5 Reasons Millennial Women Are Saying ‘I Do’ to Their Careers Instead of Marriage

Did you know that 25 percent of today’s young adults will likely never have been married by the time they reach their mid-40s to mid-50s? We’ll take a look at why so many millennials prefer to marry their careers rather than their significant others.

Millennials Are Holding off on Marriage and Focusing on Their Careers Instead

(Photo Credit: Sergei Zolkin/Unsplash)

1. Financial Reasons

Student loan debt, credit card debt, poor job market conditions, lower earning levels, and high cost of living all play a role in why so many millennial women are more reluctant to wed like prior generations. Perhaps this generation of women is holding off on holy matrimony because it isn’t a wise investment to marry young.

“Those who finish college and get married after turning 30 earn $18,152 more per year, on average, than women who marry in their 20s or teens,” writes Karen Kaplan at the LA Times. “Even women who are high school graduates but don’t finish college earn $4,052 more per year, on average, than women who marry when they’re younger.”

2. Slim Pickings

“Never-married women place a great deal of importance on finding someone who has a steady job — fully 78% say this would be very important to them in choosing a spouse or partner,” according a Pew Research Center’s survey.

Since 1960, the labor force participation rate has declined for men age 25 to 34 (from 93 percent to 82 percent), and the median hourly wage for men has taken a 20 percent dip since 1980, making for slim pickings for female millennials who are looking to find a spouse with has a steady job. As it turns out, there are not plenty of fish in the sea for millennial women.

3. Fewer Responsibilities

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes … giving up your booming career to stay at home and raise kids. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a stay-at-home mom … when it’s your choice. Unfortunately, far too many women aren’t lucky enough to make that decision for themselves, and financial reasons cause them to sacrifice their careers to take care of their children as well as a great deal of the household responsibilities. Millennial women are aware of this reality and choose to focus predominately on their careers, rather than deal with the pressures of finding a life partner, affording a wedding, buying a home, starting a family, and, possibly, having to decide between a family or a career.

4. Higher Education/Career Advancement

Women are also more educated and career-oriented than every before, so they’re likely to put off getting married or starting a family so that they can focus on building their own careers first.

“Today, never-married women ages 25 and older are more educated overall than never-married men: one-third of these women have either a bachelor’s or advanced degree, compared with one-quarter of never-married men ages 25 and older,” according to the Pew Research Center survey findings.

With millennial women investing much more time and money into their education and careers, it’s understandable why these women are holding off on life matters (e.g. marriage) that could quite possibly derail them from pursuing the very thing they have worked so hard for already – their own success.

5. Less Pressure

This is a day and age where women have much more liberty to choose who, when, and how they marry, so there is much less pressure to wed than ever before. Millennial women are also more focused on gaining a higher education and establishing a successful career so that they don’t have to worry about depending on a partner financially, especially given the persistently high divorce rate in America. Contrary to previous generations, millennial women don’t have the pressures to become “Suzy Homemakers” anymore, nor do they want that for themselves either. Instead, these women put pressure on themselves to be successful in the career world. 

Can you blame millennials for wanting to wait to get married until they get all their ducks in a row? This generation grew up in The Great Recession and witnessed some of the scariest economic crashes and collapses in modern-day history. Everyone was affected to some degree by the economic downturn of 2008, and it wouldn’t be surprising if many millennials watched their parents and grandparents lose everything during that time.

Therefore, it’s understandable that millennials would put great emphasis on being prosperous in their lifetimes, rather than run the risk of having history repeat itself and them lose everything. Millennial women, especially, have more to consider when it comes to making the decision to wed and possibly start a family – that’s not cheap or easy. Choose wisely, millennials.

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