HomePrivate WealthArticlesMost Middle-Class People Marry For Money—And Not For A Lot

Most Middle-Class People Marry For Money—And Not For A Lot

The saying is: “You can marry rich and poor, so marry rich.” Man or woman, there has never been a better time to capitalize on the boom in the number of wealthy potential spouses. It’s no secret that marrying for money is a very effective way to become wealthy, so it’s no surprise that there are people so inclined, given the chance. However, to succeed in this endeavor also takes some focused effort.

Most middle-class men and women (annual incomes between $30,000 and $60,000) are “very” or “extremely” interested in marrying for money. As men get older, they’re more inclined to marry for money.

What’s also telling is how these men and women define “wealth.” In other words, what is the minimum amount of money we’re talking about for those who want to marry money? It turns out that, overall, a $1.5 million net worth is all it takes to be considered wealthy and of interest. Women have slightly higher criteria, a net worth of $1.7 million, and men have marginally lower criteria, a net worth of $1.2 million.

As men get older, the amount of money required in a prospective spouse also increases, going from $1 million for men in their 20s to $1.2 million for men in their 30s and $1.4 million for men in their 40s. Women in their 20s seek the most in a prospective spouse at $2.5 million. This amount drops to $1.1 million for women in their 30s and doubles to $2.2 million for women in their 40s.

Of those middle-class individuals willing to marry for money, about two out of five believe they’ll likely divorce their more well-heeled spouses. This was more the case among women than men.

Many people want the “good life,” which translates into a willingness to reach that objective by marrying someone who can provide it. What also proves informative is that more than half of those who would marry for money don’t see the relationship lasting.

Five Guidelines For Marrying Money

If marrying money is your objective, there are ways to improve your chances of success. You need to consider finding someone you would love and cherish who can afford to provide you with the lifestyle you deserve.

Guideline #1: Know how much money you’ll need. Depending on geography, the $1.5 million net worth people deem wealthy might not be sufficient. What you need to do is calculate both your annual and long-term financial requirements.

Guideline #2: Make sure your future spouse is appropriately wealthy. There are quite a few pretenders out there. Some men and women might throw a little money around and talk a good game. The person you’re seriously considering sharing your life with must be affluent enough to ensure you’ll have the quality of life you deserve (see Guideline #1).

Guideline #3: Make sure there’s chemistry. There must be something between the two of you aside from the money. There must be chemistry.

Guideline #4: Insist on a pre-nuptial agreement. If they do have significantly more assets than you, they commonly suggest a pre-nuptial agreement. This makes perfect sense, and it’s best to be very supportive. You’re not in the relationship only for the money.

Guideline # 5: Work for the best, but be prepared for the worst. The basic idea is to marry a wonderful and adoring person who can provide you with the appropriate lifestyle. Money makes a very big difference in this world, so it makes sense, in the proper context, to include it in your calculus of a life-long partner.

To help ensure you’re not taken advantage of down the line, it’s important to be tuned to your spouse’s financial universe. Continuous knowledge of the nature of their wealth can be helpful if life takes a wrong turn. At the same time, demonstrating a commitment and contribution to their success is also very helpful.

Russ Alan Prince is the executive director of Private Wealth magazine and chief content officer for High-Net-Worth Genius. He consults with family offices, the wealthy, fast-tracking entrepreneurs and select professionals.


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