Illusion of Choice
Call me naive. Call me foolish. I think that marriage should be based on love, respect and understanding. I believe in love, romance, and I want to believe that the life, we end up living, is the result of the choices we make.
One of my friends once told me that some women maintain an illusion of choice. According to her, women who think that they have a choice between staying at home or making a career live in a la-la land.
When I raised my eyebrow at her, she explained it further. To have a choice women either need to be born into money or marry into money. Since she was not born into money, my friend chose to marry it. She said she was not going to marry up, she was going to marry smart.
Financial Security as a Marriage Pre-Qualifier
My initial reaction was annoyance and defiance. My first marriage was based on lies. I lied to my ex-husband because I was making more money then him. I wanted to protect his ego. It did not end well.
My mother made a choice to become a mail-order bride, trying to find a way out from a financial disaster that was rapidly closing down on us. Even in my second marriage, I bring more home than my husband. According to my friend, I did not marry smart.
I was offended. I was hurt. I was infuriated. Then, a few days later, when I calmed down, I thought about our conversation.
My friend openly admitted to me that she was a so-called gold digger. The negative connotation of these words never bothered her. Financial security was a very important (if not the most fundamental) marriage pre-qualifier.
Who doesn’t want financial stability? My mother based her decision on the same financial pre-qualifier when she listed herself in an American mail-order catalogue. Was she a gold digger? No. She was looking for someone who would protect her and her family, take care of her and secure her future.
I had to give my friend credit where it belonged. She was a good entrepreneur. She possessed a certain set of skills (wits, looks, sex appeal), and she knew how to use these skills to her advantage. She knew how to plan and how to make strategic moves. Financial security was her top priority. Love and romance came as a nice bonus.
No Romance Without Finance
According to my friend, romance without finance did not exist. She refused to sit at home and watch movies borrowed from a library. She wanted to go to expensive restaurants where tables had white linen tablecloths, and waiters handed her an extensive wine list.
She refused to date poor students who did not pay their bills on time because they had to choose between food or bills. She detested shaggy painters who were hoarding ketchup packets from diners because they did not want to splurge on a bottle from a store.
My friend accepted dates only from bankers, lawyers and doctors. She wanted only good for herself. In this particular case, money constituted good.
However, money wasn’t everything. She met a man once (a pilot, by the way), whose net worth had an obscene number of zeroes, but who had never heard of Steinbeck. No spark was produced. After all, besides money, she appreciated the value of good conversation.
With years we grew apart. I was too busy getting an accounting degree, building my career, dating poor students and shaggy but romantic painters. She was busy looking for a wealthy husband.
Desire for stability and security is a normal human need. However, when a woman expresses her desire for a man who is financially viable, for some reason we label her a gold digger. Why?
55 thoughts on “In Defense of Gold Diggers”
I think it’s because your friend puts money at the top of the list. The spark and romance should be first, not money. Financial compatibility is important but if you put that first and foremost, you’re likely missing out on a lot. It’s the same reason that back in my dating days I used to get infuriated by girls who would dismiss me because I wasn’t at least six feet tall. Let me guess, though, that’s probably second on your friends list, right? 🙂
I think the gold digger label gets placed when money becomes too much of a priority.
In an ideal world, spark and romance should be first. In the US, we have the luxury of falling in love with someone for themselves because both people can work hard together for a better future.
In less developed countries, no matter how hard one works in those countries they cannot improve their quality of life. Therefore that is when marrying for a better life makes sense.
I consider myself incredibly lucky to be raised in the US where I had the opportunity to follow my heart. But if I was raised in a poor country, I probably would not have that luxury.
I don’t think romance and spark need to be at the top of the list for everyone to have a successful partnership – in fact, you could argue that this emphasis on spark is what causes a lot of marriages to falter. Everyone has a right to strive for financial security, but I do find it’s a little sad that your friend thinks with that all her abilities, landing a husband is her best shot at doing so.
I actually absolutely agree with you! Well said, my friend. I followed sparks, I followed romance but somehow it still never worked out.
