In our Money Mic series, we present an essay from someone with a bold opinion on a money topic. Past editions have included conversations about how living together will affect your finances, why “homesteading” could be a new feminist career and why the CARD Act may actually hurt women. In this latest Money Mic, we spoke to one woman who tells us outright that she wants to marry rich.
The views expressed here are those of the essayist and not the LearnVest staff, but we look forward to opening the floor to debate and discussion. Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Money is a core value and a deal breaker, like religion or children. A lot of people would sympathize if I said I didn’t want to marry someone because he didn’t want kids or his religious beliefs clashed with mine, but it’s a lot less socially acceptable to say that I wouldn’t want to marry someone who is poor.
Money is a divisive factor—on a global scale the pursuit of it causes wars and crime, and on a personal level it leads to immense stress. My mother grew up in near poverty, so she replies to “money can’t buy happiness” with, “No? Try going without it.”
I never intend to do so—I plan to marry rich.*
“Marrying for money” gets a bad rap because it sounds so mercenary. It’s implied that in marrying for money, you sell yourself to the highest bidder, regardless of the person holding the auction paddle. You then enter a lifetime of derision and emotional sacrifice, eschewing true happiness in favor of in-season Manolos. For me, a college-educated, generally rational woman, marrying for money isn’t at the expense of all else—it’s just a priority. Having that priority, my potential husbands are self-selecting. They, like me, are people who both have and value money.
You see, “marrying rich” isn’t about draping myself in diamonds and paying for superfluous cosmetic surgeries. It’s about being able to protect myself and my family from whatever expenses the world may throw at us: medical issues, legal problems, retirement. And in doing that, I will still be able to live in comfort, to give my children every advantage, and to seize opportunities like travel, investments and tickets to The Book of Mormon, but without incurring debt or sacrificing the basics in favor of the luxurious.
And I am not alone. A January 2011 study conducted by the London School of Economics and published by the Centre for Policy Studies found that in the half-century of feminist progress between the 1940s and the 1990s, the percentage of women “marrying up,” if you will, has nearly doubled. Granted, the exact percentages were taken from the UK, but I’ll go out on a limb and theorize that globalization doesn’t stop at worldwide Baywatch reruns. So if the battle for social equality has run parallel to an increase in women looking for wealthy partners, why haven’t women jumped the track and made it their mission to acquire their own assets? Because they don’t have to.
To allay your doubts, I am a staunch feminist at every turn. To me, feminism is the belief that women are people who deserve basic and equivalent rights in accordance with those granted to the opposite sex. That’s all. So before dismissing my choices as anti-feminist, break them down. I choose to protect my family to the best of my ability; to avoid a lifetime of corporate busywork and contribute in a less-lucrative but more passionate manner; to prioritize my home and family over my career.
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In light of your (presumed) insistence that I can work and have a family–that I can have it all–I might point out that phrase is outdated by at least 20 years. With the encroaching of work into American home life and the always-present second shift, life doesn’t get easier for women as time marches on; it just gets difficult in new and frustrating ways. I plan to eliminate the shift that means the least to me (work) in favor of doing my absolute best in the other two (my family and home). Instead of squeaking by in all three, I will delegate.
As you’ve no doubt gathered by now, I know that mine isn’t a popular point of view. To brandish it at a cocktail party would be social suicide—which is why I’ve decided to write this piece under a pseudonym. I recognize that some women choose to give their heart and soul to their careers, and that others embrace their True Love, even if he—or she—lives in a studio and substitute teaches to support a career in Impressionist sculpture. Somehow it has come about that either of those life paths are considered more virtuous than marrying for money. But that’s okay. I never wanted to be virtuous—just rich.
*For the sake of this argument, I’m defining “rich” as an income of at least $300,000 per year and $1,000,000+ in investable assets.
Emilia is a single 23-year-old currently working in marketing who chose NYC for its abundance of available money. While prone to the occasional worry or doubt about the money (and man) specifically available to her, it’s nothing that a quick jaunt to Wall Street won’t fix.