Smart Women Marry For ______

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“I’m going to marry for love” is such a deeply held belief that’s become an invisible script. After all, who wouldn’t want to marry someone they love?

But “love marriages” are only a recent development. Throughout history, marriages were made for strategic alliances, economic gain, familial ties, and a variety of other unromantic reasons.

The push and pull of our modern love-based thinking sometimes clashes with our history.

For example, I know a lot of guys who think that once they start making “serious money,” women will be more interested in them. Inevitably, even if they do start making a lot more, they aren’t any more successful with women. What really makes a difference in their ability to attract a partner are other, ancillary factors that money enables.

I recently read this article with interest. The author, Ginger, makes the point that money is a definite factor that women should consider when they choose their long-term partners. She was very careful to present a nuanced argument and carefully include caveats.

The result? Comments like this:

“WE TRUELY LOVE EACH OTHER BUT SINCE I COULD NOT IMPROVE MY CAREER FAST ENOUGH, WITHIN IN 3 MONTHS, SHE DUMPED ME. I AM NOT A BUM BY ANY STANDARD AND WORK A GOOD JOB 40 TO 60 HOURS A WEEK. SHE HAS HER HEART SET ON RETIRING EARLY AND BEING RICH. I THINK SHE IS MAKING A BIG MISSTAKE. SHE MAY BECOME RICH, WHO KNOWS, BUT SHE WILL NOT HAVE ANYONE TO ENJOY IT WITH THAT WILL TREAT HER THE WHY I DID. MONEY IS AN ILLUSION AND WILL NOT MAKE YOU HAPPY.” – Michael

“And i would suggest that all men insist upon a pre-nup and marry based on looks and sexual vigor. And just like in the stock market, once there is a drop in “performance” I’d suggest dropping your current holdings and find new assets.” – Patrick B.

“Well, 1.2 billion People live on less than $1 dollar a day….I think you (and I) should be very thankful for what we have. It sounds like you do not love nor accept your partner for who he is….” – willdation

Notice how people bring their own opinions to the discussion — often weakly held, stereotypical beliefs — without even considering the argument.

What do you think? Vote with a tweet:

QUESTION: How important is money when you’re evaluating a potential partner? How important should money be? And is it different for men and women?

Examples (for both genders): If you find out that your girlfriend/boyfriend has $30,000 of debt, how would you react? What if you’ve been dating for 4 years?

How does your partner’s income play into your decision to be with them?

And if smart women marry for _____. What do smart men marry for? Hint: The answer cannot just be “love.”

Leave your thoughts below.

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302 Comments

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  1. Love is a response to our highest values. If the ability to earn money is something we value, once can marry for love and still marry for money, Smart men and women marry for shared values.

    • Agree 100%.

    • 100% agree with this. I think smart women never marry for just one reason. Smart women marry when they have considered compatibility and shared values on a much larger scale than bank accounts or physical attractiveness.

    • Almost exactly what I was going to say. Love vs money is something of a false dichotomy. And it goes for the romance side as well, love without shared values can fall down around your ears at a bump in the road too.

    • Amen Dorie. I was just thinking that same thing when I encountered the option to tweet a vote for one or the other. It isn’t one or the other. For a rational woman who falls in love with a wealthy man; if he is wealthy because of his own success (as opposed to inheritance or political power); it isn’t the fact that he has money but the attributes he possesses that made him able to earn it: intelligence, drive, rationality, self-assertiveness, ambition, etc. And the pride that he earned along with his fortune. That is what she falls in love with.

      Wealth is not something that exists in a vacuum. Someone acquires it for a reason, and that reason is an integral, relevant, and important part of the person’s character. Let anyone who thinks otherwise consider the difference between marrying Steve Jobs and Mohammar Ghaddafi, and that will make the distinction clear!

      Here is another brief thought experiment for those who think wealth is superficial: imagine you are an heiress to a multi-billion dollar fortune, and you are certain that you will never have to want for anything money can buy. So money is absolutely not something you need to acquire through a marriage. Now, you meet two men. One is a mediocrity with an unremarkable job, perhaps for some government bureau, who is bitter about his lack of money and blames everyone else for his failure to better his position in life. The other is a dynamic, confident and happy entrepreneur who has founded and built entire companies out of nothing. He doesn’t have as much money as you — yet — but he is wealthy. Remember that you are ridiculously wealthy and seek no material gain from a marriage. Which man would you choose? The answer is obvious.

    • Debbie, isn’t your “thought experiment” rather too blunt?

      How about a choice between a penniless artist who ebulliently loves life, art and you (not necessarily always in that order) and your dyno entrepreneur?

      Who would you choose then? Based on what criteria?

  2. Love alone can’t pay bill and put meal on the table but love can propel us to make good decisions with money. we won’t let our child starve because we don’t have money to buy food. different people equate love in different ways.

    • Agree with “love can propel us to make good decisions with money” — my husband didn’t even have a bank account when we met, let alone a retirement fund. But as we realized that we wanted to spend our lives together, he took steps to help secure our financial future.

  3. ….aaaaand unsubscribe. This gender stuff is
    either offensive or merely inane.

    • But you’re not sure which?

    • “We’ll miss you, Carl.”

      – Nobody

    • I agree.

      Inanity and offensiveness unfortunately drive pageviews. Ramit is no social scientist or psychologist.

      @Tyler: Some of the stuff is inane, and some of it is offensive. Some is both.

      @Caldwell: It’s a problem if we only look for affirmations of our beliefs.

  4. “Smart” women? Smart women like who? This seems to have less to do with smarts and more to do with forming a personal opinion on other peoples ways of thinking. The woman who marries for love is no smarter than the woman who marries for money, I just agree with one more than I agree with the other. I’d be more interested in seeing some info on actual smart, independent, successful women, and seeing how that ‘love or money’ either or thing plays out there.

    Plus, money is a HUGE sore spot in marriages, in some cases it can make or break them. Surely if you’re ‘smart’ you’re going to know before you get married if you are financially compatible (as well as all of the other kinds of compatible). And by that I don’t mean earning the same amount, I mean in your attitudes to finances. “Smart’ women are smart enough to see all the way around a relationship and make a decision on the whole. They don’t marry ‘for’ anything. All just my opinion, sorry if I’m being nit-picky on the smart thing, just one of my little bugbears.

    • Hi Susie,

      No you are not being nit-picky …you are just being sensible. And smart…

      Cheers.

    • You just wrote exactly the same argument the article Ramit linked to was about…

  5. there is two aspects to this:
    1. how you handle money/how important money is to you. That’s a value thing, I would like my partner to share my values… makes a relationship more sustainable.
    2. how naive you are. There are people out there studying exotic subjects that will never pay the rent (in german we call that “breadless art”). Sucks when you’re 35 and have two children from two different partners.

    I would not want a partner that has different values (I tried… lasted 3 years – was happy to move on) – Love goes, money stays.
    There is a >90% chance that I will have children (planned or not) – so I might as well plan for it.

  6. I think the problem is that even a lot of women who supposedly “marry for love” are still marrying for money but in a better-rationalized way. For example one woman may marry a billionaire she’s not attracted to and say she “married for money.” Another woman may say she married someone who she found funny and handsome and had chemistry with. However before she went on a date with him she screened out every person below a certain educational threshold, every person with a dead end career, every person who made below a certain annual salary, and every person who was less ambitious than she would have liked. So even though she may have made her final decision based on things other than money, it still played a major role in her screening process because she never allowed poor people to join the pool of applicants. Also, if you screen people based on probably future earning potential, they may not be making money now but there is a high likelihood they will in the future. It’s still a form of marrying for money, although if you asked the women doing it they’d say they weren’t. Many people only consider it marrying for money only if money is the ONLY reason they’re marrying someone and the person is ALREADY which.

    My point here is that we need a commonly agreed definition of what the phrase “Marrying for money” actually means before we can even start debating whether or not its good..

    That’s why I think these types of polls are flawed. People have to many ways to rationalize and deny the role money plays in their choices.

    Another example: many men may say they didn’t make a shallow decision when marrying and didn’t marry their wives based on looks because she’s smart and has a good career. However they never even gave women below a certain looks threshold a shot when considering women for marriage material. So even though for these guys looks weren’t the ONLY criteria, it still was one of the first and it informed every following step in the selection process as a result.

    • yep, yep, triple yep to all this ^

    • That’s right. I’m a woman and 100% I admit I screen in similar ways before I seriously entertain the guy as relationship material. And I continue to observe their money habits too as I’m dating them. The guy doesn’t have to be rich and he doesn’t have to be the sole breadwinner either, but anybody worth their salt knows that finances can make or break a marriage, especially where kids are involved. I can’t see myself marrying someone I don’t love, but more practical things like money, shared values, etc. make up the foundation of a stable relationship/marriage. Let’s stop fooling ourselves here.

      And yep, most men need to be attracted to the woman before he even entertains anything else with her. I’m not complaining about it, just like I wouldn’t want men to complain about women trying to secure a better future for themselves and their family. Just make it work for you.

    • What a great comment

    • I agree. Before I even started reading the comments, the first thing that came to mind was “potential”.

      I married my husband when we had just finished school, and although we had both held a few decent internships and jobs in the short term, income wasn’t totally relevant. Regardless, though, the *potential* was there. I’m certain the relationship wouldn’t have started, or continued, if we hadn’t met certain lifestyle/ambition thresholds in each other. Money certainly wasn’t the only crux – compatibility for the long haul, family values, and religious affiliations all played into our relationship. We’ve both agreed that divorce isn’t an option for us, so it is very important that we see eye to eye on all of these issues, which we openly discuss regularly.

      Also, to anyone willing to trade in their partner for a better model a few years down the road – divorce is possibly the number one inhibitor to becoming long-term wealthy. Nothing like having to pay lawyer fees and split assets every 10 years, pre-nups aside.

      Also, personal opinion, but pre-nups totally scream “non-commitment” to me. My idea of marriage is filed under the category of “lifetime” – if you know it’s not going to last, why bother going through the motions in the first place?

  7. Smart women marry for overall compatibility — you’ve got to consider everything — love, lust, religious views, financial goals/management, etc. People are often initially attracted to each other based on mutual interests, such as a shared hobby. Why shouldn’t compatible views on finances be just as important as your shared love for a football team?

    • Second that.

      Also, I never understood why it has to be marrying for love OR marrying for money, as if those two were mutually exclusive. I’d say they are just part of a list of things you’ve got to consider (see above).

  8. I’m a guy but I’d think the really smart women don’t go after either love or money, at least not directly. How people manage their finances plays a huge part in how their life runs by, so going by compatibility, if you yourself are financially sound, you normally end up finding compatibility in someone who is also financially sound, or (and its a big or) someone who can or is becoming financially sound with the right goal.
    The biggest thing about being financially sound is having that goal. I’ve seen people squander things away until they realised what they want in life, after that they make a huge turn around becoming more financially sound than most. (FYI, by goal I don’t mean the generic “I want to be rich”, I mean the Ramit style goal of I want 1426729.49 in my retirement account. That 49c is important because I want my twinkie damn-it!)

  9. I don’t know, this whole “marry for love” vs. “marry for money” thing is a bit strange for me.

    I mean, if you marry someone who you love, but who is completely irresponsible with money and has no career ambitions whatsoever, is that smart?

    That would probably look great in a romantic comedy, but in real life, marrying someone who’s not responsible with money isn’t a very smart decision, since you will have to share a lot of financial responsibilities together, from house to kids.

    However, if you don’t love someone and marry him because he’s a billionaire, is that smart?

    Professional gold diggers will disagree with me here, but I think marrying solely for money isn’t smart either, since it’s too easy to make money nowadays to sacrifice the opportunity to have a great marriage with someone you love for financial security.

    And these are just two of loads of factors that come into play when it’s a decision time..

    I think “marrying for love” vs. “marrying for money” is a false dichotomy.

    It’s way more complicated than that.

    I think that (at least for most people) love is a must in a happy marriage, but it’s not the only factor, and marrying solely for love when there’s no real compatibility is a recipe for a divorce.

  10. To answer your questions: How important is money when you’re evaluating a potential partner? How important should money be? And is it different for men and women?

    Money should be important because money issues are one of the biggest issues married couples seem to have. Especially if the woman plans on having kids, money habits and earning potential is important. It’s not so important if she wants to keep working on her career and doesn’t really want kids. I think men weigh it a little less than women do, but they probably SHOULD weigh it more. That’s why you keep getting these men who constantly complain about wives who spend everything they make and then wring them dry. So yes, both genders should have the money talk.

    Examples (for both genders): If you find out that your girlfriend/boyfriend has $30,000 of debt, how would you react? What if you’ve been dating for 4 years?

    I would be put off by it if I had first met him, but I would be willing to hear him out. Lots of people get into that situation and learn from it, and if that’s the case, then I consider that a good thing. If I’ve been dating him 4 years, it depends. Has he always been a big spender and I’m just figuring out about the debt now? Is he still continuing to mindlessly spend? I wouldn’t like that.

    How does your partner’s income play into your decision to be with them?

    It’s not so much the income as it is his spending habits. However if he was making too little money (like say under $50,000 a year) at a job and he was content staying there and living the rat race forever, I won’t lie, I wouldn’t like that.

    And if smart women marry for _____. What do smart men marry for? Hint: The answer cannot just be “love.”

    I would say *smart* men marry for support, particularly support to their sense of significance, even if they don’t admit they need support in those areas. (So emotional, psychological, domestic, sexual, and just support in building a better life, etc.)

  11. Women marry for security! it isn’t the cash that matters but knowing he will do anything to keep providing in a way your family has decided to live in terms of lifestyle. Also the security in knowing he might find other women more attractive but won’t do anything with it.

    • Katherine Chalmers Link to this comment

      Excellent point!

    • I second this! Especially if you expect to take some time off from work for family, it helps if you can count on your spouse to support you.

  12. Before marrying, smart *people* (not just women) do a cost-benefit analysis of multiple factors including but not limited to: love, finances, personalities, life goals, religious & non-religious values, etc.

    Do I love my spuse? Certainly. Do our financial views align? That too. Do our personalities jive? You bet. Do we share similar life goals? Mostly. And religious values? Yep.

    Creating a false dichotomy between love and money only serves to muddy the waters.

  13. Marry for character. Find a spouse that has integrity, honesty, and resilience because when the chips are down, this will make your marriage survive. As for money, nothing is worst for you financially then divorce so it’s better to marry someone who takes that for better or for worse vow serious and you take it seriously yourself.

  14. I met my husband at 19 and married him 18 months later. Here’s what was important to me, in hindsight:

    1. I wanted to marry a man at least as smart as I was. My IQ is in the top 2% of the distribution, I wanted someone who could be an intellectual counterpart to me. Luckily, more men than women are that smart, and I was at an elite university. So I got that.

    2. I wanted someone of a reasonably intellectual bent. I talk and think a lot abut ideas, and I ideally wanted someone who was also excited by knowledge and thought for its own sake.

    3. Most importantly, I wanted a man who valued the role of being a husband/father. I wanted a man who accepted that his main job was to support the family, and my main job was to take care of the house/kids. My husband is on board with this, probably in part because he’s from a fairly conservative Chinese family. (I’m a WASP, so getting this quality required a cross cultural marriage.) My husband has decent earning power (software engineer), but more than that, supporting the family is essential to a positive self-image. That was important to me–I wanted a breadwinner. This has real tradeoffs for me, but ones I don’t mind making. I’m constrained by a relatively traditional set of gender roles. My husband is never going to do housework or go for an equal division of labor. I’ll probably have a larger than average number of children. My in-laws will live with us when they’re older and I will care for them. Etc. I was committed enough to this life plan that, had I not met my husband in college, I was planning on moving to another city to pursue a conversion to Orthodox Judaism.

    Was I marrying for money? Perhaps. But it’s not one-sided. My husband got U.S. citizenship though me. My husband gets the respect of his family, he gets to live out the life he wants as I live out the life we want. When I look at my peers, though, it is terribly lonely. I sometimes feel we’re the only “real grownups” in our cohort or early 20 somethings. But we are very happy.

    • I really, really like this comment.

      I applaud you for evaluating what was important for you and casting aside the unrealistic idea of equality in marriage, something I think is as much of a BS script as “everyone should buy a house”. And before anyone gets upset – determining equality in marriage is like tracking the amount of touchdowns in a baseball game. It’s a non-starter… marriages are about building a family – even a family of two – not making sure everyone is equal.

      It’s amazing how many young women from traditional families (especially here in the South) really want a marriage and a family, but buy into the idea that they have to get their master’s and a career first. There is nothing wrong with women having careers, but there definitely is something wrong with lying to them and convincing them they are worth less without it. I don’t know if you have a career or not, it’s not a necessity either way, but it’s great that you recognize that to you, your husband’s ability to provide is key to your relationship.

    • From what I’ve read, traditional (man earner, wife homemaker) marriages tend to be the happiest and least prone to divorce, so that did play a bit of a role in my thought process. My parents have been married for a long time, but I see how unhappy my mother’s score keeping makes her. She’s aware that my dad does very little housework, and it bothers her. I choose to ignore that my husband does very little housework and I do the bulk of it. In exchange, I push my husband to work more than I do. He works full time, as do I, but I encourage him to work late as needed. He works freelance and is gone from the house a lot. It makes me happy, and nagging him into doing housework makes us both miserable. I’d rather just clean the bathroom that bug him to do it.

      Every sophisticated economy engages in labor force specialization, which is why we don’t all have cornfields and chickens in our back yards these days. To me, it only makes sense to apply that to the household as well.

    • ” My parents have been married for a long time, but I see how unhappy my mother’s score keeping makes her. She’s aware that my dad does very little housework, and it bothers her. I choose to ignore that my husband does very little housework and I do the bulk of it.”

      You’re a wise woman. Dale Carnegie and many happily married women who have come before you would be proud.

    • I’m surprised that you would have considered converting to Orthodox Judaism if you wanted to marry a breadwinner. In Orthodox Judaism the woman is the breadwinner and runs the house since her husband goes to yeshiva (kollel) all day.

    • Depends on the branch you’re looking at. In the Hareidi (far right) community, yes, but they usually aren’t too hot on converts anyway. Not in the Modern Orthodox community, though they do have the problem of universal private school tuition.

      But there’s relatively few places you can find conservative gender roles upheld as normative these days.

    • I come from a Mormon background and went to Brigham Young University. At school this mindset is still present. Plenty of students there are said to be working on an Mrs degree and happen to get another degree in the process. I was on the other side of this perspective.

      1 I wanted to marry someone that is both smart enough and able to raise children. Someone with a desire to be a Mother and Homemaker. I wanted to be able to be a breadwinner for my future family. I wanted a wife that had the counterpoint of wanting to raise a family. I understood that even in a dual income home that the female usually does more of the nurturing and caring for children. I wanted someone up to that task.

      I’m just glad to see those values alive and being supported when so many want to downplay the role Mothers have on society. Face it – i believe most Mothers that raise children contribute more to society than any person does spending similar time working.