I think it’s possible to find someone you love that also shares the same views about money management. In fact, how each person handles money,credit cards, saving, budgeting, etc. should be discussed and agreed upon before getting married or living together, especially since money issues are one of the main reasons for divorce.
Personally, I could never be with someone just for money,because at the end of the day, it’s not a substitute for companionship, friendship, love, romance, and loyalty. I’m fortunate to be married to the love of my life and during the bad financial times we’ve experienced, our commitment and love for each other got us through it. Now that it’s past, it’s nice to be able to share the joy of our good fortunes. As always, I love your article topics because they are so unique!
Thank you so much for calling my posts unique. Now I feel that it will be difficult to live up to the “uniqueness.”
It’s great if you can find love and money at the same time right?
I think compatibility and love matter a lot more than money though. We were both poor when we got married and we built our finance together. If you have love and work together well, you can work on the finance later. On the other hand, if you’re rich, but the love and understanding aren’t there, there is no future for the marriage.
It is not necessarily finding love and money at the same time. It is more about finding a partner whom you love and trust and understand. And who lives up to your expectations.
It is fair enough as long as she mentions this to the people she dates in the first place.
After going through my divorce at 25 years old, I’m definitely in the “marry smarter” camp now. While being in love and respecting someone is very important, there are other factors that need to be addressed. And finances/security are right up there on the list. All the love in the world might make you happy, but that doesn’t particularly put food on the table or a roof over your head. I think we have to strike a balance between finding love and marrying smarter.
I think financial security and stability is a part of love. Or at least, it contributes to it.
I agree with what Carrie is saying.
Contrary to popular belief, love is NOT all you need. You need food and shelter to survive. I never wanted to marry anyone poor–I’ve worked way too hard to get to where I am to be supporting someone for the rest of my life. And while it’s true that you can’t help who you fall in love with, you can help who you get to know.
i also don’t think that money is everything though and there has to be some sort of balance.
um how about because it is NOT someone else’s responsibility to take care of you?
Relying on a man for financial well-being is pretty sad. If you cannot make it on your own you do not deserve a spouse who can.
I don’t gold-dig but I do look for men the that have it together. I’m not interested in if he makes more or less than me, because I don’t need his money for financial security. Any woman that puts all her eggs in that basket can’t expect it to end well. (side note: Lawyers and doctors are notoriously poor wealth accumulators, they just have big paycheques)
I only date men that are financially responsible, but “rich”? That’s for lazy women that don’t know how to make money themselves. You should be able to accumulate enough wealth that you can take care of yourself. Always keep your money separate from your spouse. It is not their job to fill your every material (and emotional) need. A marriage is a partnership, not a business deal.
My friend can take care of herself all right. I think it is one of the reasons (understandably) that she refuses to settle with someone else who makes less than she.
“settle” for someone that makes less than she? Is this a joke?
I’d rather date a kindergarten teacher that makes $40,000/yr than a dishonest lawyer that makes $200,000/yr.
Like I said, I don’t worry about the money a man makes because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter when you can take care of yourself. If you need someone that makes more than you, it means you’re insecure about your own earning potential. It is not a credit to your sense of self-worth, it’s a sign of low self-esteem and seriously distorted values.
Hahaha no it was not a joke. She wants an equal partner in marriage. Love and romance is great, but money is important. Not everyone can be happy in a shack or a hut.
I think the only thing that separates your friend from many other women is that she freely admitted that’s what she wanted.
Lots of this probably comes from her background. For whatever reason, she may equate marriage with financial chains. She doesn’t want those chains to be too tight, right?
While I didn’t care about money, I did want to marry someone who was responsible and could take care of themself. I’m lucky to have found that person. She earns more than I do right now, but that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, where our funds come from hasn’t ever been a big issue between us.
I think I would react to that comment exactly the way you did. First off, I find it insulting when people make comments like that which end up sounding pretentious, because I obviously don’t fit the mold of that bold statement. Like her way or the highway. Did she say it like that?
