissions office. …  students who attend the most selective schools tend to come from wealthier backgrounds than those who opt for less selective schools. They don’t take out as many student loans. They have a better shot at getting accepted to an elite graduate school. And they will be surrounded by (and therefore more likely to marry) men with similarly successful backgrounds and strong earnings potential, making their financial contribution less critical. (Maybe this is what Susan Patton was trying to say?) 

Such women can actually afford to step back from the workforce, a luxury that women without spousal safety nets or hefty bank accounts just don’t have, Hersch says.

This helps explain the low numbers of women in higher management positions.

There are major consequences to this opt-out trend among graduates from selective programs, Hersch says: Elite companies hire from elite schools, but women from elite schools don’t stick around for long, limiting the talent pipeline for leadership positions.

Doctors and teachers are more likely to continue working, perhaps because they can often avoid the long hours required in other professions that women choose.

A lot depends on the kind of degree that a married woman with children has obtained. If she is a physician, has a PhD, or has an MA in education (i.e., is probably a K-12 teacher), she is as likely to be employed as graduates from lower-tier schools. But those degrees involve only 24% of mothers who graduated from tier 1 schools. Those with law degrees are 9 percentage points less likely to be employed than graduates from lower-tier schools; those with MBAs are 16 percentage points less likely to be employed, and the largest single group, those with just a BA, are 13 percentage points less likely to be employed.

Charles Murray points out how these women may be helping to sharpen the edges of our nation’s class divisions.

So Professor Hersch has established that the next generation of children who have everything from genes to family structure to money going for them are also more likely to have a stay-at-home mom — and not just any mom, but one who has been sifted through the micron-fine mesh of the admissions process at elite schools and been judged to have both the IQ and other sterling qualities that gained her entrance, and who is devoting that package of exceptional abilities to the upbringing of her children. Lucky kids. And a new upper class polished to an ever-shinier gloss.

Here’s the paper:  Opting Out among Women with Elite Education

Related:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 178 other followers

%d bloggers like this: