I wish I had married for money, not love

July 25, 2008 by JS · 10 Comments 

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]