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10 Cities Where Women Outearn Their Partners

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Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

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Despite the growing prevalence of women in the workforce, the median earnings of women over the age of 25 was $32,679 in 2017, with men’s median earnings for that same age group at $46,152, per U.S. Census Bureau data, who estimated that women only earn nearly 71% of their male counterparts.

The reasons for this discrepancy are stridently debated, with theories ranging from personal preferences to mismatched family responsibilities, cultural pressure, institutional compensation or advancement bias. Whatever combination of factors are keeping women’s pay low, the fact remains that female workers make less than their male counterparts — both at work and at home.

Our new analysis takes a closer look at pay differences between men and women to see how it affects couples. To find out whether some places are more likely to have a balance between male and female breadwinners, we analyzed microdata from the American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census for the 50 largest metros in the country.

In an ideal world, men and women would be equally likely to be the breadwinner of a couple. But our analysis found that in the 50 largest metros, women were the main breadwinner in less than 31% of couples’ households.

Key takeaways

  • Women are far less likely to be the breadwinners in a couple, our study found. Even in the cities with the highest rates of female breadwinners, women outearned their partners in just one out of three coupled households.
  • Hartford, Conn., takes the No. 1 spot. In 31.1% of this city’s coupled households, a woman was the partner who earned more. Minneapolis and Columbus, Ohio, follow in second and third place, with female breadwinner rates of 31.2% and 30.7%, respectively.
  • Only 22.6% of couples in Salt Lake City have female breadwinners, earning it the last place spot (50th) on our list. Following at 49th and 48th place are Houston and Riverside, Calif., with female breadwinner rates of 23.5% and 23.9%, respectively.

Top 10 cities where more women outearn their partners

In the 10 major U.S. cities with the highest rates of couples with female breadwinners, roughly three in 10 couples have a woman earning more than her partner.

This is a contrast to other surveys that have found higher rates of female breadwinners, such as 49% of women who said they were the primary breadwinner in an NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll. The difference in these findings could be attributed to single women or single mothers who are the household’s sole income earners. Women may be more likely to be breadwinners in these surveys that include those who report they’re not competing with a partner for that title.

When they are paired up, however, our analysis shows that women are less likely to be the higher earner. Here’s a closer look at the 10 major U.S. cities that had the highest rates of female breadwinners.

1. Hartford, Conn.

Women who are partnered up are the most likely to be the breadwinner if they live in Hartford. Here, 31.3% of coupled women outearn their partner. This could be thanks to the higher parity of pay in this city, where the gap between men and women’s earnings shrinks to just 17.8%.

2. Minneapolis

Next is Minneapolis, which has almost the same rate of female breadwinners, with 31.2% of coupled women earning more than their partners.

Minneapolis also took the No. 2 spot in our ranking of the best cities for working women. Its high ranking is due to a number of factors, but it’s a true standout for low unemployment among women and decent workplace protections for pregnant women and mothers.

3. Columbus, Ohio

In Columbus, 30.7% of partnered women are the breadwinners. Overall, women here make about $0.19 less per dollar than their male counterparts, well in line with the average among all 50 cities included in this analysis.

4. Providence, R.I.

Providence, R.I. has a female breadwinning rate of 30.5%. This is no surprise, given that it’s the eighth-best city for working women.

While the gender pay gap is above average here, at 19.9%, Providence has above-average rates of women in management positions along with better policies for maternity and parental leave.

5. Baltimore

Among women in Baltimore who are part of a couple, 30.2% outearn their partners. Here, women earn just 18.8% less than men, giving them a better chance of landing pay that beats their significant other’s salary.

6. Sacramento, Calif.

The third-best city for working women, Sacramento, also has one of the highest rates of female breadwinners: 30.0%.

It offers a lower pay gap between genders, with women earning just 14.6% less than men. Sacramento also gets a boost from California’s robust policies and benefits for pregnancy, maternity and family leave.

7. Boston

Boston is the next city with the highest rate of coupled households for which women are the breadwinners, at 29.6%. The gender pay gap here is 18.9%, which is just below average.

8. San Francisco

Next is another top city for working women, San Francisco. Here, the gap in median pay by gender is 18.7% and women outearn their partners 29.5% percent of the time. As another Californian city, women workers in San Francisco are also likely to benefit from strong parental and family work policies.

9. Memphis, Tenn.

In Memphis, women are the breadwinners in 29.4% of couples’ households — that’s despite its ranking as the second-worst city for women. It has just a few redeeming factors, however, such as the above-average number of female managers and the below-average childcare costs in Memphis.

