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Who Is Most Likely to Choose More Free Time Over More Money?

Discussions of topics such as “juggling” and “work/life balance” have focused most intently on women who have children and paying jobs. They are the ones who most crave free time, it has been assumed. They would take more free time over more money in a heartbeat.

There is some truth to that assumption. More magazine commissioned a survey of women who had professional employment, at least a college degree, and an income of at least $60,000 if single or $75,000 if married. (No, those two figures do not make sense to me, either.) The results revealed that 62% of the women who had children said that they would take more free time over more money.

Unexpectedly, more of the single women made the same choice: 68% of them would choose more time to themselves over more money. (From the way the results were described, the comparison seemed to be between married women with kids and singles without kids.)

This is news to those who believe the myth that if you are single, “your time isn’t worth anything since you have nothing to do but play.” As Wall Street Journal writer Sue Shellenbarger concluded after interviewing Professor Wendy Caspar: “some managers still assume singles don’t have anything to do but work and pile on extra duties and projects.” Singlism is alive and thriving in the workplace.

Shellenbarger’s article was titled “Single and off the fast track: It’s not just working parents who step back to reclaim a life.”

For your daily dose of snark, Jezebel rarely disappoints. Commenting on the Wall Street Journal story, Cassie Murdoch quipped:

“I know this is very difficult to understand, but according to the Wall Street Journal even people without children enjoy time away from work. Yeah, it’s weird, right?”

Murdoch ends with an important, not-so-snarky observation:

“When the work-life balance issue is only the domain of moms, it’s easier for the corporate world to marginalize it. But if all the ladies—and even the men, too—stand up and say they want some time to spend actually living life, it will be a lot harder to ignore, and, who knows, maybe we’ll wake up one day be able to have both a successful career and a successful home life.”

It would also constitute progress, I believe, if we did not so unthinkingly contrast “work” with “life.” Work is part of life, and for those who are passionate about what they do, a very wonderful part.

[Thanks to Cynthia for the heads-up about the WSJ story.]

Falling money photo available from Shutterstock.

Who Is Most Likely to Choose More Free Time Over More Money?

Bella DePaulo, Ph.D

Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard; Academic Affiliate, Psychological and Brain Sciences, UC Santa Barbara), an expert on single life, is the author of several books, including "Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After" and "How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century." Her TEDx talk is "What no one ever told you about people who are single." Dr. DePaulo has discussed singles and single life on radio and television, including NPR and CNN, and her work has been described in newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and magazines such as Time, Atlantic, the Week, More, the Nation, Business Week, AARP Magazine, and Newsweek. Dr. DePaulo is in her sixties. She has always been single and always will be. She is "single at heart" -- single is how she lives her best and most meaningful life. Visit her website at

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APA Reference
DePaulo, B. (2012). Who Is Most Likely to Choose More Free Time Over More Money?. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 21, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Jun 2012
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