NOTE: Today’s guest post is from Harri Pierce. She is a personal finance blogger, and the Online Community Manager at TotallyMoney Blogs.
Remember that infamous ‘gold digger’ Craigslist ad? Let me jog your memory. A twenty-five year old self-described ‘spectacularly beautiful’ woman posted an ad for ‘a guy who makes at least half a million a year’ on the classified listings site. Not fussy about her potential partner’s intelligence, sense of humour, interests, or values, the ‘sassy’ woman requested advice about where these eligible bachelors socialized, ‘tips’ from wealthy men’s wives, the correct ‘age range’ and career choice she should be ‘targeting’, and bemoaned the ‘plain Janes’ she saw on the arms of bankers and corporate lawyers.
To cap it all off, she spelt out in no uncertain terms that this wasn’t going to be a short fling. She was ‘looking for MARRIAGE ONLY’.
The ad and a banker’s witty response bounded around the blogosphere and we all had a good laugh about it. How could this woman be so shallow? Marrying for money? Pah! We’re enlightened now, right? We’re career-driven. We ladies make our own money, and we marry for love.
So imagine my disappointment when a well-respected British newspaper quipped that most women secretly want to pack it in, cop off with a fat cat and spend our days doing pilates. This wasn’t the wistful dream of a haggard journalist eying up her shoulder pads with regret. According to research from the London School of Economics, for most women in 2011, shacking up with a wealthy man is a bigger deal than having a successful career. Modern women see marriage ‘as an alternative or supplement to their employment careers.’
That’s exactly how Elizabeth Ford and Daniela Drake, authors of the book ‘Smart Girls Marry Money’ see it too. They believe ladies have been duped into romantic idealism. If they had it their way, young women should be shacking up with wealthy men before anything starts to even think about sagging. They term this the ‘Gold Digging Imperative’. Instead of looking for love, we should be looking for financial security. If your wealthy hubby ups and leaves you, which the authors glibly seem to think is inevitable, then at least you’ll walk away with a healthy bank balance.
So much for Girl Power and Ally McBeal. Those cultural influences on our earlier selves were cultivating a myth. Apparently we should forget love, throw our careers to the wind, slap on the lipstick and hurl ourselves at passing investment bankers.
I think not.
In my view, successful relationships are built on shared values, interests and mutual respect; three elements which a money-driven marriage lacks. Marrying for money makes you a commodity; a product, or worse a service, at the owner’s disposal. Ford and Drake think we should see marriage as a ‘deal’ where a man pays for his lady’s looks. And it is a deal. As the Craiglist banker puts it, a ‘crappy business deal’. The woman is a depreciating asset, less valuable to her owner over time, as her attributes fade. What a dismal prospect!
So excuse me while I don’t loiter provocatively in Wall Street bars or pull the plug on my career. When it comes to marriage, I’d rather not sell myself short.
Be honest – could you ever see yourself marrying for money?