10. Richmond, Va.

Couples in Richmond are among those most likely to be led by a female breadwinner, with 29.2% of women out-earning their partners. Women here earn $.192 less for every $1 male workers earn, only slightly above the average. Still, working women in Richmond are more likely to receive employer-provided health care and more affordable child care costs, which can offset this pay gap.

10 cities where women aren’t breadwinners

Along with the 10 cities that had the highest rates of women out-earning their partners, we also found the 10 major U.S. cities where women were the least likely to be breadwinners. In these cities, around a quarter (or fewer) of women with partners bring home higher pay than their significant other.

Most of these cities were also among the worst places for women to work, including Detroit and Oklahoma City. Still, low rates of female breadwinners isn’t always a sign of a city that disadvantages women, as three of these cities were among the 15 best places for working women: Austin, Texas; Phoenix; and Virginia Beach, Va.

How the gender pay gap affects shared finances

Overall, this study is another sign of how women are often behind when it comes to pay. The gender pay gap is a big contributor to the low rate of female breadwinners, but it affects more than just women.

When a woman is paid less, this impacts her partner too. The entire household comes up short, setting back financial goals such as paying down debt, building security and savings, and managing money day-to-day.

Some women will also feel the pain of the wage gap more than others, too. Same-sex couples comprised of two female earners, for example, will be doubly hit by the setbacks of the gender pay gap. Women who are the sole breadwinners might also find that they’re having to support their family on less pay than many men in the same position. And for women who earn less than their partner, a separation or divorce can be particularly problematic for their finances.

Many of these factors are outside of U.S. women’s immediate control — but that makes it all the more important to focus on improving their finances where they can.

Here are some ways women can work to close, offset, or compensate for the gender pay gap.

Work on increasing your income. The top cities are proof that the gender pay gap doesn’t have to be universal, and many women are finding ways to close or even overcome it. Take a look at your current pay and do some research through sites such as PayScale or Glassdoor to figure out if it’s fair. If it’s not, it might be time to ask to be paid what you’re worth, either with your current employer or a new one.

You can also look out for career training and opportunities that could act as stepping stones to higher-paying positions. You can even create your own opportunities to boost your income and grow your skills with a side hustle.

Share costs fairly. There are a lot of ways for couples to manage their money together, so look into different methods and decide together on one that’s equitable. If your partner earns twice as much as you, for example, does it really make sense to split expenses 50-50? Discuss how you can work with differences in pay to ensure that both assets and expenses are equally and fairly shared.

Make savings a priority. Women in a couple must save for their own future, regardless of what they earn. It can be wise to have your own checking or savings accounts that are held in your name alone, where you can build financial security independent of your partner. It’s also wise to set up your own retirement accounts and contribute to those regularly, as well.

Manage debt wisely. Debt can be a huge source of stress for couples. On top of that, debt accrued in marriage can be considered jointly shared, making you equally responsible for its repayment even if your spouse took it out. So it’s smart to practice good budgeting habits, live within your means and avoid getting into debt. Even if you’re not married, your or your partner’s debt will still affect shared money goals and lower the debtor’s ability to contribute as equally. Work on paying debt off faster, and look into ways to lower costs such as credit card consolidation.



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While women with a partner are still less likely to be the breadwinners than partnered men, it doesn’t have to hold back their finances. Choose a significant other who values and equal partnership and practices sound financial management. Aim for higher-paying positions at work to try to close the gender gap. Then improve your own money skills and knowledge so you can make the most of your income.


Analysts used the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey 2017 microdata hosted on IPUMS to determine the percentage of coupled households with a female partner, where a female partner had the higher income. The analysis was limited to the 50 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the U.S.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Elyssa Kirkham
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Elyssa Kirkham is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Elyssa here


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How to Manage Debt as a Single Parent in 2019

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When student loan deferment ended for Samantha Gregory, a single mom and founder of site Rich Single Momma, she had one reaction to her payments: sticker shock. “The amount they were asking for was so astronomical, it was bananas,” she said.

As a single mom in debt, these high payments were added to the already steep financial demands of covering household expenses and supporting her children, including one with special needs — all on one income.

Adding debt to the significant challenges of single parenting “puts a strain on not just your finances, but your emotions, your mental health,” she said. “It’s like, ‘I have this burden over my head so how am I going to take care of it and take care of my family?’”

It’s a question any single parent in debt may find themselves asking. There’s no one right answer, but the good news is that there are smart steps a single mom or dad can use to tackle debt. Here are some tested and certified strategies for how to manage debt as a single parent.

