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March 24, 2011

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Well, it's a little late for this question now ;-P But it's certainly a factor. However, I'd only consider money to be a derived factor. I find the ability to make money attractive. However, it also depends on how the money was made. Was it made by providing value to people or was it made by scamming people out of their money? Inheriting money is null and void.

So overall, I don't care about the money itself, but having money does speak of a person's values and abilities.

I married a college educated woman who is in the career of teaching who knows how to work the system of pay. She is now at the top of her pay scale. She earned her masters degree which raised her pay, she took extra college classes to raise her pay and has 7 years left until she is eligible to retire.
Did I know that when I married her not until around 5 years after we were married and she would have a pension and I would have my 401k. So I guess my introduction should be I would like you to "meet my pension I mean my wife"
Aside form her being the coupon queen when the kids were young and the furgal McDougal in our house, she is a good money manager.

So in a way, I did marry rich but I did not know how rich until later.

It's just as easy to fall in love with a rich person as a poor person, so you take your pick :)

If I were on the market again (I'm not) or if I were young again your qualifications to be my wife would not be based on how much money you have. However, if you carried a lot of debt (based on poor money managment behaviour) I would likely not be interested. To me this shows someone who is irresponsible and whose actions could hurt my security -- no thank you.

I find this topic a bit distasteful. I prefer (at least for myself) to consider the character of the lady to be the prime consideration. Shared values, goals, mission and purpose in life, etc.

My wife and I met in college. I would say that the amount of money either of us had was probably not much of a factor. However, many of the character traits (personal responsibility, conscientiousness, etc) that attracted me to her also contribute to our financial well-being.

To me, character is more important than money, but the two often go hand in hand.

I am more attracted to someone with similar values, so I probably wouldn't ever be able to be with someone who was unstable financially or lived paycheck to paycheck. That lifestyle would scare the living bejeezus out of me.

But I wouldn't marry a man that I just "liked" even if he had 100 million bucks. I married Mr. BFS because we clicked financially, emotionally, chemically, etc. I knew he was a guy I'd be willing to work through life's problems with and that we'd support each other all the way through. Even during the imperfect times and disagreements, we love each other and try to compromise since we both want the other to be happy.

If something ever happens to my hubby, I'd want that kind of partnership again. Stability and mutual support is a must but wealth isn't mandatory for me. :-)

Well if my husband married me for money, he sure must have been disappointed. All he got was a bunch of my student loan debt!

I have known people that seriously would only consider 'wealthy' suitors. She demanded a ring that was at least a carat, and scoffed at my .33 carat ring. She stressed for many years because she just wasn't able to find that special someone that could provide the lifestyle she wanted. (Not sure if she ever did.)

If something happened to my husband and I did choose to remarry, the only thing about money that would matter is that he be a responsible spender and not some guy who goes bankrupt from making poor decisions. I would not be out on the prowl looking for someone with money though. I would just take care of myself and if someone came along, great. If not, oh well.

If you want to live a happy life you need a companion that is very compatible and that shares your values and your dreams. Of course, there has to be a strong physical and mental attraction. I know what I like and what I don't like in a woman and I am sure that women have the same feelings about a man.

I first met my wife in 1949 when I was 15 and she was 16. Neither of us had any savings - my only income was from a paper route, she had a low paid clerical job. We both lived with our parents, and it stayed that way until 1956 when we got married. When we pooled our money and emigrated first to Canada we had $400, and then two years later in 1958 we emigrated to the USA.

We have both changed a great deal, both in appearance and in our personality since then but fortunately we have grown closer together rather than further apart. In the 61 years that we have known each other we have gone through the full cycle from teenagers, to a young married couple, to raising three children, while both having successful careers, both retiring early and doing lots of travelling, and finally to a quiet lifestyle where we are at home a great deal of the time.

Money should never be a factor in choosing a mate - the factors have to be mutual Love, Compatibility, and Fidelity. Without them a marriage is doomed.

