I wish I had married for money, not love

by JS 

The concept of marrying for money has always fascinated me. Of course I am a guy and the question primarily comes from a female perspective…but not always.

golden woman

The idea of marrying for money is something that very few would admit to, but yet it happens all the time. It’s considered a “negative” thing to do, but yet is probably as old as marriage itself.

When Bill and I got married his relaxed attitude to money amused me. He’s a teacher and enjoys his job. I work in medical sales: more stressful, but it pays well. I have, however, become secretly, overwhelmingly, envious of my friends, who can rely on their husbands as the breadwinners.

A simple search on reveals hundreds of people grappling with the same idea.

2/3 of Women & 1/2 of Men Willing to Marry for Money

I’m a little shocked at the numbers,” said sociologist Pamela Smock of the results of a recent survey of 1,134 median-income Americans, among whom “two-thirds of women and half of the men said they were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ willing to marry for money.

The Price to Marry for Money = $1.5 Million

According to a survey by Prince & Associates, a Connecticut-based wealth-research firm, the average “price” that men and women demand to marry for money these days is $1.5 million.

The survey polled 1,134 people nationwide with incomes ranging between $30,000 to $60,000 (squarely in the median range for nationwide incomes). The survey asked: “How willing are you to marry an average-looking person that you liked, if they had money?”

Second Thoughts Down the Road

I married an electrician who earns a little bit more than I do.

I had many opportunities to marry much richer men but I was not attracted to them. So I married for love.

But now we have money problems – we can’t afford to have a baby, we can’t afford to go on holidays, we can’t afford god damn curtains for our house! Argh would it have been better to have married one of the rich men instead!

For me there are a couple important things to realize around the topic of marrying for money.

Money problems can create incredible stress.

That someone who is married can actually look back and think that they should have married someone else, illustrates the power of financial issues can have on people.

It is also an interesting to see how getting married is seen as the most important financial decision that a woman can make. For example in the quote above, we don’t hear the woman lamenting the choice see made for her career, or the fact that she didn’t educate herself about how to create more wealth for herself.

From my experience, it is almost always easier to blame external factors and people, than to take responsibility for our own fate.

What did they marry for?

As someone who has been married for 9 years, I have to ask what the people who are regretting their marriage decisions actually did marry for (if it wasn’t money)?

I find it unlikely that is was true love. Here’s a list of 14 reasons that people get married:

  1. Want to be free from parents.
  2. To have sex.
  3. To ease loneliness.
  4. To be happy.
  5. To be an adult.
  6. Because of a pregnancy.
  7. He or she loves you.
  8. For money.
  9. For immigration purposes
  10. You are in love with one another.
  11. A desire to share your life with another.
  12. To have a lifetime companion.
  13. Realistic expectations.
  14. Willingness to fulfill one another’s needs and desires.

I remember reading a study that suggested most people get married, simply because “it was time.”

If you aren’t going to marry someone with whom you have a real bond that grows more fulfilling over time, then I would probably go with getting married for me.

Money can take care of almost all of life’s requirements… except love, of course.


[featured in the Carnival of Personal Finance Edition #163]

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11 Responses to “I wish I had married for money, not love”

  1. andy on July 26th, 2008 9:35 am

    very insightful post. Everyone should read this before getting married.

  2. Andy on July 26th, 2008 6:38 pm

    People should get married because they know that the other person can
    benefit form being with them for the rest of their lives. A lot of other reasons to get married as well but if you are going to try and GET more than you GIVE…… bad
    things will come


  3. Carnival of Personal Finance #163 - “Quotable Quotes” on July 28th, 2008 2:41 am

    [...] JS from Smart Money Daily states: I wish I had married for money, not love. [...]

  4. Monroe on a Budget on July 29th, 2008 4:37 pm

    My goal when I was 20-something and dating was to marry someone who managed his money well …. no matter how much or how little he made.

    I figured no paycheck amount would be enough to make up for someone who was an idiot with finances.

  5. dawn @ iowahippiechick on August 3rd, 2008 4:15 pm

    Craig & I married for love over 27 years ago …
    And it is still growing and evolving everyday …
    Incredible as it may sound !!!
    We have had money, properties, more money, less money, lots of things, etc.
    But the constant has always been our love & marriage!!!
    I couldn’t imagine this life journey with anyone else but him!!!
    Marry for love – not money!!!

  6. Eric on August 18th, 2008 3:03 pm

    I married for love but stayed married for money. Six years into our marriage, I discovered my wife had an affair and a subsequent abortion. After a four-day drunk, I sat down and did a cold, unemotional calculation of what my life would be like if I upped and left. Since she made twice was I made, I knew my lifestyle would suffer. So I did a turnaround and decided living well was the best revenge. Slowly, I patched up what I could out of our marriage, convinced her to let me have control of our finances, had a few affairs of my own to get my self-esteem back and discovered I wasn’t the only one who stayed married for money and had outside relationships for love and affection. (Yes, all of my paramors knew I was married. So where they!) Fast forward 20 years, still married, am set to retire in a few years shortly after my 50th birthday and have no worries about paying bills, where to get money to take trips to Europe and help my daughter through college. The romantic amongst us will say I live a lie and I do. But it is a very comfortable one which has paid powerful emotional and financial dividends.

  7. agnes wangari on March 10th, 2009 12:38 am

    money can buy love,i would marry for money and learn to love him in a romantic manner.Its also the key to happiness,good houses ,

  8. sidra on July 9th, 2009 12:39 am

    In my country, arranged marriages are common, and love develops because the spouses depend on each other. In this scenario, it’s a good idea to marry for money, because it will ensure a good lifestyle. People often give extreme examples have ‘no love, lots of money’ but it’s not always like that…it’s more like the rich average guy vs the other poor, average in a different way guy. I would genuinely love the rich guy for being generous enough to bankroll my lifestyle and support my children. If you have to get stuck with one person, why not enjoy yourself.

  9. Khan on May 10th, 2010 1:33 am


    ..yes but what if that average not-so-rich “ordinary” guy was in love with you? (not necessarily you with him) Would you still go for the rich one who maybe likes you (sure) but not necessarily loves you and not the one who really really loves you and will continue to do so even when you’re old and not-so-pretty any more? and what if your rich guy goes God-forbid “bust”? or that he falls in love with someone else? someone he loves and someone who loves him back? where will you, and your children, stand then?

  10. Joe Shmo on July 27th, 2010 7:18 pm


    She would get half his crap in a divorce settlement. This is why I am so jaded and will never get married. This article makes me feel better about that.

  11. Carnival of Personal Finance #163 – “Quotable Quotes” on March 17th, 2015 12:14 pm

    [...] JS from Smart Money Daily states: I wish I had married for money, not love. [...]

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