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Married college graduates make more money, says Pew report

In relationships where the husband earns more money, spouses are just as likely to say that husbands (35 percent) or wives (36 percent) make more decisions regarding household finances. Twenty-eight percent said they shared the financial decisions.

But when you flip that script -- when the wife makes more -- only 21 percent of spouses say that husbands make more decisions on household finances, compared with 46 percent who say that wives do. When wives make more, 33 percent of spouses said they share in the financial decisions.

Why would more wives make more of the decisions when they are bringing home more of the dough?

Could it be that the man feels intimidated? Could it be that higher-earning wives claim the financial clout to shut out their husbands? The report didn't say. But inquiring minds want to know.

Anecdotally, I've seen the financial destruction that can come when spouses feel that their larger paycheck gives them the power to dominate the financial decisions.

If you see marriage as a partnership, then it shouldn't matter who earns more. In a marriage, you should act as a well-functioning team, making decisions together.

So, what are the real-world applications for the Pew report?

We know education plays an important role in income. College graduates are more likely today to be married. This was not the case in 1970, when all education groups were about equally likely to wed.

Married adults have seen larger financial gains than unmarried adults.

"We are not telling people to get married to make money," Cohn said. "We are just explaining that marriage and higher education are increasingly part of a package." The Pew report shows that despite current trends away from marriage, there are good reasons to wed, especially if you're a man.

Decades ago, some men used to joke about marriage being a yoke around their necks, but the statistics today no longer back this up.

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