      2. Other reasons. There were other things i was looking for. They are just not relevant to what has been said so far. They do include things such as religious strength, looks, etc. The “usual” stuff.

  15. I think there’s a big assumption being made here that men are always the primary breadwinners.

    Before my husband and I got engaged, we had already discussed and were in agreement on the fact that my career was very important to me and I planned to work for as much of my life as I could, whereas he very much wanted to be a stay-at-home parent as soon as possible. I was the saver; he was the spender. At the moment we are both working (no kids yet), and I make more than him. So to suggest that I somehow needed him financially make no sense — if anything, paying for his graduate school and now paying off his student loans is a bigger financial drain than if I hadn’t married him.

    Yet I don’t think anyone would say he “married for money.” When things don’t fall along traditional gender lines, no one seems to have that thought, except perhaps in cases of the extremely wealthy / female celebrities. I guess you could say it was smart of him to marry someone whose finances and financial knowledge were more mature than his, but that just seems like a strange way to frame our relationship.

    • I was thinking this exactly. The invisible script behind this whole post is that the man is the breadwinner. In the US women are half of all U.S. workers and mothers are the primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners in nearly two-thirds of American families (source: The Shriver Report). Of course a sizable portion of these women may still consider their husbands the primary breadwinner, but that’s just speculation.

      I’d say smart people marry for money in the sense that it is one of the few things in a relationship you can’t work around. If your partner is a spendthrift it doesn’t matter how much money either of you make it will always be gone all the time. Bad money habits are the ultimate deal breaker.

  16. I think its smart to marry for a combo of compatibility and love. I’ve been in love with people who I was not compatible with long term, including financially. I wanted to end up with someone who I loved, but who spent money like me, hated all the same people, and shared my values in other important areas. Didnt want to end up fighting with my partner regularly about money/sex/drinking/health/etc habits.

  17. Smart women marry for BOTH love and money. Both are necessary. Love without money is stressful and unsatisfying. Money without love is miserable and unsatisfying.

    Smart men marry for good looks, a woman than builds him up, and love. Love is important, but you don’t fall in love with a 4 when you are an 8…

    The Feminists (especially the ugly ones) will hate this, but in my opinion a wife has 2 primary duties – to support her husband and to look good.

    • If you want your wife to be an ornament, then yes, that should be what you’re looking for. If a man has different ideas of what a family should be like, he should look for other things in a woman (e.g. if he needs her to contribute to the family income to be able to focus on his chosen career path or get a PhD).

      However, many sexist men forget that women come with different personalities, too, so you’d have to check not only her looks and if she’s supportive, but if she’s a match in hobbies and values as well, or you might be headed for disaster. And, to be on the safe side, make sure she has at least some financial skills, even if you want to take care of the household finances, or she will take your best – your money.

    • How’s that theory working out for you, Chris?

  18. Smart women (and men) marry for character. Character is not only shared moral/life values, but the intestinal fortitude to stick by those values when they are inconvenient or even contradict your emotions. Character is also the maturity to delay gratification when necessary for a greater good, and create a plan and take action to follow it.
    These qualities may or may not lead to wealth, but they are strongly associated with wealth, and necessary for long-term success in marriage, business, effective charity work, or any worthwhile endeavor.

  19. I think it is too general to evaluate how important ‘money’ is when choosing a mate. I think attitude/values about money and the way a person handles their money is far more important than how much is in the bank, in terms of choosing a long-term partner. I don’t think this is different for men vs. women. A couple, ideally, should have compatible values about handling money, whatever those values are.

    I don’t think it’s accurate to say smart women marry for love or money. I think smart women marry for happiness. Love and money are part of that, as well as many other factors. Smart men marry for happiness, too.

  20. Smart women make their own money, and love who they want. If they marry, it’s to raise children together. So: smart women marry good fathers, if they marry at all.

    • Ha! Excellent. :) For me, marriage was also about having kids.

      I married for Happiness. Since I met my husband when we were both 19 (although we married at 30, when we decided to have kids), I had no way of knowing how things would work out money-wise.

      For me, it turned out that having a happy, optimistic partner who is hardworking, responsible, and honest was what made me happy, and made me feel more confident and happy in my own life. Confidence, optimism and love of life will usually lead to great things. These are actually hard traits to find in people. A great spouse is one that lets you live your own life, and enhances your life together instead of bringing you down. It’s amazing what having positive people in your life can do for you (and your children)!

      Money and happiness don’t go hand in hand. But those who worked hard for their money and value it for the freedom it brings (as opposed to the Power it brings) can probably have both.

    • I agree with this 100%! Any woman who marries for love, money, or security isn’t very smart.

    • And, what counts as a ‘good father’ varies – some women really want to be able to stay home and raise kids full-time, and for those women, ability to provide financially (in a stable, predictable manner) is HUGE in a potential marriage partner. Some women want to have children but don’t want to do primary caregiver duty, and for those women, a guy who will be genuinely happy staying home with kids (and good at caring for children) could be a great match.

    • Love this!! Spot on.

  21. If everyone “brings their own opinions to the conversation,” so will I. Marriage is an antiquated social construct and has no place in MY world. Others are welcome to do as the please, of course. Clearly, marriage is a business transaction although sadly, most people refuse to acknowledge it or to let it float to the top of their consciousness. People can live together; when they enter into a marriage transaction, they are implicitly agreeing to try to acquire new assets and … stuff. Just as in any business, there are complicated and even messy legal consequences. No thanks.

    • Oh god, I knew it had to happen

    • I am sensing you experienced a terrible divorce as a child? Your statements are down right depressing and sad.

    • To be fair, she’s right – to a lot of people, that’s all that marriage is now. Keep a close eye on gay marriage, especially with men… don’t be surprised when you see wealthy gay men refusing to get married and advising against it (once it is widely legal) due to the family court ramifications of it.

    • What, these comments in reply to me? No, no trauma in my family. Happily married parents etc. It just seems such a bad and even absurd idea.
      I read Ramit’s emails because they strange and funny and oddly irrelevant to me, but I guess he pushed a few buttons with the gender-roles topics.

    • It IS the year 2012, after all.

  22. Love, I make my own money

  23. I agree with the person who said “smart men and women marry for shared values”. My fiance has probably close to $30k in debt. Most of it student loan debt that was not particularly avoidable (and he worked the entire time he was in school at nearly full time hours). He works hard to pay off debts he has accrued. If he was a spendthrift and had that much in consumer debt, we might have a problem. But he’s not, and our values with money are compatible. And thankfully I make enough to balance out the hard numbers. If he made more than me but spent money on crazy and frivolous things we couldn’t afford, we wouldn’t be compatible.

    And we’re compatible in many other important ways that matter – on whether to have kids (and how to raise them), on what is truly important, communication, sex. And we’re great friends to boot :)

    • “If he made more than me but spent money on crazy and frivolous things we couldn’t afford, we wouldn’t be compatible.”

      I agree with that. And, for me, being able to afford the crazy and frivolous things doesn’t make any difference, we wouldn’t be compatible if he spent money like crazy.

  24. I’m not a woman, but here I go offering an opinion on the subject…

    Everyone would be lying if they said that money doesn’t matter in marriage(not love, marriage). I don’t believe that it’s as simple as love or money – can’t it be a balance of both? No? Well, it ought to be!

    In the grand scheme things it doesn’t nor should it matter, but it does.

    The amount of money someone has(saved or otherwise) doesn’t weigh as much as how financially sound and responsible they are which correlates back to how much they may have, but again the amount isn’t a factor.

    The subject of money usually/hopefully comes up long before the subject of marriage is brought up any way. There is time to make a best judgement on a prospective partner’s financial situation while starting off as friends, dating, etc. During this time, there is also time to change the situation for the better if it’s worthwhile to invest in the relationship especially towards marriage.

    I can love a person with financial issues, but I will not consider marriage until I am sure that we are setting ourselves up for peace of mind and possibly success. I’m in it for the long-term, baby!

  25. Smart women marry for stability. Stability of character, work ethic, emotional and psychological stability. These characteristics create prosperity for the family, and a peaceful, happy relationship. Beware of scatty guys who have an unstable work history, and unstable relationship history, a lot of drama and chaos in their lives. If he brags about saving up for a down payment on his own home, but then the next week he goes out and buys himself a brand new truck instead – then yes, he’s financially immature and therefore unstable. If he shows up in your life after a very recent divorce and custody battle, having just changed jobs and moved into the area, and he is already talking about getting married again and rejoining the Navy – run away from him, he’s a train wreck waiting to happen, and you’re the next victim! If he is self-employed, but he constantly changes his “story” about what he actually does for a living, be afraid. If he drives past your house, breaks into your email account, and effectively begins surveilling you online and off, he’s unstable. Stop seeing him immediately. Generally, if a man has ever been cheated on by an ex-wife, or ex-girlfriend, he is NOT over it, even if he claims he is ready to move on. Do yourself a favor and find someone more stable. He will have emotional hangups for DECADES. Seriously, I have met men in their 40s still being weird after their ex-wives cheated on them when they were in their early 20s! They never get over it, and they never get any help or counseling. They just stay damaged.

    Smart women evaluate men on their emotional, psychological, financial and health *stability.* If you don’t, you will end up with someone who can make your life miserable, and trust me, you’re better off single. Just get yourself another cat. :)

  26. I do not think there is anything wrong with making sure the guy you marry has some professional ambitions and knows how to take care of things financially. Those are attractive qualities. My boyfriend (who I intend to marry) is not getting rich at his job, but it is professionally fulfilling for him, and he makes enough, is smart about his money, and takes care of what he needs to take care of for his finances. He even has money on the side to pursue a side business. And I love him. Best of both worlds.

  27. Smart women (like smart men) are not one-dimensional.

  28. Another vote for “smart men and women marry for shared values.” I love my fiancee, but love alone wouldn’t cut it long term. Shared values is what will do it.

  29. I think smart women marry for ambition. However, that ambition has to be applied not just to money, but for lifelong learning, being a good father (if you have kids), staying healthy, keeping the sexual chemistry fresh, etc. A man who is ambitious in life will never be poor, or a jerk, or overweight, or boring. But he should expect the same from his wife. I think the best marriages are ones where you think the other person is better than you. A mutual respect and admiration for one another. That’s the kind of person that I would want to marry!

  30. Understanding women was explained to me by a wise old man several years ago. I feel it has served me well by taking a step back and keeping the below in mind (of course it is just a guide only).

    Women in their 20′s want excitement.
    Women in thier 30′s want love and affection.
    Women in their 40′s want stability.
    Women in their 50′s want cash.
    Women in their 60′s+ want companionship.

  31. man marry for love AND money !

  32. Brandi hit it on the head with exactly my first thought…women marry for security. I have been married for nearly 6 years to a man who is fiercely loyal and always trying to anticipate my needs. Knowing you a have a partner that is there through the good and bad is the key. Money played a stressful role in our 2nd year of marriage as our businesses turned south but we strategized, relied on our savings, dusted ourselves off, and repositioned financially and emotionally. The reality is money doesn’t sit by your side when you are having surgery or making life decisions. It makes things easier but the security of a partner that truly has your back is priceless.

  33. I don’t know if smart is the right word. Smart is defined as quick witted, bright. Intelligent is the correct word for the kind of logical approach you are speaking about.
    That being said, most people in the US are attracted more by their emotions and visual cues. Most people pick mates based on their background, how they were treated by their parents, much more primal, instinctual motivations.
    I think what you say makes sense. But sense has as much to do with finding a mate as logic has to do with buying a car. When they interview people about what they want in a car, it’s always logical, just like almost everyone wants a mate who is fun to be with and compassionate. But when they watch what people end up buying, it’s not the car with the best gas mileage as much as the car with the most social value. If a person buys a Prius, it’s usually because their friends will think highly of them.
    I am actually amazed at how little we tend to ask the hard questions when we are in a relationship. There are very fundamental “love languages”, and if you aren’t matched up, you end up with irreconcilable differences.

  34. Dorie pretty much took the words out of my mouth. I marry for love AND money. That is, I could not be with anyone I didn’t love and wasn’t attracted to physically, intellectually and who didn’t share the same basic values. At the same time, it’s just as easy to marry a rich man as a poor man, as they say. Meaning, I just naturally tend to find attractive and gravitate not towards wealth per se, but men who inherently have traits and characteristics and a certain level of competence and personal achievement and self-esteem that naturally lend to them being also more accomplished and successful and smart financially.

  35. Smart people marry for convenience (whether it’s the convenience of combining two incomes for a more stable financial outlook, or because their kiddos won’t have to hyphenate their last names, or because their families will finally stop asking when they’re getting married, or for live-in housekeeping…whatever). Modern marriages are still matters of convenience in some form, since you don’t have to get married to net nearly all the benefits/trappings of marriage (tax advantages being one exception that springs to mind).

  36. Its all very idealistic to say that we are in a modern society and that women and men are equals, which is true. However, equal doesn’t mean “the same”. I am a very intelligent, successful and educated woman and can accomplish whatever I want to in this world. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that I want to. I, by nature’s intent, have a strong desire to care for my children and my home. My husband, who is fantastic with helping with the house and children, does not, by natures intent have that same built-in strong desire.
    So what ends up happening in couples where the woman is the bread-winner is that there is eventually a resentment of the man by the woman for the fact that she not only has to take on the responsibility of being the breadwinner with work and financial stress but also has to take on the primary household role. And the man will become resentful of the wiman because he wont feel as though he has the capacity to be as “valuable” as her. Obviously there are exceptions but I think that in general, these situations do not work out for the long term. So, I’m not saying that the man has to be rich or able to allow the woman to stay home but I do believe that a smart woman chooses a man who has the same or, ideally, greater earning power than her.

    • Sorry, but this is bullshit. I was raised by a stay-at-home father and my mother was the breadwinner. They have the happiest marriage I have ever seen. By all means have your own ambitions and needs, but don’t assume everyone else has the same ambitions and needs as you.

  37. I think it is important for a couple to be be aware of money, be able to communicate about money, be able to plan money together. It does not mean that they need to have tons of it, they just need to agree on how they will use what they have. If they can do that, then marrying for love makes sense. Money comes and goes, and if she is a smart woman married to someone she loves that shares the same plan and vision of money, she will make plenty or she will encourage / guide her spouse in making plenty. A smart woman will marry a smart man unless she has underlying psychological issues, which then can she be categorized as a ‘smart’ woman?

  38. I’ll be following my grandmother’s, mother’s and recently divorced female friend’s advice:
    a) Don’t marry the man you love the most, marry the one that loves you the most.
    b) It takes just as much work to fall in love with a poor man than it does with a rich one, so you might as well pick well.
    c) Don’t get married with someone that still takes money from their parents.

    In reality, I’ll add to this the fact that I’m a driven, ambitious and accomplished person (who just happens to be in social work, as this is my passion. I’m not poor/destitute, but I will never make much money from this), and could only see myself with someone who matches/challenges my drive. In any other field but mine, someone like that would be fairly well off. If I ever decided to have a family, a partner that provided a high degree of financial stability would be paramount. So yes, while I’ll be looking for butterflies, let’s be honest – an accomplished guy would be desirable

  39. “A man in not a financial plan!” – visible script

    I wouldn’t date someone who seems like they are on the road to nowhere finance-wise. I wouldn’t get along with someone who wasn’t at least close to my intelligence level. Most people who have an intelligence level similar to mine pick careers that make decent money.

    I don’t really have much in common with the guy that worked 10 years at the Walmart or the gas station while I was getting my BS degree, traveling the world, starting my career, and then creating side income streams. Meanwhile gas station guy is making less than my side income…

    It’s not a matter of choosing between “love” and “money.” The idea that it’s a hard choice seems crazy. Most fights are over finances. So this is a pretty big compatibility issue. It’s hard to “love” somebody you’re fighting with all the time over money. I generally don’t have much in common intellectually with people who usually end up in low income positions. I’m not going to “fall for” someone who I can’t converse with at my level. That doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions… Outliers, I suppose… I’m just speaking in general…

    Smart women marry for a mix of traits and overall compatibility.

    Unless you’re one of my mom’s friends, then it’s, “Marry the old rich guy and when he dies marry the young attractive guy you really wanted.”

  40. It’s so romantic to marry for love, but marriage is more than just a romance. It’s a decision to live and work and play (and possibly raise children) with someone. It has to be a SMART decision, like any other life-changing one we make. So I didn’t marry my husband because he made lots of money (he doesn’t, not yet), but it is certainly something I’m grateful for in our marriage that he 1) has really healthy views about money and finance and 2) makes good finances a priority. Of course I love him, but it isn’t it great to know that we’ll be able to meet our financial goals AND be set for retirement? That makes for a much healthier marriage. Basically, they’re intertwined. If it looks like money is a factor in making the marriage decision, we marry them because they are responsible stewards of their resources, time, and talents. And that’s just one of the many reasons I love my husband.

  41. Smart women marry for Intelligence, Ambition, and Kindness.

  42. Smart women marry for a whole variety of reasons. I think you would have to define “smart women”, are we talking about 25 – 30 year old professional working women, who are able to support them selves, have a bachelor’s degree at least, some who might even have master degrees.

    I think this question is too broad, but general questions get general answers, so here goes:

    I think smart women, don’t just marry for money, but it is a factor that goes into the equation, whether or not some women put more weight on it is a different factor.

    An analogy is a judge who is determining whether a man is guilty of murder, there could be numerous amounts of evidence, for example, the knife that killed the victim has DNA and finger prints of the man on it. This would be very compelling evidence and would be weighted more than say, a hearsay statement from a witness that said “Yea , I saw him kill the girl”, but when cross examined the witnesses recollection is hazy, and he was also drunk at the time. The judge would weight both pieces of evidence, but the DNA and finger prints would be weighted more than the testimony from the witness, who claims to have been at the scene.

  43. Katherine Chalmers Link to this comment

    Smart women can earn their OWN money. They marry for character, potential, and love. A man with excellent character, empathy, intelligence, a strong work ethic who truly loves his wife is a far better long term choice than some ordinary guy with some bucks and a cute butt. A man of character and potential is much more likely to be financially successful over the course of a lifetime and more likely to take his familial responsibilities seriously. A shallow rich guy who would dump his wife and kids at 40 for newer models is no prize.

    Also, marrying the right husband is much more crucial for women’s career (and earning) success than vice versa. A woman with a modern, supportive husband who is an equal partner in their marriage will fare MUCH better economically than a woman who has an old-fashioned husband who demands that his working wife still take on the majority of the household and child-rearing chores. Who a woman marries can have a greater impact on her career success than where she got her MBA. Pathetic, but true.

  44. what if she loves money?