I have a problem with people who openly admit to that..probably because I do not like the connotation of a gold digger – whether it be a male or female gold digger. It’s all a matter of personal choice though, and if that’s what make people happy, I have nothing against that. I just don’t like it when people make blanket statements around me…I’m not a fan of passive aggression. If she was simply just stating her stance then I guess that’s fine. But I have to wonder, how long do relationships/marriages last if the sole factor was just money? At least she does care about conversation/personality though.
This is exactly how I felt – a blanket statement directed at me. However, I think she was just talking about herself. mostly. 🙂
You had me until the part where she couldn’t see herself staying at home, watching a movie because that’s not “romantic.” It seems she see’s marriage as a means to her own end. Being selfish will only end your marriage that much quicker. Both people need to put the other above themselves, otherwise it’s just two people using each other.
That being said, financial security is very important for a woman to look for, especially if she plans on being a stay-at-home mother. It’s a scary thing to trust a man to take care of you and your family for the rest of your life. I do think it’s sad that women cannot count on men anymore these days. Men don’t provide, protect or get off their lazy asses and DO SOMETHING besides complaining about how hard it is to get a job. I don’t really blame her for looking for financial security, but it’s a bit short-sighted. It’s like she has one foot out the door already, knowing that at least she has financial security if things don’t work out. I would suggest a bit of pre-marriage counseling to get a bit deeper than just “he has money and is fun to talk to”.
I agree with your friend on a mental level, on an emotional level I can’t seem to not fall for the artist with shaggy hair and ripped jeans. Now that I’m in my mid twenties I wish more so than ever that I could think about someone’s qualifications more before dating them. I have worked hard to bring myself up to a certain income level and lifestyle. I do want and I feel like I deserve someone that is at that level or at a higher one too. Not saying I should be with a horrible human because they are rich, but I do need to stop selling myself short all the time.
I agree with you. I would not be able to date a poor artist right now. Back in a day when I was a poor student, it was all romantic and fun. Now, that I have my own career and can support myself, I would not be getting involved with a man who is not on the same financial level as I am. But I am married now, so it does not apply. 😉
I don’t get why people hate gold diggers with such passion! Honestly, it’s not like the guy doesn’t know he’s wanted for his money. Maybe he’s a youth digger (not as cute a term) or wants to date a much hotter woman than he normally would be able to woo, so he uses his money to lure them in. I think it’s usually mutually disgusting, so no need to hate the player. Hate the game!
Gold diggers are people with low incomes who are seeking to enhance their financial position through a relationship, right?
Well that’s not me…my expectations are too high and I’ve also got too much pride. I believe in female financial independence; it’s the only way a woman’s going to appreciate what she has and her self-worth. I don’t want to marry money and I’m lucky in that I don’t need to. Men and money are a potent force; one that I’ve never been able to comprehend. Most men I’ve met are tightwads and don’t like spending money even if they have it!
I personally find her approach grating. I think it’s sad that someone puts money as that high of a priority to the point of being first.
What would happen if a guy did that? Would he be villified for doing it, or would it be understandable as well.
Of course, the reality is that this is what happens in many cases. I think as long as she’s truly and genuinely honest about it, and the guy is willing to go along with that, then I guess nobody gets hurt, right? After all, he may be just as shallow but in other ways.
Personally though, I think that there’s a difference between preferring a partner who is financially responsible, and actually making his/her finances the main priority.
But at least she is honest about her intentions. For that, I give her a huge credit. Not everyone has guts to admit it.
Enjoyed your post in response to mine! 🙂
I’ve been in enough relationships with men who can’t handle their finances to know what I want from a man — someone who it ambitious, put-together, financially literate, not a hypocrite about money (ie, he’ll go on about *your* budget but won’t spend within *his* means).