8 strategies for a single parent in debt

1. Keep debt on your radar

A key to managing money as a single parent in debt is to keep an eye on what you owe. Gregory warned against letting debt slip in your money management juggling act. “I know for me in the past, I’ve tried to ignore it and hope it would go away,” she said. “But it doesn’t go away. It’s still there, lingering.”

Keep your debts on your radar, so you’re not losing track of them, falling behind on payments or damaging your credit. If you don’t know what you owe, pull your free credit report and look up each outstanding debt you have and record the balance, interest rate, monthly payment and due date. Start a habit of reviewing these accounts regularly.

2. Work with your lender

Once you know what you owe, see if your lender offers any help or accommodations that can make this debt easier to manage.

You’ll have the most options for dealing with federal student loans, as servicers must provide you with options to forbear or defer payments, or switch to a different repayment plan.

Even for other types of debt, it can’t hurt to ask your lender if they’re willing to work with you. They might be open to giving you an extension on your payment, and some lenders will let you skip a payment now and tack it onto the end of your repayment period instead.

3. Claim benefits and support

Help isn’t always easy to come by as a single parent, so make sure you’re claiming the benefits and child support to which you’re entitled.

Federal assistance programs such as Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and school lunch programs can ease pressure on your budget while keeping everyone fed, for example. Other programs can assist with fixed monthly costs such as housing, child care or health insurance. Many state and local programs can offer additional help.

Single parents should also consider filing for child support. If you’re already entitled to such payments but the other parent isn’t paying, or you feel it’s not enough, consider pursuing legal steps to get adequate support for your family.

4. Revisit your budget

As a single parent with debt, living within your means is the foundation of your financial security. Review your budget to see if there are areas you’re wasting money on things you don’t need or use, whether it’s a neglected gym membership or a house you’re realizing is roomier than necessary. Consider lifestyle changes and sacrifices — big or small — that you could make to lower your monthly costs.

Look for ways to free up some of the mental space you’re using for your money, too, Gregory suggested. She likes to automate payments, for example, to ensure they’re going out on time with less effort on her part.

5. Sell your extra time and stuff

To the single mom in debt, Gregory suggested looking for ways to generate some extra cash. “I’m a firm believer in side hustles,” she said. “There are so many options out there available to create a side hustle, start a business or just get another part-time job or work-from-home job.”

Then, “look around your house and if you have something valuable you can sell, sell it,” she said. Doing so can bring a fast cash infusion that can help you stay current on debt payments, or even make an extra payment.

It can be a tough and even emotional to sell some belongings, Gregory acknowledged. But, “It’s just things and they’re replaceable, whereas your peace of mind, your family and kids, and your health are not replaceable,” she said.

6. Make extra debt payments

If you can carve out extra savings, that’s money you can use to pay off your debts faster. One method to do so is the debt snowball:

  • Figure out how much more of your monthly income you can afford to devote to making extra debt payments. Include this as a line item in your budget.
  • Put that extra cash toward your debt with the lowest balance, and make the minimum payment on all of your other debts.
  • Watch the balance on your high-priority debt decrease faster.
  • Once your first debt is gone, “roll over” the funds budgeted for your monthly payment and the extra payment and apply them to the next low-balance debt.

Making extra debt payments will lower your principal faster which will, in turn, lower your interest costs. As a result, this strategy could avoid hundreds of dollars in interest and shave months or even years off your debt repayment.

7. Consider debt consolidation

For a single parent, debt consolidation can be another way to get ahead. Consolidating debt makes the most sense when doing so will lower the interest rates you’re paying.

A credit card balance transfer is one way to accomplish this. You can open a credit card with a 0% introductory rate. Then, transfer existing balances to this new credit card (note that this will often incur a balance transfer fee) and you can repay this debt interest-free.

If you have higher debt balances or prefer a fixed repayment plan, a personal loan could be the way to consolidate debt. To do so, you can take out a new personal loan with the rates, term or payments you would prefer and use the loan funds to pay off and replace existing debts. You can compare various lenders with our debt consolidation comparison page to get an idea of the terms and rates for which you could qualify.

8. Tap your community for support

Managing debt as a single parent can be hard on you because, at the end of the day, paying them comes down to you alone. “In the back of your mind, you’re thinking ‘There’s no one who can help me with this,’” Gregory said.

However, you don’t have to go it alone — there are often people who are ready and willing to help as close as your own backyard. So let them! Family and friends can help you out in a variety of ways, from spotting you cash in a tight month to helping with child care. You can also get assistance from your church, community and local nonprofits or programs.

