Would you marry for money? We know, or have known, people who do want to. It would sure be nice to have that outside income that doesn’t require one to say, work for it. It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich [person] as with a poor one, to paraphrase a Marilyn Monroe character in a movie.
Even if one isn’t gold-digging for a rich spouse and a life of luxury, money can be a signal of other personality aspects. Some people (even high earners) want to marry someone who earns more than they do because it signals that the person has what it takes… they’re a doctor or lawyer or investment banker. Unless the person inherited the wealth, a high earner generally isn’t lazy.
On the other hand, money can act as power differential. In economic models, the bread-winner also has more say in family decision making (or greater “bargaining power”). I would have to have complete and utter trust in my spouse (or at least an iron-clad pre-nup) before giving up a career and income stream of my own. Additionally, as someone who grew up several income quintiles away from rich, I think I might feel uncomfortable marrying someone who inherited a much higher economic class if I were expected to give up my life to fit into some Real Housewives or Hamptons lifestyle.
We’re both still with our high school sweethearts, and, given said sweethearts don’t have family wealth and trust funds to fall back on, we made those decisions before we knew about their earning power. (There are so many guys we could have dated who are now multi-millionaires! But we made the right choices. Maybe if instead of graduate school we’d gone to Silicon Valley…) But I don’t know what our choices would have been if we’d waited until most people have established careers to settle down. Would I be willing to date a part-time barista? What if he was slumming as a barista but had a large trust fund? Or if he was a barista as a day job but really a writer? I can’t say. I can say that if my partner stops earning money, I will be happy to support him with whatever he wants to do. But in terms of seeking someone new out… I hope I never have to figure out the answer to that question.
Related: Femmefrugality discusses sugarbabies.
What about you? Would you marry for money? Do/Did income, wealth, or career influence your dating life?