In our Money Mic series, we present an essay from someone with a bold opinion on a money topic. These views are theirs, not ours, but we are interested in hearing what you think.
After witnessing the lively debate inspired by one “Emilia Echolls” who told us why she wants to marry rich, we decided to give the other team a chance at bat.
This time, we found a successful, intelligent, nice guy to give us his opinion.
I’m a man, and I want to marry rich.
Hey, I’m not (the male version of) a gold digger. I’m 56 years old with my own successful business. Mitt Romney I am not, but I can tell you I’m in the top 1%. Because of this and my values, I aim high. I plan on marrying someone with wealth equal to or greater than mine. I just would never be satisfied with anything else.
How to Spot a Gold Digger
I’ve spent a lot time dating since my first marriage ended 10 years ago. (It didn’t end for financial reasons, but because we had different views on how to raise children.) And I can tell you it just gets old when you have a gold digger on your hands. I don’t want to look into somebody’s pocket, and I hate when they look into mine.
If they’re obvious, they ask questions early on. “How much did you pay for that? How do you travel to this and that place?” They are looking for your price points. When the subject of paying for something comes up in conversation, they retort with, “Well, I made you dinner,” as though cooking dinner is a fair trade for my paying for a vacation to the islands. And it’s also the tone in which they say it, almost indignantly. I don’t mind providing for my partner, but that dynamic rings hollow to me. I would rather avoid it altogether.
Don’t get me wrong, I was in a relationship for a couple of years where my girlfriend brought amazing emotional support. But she still had her own source of financial support. So it wasn’t like it was a trade—my financial support for her emotional support. She was just a great girlfriend who didn’t ask for anything financial in return.
Looking for an Equal
It’s not about financial comfort: I have money. For me, it’s about appreciation and awareness. I work very hard at what I do. I didn’t marry into wealth, and I didn’t inherit anything. When I look to my next partner, I want somebody who has worked that hard as well. I want someone who can appreciate what it took to get where I am today.
It’s almost like childbirth. A man can only imagine what it’s like to give birth, and women who haven’t given birth can’t appreciate it until they go through it. It’s an extreme example, but I think you’ve got to live the life of a hard-working person to appreciate it. Someone who is a manager or owns a business has to develop a broad set of skills. They see much more and have a wider experience, and that is where the attraction lies for me.
To me, this has nothing to do with feminism. It comes down to passion; it transcends gender.
I’m Not the Only One
A lot of my friends are wealthy. Frankly, I think I’m probably one of the least wealthy of the bunch. (Though that’s just a hunch—I don’t ask.) I have one female best friend and three male best friends, and they are all very well off. We don’t sweat the small stuff. I’m not the only one who feels this way about dating someone with money. One friend, who has a live-in girlfriend, is very adamant about dating in his economic bracket. He works very hard at what he does, and appreciation is a big theme for him.
Fifteen years ago, I admit, I would have felt a little emasculated to marry a woman who has more money than I do. When I was in college, my best friend married a woman whose parents were very wealthy. He got a home in Ohio and in Florida, cars and a position with her father’s company. I don’t know what I disliked more: his situation, or the fact that my parents thought that should have been me.
I can understand why men feel like they should be the higher earner, but now that I’m a little older and wiser, having less money than my wife wouldn’t be much of an issue, as long as the wealth disparity wasn’t flaunted.
My Current Situation
I’ve been dating a lovely woman for more than six years. She knows I want to be with someone who has money, and she understands. One of the issues that broke up her marriage way back when was that her ex-husband struggled while she thrived in her career. It put a lot of pressure on that marriage.
She’s 14 years younger than me, and she isn’t quite “rich” yet. But she has the fire in her belly to be there. And when we finally tie the knot, I believe we’ll both be high earners. Who knows, maybe she’ll make more! And that would be just fine with me. I’m not totally sure yet if we will get married. It changes, like with anything else. If, for some reason, she was not successful and lost that drive, it would be a huge factor in a decision to break up.
If we do get married, we will absolutely get a prenup. I had one in my first marriage. We were both career people, we both had our assets and when we divorced—there was no friction. It’s very fortunate that we both saw it as necessary.
Interestingly enough, when my girlfriend and I talked about getting married, she said she wanted a prenup, even though she currently has fewer assets than I do. She failed to get one in her first marriage, so she doesn’t want to make that mistake again.
While Money Can’t Buy Happiness …
It does buy the reduction of stress. Having the financial flexibility not to stress out about every little thing is valuable to me, and being fairly close in financial position takes away a source of conflict and negotiation in a relationship, and buys calmness.
I don’t think money is the end-all-be-all. If you don’t have your health, you haven’t got anything. And in relationships, no matter how much money you have, if you don’t get along, it doesn’t mean anything. I learned that from my first marriage. You can’t find love through any one thing—it’s a blending. But wealth is one of those things I require—my personal dealbreaker, if you will.
Mark Smith is a entrepreneur in his 50s living in Ohio. He has been dating his girlfriend for six years. He is using a pseudonym because of the sensitive nature of the topic.
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