Even if you don’t always find the help you need right away, asking around can start you on the track to getting the recommendation or referral that leads you there. Gregory also suggested online communities, such as local or single-parent Facebook groups, as a way to crowdsource solutions and get connected with helpful resources.

Pass your debt and money lessons on to your kids

Debt can be a big regret for many single parents. “If I had more information when I was going to college, I wouldn’t have taken out so many loans,” Gregory said.

But these ideas for how to manage debt as a single parent can help you push past regret into action. In doing so, you’ll be creating the financial security that your kids need, all while modeling what good money and debt management look like in action.

Gregory, for example, used her experience with student debt to warn her daughter away from borrowing to pay for college. As a result, “She’s really blessed that she doesn’t have to take out student loans, so she won’t be saddled with that big debt when she graduates from college,” she said.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Elyssa Kirkham
Elyssa Kirkham |

Elyssa Kirkham is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Elyssa here


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Your Guide to Comparing Personal Loan Offers to Get the Best Deal

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, statements or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

checking personal loan offers

Shopping for a personal loan can help you find the most affordable way to borrow money or consolidate existing debt. However, don’t make the mistake of defaulting to comparing advertised rates and features. Advertised APRs, origination fees and loan amounts can be vastly different from the actual personal loan terms that each lender offers you.

Instead, collect and compare personal loan offers. These customized personal loan quotes will highlight the terms each lender is willing to offer you, and point you to the most affordable loan. Shopping around for personal loans this way could save a borrower up to 35% in interest costs over the course of a three-year loan, according to an analysis of personal loan offers from LendingTree, which owns MagnifyMoney.

If you’re interested in netting such savings for yourself, we’ll show you how. Use this guide to start rounding up and comparing your own personal loan offers.

How to get personal loan offers

Many lenders can pre-assess your creditworthiness and provide you with a personal loan rate quote for the loan amount, rates and fees you can expect. Here’s how to go about collecting these personal loan offers.

Identify what you need in a personal loan

Most lenders will require that you provide certain details before they can give you a personal loan quote. So it’s helpful to be clear on what exactly you’ll need in a loan.

Here’s what you’ll need to know before you start shopping for personal loans:

  • How you plan to use the personal loan. Some lenders restrict how these funds may be used. They might ask why you’re borrowing to check that your personal loan use meets their lending guidelines. Be ready to answer honestly about the general purpose of your loan, whether it’s for consolidating credit card debt or financing home improvements.
  • How much you want to borrow. Lenders will want to see if the amount you want to borrow will be realistically affordable for you to repay. Do some calculations now on the total costs your personal loan will need to cover to get a principal amount.
  • Personal details about your identity, income and expenses. Lenders will need to verify your identity to offer you a loan. Some lenders will ask preliminary questions about your income, existing debt and housing costs as well.
  • The general terms, rates and fees you’re looking for. It can help to have a specific loan length in mind, whether it’s two years or five. You can also start getting an idea of what kind of personal loan rates and fees would be reasonable.
  • What your credit score is. Checking up on your credit score can help you get an idea of how lenders will view your loan application. If you have credit that’s average or on the cusp of being good, for example, that could be a sign to look for lenders that have more flexible credit guidelines to improve your chances of approval.

Use a personal loan shopping tool

Once you’re clear on what you need in a personal loan, you can actually start your search.

A simple way to get offers is to use the LendingTree personal loan shopping tool. It asks a few basic questions about yourself and the loan you’re looking for, similar to the points covered above.


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LendingTree’s tool may then use details you provide to match you with up to five different lenders. It uses a soft credit pull to accurately assess your credit profile, without affecting your credit the way a hard credit pull can. You could get as many as five personal loan quotes in just minutes.

These offers are outlined clearly so you can easily compare them and find the offer that provides the best features for what you’re looking for.

Request rates from lenders with soft credit checks

You can also collect offers on your own, too, by searching for personal loan providers that offer general terms that match your needs. Then, visit each lender’s site and look for a button or link to request a rate quote. Typically, this will take you to a form asking for the kind of details outlined above, which you can complete and submit to get a personal loan offer.

One caveat: Before requesting a personal loan rate quote, check to see if the lender uses soft or hard checks to generate these offers. You can request a rate from lenders who use either credit check method but keep an eye on this to make sure you’re aware of how this process could impact your credit.

5 factors to consider when comparing personal loan offers

Whether you use a loan shopping tool, collect offers yourself or do both — you’ll still want to compare the offers to see how they stack up. Here are the important details to double-check as you assess each personal loan option and tease out the best rates and terms.

