Marriage is a big step, and one that you should take with plenty of calculation. Of course, chances are that if you’re looking at getting hitched, you’ve already spent a fair amount of time thinking about it. That, however, has not stopped the marriage failure rate from hovering at right around 50% – so clearly, that prep time for many couples hasn’t been enough.
Given the average divorce can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars up to $30,000 in some cases, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to avoid the tolls – both emotional and financial – that a failed marriage can take.
So, what can you do? Some people choose to play the percentages. Yes, you should let your heart guide you, but there are many other factors to take into account as well. For example, the odds of divorce skyrocket if you get married after the age of 32, at least according to research from the Institute for Family Studies. Another thing to look out for? The level of education your prospective spouse has achieved. In fact, that may be the most important indicator as to whether or not your marriage will last.
We know this by simply looking at the numbers. A recent report from the Pew Research team, which cites data from the National Center for Health Statistics from between 2006 and 2010, says “college-educated women have an almost eight-in-ten chance of still being married after two decades.” Specifically, the numbers tell us that approximately 78% of college-educated women who married for the first time during that time period will likely still be married 20 years from now – which is huge, considering that for women with only a high school education or less, that rate is 40%.
What does that mean for you? Find an educated spouse. It looks as though that one trait makes a gigantic difference.
The Pew report continued, saying that “the findings are yet further evidence of the marriage gap in the U.S. along educational lines. College-educated adults are more likely to be married than less-educated adults. Among those who were ages 25 and older in 2014, 65% of those with a bachelor’s degree or more were married, compared with 53% of adults with less education. While the research does not address reasons these marriages last longer, we do know college-educated adults marry later in life and are more financially secure than less-educated adults.”
Going out and finding an educated spouse (or any spouse, for that matter) isn’t necessarily easy, but according to the figures being cited, it may pay off in the end to be more choosy when sifting through the dating pool. When you give it some thought, this all makes a good deal of sense, too. College graduates typically earn more than those with less education, as we know, and financial strife is consistently pegged as the biggest factor leading to divorce.
If two people are both more financially secure when entering a marriage, it only makes sense that the odds of that marriage lasting should go up. Of course, it’s not all about finances – plenty of couples find happiness and persevere. But if you want to play the odds, marrying someone with a college degree definitely looks like it tips the scales.
Millennials, particularly, should pay attention to these types of findings. For several years now, the millennial demographic has been criticized for putting off marriage, parenthood, and buying houses and cars, and a lot of that has to do with the state of the economy and financial troubles. Given that the average wedding costs tens of thousands of dollars, it’s hard to blame them for forgoing the ceremony.
But there’s also the economic benefits of marriage that can’t be ignored. Married couples tend to be wealthier, and when a household wields multiple income streams (from college grads), the more financially stable they’re going to be.
Because nothing says romance like playing your relationship by the percentages. But the numbers don’t lie – find yourself an educated spouse.