  45. Someone please define “love”.

  46. I think others above have done a great job at answering Ramit’s question. I just feel compelled to acknowledge the hilarious comment to Ginger’s article made by Patrick B. He was probably being sarcastic, but I had to laugh at his relationship/investment advice: drop it when performance is low. Good luck getting ahead with that strategy…

  47. People marry for the future! Do I think this partner will love me and help support me through my golden years unconditionally? That’s a good investment to make.

    I also want to key into the money marrying aspect a little bit more. I am (more or less) capable of controlling the income I obtain, but am not as much so able to control an SO’s income, so shouldn’t I focus more on my own ability to bolster my earnings than worry about someone else’s money that I can’t control, nor their desire to control it? I’m not say marry a bum who has no potential for financial growth (hence the future aspect of marriage), but don’t pull hairs out on account of it. At the end of the day, money is a replaceable commodity while love isn’t quite as dispensable.

  48. IMO the girl should have an equal or slightly lower financial level than mine. Too big of a difference and I would feel like her sponsor, or I would feel like having a hard time “keeping up”, either way costing me a lot of money and a lot of frustration. So yeah the financial level is an important factor.

  49. I looked at intelligence, sense of humor, kindness, respectfulness, money habits, personal grooming (Yes! Too many schlumpy guys out there!), integrity, how they treated their parents and family and, of course, love. In essence, I wanted someone that would make a great partner so that we would build a beautiful life together. I also wanted someone who was committed and not merely interested in commitment.

  50. I will be honest and say that I do consider finances when looking at potential partners. While I do have my own career, I want someone to pool resources with; and while having money doesn’t necessarily equal being happy, I’d rather be rich and miserable than poor and miserable.

    In my opinion, love alone does not sustain a relationship. If it does, I’d imagine that such couples are those who have enough money that it truly doesn’t matter (e.g. trust fund babies.)

    I think that wanting to marrying for money is no different than wanting to marry someone who’s tall or blonde – that is the trait you desire, so you look for people who have that trait. I don’t understand the stigma.

  51. Smart people marry for love and compatability with your big issues, including money. My fiancee makes good money, which is great but not what attracted me to him, that would be his smile and character.

    Both of us paid attention to how the other handled money and savings throughout our relationship, because that’s a big deal to future harmony. We have similar spending styles, which is to be conservative most of the time and splash out on things that we care about ever now and then.

    In my past dating life, most of the guys I dated made around the same salary as I, more or less. Money wasn’t ever an issue in the relationships because there was usually a huge jerk problem that I was dealing with that wasn’t financially related. Thinking back though, most of them were not good with their money, which kind of complements their poor self control in other areas.

    I think the only real status related thoughts I had about guys was brought on by the last one I dated before meeting my fiancee. I realized that this guy drove a silver Honda Civic, as had FIVE of my ex-boyfriends.

    I have nothing against Civics, per se, but I decided that I would never date someone who drove one again. For what it’s worth, I consider a flashy car to be a turnoff as well, to me it says “I care way too much about cars and appearances.” My fiancee has a F150, it’s hott.

  52. I had five MUSTS for a partner (I was never interested in finding a husband)

    1. We had to love and respect each other.

    2. He had to think I was funny and vice versa. Humor is very important to me.

    3. He had to be good with money but neccessarily making a ton. Just not spending like crazy and not saving.

    4. He had to be good in bed.

    5. Have to love what he does, whatever he does.

    That was my criteria. Call me a superficial jerk, but that’s how I met my husband. And I NEVER thought I would get married, I imagined I was going to be a cat woman.

    • Def agree with Natalie for the most part…I’d never marry someone just because I loved them haha I may not mind if they don’t make that much (esp. if they love their job) but if they aren’t responsible with their money, they certainly won’t be responsible with mine if we decide to share and share alike…and that’s a deal-breaker right there.

  53. Smart women are realistic when picking a partner. The previous comment on thresholds was very good, I would only add that money often acts as a good proxy for personal characteristics, which can affect love. For instance, high salary usually equals dedicated, ambitious, and disciplined. That person (usually) must have some of those qualities if they became so successful. It’s why I (and most of my circle) are often attracted to high performing professionals (e.g., lawyers, doctors, etc.), but not lottery winners. While it may seem like the money is what’s attracting you, it’s actually the qualities that allowed the person to achieve that income. I consider that kind of drive very attractive/sexy. (Before anyone gets upset, I do realize that money does not always equal success and that many people with less money can have this drive/characteristics as well.)

    Concerning the debt question, it depends how he got it. If it was through college loans, it wouldn’t really bother me, compared to credit card debt. A lot of my reaction would depend on his attitude towards it. Was he taking it seriously and trying to pay it off, or was he getting deeper and deeper into debt? If the former, I don’t foresee a big problem to the relationship. If the latter, it would be deeply unattractive. Again, not strictly because of the money, but because of the qualities that are associated with this attitude: irresponsibility, impulsiveness, lack of self-control/self-discipline. It’s really hard to say on the four year question, because I’d hope that I’d know about it before then, but right now I’d consider it a hit to the relationship. You can’t really predict those things, though, because if you love someone and have a comfortable relationship you can forgive a lot. Rather I’d say: “smart women would consider five figure debt a possible deal breaker if the partner didn’t take it seriously”.

  54. The rational consumer, uhh, I mean men and women marry to maximize their utility. There is as much discussion trying to define “rational” or “smart” as there is to define utility.

  55. Smart women marry for compatibility. Yes love comes first and must be there, but so should compatibility on family, careers and yes money.

  56. “I married her because of her GEP (Good Earning Potential)

    I have been married for 24 years now. I dated my wife through college and married her after we both finished college and had stable jobs. Interestingly, I made no bones about the fact I always wanted to marry someone with “GEP” and not only did my wife fit that model, we were also compatible religion wise and values wise.

    Now, my wife never really revealed her true feelings about money, until I left private industry to become a “high school teacher”‘. Prior to teaching, I was a VP in private insurance industry and making a nice mid 6-figure salary. After 20 years of this rat race I decided I wanted to “make a difference”

    Haha, when my wife found out I was thinking of leaving private industry to teach, she truly did not believe I was serious…until I started school for my credential.

    Interestingly enough, my wife went on to tell me that had she known I would become a teacher, that she probably would not have married me. Do I have a problem with this? No. My “GEP” was important to her.

    We are still married and now my wife is probably leaving her 6 figure job to become, of all things, a teacher.

    Finances are probably the most important factor in a stable relationship. Men & women would be woefully ignorant if they marry simply for “love”.

  57. I’m pretty sure you’ve left this as a fairly loaded wide open argument on purpose and I really can’t speak to what a female actually considers when getting into marriage. I would say though it might be better to discover what the underlying script here is to find out what they define both marriage and love as.
    Conceptually marriage in my mind has been a 3 part component.
    1) A public proclamation to your peers that you and your spouse intend to live your lives as a family unit for the duration
    2) A contract with the government that you be considered one and the same and be granted the rights customary with it
    3) Seeking of a blessing from whichever god that this same union be recognized in whatever fashion that religion requires

    But that doesn’t answer what a marriage is for? What’s the goal? In much the same way people ask why do you own a house you can ask why do you need to be married.

    For my wife and I we recognize a few things now through maturity. In our early 20′s the mere thought of infidelity would have crushed not just our marriage but in our minds anyone else’s. In our 30′s with nearly a decade of married years (not counting the prior courtship) we understand so much more.
    Being married and going all in for each other allows both of you to go further in life so long as you recognize that’s what it’s for. Even in the example above of the WASP that married the Chinese man, don’t think for a second there’s not “social opportunities” for her to advance her husbands career. Military wives know this game quite well.
    Being married allows you to have a better chance to raise children that will add to your life and hopefully others. There are several ways to raise children, a committed marriage has many resources.
    In general if you take it as a base concept being married allows you to live life every day. Just like the person that only goes to the gym or socializes when they have someone to go with. Having a spouse is a reason every day to live with someone else. Just that little bit of oomph. You don’t have to love your personal trainer, you don’t even have to love your friends all you have to do is enjoy them just enough and odds are you’re on the better side of things.

    • I’m the aforementioned WASP. Of course there are social opportunities to advance my husband’s career. It’s why every so often I haul out the good dress and lipstick, and go to my husband’s work social events and reunions and performances and smile and make nice chit-chat.

      I hate social events, but it’s important. It’s also why we have houseguests and meet up with people on a regular basis. It’s also important that I’m taking care of everything else, so my husband can drop everything to meet with someone who can potentially help him. My husband works. It’s basically all he does. He doesn’t spend his time doing much of anything else. Married men make more money, and I think it’s in part because they have the social advantages of a wife, plus the time advantage of having somebody else do a lot of the uncompensated labor required to keep one fed, clothed, etc.

    • I’m glad you see your responsibility in your role but I think your answer drifts slightly too much to pigeonholing the whole deal. Right now you have a situation that works and plays to both of your strengths. There will be times as absurd as it sounds where it will be better for the both of you if you attend one of those social affairs and he stays home and takes care of the house for the evening. So long as both of you are pulling in the same direction I think you’ve got the right idea.

  58. What happens after the marriage is more important than why you got married. Love isn’t an impulse, it’s a commitment. Usually when people say they want to marry for love, they aren’t really talking about love. They’re talking about emotion. But your spouse is eventually going to drive you crazy and real love is what makes you stick around despite that.

  59. Jessica Mashael Link to this comment

    RULE: Successful marriages require compatibility for success and happiness. 2nd, they require adaptability and commitment to taking actions as a team.

    How does money fit into that rule?

    The partners financial situations and abilities need to be complimentary.

    If a man is very frugal and has his own home and car paid off, he would need to choose someone who does not come with a financial situation that could harm that.

    A woman who has no past due debt and owns a house that she rents out for income, cannot marry a man who will harm that.

    How important is money to marriage?

    Money is a symbol for success in our society. Money, property, investments, etc. These assets provide security for the person, their spouse, and their family. This is mostly true in our culture and throughout history, for the men to provide that security.

    Will he be loving and nurturing? Well, money is NOT a symbol for that. And while it is very important to have that financial support, there will always be a spiritual health need that we need fulfilled as well.

    So… Money and Loving support? How important are each of these?

    I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, it’s 50% 50%. Immediate needs are easy to see being covered by money, so the results are easier to document and witness.

    The loving /nurturing aspect of a bonded relationship is more internal, BUT
    PAY ATTENTION to all the depression and anxiety in our world. This is the reason we need the closeness. IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE MONEY.

  60. I agree with many of the comments above. I am planning to get married to my current boyfriend and I did consider money as he did as well, along with other values. While not necessarily a first date conversation, money should be talked about early on in a relationship. In turn, I have always been very candid about my $180k law school debt as it is a serious factor in whether someone wants to take on that debt when they marry me. Money is not the only value, but is a very important one. It requires both people to take a honest look at their spending habits, saving habits and decide whether that will work, if it doesn’t that is when you end up in my office so I can advise you how the divorce is going to work. However, money is not the only value, how will you raise your children, what if one person wants to stay home with the children, religion, physical attraction, sexual needs are all other values that are taken into consideration. Physical attraction needs to be there as well and if anyone says no it does is kidding themselves. If you do not want to hop in bed with the guy, what is the point. Same way, if he spends money like water and you have a hard time spending a dime, what’s the point.

  61. Money is definitely a factor when looking at a partner and should be for both genders. I married shortly after college, so neither of us was raking in the dough, but we both had control over our money and had similar money views.

    As for debt – it’s not necessarily the size, but what you do with it ;) (and how it came to be). If the person with the debt is diligently paying it down, not racking up more debt and is being fiscally responsible then it seems ok (but be open about it). If the debt is student loans, mortgage or medical bills, it’s more likely to be ‘acceptable’ debt in my eyes vs. credit card debt from frivolous purchases, travel or gambling.

    Income? When I married I was just out of grad school w/ no job and husband was just entering grad school. We both have decent degrees and good work ethic so didn’t really worry about money then. We each knew the other had good potential for decent income. For a few years (even once he was out of school) I was the breadwinner until he left school and a few years more until his income rose above mine.

    Smart women and men marry for love and stability.

  62. Marry for love. Before our mariage my husband made more money, now i make more and i could not care less. If you need more, you can always find a solution. (such ad buying ramit his info ;)

    I have to add that i always fell for intelligent guys… And hiding a debt for years is a huge lie, i can not immagine being with someone who keeps such a secret from me.

  63. Smart women marry where they see multiple overlapping strengths and potentials for the future.

    I married someone with compatible goals — for instance, whether or not he wanted children, what type of life we both wanted to have — and someone supportive, whom I could tell anything. Over the years, life has thrown us off a few cliff edges into pools of piranhas (that sounds better than “has thrown us a few curve balls, right?), but because we can talk to each other honestly, we’ve been able to solve problems and strengthen the partnership.

    Marriage is about so much more than merely love OR merely money. If you just want love, buy a dog. If you just want money, then go out and earn some. Being married is about way more than that. It’s about having someone on your team, in every area of life, so you can join forces and take on the world together.

  64. Long term compatibility, friendship and solid collaborative problem solving skills. He was (is) able to keep up with my daughter before and now all our kids too…total bonus! We’ve gone through financial ups and downs and our love and shared entrepreneurial optimism makes it fun either way! :-)

  65. Oh and he’s brilliant too…that helps, was fun to have it confirmed when we both got accepted into Mensa ;-) he keeps me entertained..vice versa too I’m sure!

  66. I have always earned all the money I need so money wasn’t a huge factor in determining who I married. I sort of feel like these questions are assuming that “traditional” roles are being played in a marriage. Even now, I still earn enough to support me, my husband and our 3 kids on my income alone. He takes care of the kids and doesn’t work outside the home. This is very important to me.

    When we were dating, what made my heart melt was how good he was with kids. So, I guess you could say I married the man who I thought was the best father material. Also, I was and still am insanely physically attracted to him. In a way, the whole “good father” bit translates to security/stability I suppose. I can be assured every day that things on the domestic front are A-OK thanks to him. Also, a working woman wants to have some fun and he certainly brings that to the table. I believe it is wise to marry someone that compliments your good qualities and offsets your not-so-good qualities. Whatever those are.

    What did he marry for? Only he knows for sure. I know I provide security in the form of paychecks but I know he loves me too. There’s a fair amount of the “opposites attract” theory at play in our relationship. I’m good with money, historically he isn’t. He’s a spender, I’m frugal. He respects the money I earn though and he respects me. I think that if he were the one earning the money, he would also be compelled to spend more of it which generally isn’t a good thing. We check & balance each other and, surprisingly, very rarely argue about money. Works for us!

  67. Why can’t it be both? I married b/c I could provide better protection for my spouse in the worst-case-scenario-that-hopefully-never-occurs – things like death, job layoff, etc. I wanted these things because I love him.
    Sure, I could add him as a beneficiary etc. But for health decisions – he’s best equipped with up-to-date knowledge on what I would want. Without a spouse, they go to next kin, being my immediate family.. as well as they know me, they aren’t privy to pillow talk.
    This is not to say, the other worst-case-scenario (divorce) can’t be provisioned for. Since I love him, I make sure we both max our retirement benefits. It’s much easier to do together, than to do it alone. If this ever comes to be, we should already have equitable amounts saved for retirement (yes, I am a child of divorce).
    It’s a partnership that involves a fair amount of risk. But the potential gain isn’t just quantified in $$.

  68. Smart women marry for love, smart women marry for money? Umm…loaded questions much?

    First, using the term smart, implies that a women must be “dumb” if they’re not taking one of those options? Not sure I get it.

    Second, to imply that marriage is some sort of zero sum game is ridiculous. There are so many factors that go into just choosing a partner…marriage adds another level of complexity on top of that. Money and love are just two pieces of the picture. What’s the value in breaking these two out?

  69. I think the one word answer to this question would be ‘values’…and the more compatible or aligned the better. This would encompass intelligence, ethics, money management, career success, pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement, drive and motivation, health & fitness, honesty, love, compassion, sharing, communication and family.

  70. Smart women marry for shared values and goals (and love!). If you both see money very differently, it would be very difficult to sustain that relationship in the long run because ultimately someone is going to grow resentful.

    I want to build a life with someone and I cannot imagine not being on the same page about something as big as money.

  71. The “smart women marry for money” blog post has a provocative title which worked great to boost readership. But the content of the post itself is a lot more reasonable — if you are smart, then you strive for financial stability, and you should marry someone with a similar financial approach and goals. It’s not actually telling people to marry someone rich.

    If I found out someone I was dating had racked up a lot of debt for no good reason and with no plan to pay it off, I would seriously question their judgment. That person does not seem like good long-term relationship material.

    On the other hand, I think if you have expensive life goals (say, having a large family or living in New York City), you’re relying on your partner’s income to help you achieve them, and that’s a major reason you’re with your partner… that is truly “marrying for money” in the traditional sense, and you may want to rethink your priorities before making a lifetime commitment. Especially in this economy! But I don’t think that’s what the blog post is talking about.

  72. Anonymous for this Link to this comment

    Smart women realize marriage is a legal transaction. Just as in a business partnership, they should look for a partner who shares their values, their vision, their integrity, and will be loyal and trustworthy to the partnership. They should marry a partner to whom they are willing to hold with the promises made in that legal transaction: to stay married in sickness and health, through good times and bad, until death do them part.

    Love is nice, but will wax and wane over the long haul. Ask any long-married couple if they’ve ever hit a “rough”spot. If they say “no,” they are lying. Money makes everything easier, but studies show it makes no one any happier (over an income of about $75,000). And why should the guy be the one making the income, anyway?

    Parts sag, good looks and male sexual prowess fade over time (no matter how good your plastic surgeon is or how many little blue pills you take). Unless you happen to have been in Dick Clark’s genetic pool….

    o Are some of you really saying you’d immediately divorce your husband if he had testicular cancer? What about breast or ovarian cancer?
    o Do you really want to marry a man with a very high IQ? If so, please check statistics on how IQ relates to faithfulness in males (hint: think about Einstein, Feynman, etc, if you don’t want to look things up). It’s not an encouraging picture. I’m not aware of any similar studies on high IQ women. I’m in the top 1% and can only vouch for my fidelity.
    o Are any of you thinking about sticking around if your spouse develops dementia? Do you realize the odds of that happening? Will your spouse leave you if you develop dementia?

    C’mon people. Love is wonderful: an intoxicating chemical mix that ensures perpetuation of the species. Money is great, too, up to a point (and a very modest point, at that). Looks are a known factor in picking a mate (studies on that everywhere). But think down the road 20 years…30 years…50 years. What then would your criterion (or criteria) be for a mate? I don’t think just love, or just money, would be the right answer.

    • Nice comment. Thanks anon

    • A couple of data points from a lady who thinks very similarly:

      After a cancer or MS diagnosis, men are six times as likely to dump their wives as vice versa.

      I don’t know of any studies on women and IQ specifically, but both men and women get more likely to cheat as they make more money, especially as the difference between their income and their spouse’s income grows.