No way! However, guys with massive credit card debt are a huge turn-off. It suggests problems with impulse control not to mention intelligence.

If I were in that position, I wouldn't care what the person's net worth was. To me, the most important things would be character, integrity, attractiveness, etc. The usual stuff. With finances it would be more around their philosophy - saver vs spender, financially responsible, etc. I would care a lot about that. Someone that maxed out credit cards regularly and had no financial goals would not be a good fit!

As far as someone wanting ME for money...well, I'm a middle-class guy, but I wouldn't want to be viewed as a financial resource. Partner, yes. But a walking dollar sign whose value is partially based on ability to meet her financial needs...no.

I guess the idea of marrying for money repulses me, whether it's a woman doing it or a guy doing it. Doesn't matter who it is. I think other things are more important, and with finances it's more about compatability and shared goals, not how you can live off the other person's pre-existing net worth. But, that's just my view, and I'm sure others see it differently.

I love this topic! Especially because everyone gets so P.O.' ed about it.
I wrote about why girls care about how much money guys make: based on studies, girls care about money over a certain threshold (250k) and there's no amount of money a girl could make that would make a guy like her if he didn't find her attractive to begin with.

Sad, but true, according to the study that was done by Dan Ariely and some of his colleagues.

I'm single and here's my philosophy: I want to marry someone who is as financially independent as I am (so is responsible, has no consumer debt, not living paycheck-to-paycheck, not a workahaulic, and hopefully also on the path to very early retirement). That said, someone being super rich is a turn on, and someone super poor (who I had to support) could have qualities that enriched my life enough to make up for it. It's much harder for either someone super-rich or a gold-digger to impress me, since I'm generally turned off by people who use money for their ego.

Awesome Kathryn! - It strangely makes me disgusted someone would choose a spouse over something as superficial as good looks and not more substantive, like the inner qualities that leads to one becoming wealthy...

No. I did not and would not marry for money.

Frankly I am doubtful of the survey results. I would want to see the details of how the questions were asked exactly. "would you marry for money" is a different question than "if you liked someone, and they were just average looking, yet very wealthy then would you consider marrying them?" Kind of implies a trade off between average looks and high wealth. How about asking "would you marry a rich person who you did not like and who was not attractive to you?"

Money is a factor in any relationship. Its an indication of success, ambition, etc. It shouldn't be a deciding factor or a high priority but lets not pretend that high wealth isn't better than large debts.

Old Limey, I love your story. Such an amazing life and sounds like an amazing love, too.

Yes and no. First off I've never really pictured myself being married and I don't want kids, I'm also an atheist so I have no religious reason to get married. I think two people can make a commitment to each other without a marriage ceremony so it really comes down to whether or not benefits outweigh the disadvantages should things go south.

I'm an artist and while I love running my own business I don't have any work benefits. So yes money comes into my considerations about where things are going to go with my boyfriend (he does make considerably more than I do though I didn't know this until several months into our relationship) in terms of when we'll start living together and whether to get married, register as domestic partners, or not bother with either. However I would never stay with someone because of money, to me it seems unethical, love and companionship are far more important things in life than money.

My mother always stated, "Those who marry for money, earn every penny." She had watched an uncle marry for money and saw how it destroyed both parties.

I haven't married for money, but I've dated someone that I liked who was very wealthy. I didn't date him because he was rich, but the relationship went on longer than it should have, and that probably had something to do with the money. At the end of the day, though, marrying for money is not a way to ensure future happiness. My mother told me "if you marry for money, you'll earn every penny." Brilliant, and so true.

If you're older and considering marrying or cohabitating, get a prenupitual or cohabitation agreement.

Why do guys get all offended over the 'marry for money' idea, but then they only date the most physically attractive women?

It's evolutionary. Men want healthy, fertile women and women want security for the eventual offspring.

