Marrying Someone With This Specific Personality Trait Means You're Likely To Earn More Money

Photo: Victoria Priessnitz on Unsplash
Why Marrying A Conscientious Spouse Means You're Likely To Earn More Money
Love

When you're think about the type of person who would make ideal spouse, you might have a few predictable requirements in mind.

Or, at the very least, you've probably given some amount of serious thought to the list of qualities and characteristics you'd like your feel it would be ideal for your husband or wife to possess.

Your list might include things like common interests, matched levels of ambition, and intense physical attraction; the possibilities are truly endless.

But did you know that it's been scientifically proven that marrying someone with one very specific personality trait can help you boost your salary by as much as $4,000 per year?

Yes, you read that correctly. Researchers Brittany C. Solomon and Joshua J. Jackson from Washington University in St. Louis found that that people who marry a conscientious spouse are 50% more likely to get a promotion than someone whose spouse is more careless.

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The findings from their study, titled "The Long Reach of One’s Spouse: Spouses’ Personality Influences Occupational Success" and in Psychological Science, were based on an exploration of the way in which someone's share of the Big Five personality traits "seep into their spouses’ workplace."

For those of you not yet in the know, the Big Five personality traits are:

  • Openness to experience
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extroversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Neuroticism

RELATED: What Career You Should Have, Based On 5 Big Personality Traits

After surveying a sample of over 4,500 married individuals, the team found that the only one of these five traits that had a significant impact on a spouse's employment was conscientiousness, which they say, "turns out to predict employee income, number of promotions, and job satisfaction, regardless of gender."

"To put the income finding in dollar terms," explains Andrew O'Connell of Harvard Business Review, "with every 1-standard-deviation increase in a spouse’s conscientiousness, an individual is likely to earn approximately $4,000 more per year, averaging across all ages and occupations."

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Conscientiousness is defined as "the personality trait of being careful, or diligent ... [implying] a desire to do a task well, and to take obligations to others seriously."

People who are conscientious are organized, responsible, less impulsive, and good at planning — qualities that help their spouse in the following three key ways:

  1. They take charge of planning and doing chores, which allows their partner to invest more time in their careers.
  2. They tend to be more satisfied in their marriages, which makes them less draining and allows their partners to better focus on their work.
  3. Their positive traits tend to rub off on their partners, which then makes them better employees.

"These associations occurred because more conscientious partners perform more household tasks, exhibit more pragmatic behaviors that their spouses are likely to emulate, and promote a more satisfying home life," the team's authors explain, "enabling their spouses to focus more on work. These results demonstrate that the dispositional characteristics of the person one marries influence important aspects of one’s professional life."

This all sounds pretty great on paper, but how can this information be put to even better use on a bigger scale?

Solomon herself suggest that if employers better understood the positive effects our personal relationships can have on our performance at work, "they might be more receptive to policies like flextime and telecommuting that make it easier for employees to spend time with their significant others."

That makes plenty of good sense to us!

RELATED: How Your Personality Predicts Your Love Life

Nicole Weaver is a senior writer for Showbiz Cheat Sheet whose work has been featured in New York Magazine, Teen Vogue, and more.

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Editor's Note: This article was originally posted on March 19, 2015 and was updated with the latest information.

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