  73. Compatible values create success. A very ambitious couple will have two partners who are high earners, fit, outwardly oriented, who both value material growth and good looks over time. When they choose to have children, the woman will stay home or hire a nanny based on her personal goals. Staying good looking will be important to her to keep her “value” in the relationship. Her husbands earnings will need to continue to increase in order for them to both be happy.

    A less ambitious couple who is perhaps more artistic or more spiritual will have less emphasis on his income, her beauty, their fitness, etc. and more emphasis on having fun together, enjoying life on a daily basis, taking it all in, etc.

    Happiness is about finding someone who wants what you want and understands you.

  74. Funny you should pose the question of ‘finding out… $30,000 of debt’. I had a failed business, some of the debt which I was personally liable for on a credit card and a loan I had to personally guarantee… not my cheapest lesson in business, but on the other hand it still cost me less than an MBA would have. I began a new relationship and the fact that I was driven and entrepreneurial was one of the big reasons he was attracted to me, upon moving in together and discussing finances, I revealed that I had this debt and my goal to pay it off which meant I would not be able to spend money on extras like trips or new furniture for the place. At first he wouldn’t believe me and thought I was ‘being sneaky and hiding something’ so I showed him my bank statements. Upon learning my net worth he called me a liability and became angry and bitter and we obviously ended the relationship.

    Smart women will marry for a number of reasons: security, safety, trust, love, steadfastness, loyalty, support, values, inspiration, chemistry, and Smart men will do the same. Money plays a big role in any relationship, it will always cause problems if people have different values, goals and expectations. If someone wouldn’t want to support my choices due to my financial situation, how likely are they to be there for you in a time of crisis like an illness? Life isn’t always sparkles and rainbows and pots of gold at the end of them. Sometimes you go have challenges, failures, and sacrifices need to be made. I think these are the big questions you need to ask yourself and one another when considering a marriage proposal.

  75. I married at 24 to a man I met at 18, so I can’t relate. We have been everything from poor to rich together, and now we are somewhere in between. If I were to marry again, now- I don’t think money would be a huge issue unless I felt that we didn’t agree on money issues. My husband and I rarely disagree on how to spend our money. And we don’t micro-manage each other’s discretionary spending.

  76. Easy – smart women don’t get married – parochial tradition that existed so unworking women could survive and breed and men could have a manager of household.

  77. Smart women marry for honesty and shared values.
    The debt will matter if they’ve been hiding it for 4 years…or if that’s far outside your own comfort level and goes against your values.
    A low income matters if it clashes with your values – is it a low income because they work with the mentally disabled (like my husband!) or because they’re not ambitious or because they didn’t get a college degree? And how much does that matter to YOU?

  78. Several people above have said “shared values” and “priorities” and all that good stuff. I definitely agree. I think smart women should marry consciously!

    Here are some of the things it’s probably a good idea to be conscious of. Married men have more free time than their wives do – five hours a week, on average. Men don’t do more housework or childcare if they earn less money; even unemployed men only increase their household contributions by a few minutes a day. When women marry, their levels of stress shoot up, as do rates of anxiety and depression, while their husbands’ go down. These things are obviously only true in the aggregate, but these are the realities of the society we live in. Knowing what the data says means you can plan your life intelligently instead of walking into things blind.

    I can see the argument for marrying rich, based on this data. Since you’ll be doing more work than him, and he’ll contribute the same amount of labor no matter what he earns, you might as well marry someone who can pay for household help. Ditto on stress levels and trips to the spa.

    Personally, though, I think that this approach can sometimes encourage men and women to see each other as resources to be exploited, instead of as human beings. I’ve seen marriages where this works really well, but I’ve also seen marriages that leave the women going “men are abusive scum!” and the men going “women are gold-diggers!” This is, obviously, less good.

    I chose my husband because he’s willing to be my equal partner. This is really tricky to do because of our invisible scripts about gender. When I’m doing half the unpaid work of our household, it seems to me like I’m doing almost nothing; when he does half, he sometimes feels like he’s overburdened. Still, we’re both committed to making this marriage a functioning partnership that acknowledges the very real challenges of gender roles in our society – and says “screw you!” to them.

    What’s cool is that I adore my husband; I think he’s the finest man alive, and I don’t see that I’ve made any real compromises in choosing him. He’s brilliant, generous, thoughtful, handsome, creative, sexy as hell, and best of all, willing to share an equal partnership with me.

    You are probably all wondering how much money he makes. He makes more than I do right now (since I’m finishing grad school) but my Earn1K hourly is almost three times his hourly wage. When I’m done with school, I’ll be making about 20% more than him as base salary (not including speaking fees, E1K, etc.), but he’s planning to cut his hours and take on a major side project which could either pay off big or never pay anything – and we’re okay with either, because we’ve made the conscious spending choices that give us the freedom to work less and/or experiment with our lives.

    Marriage and money decisions really do go together, but “marrying for money” doesn’t always mean marrying for a lot of it. I married for shared values around money and time. I’ve been with my partner for fifteen years and never regretted it.

    • My god. An intelligent, thought-provoking comment based on actual data. Why am I not surprised you’re an Earn1K student? The best part is how polite you are about being smarter than 99% of the commenters here. If it had been me, I probably would have ended with “you can all suck it”

  79. Barbara Saunders Link to this comment

    Smart people marry for love plus compatible values. Money and otherwise. If you want to get rich, there will be conflict if your spouse does not. However, fortunes change. If you marry only for the snapshot, the good job they happen to have today, what happens when they decide they want to go live in an ashram because the value never was wealth but was something else? (Or vice versa, of course.) If two people are diligently pursuing the same values, they will be more likely to achieve them AND will have some bond even if things don’t work out as planned.

  80. I read the smart women bit and immediately thought of what my mother would say.

    Only a fool marries for money
    Only a bigger fool marries for love.

  81. smart women marry for the better and the worse
    smart men too.

  82. Smart women marry for their own reasons, not someone else’s. If that reason is love, it’s love. If it’s money, it’s money.

    More often, it’s some “secret formula” of many factors that works for only them. Love is often a code-word for the factors that influence a relationship.

    The worst mistake someone can make — especially an otherwise intelligent women — is marrying for someone else’s formula.

  83. Smart women marry only if they want to. Women can marry or not marry. For love or money or social goals if they want. That’s what I love about this age.

  84. Again, I dislike the generalizations. “Smart women” do what? Smart women do whatever they want, and if they’re smart, I’d imagine they think about it first (though being smart doesn’t necessarily mean coming to good conclusions). Also, aren’t you kind of forgetting about lesbians and bisexuals here?

    I did not read the article. I’d imagine that the “ancillary factors” that are relevant are things like responsibility. You can be rich or poor and responsible (contrary to what some seem to believe), but if you have a decent job and waste all your money, you may be a poor choice for a life partner. It may also be difficult to respect someone who cannot be responsible (depending on your own values, of course), and thus difficult to love them in a full sense, though you may care about them and find them attractive in other ways. So the question about “marrying for love” or “marrying for money” creates a false dichotomy–or at least, “marrying for love” means a lot more than the question would indicate.

    That said, women who hold men to those standards without expecting the same of themselves are perpetuating sexism. For instance, the kind of women who scorn a man if he lacks “ambition” tend to have a pretty messed up idea of what it takes for a man to be respectable and attractive. Some may hold themselves to the same standard (in which case I can only grimace and wish them the best), some may feel it’s their place and their right to depend on a man’s ‘ambition’ for their own security. If it’s the latter, they are only hurting women everywhere, and either way, it’s not for me.

  85. Oh! I wanted to say something about the debt example.

    My husband had over $40k of educational debt. (Technically not when we met, as we were both still in school, but by the time we started talking life commitment the debt was there.) Obviously we got married anyhow, but we did quite a lot of thinking and talking about how we’d handle the debt together. It helped us see that we have the same financial values, and by collaborating we managed to pay it off in just five years.

    I might have felt differently if it were consumption debt, as it would say something different about his values and his ability to be financially responsible going forward. He’d have had something to prove, but it wouldn’t have been a relationship-ender.

    If I’d been dating him for four years and then he revealed the debt, that would be the end of the relationship in one hot minute. It would say that he could not be trusted with money OR to be honest with me. There is basically no way you could convince me to stay in a relationship at that point.

  86. “Smart women….” false premise!

    ;-)

    Women marry because it brings comfort security etc. And short term happiness. Then divorce because of the same reasons.

  87. Marry for love.

    Having a solid relationship will help the marriage survive hard times. Money can be low now but that doesnt mean it will be for the entire marriage it can be made (look at Ramit’s success stories). If a women marries for money, there is no guarantee that the money will always be there. It can be lost: bad investments, bank closures, job loss, etc. If the money is gone does the marriage end?

    I have a family member who isn’t the greatest with money. He recently married a women who is financially better off and can manage money. They are very happy together. Why? He knows money management is not his strength and it’s hers, so she manages the family finances. And they are so very happy together and have plans to travel next year. So for me, I will marry for love.

  88. The first time I married, it was for “love” (and because I thought I couldn’t find anyone better–young women in their early 20s tend to have bad judgment based on their own lack of experience and the self-esteem which comes from experience). That didn’t work out so well, because I hadn’t evaluated how well the relationship with him really worked. Turns out I didn’t like him very well, and he didn’t like me very well either. Which is not a great foundation for a working partnership.

    The second time I married it was also for “love.” I’d like to say I chose better but that was probably an accident. I did, however, end up with a man who is A+ dad material (both genetically and in terms of temperament–he’s 100% committed to the well-being of our kids). He’s not A+ breadwinner material, and in fact I’ve been the sole breadwinner for many years now, while he stays at home with the kids and pursues his writing dream. I am mostly OK with that, because, well…there’s no such thing as a perfect marriage partner and there will always be tradeoffs.

    I guess my take on “smartness” in a woman (or a man) when it comes to making this sort of life-decision is that whatever you end up with, and however that happened, you make the best of it strategically. Much like getting out of debt or making more money, you’ve got to assess where you are today, where you’d like to be in the future, and figure out how to get there by marshalling the resources you actually have. My husband is a resource to me, as I am to him. We can leverage our pool of talents to get where we want to go, even if we didn’t start out with a grand plan on either part and, rather, married each other for “love.”

  89. Smart women marry for synergy.

    Sure I make sacrifices in my marriage. But we are each others cheerleaders, money accountability agents, adventure seekers, sounding board, editors, purpose reminders, health advocates, examples of compassion, and general awesome bombs. I’ve become a better person married.

  90. Ramit, I’m a big fan but you’re missing a couple of steps here. What defines a smart woman? Emotionally smart? Pure intellect? Not too many hangups from childhood? Define her values. Does she want kids? Does she want to be “taken care of”? Does she think of herself as an equal partner? Is she passionate about her career / work? Is she driven? Is she warm? Is she loving? Can she be as selfless as one needs to be to nurture and raise babies? Is she all of the above?? If so, she’ll know what to marry for and it will probably be for a combination of love and money. P.S. Been there, done that. Mother of 3 and 3 grandbabies. Still in love with my husband. :)

    • You tell me. You’ve obviously been successful in your marriage and as a mother. How did you make your decisions? What should other people think about that might not be obvious?

  91. Smart women marry for love. But not the kind of love you’re thinking of.

    “Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it has no pride. Love does not demand it’s own way. It does not seek it’s own, it’s not easily provoked. It keeps no record of wrongs, speaks no evil but rejoices in the truth. It bears and believes in all things, hopes and endures in all things.” — God

    There’s no amount of money that is more important than that kind of love. (Note: men should marry for this kind of love, too) :)

    • God said that?

    • Anonymous for this Link to this comment

      Actually, it was probably written by Paul and “Sosthenes our brother” in Chapter 13 of First Corinthians of the Christian Bible. I say probably, because there is no proof of this. It certainly wasn’t written by anyone named “God.”

  92. The guy doesn’t have to be already rich, but it is very important he shows that he would strive to be how does he plan to get there. A guy who wants to provide will first understand how to provide. That would make me respect him more and love him more, hence be willing to get involved in a long term relationship like marriage. So I guess here, striving to make more money and the will to make both our life better will be the one of the major reason why I should marry him.

    Now if you are a guy, you can simply view this question from the angle of “What if you have a daughter? What kind of husband do I wish her to marry?”

  93. obi-wan kenobi Link to this comment

    Men give money to get sex. Women give sex to get money. This is the fundamental rock base we all stand on. Now, from here, you figure out why SMART women marry – and why SMART men marry.
    During your first year of marriage, every time the two of you have sex, you put one dry bean in a jar.
    During every year of marriage thereafter, every time the two of you have sex, you take out one dry bean from that same jar.
    At the end of your lives, there will still be beans in that jar.

  94. OK, I’ll admit this is going to probably sound trite, but the attributes that make my husband successful (i.e. high money potential) are big parts what attracted me to him. He’s smart, ambitious, good with people, and funny. I think it’s rediculous that people think that marriage is only about one thing: money or love. Why can’t you have both? Do men only marry for looks? (Please don’t answer this or I’ll have to quit what I’m doing and punch someone in the face.)

  95. Not sure how many women actually use intelligence to determine who their spouse or partner will be … it’s usually based on emotions. Having been there, done that (and truly LOVED the person I married) only to find a values clash with regard to how money was spent and leisure activities (his was drinking in the back yard, mine was doing “something”). A woman who is “thinking” will determine a partner based not only on emotional attraction but also on compatibility … does the other person have similar values (they don’t have to be the same), want similar things from life, communicate in a similar way ….

    It really depends on one’s values … if one values money and all that it can buy but doesn’t value or want to communicate or spend time with anyone, a rich guy might be all she needs … if we learn what our values are, we are much happier,

  96. I’d like to think that love is more of a priority for me than money, however I’ve definitely had to adjust my worldview and expectations since I began dating almost ten years ago. Money didn’t matter in the beginning; in high school and college, when my boyfriends and I were pretty equally broke. Since I began working, I’ve noticed how much *I* earn affects my relationships, and it tends to be largely negative. I’m 26 now, and since I’ve been 21, I’ve always made more money than the last few boyfriends. One boyfriend started to rely on me to pay the bills and to pay for dates, and I never shook that feeling of being exploited. Another boyfriend reacted almost as if he had been emasculated when he found out I was earning twice his income despite my being almost 6 years younger; it was never really the same after that. In both, I’ve personally felt exploited for varying reasons, whether for money or looks/youth. I sometimes wonder, if these roles were reversed, how would it all have played out? I don’t know what it’s like to seriously date a man who makes more money, but I think it’s something I might prefer moving forward (but I don’t know yet!). I will say, though, that I am a person who can not, for any amount of money, go on more than one date with a man whose personality I’m not attracted to. Even if they’re good-looking. It’s just boring.

  97. Smart Women Marry with their eyes wide open.
    For me, I will marry a man with excellent stable finances and similar values:
    a) Very good stable finances that will provide the best schools & opportunities for the kids & our family;
    b) healthy lifestyle and loves horses;
    c) is a gentleman.
    Smart women have their own money and enjoy a sense of humor.

  98. “A man being rich is like a girl being pretty, you don’t marry her for it but it sure doesn’t hurt,” said Marilyn Monroe and I agree with her.

    I must confess that a few years ago, per a friend’s suggestion, I made a list of qualities for a potential husband. This list has 3 sections titled “must have”, “nice to have”, and “no way”.
    We won’t get into it but I will highlight the areas of the topic discussed in this post.

    In my list “money” is in the “nice to have” category, but “ambition” is in the “must have” because I like ambitious men who have the potential. So money is important but not THAT important.

    You may be surprised to know that “good looks” is in the “must have” for me. So there are definitely exceptions to the “men marry for looks and girls marry for money” generalization!

    Actually, now that I look at this, is seems like I’m more like a man and should probably stop writing….

    On a side note, I happen to know wealthy men who are so cheap that it doesn’t matter if they have money because you won’t be seeing any of it anyhow. Seriously. Other qualities besides money are important!!!

    And I know plenty of wealthy men who are very generous and definitely make you feel well taken care of and secure. (Funny how this feeling can trigger the love feeling in a woman….) Although I am not interested in marrying these wealthy men based on other factors like family views and so on, I cannot say that their wealth doesn’t make them more attractive. And we’ll leave it at that! :)

    This brings us to the last question. Ok, so if I find out that my partner has $30k in dept and it’s not because there was a family emergency or something of the sort, I would be more concerned about his psychological state which must be worked on before we get any further. Hey, I’ve been there (not $30k deep but deep enough) and I can tell you the reason for this dept was for psychological and can be easily fixed making the dept disappear in no time.

  99. QUESTION: How important is money when you’re evaluating a potential partner? Very. How important should money be? Depends on person. And is it different for men and women? For me, the man should be bringing in more – it avoids conflict.

    Examples (for both genders): If you find out that your girlfriend/boyfriend has $30,000 of debt, how would you react? I’d head for the hills in a New York minute.
    What if you’ve been dating for 4 years? If it was a valid expense (student loan for potential future earnings eg: a post-grad degree to improve salary/potential) I’d stay, if it was something else, see above.

    How does your partner’s income play into your decision to be with them?
    I don’t date men who cannot keep up financially or socially.

    And if smart women marry for _____. What do smart men marry for? Hint: The answer cannot just be “love.”
    My answer was that smart women Marry with their eyes wide open. Smart men should do the same. If the woman they’re marrying has nothing and a dead-beat family & he’s the major bread-winner, you can guarantee that he’s going foot the bill for her, kids & deadbeat family. If woman is all looks & nothing b’tween the ears, well, she’ll be a costly fixture that’ll become average with a primadonna ego around 30ish, so get ready to pay a lot of therapy, etc.

  100. “Smart” people participate in maritime admiralty tradition (marriage) for what purpose? However, to find a lifelong partner aside from the legal bondage issue it is clearly intelligence that makes a good couple. True intelligence is being skilled in all aspects of life: finances, intellect, sex, ego control, rapport, emotional balance…etc. Also, you could just as easily ask what do men look for in a women? Or more to the point what do people look for in lifelong partners? Until then women is still the n!gger of the world. Lennon had it right in his jam women is the n!@#$ of the world. Hope the post helps in some way. Later days.

  101. How you handle money is a microcosm of how you are in the rest of your life. The man who pays his bills on time, spends responsibly and plans for his future finances is probably going to be the guy who calls when he says he is going to, will prioritize family obligations and has a general plan for how he wants his life to look in five, ten and thirty years – both career-wise and family-wise.

    Life is not a romantic comedy where the dopey male partner who forgets birthdays or does irresponsible things with the kids, etc. is fun and hilarious and his shenanigans are endearing. I don’t want a man-child. I’m a grown-up. I want a grown-up partner.

    Oberving a man’s money habits one of several metrics that are useful in determining whether someone has the potential to be good in a long-term partnership. I expect to be measured in similar ways.

    Love is great and I’m not excluding that as being a significant factor – but saying that it’s the only one is childish. That lovey feeling is going to walk right out the door if you have someone who is screwing your finances by cheerfully racking up debt or failing to plan for the future.