@Kathryn C - I had the pleasure of hearing Dan Ariely speak. Basically, the gender divide on goals for money/attractiveness is strongest among those who have the least capital in the 'mate market'. Putting 'creativity' or other soft attributes on the priority list is only possible by those who have more capital themselves in the 'mate market'.

FMF, you've already done too well to have the expectation that marrying someone with a $1.5M net worth is considered as "rich". That's why you throw out the number of $20M...

The same person should realize that $1.5M only throws off $60K of passive income each year. Hardly enough to be considered rich.

What if the target is a MND type of personality? So much for marrying for money!

-Mike

I would only marry someone I was in love with. If she had a lot of money and I was in love with her, I would marry her faster. ;-)

My husband and I were alike in the money market when we married - we both had jobs earning @4-5k a year. (Just realize that this was in 1963.) We both had the same amount of debt - $500. His was for a car he just bought and mine was for the move to Chicago and getting stuff ready for a job overseas.

We ended up heavily in cc debt when I lost my job 22 years later. It was paid off before I retired and we were debt free until his death and I still am. I do not think a wealthy man could have tempted me, my wants are few.

Old Limey - I do envy you your many years married. We only had 44 years and 3 months, but they were good ones. I wish it could have been more, but I don't fret about it.

Marriage is way too personal to marry for one reason only. I wanted security, but I was raised to believe that I could be part of that security. I was a SAHM for only about 7 years and the rest of the time I worked, earning 1/2 of our income. You do not have to marry money to have security. It comes in many forms.

Couple of comments:

I would not marry solely for money, but I also would not marry a person who was financially irresponsible.

As for a young woman in her 30's insisting on a partner who has at least a $1.5M net worth, she better have a lot to offer in return. If I read the statistics correctly, there aren't that many people in that net worth bracket. In any case, if she marries someone who is a 'PAW' in the Millionaire next Door parlance, she will get there eventually and much more quickly if she adds to the ledger in both offensive and defensive ways--but I think most who are PAWs marry early and work their way to that NW......and would steer clear of someone who had these NW 'demands' as it seems they want to spend it more than save it.

First of all, I think a lot of people date/marry "for money" in a loose sense of the phrase - it's not the most important factor perhaps, but it matters. If you wouldn't consider dating someone with little/no earning power or assets, then on some level you are always putting money as some sort of standard in the relationship.

I wouldn't marry for money though; it's not worth it. Of course I'm financially comfortable so my bar is higher. If I couldn't afford to take care of myself I'd probably be a lot more likely to consider the idea. But right now that's not even appealing to me. Big money messes up relationships - I deal with wealthy clients and see it all the time. Plus the money is usually tied up in trusts or businesses that are going to leave you out of the loop - or entangled in a power struggle with the rest of your spouse's family. And the wealthy spouse will know or think he/she has all the power, which will often leave even the most confident of partners feeling vulnerable and insecure - and/or trapped in the marriage.

I'd rather feel more equal to my partner financially. I don't want to shoulder the burden nor be a beneficiary in the union.

I wouldn't marry for money in the literal sense, meaning I would not marry somebody whose only "qualification", so to speak, was that she was rich. However, I do think it is important to marry somebody who is compatible in terms of their view of money. What I mean is marrying somebody who isn't spoiled, who shares my view of savings vs spending, who shares my risk tolerance in terms of investing, etc. Basically, what I am talking about is somebody who has shared values in terms of finances.

I believe FMF has made several remarks about how he and his wife are a good partnership in terms of their financial values.

Is it any different to choose not to marry someone because of their financial situation? I am currently married (not for money, we have similar incomes,) but I would have thought twice about marrying him if he had been out of work and not motivated to find employment while racking up a bunch of debt. That seems like a sensible, reasonable precaution. I don't want my credit to be ruined by someone who doesn't know how to budget or who is extremely careless with money. Those are qualities I looked for in a potential spouse; not wealth, but the ability to handle money well, no matter how much they had. I would have married my husband if he was poor, out of work and hustling to find employment while cutting everything else to the bone.

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