Bryan Caplan  

The Golddigger's Dilemma

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Here's a thoughtful question from an unabashed golddigger:

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 200 - 250. But that’s where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won’t get me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she’s not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I get to her level?

[...]

Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east side so plain? I’ve seen really ‘plain jane’ boring types who have nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I’ve seen drop dead gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What’s the story there?

My best guess is that the "plain jane" boring types were rich before they got married. The upshot is that rich guys don't have to worry that they are just after their money. As I explained in one of my favorite posts of yesteryear:
[T]he fact that people don't want to be married for their money explains some puzzles about the marriage market. For one thing, it explains why people prefer to marry within their social class. If you're rich guy, you would rather marry a rich girl because you know she's not after your money. If disaster struck her family fortune the day after the wedding, you might not care at all about the financial loss, because at least you know that she married you for yourself.
In short, my answer to the golddigger's question is if you have to ask how to marry a rich guy, you probably can't afford one.

HT: Tyler via Megan via Thomas Hawk.


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COMMENTS (3 to date)
Antonio writes:

Howard's response is priceless

"It doesn’t make good business sense to “buy you” (which is what you’re asking) so I’d rather lease."

That's exactly how I treat these type of girls. It's easier to lie to these types too. I would tell her I love her, I would push her away a bit to get her more interested (works best when she is ovulating), and after I got everything I wanted from her, I would drop her. Even the most beautiful women can't hold my sexual interests for more than a couple of months. Wife candidates need good looks to get a date, but parenting skills and intelligence are far more important to me in picking a permanent mate.

I am a poor grad student now, but in a few years I will be working in finance or consulting and earning enough to catch a fish like her. My fiancee loved me when I was a poor undergrad; I would never leave her for some idiotic trophy wife. I imagine many of those men earning 500k in NYC also have a wife who loved them before they were well off.

Bob Hawkins writes:

Yeah, I bet a lot of those plain Janes were partners in getting to that $500K level, not just in spending it.

Either they were both rich, or both not rich, before they got married. One of the comments to the original post has a great quote of a Russian proverb: "To be a general's wife in Moscow, you have to marry a lieutenant in Siberia."

Jackie Hobbs writes:

I agree with Bob. When I met my present husband, he was living with his sister and not working. We both worked hard to get him where he is today- $450K. He shows his appreciation of me everyday by treating me like a queen.

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