  102. I consider money something moderately important. Money measures how much you want something in life, and how driven you are to get it. I think money is of equal importance to both genders, as ideally a couple should be able to support itself on the income of either partner independently of the other.

    Men should marry for… truth be known, I haven’t figured out a compelling reason for a man to marry. I have serious issues with relationships, so I’m not a qualified judge. The idea of marrying a woman fills me with dread, as I see marriage as a man submitting to a woman and giving her everything he has so that she can hurt him more efficiently. We’re talking “curl up in a ball and whimper” level fear here. I guess a man should marry if she presents a solid enough threat that he can’t run away. Smart men marry for self-preservation?

    I don’t know.

  103. It’s a false dichotomy.

    Let me put my Dawkins hat on.

    Both men and women are hardwired to ensure the success of their genes via offspring. Women look for resources in a mate; men look for beauty in a mate.

    Money is the outward manifestation of a number of male characteristics that signal good survival and replication value to women: intelligence, determination, ambition, dominance, status. Women rely on it as a quick proxy for these attributes. (The accuracy of our perceptions is another topic altogether.)

    The proxy changes over time but it signals the same things.

    When we see money in this light, we realize money is just one way to infer survival value, albeit an important one.

    Love hasn’t been clearly defined.I take it to mean the sum of all biological and psychological attributes that make an ideal male mate like good health, good resources, shared values.

    Now, assuming women marry primarily to consummate their love and secondarily to obtain the minor advantages society bestows on married couples, then it’s obvious:

    women marry for ‘money’ just as much as they marry for ‘love’. Similarly men marry for ‘beauty’ just as much as they marry for ‘love’.

  104. Money and one’s relationship to it falls under the category of values. Smart people marry people who have similar values. Bottom line. Your values dictate your goals and how you reach them. If you’re not both headed in the same direction (which doesn’t mean you play the same part) the end is near. Smart people (experienced people) know that love is wonderful and absolutely necessary if you want your marriage to be more than a business contract and it is not enough. A successful marriage is a team that functions in many arenas of life – sexual, domestic, business, wider family/culture, etc.

    So… know what you want, and find someone who shares your values.

    Having said that, BE REALISTIC. People, both men and women are like bags of trail mix. You’re going to have some insanely delicious chocolate bits, some icky candied fruit and a whole lot of nuts n’ stuff. In my opinion, the smart way to approach marriage is to look at the whole package. You’ve gotta love being around most of what is in that package because that’s what they bring to your team. You should ask yourself honestly, can I live with their particular icky bits? You’re never going to find a person who doesn’t have them, but are these particular icky bits a deal breaker?

    In my opinion wise men marry women who embrace them, believe in them, build them, back them and tell them in words and actions how amazing they are and inspire and guide them into being even more integral, powerful, loving and successful.

    Smart women marry men that love them, treat them well, appreciate their wisdom, connection, intuition and guidance and who want the same kind of life they want. Smart women marry men that expect them to digest their feelings, balance their reactions and communicate their awareness with warmth and passion.

    Examples (for both genders): If you find out that your girlfriend/boyfriend has $30,000 of debt, how would you react? What if you’ve been dating for 4 years?

    How does your partner’s income play into your decision to be with them?

    And if smart women marry for _____. What do smart men marry for? Hint: The answer cannot just be “love.”

    Leave your thoughts below.

  105. Smart women (and men) marry for VALUES.

  106. I’ll say it depend on the personality, and more importantly the past of the smart women !

    I know someone who really struggled in her past relationship and usually end up with men that could handle the fact that she was making more money than them.
    So, know she decided to find someone who earn at least the same salary, but she’d appreciate if it could be more than her.

    You could say that she didn’t had luck but truth is a majority of men still have a problem with that. I’m not saying that every man can’t handle earn less than their partner, but statistics speak for themselves…

  107. I think smart women marry for love and create their own financial success. That said, if a potential longterm partner was very irresponsible with their finances, it would make me wonder what else they were being irresponsible about and whether or not this behavior would manifest when it came to the relationship, family, or large joint purchases.

    I am a medical student with a large amount of student loan debt. My partner currently makes about 1/5 of the salary I expect to be making in my future private practice. I am thankful that although I am currently in debt, I have followed my passion for helping others and can leverage that passion into a successful business – allowing me to choose love over money when it comes to my partner.

  108. I did not take the time to read all of the comments, but I’ll still give my opinion. Now that I’ve been married for a few years I have been thinking that my parents did not teach me (at all) what to look for in a husband. I thought it should be about love (and who/what I could put up with), but you really have to take all of the other factors into consideration too – money, family, goals, etc. When I married my husband I thought we wanted the same things out of life and were at the same stage in our lives – but they were general things like getting married and having kids, having decent jobs (who doesn’t want that?).
    Now I think to be smart about marriage you have to ask your partner the right questions – do you have debt/savings, do you have a history of mental illness in your family, whatever is important to you. I learned all these things only after we were married – but I think I will hang on to the belief that there should at least be some attraction between 2 people if they’re going to get married.

  109. What smart women marry for is clearly up for debate (other than the general consensus of ‘compatibility’ and ‘shared values’ – fair enough), but regardless of their reasons, smart women should sign a pre-nup. Yes, you want to be together forever. Hopefully you wouldn’t get married if that weren’t the case (though we all know it happens…) And if you are, great! The pre-nup becomes essentially meaningless.

    But what if you aren’t? What if life throws you a curveball down the road? Why are many people able to be rational when it comes to money and investing, but not their relationships? Sometimes you make all the ‘right’ choices, and things still change. You just can’t know. There’s no other area of your life where you would confidently say, “I’m going to do this FOREVER!!!”

    In the interest of full disclosure, and why I feel this way: My parents come from a very traditional background, and were married for 31 years before splitting up three years ago. I think they wanted ‘forever,’ and they certainly got closer than many couples. But it was the right decision. And had there been a pre-nup, both of them would have saved tens of thousands in legal fees over what ended up being a three-year divorce process.

    In summary, I support marriage when people are making a conscious choice (yes, folks, choose it – or don’t choose it! Get rid of the invisible scripts!) that it is right for them. Sure, I’d love to see lots of happy couples together until their death beds. But it’s not right for everyone. So what I like to say is, “I don’t want to marry. I want to meet someone I want to marry.” There’s a subtle but vital difference.

  110. All of this really makes me think of something I read a while back called “The Ladder Theory” (http://www.laddertheory.com/). The theory does give an interesting theory of how men and woman choose their mates–with a comical (maybe even derogative) twist.

    • I agree with the importance of ladder theory. Although you might not agree with how some of the details of the model are explained, I think it does a pretty good job of providing a model of how men and women think in relationships and choose partners.

      The short version is, men have one ladder on which they place women they meet. Their position on the ladder is a ranking of how much they want to have a relationship with them. It doesn’t have to be a proper ordering, just a rough ranking where you can clearly say “these women rank higher than these women”. Men then try to get the highest possible woman on their ladder that they can.

      Women have two ladders, the “relationship” ladder and the “friends” ladder. Men they meet are placed on one of those two. The relationship ladder is like the men’s ladder, but the friends ladder is parallel to the relationship ladder, and making a jump from one to the other is very difficult and position on one says nothing about position on the other.

      Check out the link for more details. It’s not a scholarly work, so keep that in mind, but the model works pretty well at explaining the reality of how men and women interact.

  111. I can’t say what smart “women” marry for. I can only speak for one woman – myself- because the answers are as varied as there are stars.

    I married because of compatibility. For me “values” are part of that compatibility as are, many of the other comments that others have shared.

    The things is, once a person has spent time with their “significant other”, if they feel they share a vision of what their future together could look like, they may very well take that next step of marriage.

    That vision changes each and every day and each and every year based upon the inputs of our lives. The “committment” piece is the glue that holds the couple together as they recreate their vision as the times passes. Faith is the belief and the hope that they can handle changes or that they will adapt based upon their original belief that they want to be together throughout the rest of their lives.

    To answer your question, I believe a SMART woman marrys for the ability to be with the person she is most compatible with and has enough faith that the two will be committed to working out all the “inputs” that life throws at them. Money only happens to be one input.

  112. In this day and time there is no need for marriage it is an institution that is no longer needed. Men do not need to marry to get sex and women do not need a man to make money.

    So may answer is: smart women to not marry [and that of course should not hold them back from having a committed relationship they want].

  113. Love is a beautiful thing, but not a good reason to marry. Marriage is a legal contract. A merger if you will. Each party brings assets and liabilities. You essentially incorporate. If you don’t mind being responsible for your spouses back taxes, defaulted student loans and credit card debt, best wishes. This is before there are children involved.

    People, especially women, fantasize about the wedding, the dress, the flowers, the reception, with very little thought about the reality of blending two different lives together. Do your homework. If the numbers don’t add up, they don’t add up. You can still love someone without marrying them. That said, a loveless marriage sounds bleak.

  114. “Money” in this instance a symbol for responsibility, ambition, independence and more. What woman doesn’t want that? Or man for that matter! If you don’t pay your bills or see the need for savings and retirement accounts yo’ure a nearsighted fool or an immature child. I don’t want to marry either.

  115. I actually had an arranged marriage of sorts, I was looking/wanted to get married and a really close friend’s husband had a close friend who was also looking and they thought we would be a perfect fit. We sat down and got to know each other and we were VERY, very compatible. So much so that we decided that we would marry not an engagement but rather an understanding that marriage was not off the table while we got to know more about each other. Things progressed rapidly and we were so in-tune with each other that we got married within days of meeting. Huge risk.

    Granted, he came very well recommended and established in the community, hadn’t been married before, no debt, no kids, stable job, shared values, shared culture (technically we are interracial but we were both raised in the USA so we identified more with being American than our ethnicities), awesome sense of humor, higher education, same religious affiliation and only 5 years older than me. We were crazy attracted to each other and didn’t see why we needed to wait if we had already made up our minds. We thought my latin family and his polyethnic family would object but my family loved him and his loved me. I did forget to actually perform a background check (my family members have been burned before) later found out he was clear and accepted his most recent medical exam (he was clear) instead of getting another one done.

    My other friends thought it was weird but frankly I’d dated before and I came to the conclusion that I’d rather ‘date’ a person who knows what they want to achieve in life without any ‘convincing’, nudging or coaching from me. Life is too short and beautiful. I didn’t want to spend my youth building relationships with men who didn’t want marriage which is NOT a bad thing, to each their own. It was just not for me to find out after years of investing in a relationship that it wasn’t going anywhere and now I had to start over and over and over again. I wouldn’t want someone to ‘settle’ for me or for me to ‘settle’ and agree to something that we might not necessarily want or to think we can ‘change’ the other to fit our ideal. This way I already knew a head of time that we did share things in common and we could progress to know each other and take it from there.

    So we each came to the table with “listen NOT saying NOW or necessarily with you but EVENTUALLY (maybe even years from now) I’d like to get married and raise a family, where do you stand on marriage?” Then we progressed to asking each other about pet peeves of ours, what kind of involvement/role do inlaws have in a marriage? What would he do if anything if his mother/family hated my guts? Where would we live? What would happen if we get competing job offers that would be a major break in our careers? Would he move to another part of the country if I had a job offer that was too good to refuse? Child rearing? Raising kids in religion or no religion? What if we can’t conceive? Finances, combine or separate? What would happen if one gets into ridiculous amount of debt that would later have an effect on what kind of place we can live/afford or the lifestyle we can have? What would happen if one of us gets fat? Ever been arrested? Lakers or Heat fan? Dog or cat? Iron Man|Tony Stark vs Bruce Lee, who’d win? Etc. etc. etc.

    While we didn’t agree on everything (he hates the Lakers with a burning passion and still believes Allen Iverson is going to make a comeback) we agreed on enough things to make it work and worth our time. We’ve been happily married for 6 years and some change now and have 2 toddlers. We’ve had our growing pains and overcame them and I’ve fallen in and out of love in varying degrees over these past 6 yrs but then I remembered why I married him and sooner or later I’m back in love. Same with money when we got married he was gainfully employed making a decent amount and later he was unemployed for almost 2 years and I supported him when he went back for his masters in the meantime. He is now gainfully employed, making more than before and we are living a better lifestyle. I can’t believe we lived only a few blocks from each other and never crossed paths. While I don’t recommend people marry the way I did, I’m happy it happened that way for us and I can’t imagine living my life with anyone else. I’ve also never had love or romance or the intensity that I’ve experience since meeting and marrying my soul mate. I clearly didn’t know what kind of man I wanted as I kept picking up the wrong ones.

    • “I clearly didn’t know what kind of man I wanted as I kept picking up the wrong ones.”

      Hah… asking women what they want is a good way to get an honest answer, but not a truthful one.

    • I think there are some great points in this comment.

      I think that so many people in their 20s get hurt in relationships because:

      a) They don’t know what they want.

      b) They don’t look for a partner who would be compatible with that.

      Instead, most people this age take what I call the “8th Grade Approach”:

      “I really like you. Let’s be boyfriend and girlfriend”.

      The problem is that adult life is much more complicated than 8th grade.

      Good point that it’s better to find out key incompatibilities before early in a relationship than few years together.

      It’s also a very good idea to look for someone who clearly wants what they want in life without any nudging from your part.

  116. Ramit, this recent gendered bullshit you are spewing is really pissing me off. Where’s the article on what men should marry for? Why are women supposed to give a shit? Why should anyone get married? More importantly no one wants your weird life advice, stick to finances where you make sense and don’t offend. Sheesh.

    • Oh no! Wouldn’t want to offend! Perhaps there are better sites out there for you…ones where they talk about compound interest and saving on lattes, not how money and life intersect.

    • I thought about it some more after I cooled down. Ultimately, yes, it is true that money and life intersect, particularly in the arena of marriage, and you can/should talk about it via your platform. For example, is marriage itself as a way of structuring a relationship a a wise financial decision in the long run? That’s something I would actually like to know.

      But “smart” “women”? Judgmental AND stereotypical. Surely you’re just as as capable of writing about this issue from a non-incendiary and human perspective as you are of easy click-whoring.

      “Do Smart Bloggers Troll For Clicks?” Yes, I guess. Worked on me. But are you truly so surprised when you get troll-like behavior back?

  117. Smart women marry men and smart men marry smart women

    Smartness in marriage is determination paired with character and faith.

    You want someone who believes in you (faith), applies the same rules to themselves and you and in doing so gives you opportunity (character), and will not back down in their support of you (determination). Love is the application of this by choice rather than obligation. It is not just the contract of marriage, but the unwillingness to default on the contract which makes love an important factor here.

    A smart person knows that they need someone to trust with the most important things in their life.

  118. Smart women make enough money that they can afford to marry whoever the hell they want.

  119. This is an interesting article. Women AND men should consider money issues when deciding whether or not to marry or, for that matter, enter into any relationship. Love is a physical thing, but, as Steven Covey says, you can choose whether or not to be loving toward someone. I have been married four times (yes, four, but I’ve been single for 15 years now), so I am speaking from experience. In all cases, I didn’t consider money to be a factor, and basically ignored it. That choice ultimately led to the marriages breaking up. I would definitely have second thoughts about marrying someone if they were carrying a large debt load, especially if they kept it a secret. The way people interact with money tells a lot about his or her character, so it should be considered along with all of the other factors you would consider in a potential spouse (for instance, do they like my dog?).

  120. I truly can’t tweet either.

    Both matter to me, along with other things of importance as well. Though, admittedly, it’s not the money that matters as much as it is the ambition and drive to succeed.

  121. I married someone that was going to challenge me in the areas that I needed to be challenged in (and whom I could challenge in other areas).

    As a result, we don’t always have the most comfortable marriage where we’re always looking into each others eyes and talking about how much we love our googly bear (or whatever). But, we are constantly forcing each other to grow and improve.

    So, my answer to that questions is that smart women (and men) marry someone that is likely to make them a better person.

    Though, it should be noted that this is not an easy path to take, so, if you’re looking for a comfortable life, you should just marry for love or money alone.

  122. I wouldn’t call either of them “smart”, sorry. If a woman marries for “love” only, without assessing the partner’s survival qualities, it’s plain stupid. Love is no legitimate excuse for lack of responsibility and indicates a self-esteem issue. And the woman who marries for money? Using exclusively her brain to take this decision, she probably sees herself much smarter than the former one… but how bright is it in fact? Reducing herself to a merchandise, she sacrifices her sexual and emotional well-being for some sort of security or luxury… which can both be achieved in smarter ways, without bringing such an ultimate sacrifice. How self-respectful is that?

    Marriage is a legal contract and should be viewed as such. A smart woman will marry when she’s ready. When she’s able to see the large picture, when she’s stable and mature enough to not get blinded by either hormonal storms (love) or the sweet taste of financial security. How comfortable will she feel after 15 years with this man as her husband and father of her kids? A smart decision will be a smart one, based on real values, using both heart and brain, making this decision into a state-of-the-art. Without crippling her (and her kids’) future by unnecessary sacrifices. A balanced decision does require a lot of intelligence and a lot of intuition… which also means, it’s not for everyone.

  123. Smart women marry for respect. They give their partner respect and they get respect from their partner.

  124. Quote from the article – The reality is that personal finance issues are the leading cause of divorce and in order to live happily ever after, you must be on the same page as far as your finances are concerned.

    I got into personal finance after my parents got divorced after 35 years OVER MONEY. Dealing with that tension growing up and seeing the difference in their attitudes after the split was incredibly telling to me. Totally agree values over money should agree or have your own checking account (or both).

  125. I don’t think it’s specifically one or the other – there are so many factors to consider, mind you, love and money are just two of them! I am not married, but as a well educated professional young woman I am not just looking for someone with money – a gentleman can have all the money in the world, and not be able to interact with me on an intellectual level. I am looking for someone who is able to engage in discussions on things that matter, someone who would challenge me to strive for excellence continually.

    In my mind I keep going back to that interview you posted with Julie – your Wall Street to Tech Job friend – and something she said there resonates with me as I read this article. At her Wall Street job, she was making all the money in the world but she wasn’t challenged so she gave up her job. She ultimately landed a job that continually challenges her, excites her, and makes her strive to be better in her position. And in time, the money came back to her. But it wasn’t as important as being challenged and able to engage with other on an intellectual level.

    For me, I would say that’s one of the most important things. Personally, my top two criteria when looking for a partner are faith and education. If we are on the same page there, and we have chemistry, there is no doubt that I will fall in love :D So in answer to your question, smart women marry for a number of reasons, and I’d like to suggest education and intellect as one of your options!

  126. What’s this ‘marry’ thing? Haven’t we progressed as a species far enough along to get rid of ‘buying and selling’ of people idea? Please.

  127. My entire life my dad has said that one should only marry a partner if you share similar views on three things: money, religion/morals and love.

    If those three things are solid, everything else will fall into place even if it’s sometimes difficult. If even one of those is missing, the marriage will fail.

    hearing similar advice from elsewhere is very validating for me.