1. Loan APRs

Each loan offer should quote an APR. The APR, which stands for annual percentage rate, represents the amount you’ll pay each year to borrow with a specific loan. The APR will reflect all costs of the loan, including interest rate, origination fees and even rate discounts.

The APR you’re offered can also vary widely between lenders — a typical borrower might see a difference of 8.79 percentage points between their highest and lowest offered rates, according to LendingTree.

Because offered APRs includes all costs and can differ so much, comparing APRs is a quick and accurate metric to weigh if you’re seeking loans with the lowests costs.

2. Offered loan amounts

Usually, you’ll need to request a certain loan amount when collecting rate quotes and offers. But not every lender may be able or willing to offer you the amount requested.

Additionally, some lenders will charge origination fees that are taken out of the initial loan funds before they are disbursed to you. So if you’re facing a 2.5% origination fee on a $10,000 loan, you’ll actually receive only $9,750 of the funds.

So as you’re comparing your loan offers, keep an eye on offered amounts to be sure you’ll get the full funds you need.

3. Term length

Another important feature is loan lengths, or how long the lender will give you to repay this debt. Your loan term is important because it’s central to both your monthly costs or payments, and the total amount you will repay over the life of the loan.

Choosing a shorter loan term can have benefits, too. Shorter personal loan terms will lower your loan balance faster, which will also decrease the interest you’re charged on these loans. Short-term personal loans often provide lower interest rates as well, providing even more savings. Lastly, a short loan length will get you out of debt faster.

Need lower monthly payments? Look for the loan offer with the longest term, as this will stretch out repayment over more months and keep costs low.

4. Monthly payment

When reviewing loan offers, it’s important to keep an eye on monthly payments. Different loan amounts, lengths and APRs can all affect your monthly personal loan payments.

Choosing a shorter loan term or a higher loan amount could make monthly payments less affordable, however — even on loans that otherwise have lower costs. So check the monthly payments to be sure you can comfortably fit your new personal loan payments into your monthly expenses and budget.

Our personal loan calculator can be useful to compare different loan terms, and how each will affect monthly payments and total loan costs.

5. Other personal loan features and protections

Weighing your own preferences for a personal loan will also be an important part of comparing offers. In addition to reviewing the details of your offer, you can also investigate the lender’s site to see which offer additional features you value.

If you don’t have great credit, for example, you might need to look for personal loan providers that accept cosigners or have lower minimum credit score requirements. Other benefits, such as job loss protection or free credit score updates, could also sway you toward one lender over another.

How to accept a personal loan offer

You have all your personal loan offers in hand and reviewed them. You’ve chosen the personal loan that fits your financing needs and monthly budget.

If you’re ready to move forward, you might be wondering what’s next. Here’s how can you accept a personal loan offer and get approved.

Consider negotiating personal loan offers. If you’re not satisfied with a final offer, reach out to lenders to discuss them. You might find that some personal loan providers are willing to work with you on the terms. If you have a lender you’d prefer to work with, for example, but doesn’t offer the lowest APR, you could see if it’s willing to match the lower rate.

Choose a lender and complete a personal loan application. When you have a loan offer that’s to your liking, you can move forward to completing a full personal loan application. If you used this LendingTree tool and found an offer that’s a good fit, you can simply click on the offer to connect with the lender and start the process.

Many lenders’ sites also allow you to complete and submit a personal loan application online. Look for a place to do so on the webpage of your preferred lender, or see if it offers a customer service hotline to apply by phone.

Get approved and receive a loan agreement. Once you submit a loan application, the lender will process and evaluate it. Specifically, lenders will want to see if you meet its personal loan requirements for credit scores, debt-to-income ratio and income level.

If you’re well-qualified, the lender will approve you for the loan and provide you with a personal loan agreement.

Review and sign your loan agreement. Carefully review this contract, as it will include the full terms and conditions of this debt, including when and how you’ll receive the loan funds. Make sure that the loan agreement reflects the terms, rates and costs you anticipated based on your original offer.

If it does, you can sign and submit the loan agreement. The lender will then process and certify your loan agreement, and fund the loan. Most borrowers can receive their loan funds within days of signing their final agreement.

The process of shopping for and comparing personal loans does take some time and effort. But loan comparison tools can make the process simple, fast and easy.

Even spending a couple of hours collecting and comparing personal loan quotes can pay off big. On a loan balance of just over $10,000, comparison shopping saves as much as $1,700 on average. You can also find the financing you need while paying less in interest and fees when you take the time to research your personal loan options and select the best fit for you.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Elyssa Kirkham
Elyssa Kirkham |

Elyssa Kirkham is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Elyssa here


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