  128. Simple. Smart women marry smart men. Smart men marry smart women. Usually.

  129. While I don’t personally hold marriage in high regard, that’s not really the point of the discussion here.

    Whether or not you get married, the vast majority of people will, at some point in their lives, have a relationship that forces (or allows) them to work with another person towards common goals – of a financial, experiential, or other such nature. To do this you need to be a team. If your “teammate” is pulling in the opposite direction then why are they there? You would be way more efficient and successful without the loser and way happier with someone who actually works with you.

    I think that you’re kidding yourself if you think that a man’s ( or woman’s) financial outlook doesn’t matter.

    I challenge you to document a single day in your adult life that has absolutely nothing to do with financial choices. Food and shelter are something that you will require every day for the rest of your life and they’re not “free” – ever. Period.
    If you think that you have some great example to the contrary then google “hidden costs” and teach yourself something.

    If it were any other daily occurrence that was less taboo than “money”, differing outlooks would most likely be a deal breaker.

    If you knew that you and your future spouse would have daily reminders of something you disagree on every day “until death do us part”, you probably wouldn’t go through with marrying them. So why are people so willing to overlook differences in financial habits?

    I think that every person should aim for financial health and stability, but I think that it’s even more important that you and your spouse share the same attitude toward finances. I also don’t think it really matters how much money your potential spouse has so long as you have a financial plan that gets you guys to where you want to be and that you SHARE THE SAME ATTITUDE towards it.

    No one (I repeat NO ONE) wants to play parent to their financially irresponsible spouse for the rest of their life. It’s exhausting, frustrating and, worst of all, alienating.

    I think that true love requires respect, as do marriages that are going to last. No one respects the idiot that pissed all of their money away, no matter how “in love” they are.

    I recently read a great article on the changing attitudes towards marriage. It’s an awesome read for really putting the money vs. love vs.”screw it, I’ll just stay single” debate. Very informative on changes in what “marriage” is throughout history.
    “All the Single Ladies” in The Atlantic online (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/11/all-the-single-ladies/8654/)

  130. Once again you’ve trapped me into responding to an “US Weekly” style post that I am now dumber for having read.

    A smart woman marries a capable man as early as possible while she is in her prime.

    A smart man never gets married. (Though a dumb man should marry the best woman he can get ahold of).

    Even kids are not a reason to get married anymore. Plenty of couples are choosing to have kids out of wedlock with no intentions of getting married. It’s actually become the norm among the younger generation in Sweden to just “cohabit” and have babies.

    The only real reason to get married is if your partner needs a green card and you can’t be together otherwise.

  131. I’ve been married for 17 years. I’m 45. I married because I fell in love. I fell in love with someone who is my equal, my partner, my teammate. Side by side, shoulder to shoulder, we carry all the loads, good, bad and otherwise. We are different enough “to pull each other out of the ditch” but similar enough to pursue the same priorities and laugh at the same things. We’ve taken turns supporting each other financially, often both working. We both have college degrees. We do the best we can to live the most honorable, loving life we can.
    Smart people marry their equal – the person who encourages them to be their best self.
    A smart person knows the rule, “Never let someone do for you what you can and should do for yourself.” And if you do need help, be smart enough to ask, and be grateful when someone steps up.

  132. Ramit,

    What lovely people you have commenting here. They’ve got the answer (I see it running through many of the responses). The one essential thing a woman should look for is shared values. And a man, too. Shared values over the long haul (yes, many decades in my case) is what makes a marriage work. Shared values about what is important (books, reading, education) as well as what is sacrosanct. That would include an absolute commitment to the marriage itself.

    It’s not a perfect equation, BTW. There were years when my husband was in medical training or launching his medical practice when I carried more of the burden of childcare. I railed against it. I was fiercely ambitious and it felt like a big concession on my part. But guess what: our three adult children are amazing; it was worth it. It all evens out over the long haul. Turns out I never had the traditional career I thought I wanted (reporter or editor for The New York Times). Instead I’m an Internet entrepreneur who has published a book with a New York publisher, spoken all over the world, consulted with Fortune 50 companies, self-published on Amazon Kindle and am now launching a new venture to help up-and-coming business authors publish short eBooks. Shhh… don’t tell anyone but I’m having more fun now than ever before. Oh and I remain a huge fan of what you’re doing. Hope we can meet sometime. And that you’ll do a Q&A with me on my blog.

  133. I chose to propose to my fiancée because she makes my life better. A simple decision based on a complicated perspective.

    We talk about finances all the time. She’s not necessarily good with money. In fact, when she gets a tab, I have to calculate the tip because she’s just awful with numbers. It’s pretty funny. In the long run, I’m going to be the guy who will have the good credit and manage the finances. She knows this and I’m ok with that. I’ve even stopped reminding her when bills are due because she’ll never remember. She doesn’t even remember my birthday — it’s pretty bad.

    But what’s interesting is she DOES pay attention to my spending habits. I teach and explain a few things to her, she takes in what she can and tries to contribute as best as she can. No burden on me. I’ve been financially responsible for quite some time so there no changes I need to make in my life.

    And although finances is her weakness, I have weaknesses as well where she excels in — which allows me to learn some things.

    I could go on and on, but I feel in the end, a potential spouse’s habits are what determines a smart decision to marry them. It’s VERY had to change habits without a strict commitment and money may be one of the worst (and most frustrating) habits to try changing.

  134. i picked out my husband because of the standard reasons (smart, funny, handsome, shared values, etc), but more more specific things i looked for:
    -good taste in music & films. i guess this is me outing myself as a hipster. but i’m not going to listen to awful music for the rest of my life. currently my husband mines the internet for all kinds of wonderful musical oddities and rarities to bring home for us to listen to. love this. he loves that i love it. it is a giant love fest with an amazing soundtrack.
    (also i read an article somewhere about how middle class ish people use knowledge of culture as a social status thing, since we’re all kind of leveled out money-wise. so he is rich in knowledge of culture.)
    -must be computer geek, check. i’m not fixing anyone’s computers, and also i need someone to fix the internet.
    -ability to sail a boat a plus, the more types of vehicles they can operate, the better. motorcycle-riding also a plus. he passed with flying colors. this is for apocalypse planning, patton-oswald style, because i cannot sail. we will need to get away from the zombies or worldwide plague, and possibly drive a stick if we rent a car in europe, or escape a city on a matching pair of motorbikes- the more scenarios he can get out of, the better.

    interesting question about the surprise debt. right before we got married, my husband got hit with an irs audit and a healthy 5-figure bill. he was unhappy, but since i have my own consumer debt (much less but still enough to be a thing), we agreed we’d both just pay off our own debts, and the first one to finish would help the other out. occasionally he expresses remorse about not being about to spend more dough because we’re still dealing with big bills for another year or two- but i don’t think any newlyweds are supposed to be rich. some kind of marriage hazing. in any case, it’s just an extra bill for a while, and was certainly not enough reason to call off the wedding.
    great series. i love reading the comments.

  135. Can’t really talk for anyone else but me, and i can say I married for… well of course love played a part. My husband is a wonderful person, warm and caring, very supportive, with a great sense of humour. He brings out the best in me.

    I did also marry for money, that is, I married him because I knew we shared the same values: work hard, have fun, spend money on experiences. He has no ambition to earn a lot of money but is ambitious in other ways (he defended two PhDs summa cum laude) and he is reasonable with money (I wouldn’t say “rational” as I’m not sure anybody is rational when it comes to money). He spends less than he earns, saves, doesn’t throw money away on stupid things – although of course everybody defines that differently. Suffice to say we have very similar views on money, so in that sense, I did marry for money.

    Another reason we married has to do with love in an indirect way: we both come from very warm families (read: loving but overbearing sometimes), so marrying was like a declaration of independence of sorts. We were asking our families to view us as one entity, as in: no, we wouldn’t be spending Christmas each in his/her family, because we are married and so we spend Christmas together, even if that means one set of parents has to do without their child this time (next year, Mom, promise). Marriage was a way of being taken seriously.

    Of course it has to do with love, since we were serious about being taken seriously and we were looking forward to spending the rest of our life together, but getting married did have a social component.

    That makes me think – the social component is both external (Look! We’re married! We’re grownups! Don’t call me Miss, I’m Mrs.!) and internal: you become a community of two (and potentially more than two) so you want to make it work. I wouldn’t couch it in terms of business mergers because, well, I don’t feel comfortable with that metaphor, but there is a calculated aspect to it, after all. For example, you’d both better be good flatmate material because you’re going to be sharing a lot of rooms, ideally for longer than the average lease.

    Being taken seriously might be more important for women than for men – in my experience, at least in my circle of friends, being perceived as a spinster by older generations is more of a stigma than being a bachelor. I have several female friends who pursued PhDs in female-dominated disciplines (arts, humanities) and so didn’t meet a lot of men and are now single at 32. Their families hardly ever consider the hard work they put in to defend their PhDs, and are less proud than if their daughter was married. They are intellectually ambitious and hardworking but somehow that doesn’t really count as an achievement. Their families still give them a hard time because they’re single – by “give them a hard time” I mean “keep asking them when they’ll get a boyfriend, and keep reminding them about their biological clock, even though they should know how much it can hurt to be asked those questions”.

  136. Damn. There are some intelligent, normal people on this site. I was cringing to read these comments because I’m used to reading comments on cnn.com articles, reddit, and bodybuilding.com – I was convinced that the world and 99% of people were worthless id10t’s. Very refreshing to see well thought out, intelligent, responses! I also love the scored women who shit on marriage. LOL – these are the lamest of the lame.

    I’m married. I’m American and I chose to marry a Ukrainian woman. Why? Because she APPRECIATES money. She was making around $5 per day, working as a DOCTOR in Ukraine. The fact that she was a Doctor told me that she had ambition and discipline. She was sweet, honest, and very feminine. She likes to cook, clean, and take care of our house and while she doesn’t want to be a doctor in America, she’s here with me now and she started her own internet store selling wedding supplies and is doing quite well with it. She loves and respects the fact that I am a man, I work and make most of the money, and she wouldn’t dream of abusing it. She cuts coupons, and is very very tight with out budget. She hates eating out and asks me what is the point of eating out when she can cook better than what we can get at an expensive restaurant? She knows whats its like to have nothing – and she’s ecstatic and happy every day with the little bit I’m able to provide for her. It’s very refreshing.

    This is why I married who I married. The fact that she respects and appreciates money was the biggest selling point for me.

  137. What constitutes “money” ?
    If you love someone and they really love you back wouldn’t they try and help pay for rent, food, clothes?
    I mean if you have to work 3 jobs and he sits at home playing modern warfare ,does he actually love you anyways?
    -just a thought from a husband of three months

  138. It’s a nice article, but people get married based on 1) what they need in the other person and 2) who they happen to meet.

    If they meet someone who they are attracted to/love/fear/whatever (2) and that person has enough of the traits they need (1), then it’s for love. The decision is a mixture of an emotional one with a little logic. Most people either marry who they meet, or look for someone who has the characteristics they want/need. It usually ends as a risk assessment game anyway where that person tries to decide if they will find a better fit if they hold out. Luckily, biological responses in the body will help to create a pretty convincing attachment to whoever you stay with long enough as long as they other person isn’t too unattractive and their good points outweigh the bad.

    People think they are making completely rational decisions, but as we’ve learned, most of our decisions are impulse driven. The benefit of “Smart” women who hang out with a certain group of people is that they will be more likely to find an attraction to someone who fits their idea of how husband should be. Then the natural attachment starts to take over, and the relationship develops from there.

    Moral of the story is, if you want to have a husband who is responsible with money, hang around with those types of people and wait for attraction to happen.

  139. As a 21/m with a lot of life experience to gain yet I would say lifestyle and outlook.

    How money is spent is a big part of the lifestyle you are choosing, but thought should go into how it’s earned as well: is travel a big part of this your job, are you working 80 hours, are you working from home or from an office, does your job require you to relocate etc. Everything can be fine, but I think this is more important than the pay and the net worth over the long run.

    Similarly with outlook: my mom is strict about going to school and landing a safe job, whereas my dad is more happy-go-lucky (it ended in divorce a couple of years back). Either can be fine, but you should be aware of the underlying scripts and look for pitfalls.

    Another thing is the peer group you are in and the partner’s family as this can say something about her/his expectations for the future. As with Ramit’s advice on asking someone 10 years your senior about unexpected expenses you could probably learn something about your partners expectations by looking at who (s)he is turning to for that kind of life advice (is she fine with a shitty car, is (s)he urban, suburban or rural etc.) – I am not saying that every person is not unique, yet sometimes generalizations do make sense and you should compare your partner’s scripts with your own and see if you are compatible.

    TL;DR: Men and women marry for lifestyle and outlook – money is a part of this but not all of it.

  140. Obviously some or maybe even most women marry for love. But when is the last time you saw a poor guy with a hot wife? Let’s not kid ourselves here..

  141. Ramit, I like your gender articles, but listen: if women have to choose between love or money, why can’t the reason for guys just be love? Check yourself.

    To answer the question, I’ll always choose love. I like this comment from Lauren: “Smart women make enough money that they can afford to marry whoever the hell they want.”

    That’s me. He’s my husband, not my retirement plan.

  142. Both genders should marry for security. Love is emotional security, which promotes fidelity. Financial security ensures comfort. Marrying for love or for money are means to the same end: comfortable stability in a long term relationship.

  143. I couldn’t agree more with Courtney (and I second her article recommendation)–respect has a lot to do with it. I’m at an age where almost all of my friends are married and many are starting to get divorced and remarried. A majority of the successful relationship I see around me are based on mutual respect. Doesn’t matter if the wife stays at home and raises kids and the husband works, or vice versa. Or there aren’t any kids. Or they’re both rich or both broke. If each partner values and respects the other person’s contribution to the marriage–even as time passes–the partners seem happier, more content, and more stable.

    I’ve never been married), but I don’t think that says anything about my ability to be in a good relationship or make sound choices. The conditions I needed for a successful marriage just haven’t been there. Even when I was engaged in my early 20′s, I knew that my partner didn’t respect me, my values, or what I brought to the relationship. I didn’t respect his financial habits, his emotional maturity (or lack of), and his lack of ambition and curiosity about life in general. We also didn’t share the same view of the world, which makes planning for the future impossible. So the attraction and “love” was there, but the respect, the financial foundation, and the mutual appreciation? Not there. I walked away confident that I was making the best choice for both of us.

    I’m now with a better-suited partner–10 years later. We’re stable, we love each other, and we’ve lived together for years. Almost all of the conditions for a happy marriage are there. But we have no plans on getting married..at least, not right now. Why? Because both of us aren’t financially prepared to FULLY combine incomes, expenses, and LIABILITY. We aren’t able or willing to pay more in taxes (we’ve done the math) or share each other’s financial burdens. We’re both working on those burdens, for sure, and the prospect of getting married is one motivator. But it just doesn’t make sense and we’ve taken the steps to protect and support each other (legally) and are benefiting more (financially) from keeping the relationship at the “cohabitation” state. We both understand the legitimacy of the relationship and the commitment and respect it as if it were a marriage.

  144. This has been great time watching all of the varied comments pour in. I’m going to ignore the mindless prattling about how “marriage is a dead institution” as I way in with some observations and questions.

    In a nutshell, Ginger has thoughtfully put forth the suggestion that women should marry a men with whom they have shared financial goals. I think this is an excellent suggestion and (of course) it goes the other way for men as well. But it’s not really just “financial” goals that Ginger is trying to get at. Nobody really values money in and of itself. Rather, we value the things that money can enable us to achieve: retirement, socializing/maintaining friendships (bars, restaurants), vacations, medical payments, visiting family, a certain level of modern comfort, maintaining our social standing, vehicles, insurance, lattes, having kids, raising kids. Money might not be tied directly to love and family values, but the reality is that it does help make these intangibles a reality in our lives – plane tickets to visit family members, paying for your child’s extracurricular activities, donating to your cousin’s cancer fund, a new house in a new neighborhood with a better school district.

    Having a conversation with SO about money isn’t just about how much they make, but how they handle it. Are they putting their “money where their mouth is?” Are they “spending consciously?” Money does affect relationships. Divorce rates are really low for higher educated families, and a better education means a better salary on average (1) I’m not saying that correlation is causation, but it doesn’t take much imagination to see how a blown transmission on a car can cause a lot of friction in a family that is just getting by. Where’s the money going to come from? Things can snowball into resentment pretty quickly “We need a new car and there you are still buying cases of beer.” This can happen with richer people as well, but since they have more money at their disposal, it’s much easier to sidestep such catastrophes with an easily-made-emergency-fund. I think there are also the invisible scripts about how the amount of money you have can have a direct effect on what social groups/outings you can afford to do as well.

    So marrying for money is (on a certain level) synonymous with marrying for values. But do we consciously approach the subject of money in a relationship? Some do. Some don’t. But all should. I think that’s what Ginger is trying to get at.

    Ramit’s questions hint at a nuanced issue of the money/relationship dynamic. When do you approach the money topic in a relationship? Is it one of your up front deal breakers? What if your partner has 30k in credit card debt? Personally, if it’s at the beginning of the relationship I would probably put up my guards and start to drift away. If it’s 4 years into the relationship I would sit down and try to have a let’s-figure-this-out conversation. Is that hypocritical of me? Maybe, but that’s the way I would deal with it. Context matters as do the emotions that have developed over time.

    How do you feel about your SO making more or less money than you? As a guy, I would not mind if my lady made more than me – as long as she didn’t use it as a power play to get her way. That would make me resentful. (I’m sure this is how many wives have felt before. I’ve seen a guy rant and rave to his wife about he was the breadwinner….it was a very uncomfortable argument to witness. She was taking care of their 2 kids and had another on the way….)

    I’m curious how all of the ladies will answer. I’ve seen guys be very resentful towards their wives and girlfriends for making more money. Does this make some women uncomfortable to the point where they will lie about their higher paying job or to actively not try to get a better paying job in order to save their man’s ego? I’m curious about that. I imagine that’s not the case in general. Things will have to change if that’s true. Women are the majority of college graduates (60%) (2) and young, single, childless women in big cities out earn their male counterparts on average (2).

    (1) http://www.economist.com/node/9218127?story_id=9218127

    (2) http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/07/the-end-of-men/8135/

    (3) http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0%2C8599%2C2015274%2C00.html

  145. Myrna Mitchell Link to this comment

    Smart women marry for LIFE

  146. I am 25, Christian, single, college educated, own my home, volunteer, love traveling and trying new things, enjoy immersing myself in other cultures, and I know how to enjoy my life. Last but not least, I make $50,000 a year.

    As a smart woman I hope to marry someone with similar characteristics who also has a good relationship with their family, wants to have children, and will be goofy with me. I don’t take life too seriously so a sense of humor is a must.

  147. I would say that smart women don’t marry for only one primary reason.

    • I should also clarify that by saying I agree with the comments about “hidden costs.”

      People rush into marriage like they rush into buying a home without considering all factors involved. It’s another instance where societal pressure forces us to overlook or ignore very important factors in whether a union or investment will be successful.

  148. Smart women don’t marry to live out a fairytale, or to secure their financial future. And most important, smart women don’t marry just because everybody else is doing it; they are prepared to spend the rest of their lives surrounded by their family, friends, and people whose lives they’ve chosen to mentor and invest in – or as Katherine Heigl would say, “completely alone.”

    If romance is important to you then you should look for somebody who at least makes an effort. Not unrealistic/impossible gestures (I’m talking to you, Heigl). I’m talking about buying flowers after a hard days work once in a while; an occasional special dinner for two. But romance fades. And if a couple’s entire life falls apart – finances, health, or anything – a gushy romantic display won’t be worth very much.

    Financial security is an even flimsier target. Markets crash. Emergency expenses can strike out of the blue. A man can lose his earning power; or he can throw away his good name. Some more important considerations are: Why is he working this particular job? If he’s serving his own ambition (e.g., any recent fraud), that might come back to bite you. How well does he handle the stress of his high-salary job? If he manages it in a way that maintains or strengthens the relationship, good for you both. Also, can he do his job well and still have time for family? If you marry for money but the marriage built on unstable foundations, it might be nothing more than a 20 year loan: 20 years of nice things paid for by a divorce at the end.

    All this is to say that women and men should marry for love. Not that rom-com b.s. Rather, find somebody with a pattern of decision making that’s responsible and based on standards you can live with, or better yet, that you agree with. Somebody you respect. Somebody you’re willing to sacrifice for – because unlike romance and money, self-sacrifice is the one thing you can count on in a marriage. Somebody who sacrifices for you.

    Romance and earning power aren’t the horns of a dilemma, like the question suggests they are. They are just two factors out of many.

  149. I married someone who made me happy.

    I have seen plenty of women get stung, so will not be relying on anyone else to fund my retirement. That’s up to me. We have separate bank accounts. Of course I’ll look after him if he needs it, and he would do his best to look after me if I need it, but ultimately my life is MY responsibility.

    On the plus side, he looks after me when I’m sick, makes my heart flutter when I look at him after four years of marriage, enjoys the same movies/video games that I do, has a quirky sense of humour, and occasionally surprises me with very thoughtful things like breakfast in bed, or a walk by the river.

    The ‘need a man to offer security’ thing stopped when women were allowed into the workplace. There is NO reason why you can’t (or shouldn’t!) earn money, get a pension, save up, contribute towards the wedding, or pay for the kids. If women can find a man that still falls for this nonsense, more power to them.

  150. Last I checked, there are about 7 billion people on Earth, so saying that “women marry for this” and “men marry for that” just seems oversimplified.
    I could care less about what “what men want” (all 3.5 billion guys want the same thing in a marriage? Really?”)
    What’s more important is knowing what I want, (which is not what all 3.5 billion women want) and cultivating friendships with groups of people who have goals that are compatible with mine.
    Now, I haven’t been married and I’m in my 40′s, so that might mean that I’m unsuccessful at this whole relationship thing, right?
    But I don’t think that way. Sure, I haven’t gotten married (though never say never!), but I have developed friendships with great people who have the compatible outlooks on life. I have a decent financial plan, and I’ve got people in my life who matter to me and who care about me.
    For me, it’s been a matter of getting what I need in life, not what I want. In this, I’m reminded of that a religious man once told me, “Humans make plans, and God laughs.”
    I suppose if I were giving advice to a young person, I would suggest that they get very clear about what kind of person they want to be in a relationship with, and what kind of person they need to be to get that relationship, and if any of that is compatible with their other life and financial goals.
    Then pay attention to what life sends you – you’ll be surprised and amazed. Best of all, it will be better than anything you could have ever planned.

  151. I am financially secure and would like to stay that way. My criteria for men has so much more to do with their emotional, mental and physical health than financial. I don’t care how much a guy makes as long as he can comfortably support *his* lifestyle. If our shared life is at a lower price point (ok, not below the poverty line, but lower than what I can afford) that would be fine, too. I wouldn’t feel comfortable if my partner was living beyond his means.

  152. I am a semi-smart woman and I married for love -but what I loved and valued besides his flat abs and his long locks, both now history, was his integrity, work ethic, and competence. He treated his mother with great respect and managed his financial life well. The fact that I loved him deeply was born of all of this together. Twenty-eight years later (not Ramit’s demographic) it was the best choice of my life. If he lost his job tomorrow and had to work at 7-11 to meet his obligations, he would do it humbly and well. Our shared work ethic and hard work has paid off for us in areas that make us wealthy in many ways beyond the financial. But, my oh my, do I love a nice nest egg!

    • The way a guy treats his mother is a really good indication of how he will treat you after the initial ‘love is blind’ rush.

  153. Can’t wait to see the dating/marriage course you’re developing.

  154. Smart women balance marrying for love AND money… AND many other things (socially, professionally, family)

  155. This debate is…kind of dumb. First of all, there are many women who don’t necessarily marry for love, even if they say they did to maintain appearances. Second of all, love and money are not the only two choices! People marry for all sorts of reasons. But regardless of all that, women should marry according to their personal values, and not according to what anyone else tells them they “ought” to. It’s none of your business why anyone else chooses to get married. End of story.

    I don’t normally post negative comments, but Ramit… you need to stop debating what women “should” be doing with their money on your blog. I’m not saying this because of gender equality or because I think that women don’t have special issues with money. It’s just weird and a little offensive for a guy like you to be discussing women’s issues without really asking any actual women before writing your posts. The “survey” that you did was pseudo-science at best, and I can’t see anything here that is more than your personal view on the situation. It might be different if you were quoting different women who actually existed instead of creating some kind of faux dichotomy to stir up controversy… But it’s weird in the same way as those panels of white dudes you see on the news who sit around debating whether or not women should have access to contraception. Are they entitled to their opinion? Sure. But it’s still weird when men feel the need to publicly crow about their opinions on women’s issues, particularly when they aren’t trying to really get to the heart of the matter, but are just blindly regurgitating things they’ve heard.

    I feel like this whole thing has been invented to create controversy and up your page views, instead of trying to actually say something helpful. That’s sad, since you often have things to say that are very insightful! :/ I hope you get back to your usual fare, soon.

    • Interesting that you think I’m telling women what to do when in this entire series, I have asked dozens of questions and not said one prescriptive thing.

    • Upvote. +1
      The reason why men comprise a larger portion of your audience than women is because you are putting out these posts without truly thinking about what we want. I know that you sent feelers out, but this is really a guy post for women. It would be better if you did guest posts for this series, because women don’t want to read about this. MEN want to know if women want them for love or for money. Women know what they’re going to marry for already and they don’t need/want to chime in on something like this. MANY of the female commenters have noted that marrying is quite complex and women marry for a whole host of reasons. This post doesn’t hit the spot, Ramit.

  156. My mom always told me “It’s as easy to fall in love with a rich man as a poor man.” So I really think it comes down to who you surround yourself with. Smart women spend time with people that add value to their lives – whatever that value may be. Personally, I’m going to marry a guy who can pay for dinner and rock my world. I hope he marries me for the same. Hopefully my IQ throws me in that “smart” category enough to weigh in here.

  157. As a woman that has been married for 15 years (together for 20) I would like to comment on the view of ‘marry for money’. What I thought of as decent money was dramatically different when I was 24. If I were evaluating the financial side of a potential partner now at age 40, a very different amount of money and lifestyle would be considered suitable. As you age, your perceptions on this will change. If you are picking money – be sure it will suit your long term goals.

  158. It is amazing how an injection of a topic that triggers deep emotion can lower the IQ of many intelligent people by at least 30 points.

  159. I think this is a great post and a great topic to bring out into a public forum. However, I do take issue with the initial assumption that marrying for love is simply a recent development. I think if one were to look throughout history and simply note the many romance stories that have been written for centuries for example, it’s easy to see that marrying for love is not a new concept (Canterbury tales, Shakespeare, and Emily Bronte come to mind). I think the difference now is that where though in those times marrying for love was something to aspire to, a right that needed to be fought for, and a reality very rarely realized, now it has become something of a right. People may now see those century old stories (and of course the hundreds of ones that get released in theaters and your local airport book store annually), and assume they are not only entitled to that immediately, but that this idyllic result of marrying whom we love should be the natural result of the economic freedom and mobility that we now have, so we can have the relationship from say Romeo and Juliet, without the feuding families and suicides (sorry, spoiler!).

  160. Rehmit- Women ( and men) shoudl marry for life. I believe marriage is an institution, vow and contract between two people. Shallow and scared people marry for money. Idealists and romantics marry for love. Most people are actually somewhere in the middle.

  161. 230 comments! (as of this post) Ramit you truly are a master of marketing and engaging your audience. Thanks to taking your E1K course (fantastic course btw I still refer to it) I can see step by step how you are gonna provide massive value to all these women very soon.

  162. I think it depends on if the smart woman in question is younger or older and if she’s a little wealthier or a little poorer. In general (always exceptions!) the older, poorer smart woman will be more likely to marry for money, the older, richer smart woman will be more likely to marry for love (as long she gets to keep control of her money), the younger, poorer smart woman will marry for love if she believes he’s got the potential to make either make money or be the “wife” while she does, or money if she plans to be the one whose career takes the backseat, and the younger, richer smart women will marry for money if she earned her own money and love if she inherited it.

    Curious to see what you eventually end up saying about this.

  163. No Finance + No Romance = Nuisance

  164. My first two boyfriends couldn’t or wouldn’t hold down jobs. One actively refused to work because he felt his parents owed him, I dunno, a free life or something. The other would work until he had a personal problem with his boss or co-workers, then he’d either quit or get fired. I think he’s improved since then, but I haven’t spoken to him in quite some time.

    Now, if either of them would have cheerfully taken up the full duties of being a house husband, that wouldn’t have bothered me so much. But neither of them would, so I didn’t want to marry one of them and be in a position where I’d be the only one bringing in an income and also with majority responsibility for keeping house.

    My fiancé has a steady job, and does equal share of the housework. It’s far from the only reason that I’m marrying him, but it’s an important one.

    For an actual marriage partner, I would definitely want someone who could afford to live on their own while also saving some money. That’s just my personal baseline. I would look for stability in a partner. It’s like talking about exes. Have they had a lot of short jobs and they were all complete psychos, or have they held down a few, meaningful positions? And if they’re self-employed, do they appear to actually be ambitious and hard-working, or are they playing video games all day? How hard they work is a better measure than actual numbers. Of course if the actual number happens to be high-ish, that’s certainly a great bonus, but as long as they make enough to be independent (I did it on significantly less than 30K/year where I live) then that’s good enough.

  165. If you married for money you would be a fool. As the saying goes a FOOL AND HIS MONEY ARE SOON PARTED.

  166. Another vote for “smart men and women marry for shared values.” I love my fiancee, my experience without money live is woring. 1st you have money every persone love you like men/women. withour money no love sucessfull in you life so money is most roll in your life for love and another sucess.

  167. What I want to know is: when Ramit chooses someone to marry, will his brand be an important factor in his selection? Inquiring minds want to know!

  168. I was raised by unusally financially-repsonsible parents, so I felt like I had to overlook a lot of bad money habits in men since few had what I had. That just made me stuck married, resentful about how he spent our money while having to parent-them just to maintain my own health. This time around, financial responsiblity is much more a priority as well as maintaining a division of finances in dating and future marriage. But now, I’m lucky to have a man who actually puts my recommendations into practice (maxing out an IRA, cut living costs, and saves for vacations), instead of someone that’s says, “yeah, I should do that” and lives paycheck-to-paycheck with brand new electronics and gaming systems.

    I have no problem making more money than my husband (and want a man who is secure with that idea) and I believe in splitting living costs based on income (ie 60/40, instead of 50/50). But if he doesn’t bring in his own retirement assets and demonstrate financial responsibility, why bother?

  169. I’d like to pretend that money had no part in my decision to initially date,and later stay with my partner, but I’d be fooling myself. In the beginning, if felt kinda cool to be dating a lawyer who is making a name for himself in his field. Now, we’ve been together for 3 years, and we have very similar financial goals and strategies – having this in common has been a HUGE part of our relationship, and I think it’s definitely important for anyone evaluating a potential partner – I’m not saying you have to marry rich, I’m saying you have to have roughly the same ideas about personal finance.
    Having similar financial and lifestyle GOALS is also really important – if you’re a minimalist & traveller, you’re going to find it hard when your partner insists on buying fancy clothes & cars.

  170. I think most women marry for stability and Sensual attraction.. Successful men have that swagger effect I suppose.

    I think smart men marry for a woman that will keep them sane during the times that insanity will take over. Perhaps to ground the lofty or to inspire the less creative.

  171. Smart woman marry for… the values that are most important to them.

    For some women, money is of paramount importance. For these woman, money concerns are more important than any other.

    For others, financial concerns may be more negotiable. For example, if he’s perfect in every other way, she’s going to be a lot more willing to forgive his $50,000 in debt, especially if she can see he works hard and has a plan to pay it off.

    Now to really answer your question…

    Smart women choose to marry based on how their man makes them feel.

    If she wants to get married and honestly feels like this guys is going to be able to provide for her needs in the long term (whether those needs are emotional, financial, sexual, or something else), she’ll marry him.

    If she feels like her life is always going to be lacking for as long as she’s with him, she’ll dump him.

  172. What means love? What makes different people fall in love?

  173. I find this incredibly offensive and sexist.

    While many people in history did marry for tactical reasons, it was women who were the cartel, and were forced into situations of misery and subservience. History is full of women who were regularly beaten, and guidelines for how to do this “properly” were common to come by. The fact they women have only gained the vote in the last 90 years shows our culture’s contempt for this gender.

    The attitudes on the pages of this blog sum up why America and its “philosophy” is so deeply unpopular in this world. The hideous attitude of ‘profit over people’ oozes off this pages like spiritual cyanide. Signed up on a friend’s recommendation; I will unsubscribe today.

    Here’s how to get rich: realise that a rich person is not a person who has a lot, but who needs little; that wealth comes from giving, not taking; and that comparing yourself to others, is the quickest road to misery.

    I doubt this will get posted, but I cannot read a post where my sisters (and I am a man) are so roundly disrespected.

    Dom

  174. I think that boiling down your marriage aspirations to either just money or just love is a foolish decision, although I believe that there are people who make bad marriage decisions because of their (erroneous) belief that money alone or love alone will make them happy. Also, I don’t think that kind of person makes a good mate anyways. People who think in terms of only one dimension tend to be very one-dimensional themselves.

    I agree with what Ricky Raw said, and I think he touches on a nerve…people don’t want to think that they might be immediately rejected by someone because they didn’t meet one of that person’s requirements (often one that never even occurred to the person). A man who’s put all of his effort into obtaining a high-paying job will not want to hear that he’s been rejected because of his boring personality. Likewise, a woman who has put all of her effort into maintaining her looks will not want to be rebuffed because she never finished college. You can never really predict what someone’s criteria are.

    I think that is why the scripts are so successful; they pander to our egos by placing external factors as the cause of rejection. The blonde bombshell at the bar isn’t interested in you because your clothes aren’t fancy enough or your car isn’t sporty enough (money). The hunk from marketing never asked you out on a second date because there just wasn’t any chemistry. It’s much easier to think along these lines and write off the other person as shallow than it is to accept that the problem is deeper and is most likely something that can’t be changed–like your personality, or lifestyle, or spiritual beliefs.

  175. Hey Ramit,

    To clarify, I was open regarding my debt since the very beginning of the relationship. It was my boyfriend’s idea to move in together so I could lower my cost of living and pay down the debt faster. The problem in the relationship arose when he wanted me to purchase new furniture for the place and to go on trips, to which I replied that I could not afford to do so as paying off the debt was my priority and the whole reason for moving in. Without consulting me, he had assumed I could just simply pay for these things out of my savings.
    I was very clear about my situation but he made a bunch of assumptions. The point is, when dealing with relationships and money, there needs to be clear agreements made and an alignment of goals, values etc otherwise conflict is imminent.

  176. I have ended up with someone who shares many significant values with me, including how to manage money. I don’t know how it could have worked out any other way. I feel deeply bad for people in relationships who don’t have that. If we began to drift apart on those values, then the relationship would have to end. How could it be otherwise?

  177. Also, what does “marrying for money” mean, anyway? Marrying someone who will do all the work earning money so that I don’t have to? or merely marrying someone who won’t undo all the good work I do earning money? The latter just doesn’t sound like “marrying for money”, but rather “marrying for compatible values”.

  178. I submit that assessing a potential partner’s financial situation is necessary to Smart Men & Women for the following reasons:

    1. Financials provide objective information, which allows smart men and women to be more confident when making projections of their future selves:

    No one can predict how long a partnership will last. If it’s 5 years or 50, when you share your life with another human you will change. Nothing is certain but death and taxes (You will age, and being a part of society costs money). Everything else is variable. Especially when you have kids, and you become bald, fat or both.

    Human beings have standards and expectations, and this is probably why some people wind up in debt while others survive just fine. Smart men & women strive to position themselves with a large chasm between lowest acceptable standard and highest potential outcome. They acknowledge the probability of hard times as well as the possibility of dreams coming true.

    Smart people assess risks and the probability possible outcome. It is a quality inherent to those with higher cognitive abilities. Since humans a wired with an optimistic outlook on life, it is easy to rationalize and difficult to be truly realistic. A safe bet would be to find a partner with the ability to obtain steady and adequate income.

    2. If you can determine how & why people find themselves in certain financial situations, you will know everything about the way people view themselves in the world.

    Are they capable of hard work and sacrifice, or do they rely on the easy way out? Do they need to maintain a certain lifestyle in order to feel satisfied, or will they adjust their expectations to match the current situation? If you get in the way of the other persons self image there will be problems.

    I have to put cash into context by coupling it with character. There are different angles to take:

    EARNED – indicates status and value to society relative to one’s opportunities, sacrifices, determination, commitment, etc.

    OWED – demonstrates risk tolerance and patterns of behavior

    INHERITED – or any undeserved reward not gleaned from personal sacrifice or valuable contributions

    DESIRES – the spending potential of each individual required to acheive life goals

  179. Money and love are two very complex topics on their own.

    With regard to the debt question, I have to say, it really depends what kind of debt that is. If it’s a student loan for med/law school, anything that means this debt roughly equals the first entry level salary for their chosen profession in combination with a solid plan that prioritizes repaying this debt within the next 5-10 years in combination with some savings/investment plan, would be totally acceptable and would testify of their ambition and ability to handle things.

    30k in debt for cars, shoes, clothes, electronic gadgets, etc., totally different idea. I don’t think I could fall in love with the later type of person.

    Money issues are one of the most frequent reasons for divorce. If you marry someone, make sure they have similar spending habits to your own or at least have an agreement about how you’re going to handle money and all the related issues (buy a house or rent, retirement plans, life insurance, pre-nup,…) . If one partner spends like Mr. Scrooge and the other one like Louis XIV. then you’re headed for disaster unless of course both are cool with the others way of handling things.

  180. Ramit,

    I can see your post has generated quite a buzz. There are woman who marry for money and other who marry for love. And then there are women who marry for both. Money plays an important role in relationships. Sometimes women get duped into the romantic dream of “marriage.” Aside from the personal, spiritual, religious union of two people in love with each “marriage,” the legal matters of marriage is just as important…it affects how you file your taxes and the benefits your receive or at least entitled to because you are married. Men and women do view money differently. That’s why it’s very important for their to be an open dialogue about money—communication is vital. Great job again with stirring up some buzz on this sensitive subject matter.

  181. A lot of really interesting comments to this entry. I’ve enjoyed seeing all the different perspectives.

    I believe smart women AND men should really take the time to think about what they’re looking for in a relationship–particularly a long-term one like marriage. I tell this to my male friends all the time because most of them never consciously contemplate what they’re looking for in someone they want to be in a relationship with (many fall back on the “I know it when I see it” or “it just feels right”) and then go on to complain that all their relationships have been terrible. (Women usually have developed some kind of ‘list’ of the qualities they’re looking for, so this piece of advice is less applicable).

    You should also think about the qualities you really DON’T want in a partner, whether that’s financial irresponsibility or incredible vanity, and determine whether they’re dealbreakers or things you might be able to tolerate if someone has all the other awesome qualities you’re looking for. Then collect data to bear out these hypotheses: go on dates with lots of different people. You might be surprised by what you can tolerate and what quality you thought would be awesome but is really not that important in a relationship.

    Another wrinkle to consider is that most good qualities come with a corresponding negative–not in all situations, but many. Generosity, for example, can be attractive but can also be a marker of fiscal irresponsibility if someone continues to give/spend lavishly without the means to support it. High intelligence can be nice, but may come paired with arrogance or the need to always be right. Someone ambitious/hard-working may do great in the workplace, but may very well be a workaholic who has less time/energy to give to a relationship. Nobody is perfect and having some ideas of the trade-offs you might have to accept in a relationship and for the rest of your life (in a marriage) can lead to a lot less bitterness/resentment over unfulfilled expectations.

    I think it should all come down to the kind of life/lifestyle a person wants. If someone wants kids and wants to stay home to take care of them full time, they should absolutely factor into their marriage decisions the ability of their spouse to support a family of 4 on a single salary. Likewise, if someone wants to have kids and have their partner stay home to take care of them, then they need to consider whether their own salary/earning potential will be sufficient to support that family. If someone wants kids and both parents to keep working, start thinking about how much daycare or nanny costs will be or if you have extended family that can watch them while both parents are gone. If someone doesn’t want kids–hey, you’ve removed one huge financial obligation from your future! Now you just have to find someone else who doesn’t want them too.

    I think the only “wrong” reasons to get married are the ones that haven’t been thought through by someone (this includes a lot of invisible scripts people are operating with and haven’t examined). Are you looking for a breadwinner or some to support you? Are you looking for stability and a good foundation for the future or fun and excitement and adventure? Are you looking for someone who wants kids or doesn’t want kids? There are always going to be outliers and examples of marriages that work out in spite of bad circumstances, but hoping to be an outlier doesn’t seem like the best way to go about making a decision that can literally affect every single day of the rest of your life.

  182. What about yourself, Ramit? Would you marry a “good Indian girl” your parents introduced you to, perhaps a close family friend you grew up knowing? The chances of that succeeding would be statistically very high, and you would know that on a gut level, with less need for an intellectual analysis. So where’s the multiple-choice options for us brown folks, even those born and raised in the US? :)

  183. A good business partner. Marriage is a business. You’d better like spending a hell of a lot of time together, be able to withstand failures and learn from them, and you need to consider money. Do you trust each other with money? What assets are you bringing to the partnership? If I wouldn’t be willing to go into business with someone, I would not marry that person either.

    It’s not a matter of what women marry for vs. what men marry for.

    • Having read responses above, let me add:

      Thinking of marriage as a business doesn’t make it a cold, emotionless transaction, people. Come on. You’d really run a business with someone you don’t like? I don’t think so. You’d get sick of that really fast.

  184. First, define smart.
    How? It’s defined by our scripts.
    For some, smart would be choosing romantic love over anything else.
    For others, smart would be choosing financial stability by dependence.
    For others, balancing both.
    For others working as a team for financial, emotional and social goals.
    And even for others smart would be not getting married.

    Our definition of “smart” changes by the scripts we have learned and consciously or unconsciously follow. :-)

  185. I like to think my wife married me for more than my money skills. Actually, I know that is true because I wasn’t good with money when we got married. It wasn’t until after the fact that I developed a strong passion for personal finance.

  186. First of all, I’m married to my work. However, if by some weird change of heart I were to marry someone, I would make sure I was still financially independent and I would keep my finances completely separate from my partner’s, whether my partner has good finances or not. Sure, how well my prospective partner manages money will probably be a contributing factor to my decision to marry that person, and I honestly wouldn’t want to marry someone with loads of debt. But that isn’t the only factor I would consider. In other words, it isn’t a deal-breaker, because I would be keeping my finances separate (and I really mean separate).

  187. Smart women marry for….ideas! If there’s mental stimulation the rest will fall into place. Most people marry out of boredom!

  188. Smart women marry for security. That means financial stability, the assurance that this person will care for them regardless of how they grow old, get sick etc., and the knowledge that this person can be a good father to any future children.
    Men marry more for looks and for a partner that will support them emotionally.
    That being said, younger men and women who have increased earning power are less willing to shoulder the burden of a mate’s debt.
    Everyone realizes that marriage is not solely about about love, it’s a contract.

  189. Why is everyone talking like this is a conscious decision? Women and men marry the best person available in an evolutionary sense. For women, a major criteria is security for the success of offspring. Money is a big factor here, but so is love and love for the offspring…

  190. Often on IWT, Ramit brings up research on speed dating where men and women both SAY that they’re looking for looks PLUS ancillary qualities… only to have it all fall apart when the date happens (i.e. when the previously stated preferences are subject to the test).

    See “5 fascinating experiments from the world of psychology and persuasion” posted on January 19, 2011 for a discussion on the myth of “I know who I’m attracted to”.

    Clearly, Ramit is gathering data on stated preferences for a marriage partner…

    But what happens when these preference are subject to the test of marriage? How (of if) would it fall apart?

    Ramit, do you have data on this? It would make for a fascinating and controversial post.

  191. I think it has less to do with where you are currently as opposed to your current trajectory. I met my boyfriend 2 years ago, just a few months after ending 18 months of collecting unemployment checks. He made roughly 5x what I did. Now he makes about twice what I do. How long until he makes half of what I do?

    People fall into poverty all the time due to circumstance. I don’t think you should judge them for it. But go ahead and judge them if they aren’t trying to do something about it.

  192. because they don’t want to have regrets latter on that they should have married.

  193. Every time I read a comment that accuses Ramit of sexism, I roll my eyes and die a little inside. Where does this hypersensitivity and feigned outrage come from?

    Here are a few observations to consider. Food for thought.

    1. The overwhelming majority of readers are interested in (a) what Ramit has to say, and (b) thoughtful comments from other readers that contribute something meaningful or insightful to the conversation. Very few, if any, readers are interested in (c) highly emotional and negative criticism. When you post a comment in anger, it is a purely selfish act — it contributes nothing to the conversation.

    2. Ramit has noted in earlier posts that the majority of his readers are male. The recent posts on gender and money are a clear effort to attract and engage female readers, solicit their insight, and offer content that provokes interest and thoughtful conversation across gender lines.

    3. Political correctness is a poison. It creates taboos that eliminate the possibility of open and honest dialogue. Ramit does his readers a service by challenging common fallacies and asking questions that some might consider off-limits or out-of-bounds. It encourages self-reflection and critical thinking.

    4. Knee-jerk, reflexive emotional reactions rarely lead to good decisions. Stop and think before you post a comment. The Internet provides a veil of anonymity and psychological distance that leads people to behave very rudely toward complete strangers. If you were having the same conversation face-to-face, I imagine that you would be more thoughtful and charitable in your responses.

    • 1. I think it’s quite interesting that you assume that anyone who has trouble with the way Ramit talks about gender is posting “highly emotional and negative criticism” “in anger.” Is it possible that the people who are bothered by this have a valid perspective? Perhaps you might check your own emotional reactions on this topic.

      2. Ramit is incredibly smart; I have to imagine he’s noticing the ways in which his gender posts are, and aren’t, succeeding with his target audience. If Ramit is saying things that bug women, don’t you think he’d like to know how to communicate with them better? Or perhaps just use that information to define which women he’s talking to, and which he isn’t?

      3. What you call “political correctness” I call “respectful behavior.” I understand that treating women respectfully and politely is hard for some people (at least when it goes beyond meaningless gestures like opening doors), but nonetheless it’s something to aspire to. I’m sure you manage to balance honesty with respect in at least some of your everyday interactions. Perhaps that might be a model to embrace regarding gender as well.

      4. Yes, please stop and think before you post a comment. Perhaps you are not using a rude tone, but your content is rather objectionable. Don’t you have better things to do than to tell women how they should think, feel, and behave?

      In case you’re curious about my personal views on these gender threads:

      1. I think Ramit asks interesting questions, even if his framing is sometimes problematic.

      2. He’s earned enough of my trust that I’m happy to go along with the conversation and see where he takes it.

      3. I’m really enjoying the diversity of opinion and values in this thread, even if it’s often hard for me not to correct people when they get their facts wrong.

      4. I wish Ramit would come down as hard on people who are morons about gender as he does on people who are morons about money. I love me some beatdown, Ramit-style.

    • @ Jess H. (May 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm)

      Thank you for your comment.

      I would like to clarify a few issues, because I think you misinterpreted my comment. My opening line was a little inflammatory, and I apologize if this led to confusion. Can’t win ‘em all.

      I think you read the opening lines of my comment, thought “this guy is a jerk,” and then interpreted the rest of it in the context of that first impression. Is that a fair assessment? I would appreciate it if you could do me a favor, reconsider that first impression and re-read my comment, as we actually share a lot of common ground.

      To clarify, I don’t assume that anyone who “has trouble with the way Ramit talks about gender” is highly emotional, angry or overly negative. On the contrary, my objective was simply to single-out those who have made such comments — for example, those who referred to Ramit’s post as “inane,” “bullshit,” etc. — and encourage them to express their opinions and criticism constructively.

      I thought it was important to defend Ramit’s post. Far from being sexist or anti-feminist, the posts on money and gender are actively attracting and engaging women. They are intended to provoke discussion. I think it is greatly to Ramit’s credit that he would study the composition of his audience, reflect on the causes of the disproportionate male-to-female ratio, and actively take steps to create content that would attract more female readers.

  194. Aha! Yes, the “hypersensitivity” and “feigned outrage,” combined with the reference to “political correctness” (a term I never hear anyone use except as a straw man), made me think you were saying something rather different. Your clarification makes much more sense. I think we are mostly on the same page, as you say.

    I do still want more Ramit beatdown, though.

  195. Smart women marry for both love and money. You marry for love based on a mutually held understanding of the world or at least with respect to each other’s beliefs. You marry for money at a financial level with which you would be comfortable or your partner’s ability to create more wealth and reach your comfort level. It’s completely about what your comfortable with – some disregard this aspect, holding on to expectations at the risk of falling behind the Joneses and end up unhappy with the result.

  196. I think Love. Because smart women can afford it. I’m pretty sure that I have the mental prowess to support a man if need be. I’ve got a good education and means to get good work. So I’m not too fussed if my man isn’t rich. I’m more concerned about finding someone whose company I am going to enjoy. Women who don’t have options marry for money.

    However, having said that, I also consulted my housemate who said that everyone has a tipping point. At some point when weighting up Love against $X, the scales are bound to tip so for most people I suppose it’s not a simple question of this or that, but at what price they believe Love is worth. For me? It would have to be in the high gazillions.

  197. I don’t even know what “love” truly is. What I do know is that smart men and women marry for happiness. What makes one happy? Several things. And financial uncertainty is not one of them. If I found out my girlfriend has $30,000 of debt, I’d try to understand the reason. If I find out that the reason is that because of her upbringing she does not respect and value money, I’d drop her like a hot potato. If I find out that there were circumstances beyond her control and she’s trying hard (and making progress, however slow), and if I was dating her for the past 4 years, I’d help her get out of the pit and I’d plan our future with her.

    I suspect that where “love” comes in is (a) shared values, (b) an understanding and a tolerance of each others’ personalities (/quirks). I’ve found that just a match of values or a compatibility of personalities isn’t enough – ideally you’d need both. I’m not even sure if values and personalities covers everything.

    As for income, a smart man/woman would prefer a partner who can earn well so that if one partner wants to take a calculated risk (an entrepreneurial venture or 2 years in business school) or if misfortune befalls one, the family can fall back on the second income.

    This might come across as a mercenary point of view, so here’s a rider: if the thought of being with each other for the rest of their lives doesn’t make them happy from their guts, the deal should be off.

  198. smart women should marry for support and love and longevity of companionship. but smart women are also educated and motivated to advance their own career so they can support themselves if marrying for love doesn’t work out, or their partner doesn’t end up making enough to retire early or travel often.

  199. I married my husband because he was totally willing to follow me across the globe to pursue an academic career. Love is a necessary but not sufficient condition. I’ll happily date someone I love, I’ll only marry someone whose long-term life path is compatible with mine.

    He’s likely to make more money than me once we settle down. That’s not entirely coincidental; I like competent men. I also supported him through getting his degree. Smart women will get both, one way or another.

  200. Smart people, men or women, marry for partnership, however they define that most importantly for them. They marry someone to provide for them in the ways that it is important for them to be provided for, be that as a financial partner, an emotional partner, a physical partner, a spiritual (or “metaphysical”, if you prefer) partner, or most likely some combination of those and probably other things as well.

    Less… let’s say less conscientious people marry for how they feel at the time, without considering how well they partner with their partner… probably without understanding how or what to consider when making that choice.

    But the key is to understand that you’re grafting your lives together in all of those ways, so of course the financial considerations are important, as are the physical, emotional, and all the rest. They all factor into the life that will result from the union. You can’t peel one facet off and say everyone should consider that first, or that it has the most impact no matter who you are, and therefore if you’re smart, that’s what you marry for.

    It seems like a lot of people are saying “these are the things you should consider to foster a strong partnership”, and while there’s a guiding value in prescriptions like that, the underlying sentiment is that you’re looking for a strong partnership, and the truth is there’s no one way to get there that works for everyone, but without it you’re bound to fail.

  201. My gf is becoming a doctor, so I’ll be marrying for money haha jk, I mean love.

  202. Smart women marry for love. They are smart so they can make money themselves. They don’t need rich husband for that.

  203. I agree. The highest values are: Truth, Honor, Character and Integrity. That is what smart men look for…I’ve had relationships with those that were– smart, –nominally smart and –not exceedingly smart; with respect to this conversation. Offer a smart man those clearly defined characteristics and he will honor you with a lifetime of commitment: whether one is supremely smart or marginally below sea level. But, for clarification, we need to define first and foremost what definitions we are confining or liberating “smart” to be? Speaking in these generalities usually lends to confusion and misunderstanding. Ask me–I know what it takes!

  204. …oops, I meant to say that “Love” is causal—or a result of the aforementioned characteristics that are magnetically appealing. Love is the ‘Result’ of affections caused by an attraction towards: Honor, Truth, Honesty, Character and Integrity. Love is only blind to the “Needy”–those that are searching in earnest and passion. Love is like the wallpaper, paint, hanging art, bouquet of flowers on the vase, fire in the hearth, clean carpets and warm shower running. The attractions are the foundations (Honor, Integrity…et al). Love is fragile unless the foundations are permanently galvanized. Love is not an emotion but rather a completion of what already attracts us. (Okay! Enough already! Holy Lord!) TB

  205. Smart women marry for life. Life means love and money. There’s more to life than money but money is energy.

  206. PS — Men marry for looks (women who look younger and appear more fertile)
    It’s evolutionary. Women marry for assets (men who can take care of them while they’re fertile) It’s evolutionary. Not that it’s all about babies, but again, it’s about “life.”

  207. I feel like most commenters are trying to make this decision more complex than it really is. You marry someone because you want to spend the rest of your life with them. It’s supposed to be a life-long commitment, but too many times today, people view it as a contract that can (and usually will) be broken. You only marry someone when you can commit to spending life together through great times and bad times.

  208. Just reading all the comments about people’s expectation for marriage, many women will end up permanently single, divorced, or disappointed in their marriage. Women should look at a marriage as finding a partner who they’re compatible with and can mostly accept the other person’s flaws, including financial ones. In the old days, most women didn’t work, so they had to get married unless they wanted to live with their parents forever. If women are looking for someone with all the qualities they’re listing in this comments thread, there’s just not enough eligible men around for all these women. Most men are not cream of the crop, just average. If a woman truly wants to be married, they have to change their mindset and accept that simple fact. Also, the cream of the crop guys in society, the ones with excellent financial acumen, and social capital are more likely to stray in a relationship. Case in point, high powered execs, athletes, celebrities, etc.

  209. your opening comment sun it up. love will fade when the two people in love cannot meet up with financail challenges

  210. My parents never had much money in their life, but they loved each other deeply to the end and this love helped them in tough times when they lost every material thing they had. I believe that without love marriage cannot succeed. We should be thankful for what we have and be satisfied with small and important things (health, to be with each other, to be with our friends and family etc.)… We should enjoy in life and be happy with what we already have in life…

  211. There are many, many factors that determine whom a woman will choose for a husband. A man can be financially stable and still be a slob who needs a mother to run around picking up after him. For sure, a man can be financially stable and perhaps even be considered wealthy and still be unfaithful and even sleazy. So, stability is good. It’s just not enough by itself. Personally, I want a man who is my equal in talent and intelligence. Someone who will love and respect me and help me to be my best by offering encouragement and emotional support. Yelling, screaming and temper tantrums are huge danger signs for me to get away as fast as my feet can carry men. And, of course, there’s always the fact that: “Girls just wanna have fun.”

  212. I must say I am new to this site. BUT Wow……..these comments provide a real good insight into what goes on in people’s head with real delicate topics like this. You know, these comments section of yours are the 2nd most helpful thing on this site. Especially because of its huge number(and lack of trolls which is more important), you can see patterns emerging in opinions giving you a general idea of what the people you meet on a daily basis would want. I’ve been looking for a source of information like this and I’m glad you’ve already done half of my work. Though most of this cant be directly applied to me because I live all the way in India(at least for now) these data can be applied to my region with some twisting and turning. Im really starting to love this site :) . You sir have won a potential long time member.