I’m a bit put-off that she doesn’t like the idea of renting movies from the library. I like going out every now and then but there’s nothing more romantic than cuddling on the couch 🙂
Interesting topic. I definitely understand the desire to have financial security, but I’ve never liked the idea of depending on someone else to get it, because who knows, maybe they say their rich but aren’t, or they are unfaithful, or they are just not a good partner for you. My parents were poor students when they met and married, and they’ve worked together to get financial security. That’s how I want to do it. Plus, if I was rich I’d never want to be with someone who would only want to be with me because I have a lot of money. But that’s just my outlook on it.
Who says gold-diggers, they are diamond miners. Actually we men are no different. We are gold-diggers in the sense that we go to highest paying job. There’s nothing wrong in a woman’s wish to marry a rich guy.
Hahaha, actual diamond miners do not make very much relative to other forms of mining. (I’m talking Canadian diamonds here.)
Here’s us on the topic: http://nicoleandmaggie.wordpress.com/2012/02/20/would-you-marry-for-money/
I’m perfectly happy with my DH supporting my career. If he didn’t he’d be making more than I do and I’d most likely be making less.
Our local paper does “how they met” stories on Valentine’s Day and my favorite this year was from a self described “short, curvy brunette” who was up against leggy blondes in NYC when she was single and in her 20s. She decided to look at graduate programs that were 75% male or more with earning potential of (then) $85K or more. “Don’t judge,” she said in the article. “This is my husband hunt, not yours.” She then proceeded to find social events the schools set up for those grad departments and at the second one she attended (crashed), she met the man she married. I thought she was a genius. She knew she was seeking financial security as one of her things and figured out a great way to find it. They’ve been very happily married for years now. (And she has her own career; it just isn’t as lucrative as his.)
Honestly, I don’t see anything wrong with this story. Both of them are happy and satisfied. This is all that counts. At least for me!
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WOW, hot topic!!! In college, I had a friend tell me that my boyfriend (now my husband) “wasn’t good enough for me.” I was really insulted by that, and intentionally pulled away from her because of it. He’s in law enforcement, which will never be a lucrative career, but it is a STABLE career – we rode out the recession in style because we didn’t have to worry about job security.
It sounds like your friend was treating the concept of marriage like an investment, which it is – but you have to invest in more than just the person’s bottom line, which she was. I guess she was just financially profiling!
You are correct, she does view marriage as an investment. But who doesn’t? She invests not just herself into it, she invests time, health, her life. And of course, she wants a certain return.
If you’d marry for solely money and no romance at all that is my definition of a gold digger. While I understand having basic requirements if you’ll only date someone making over a certain dollar amount before you’ll even see if you like them I still think that is a gold digger. I guess it is just culture but as a guy it completely turns me off.
By the way dating someone over a certain dollar amount will make certain things much easier such as where you and how you want to spend time together. 🙂
For me, it’s not so black and white as marrying for money versus marrying for love. There are a lot of important things to consider before marrying a person, including attraction and finances. I couldn’t date a poor artist, because I don’t want to always have to be the main bread winner. I guess I look for men who are goal oriented and practical, but not necessarily making 6 figures. Then again, I love my work and I don’t need the option of staying home.
I have to agree that nothing is black and white when it comes to love and money, and marriage. I dated poor guys, I dated rich guys. I think that even though money is important, chemistry, love and mutual understanding always take priority. However, again, just love and chemistry will not put food on your table, and secure a roof over your head.
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Four years ago, I married a 65 year old man, 17 years my senior, who I thought was penniless like me. After filling out applications for a retirement apartment together, I received a call, telling me we didn’t qualify – because of all his money in several bank accounts!!! When I asked him about it, he got furious with ME… as if I did something wrong!?!?!? I now have no trust just in him, after over hearing sver phone calls discussing his money, just as if he had an affair, and worst of all I have lost every ounce of respect as well! Money is not more important than truth!!! I not only did not marry him for money, I never hunted or even wanted to know if he had or didnt have money. Now… I want out of this marriage to be a full fledged UP FRONT “gold digger” since that’s what he treats me like, so I may as well be one – on my own terms tho!!!
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It’s one’s life we’re talking about… so if a woman can command nice, goodlooking, rich men… go for it! I’d rather be financially secure than not… all else being equal. Who wouldn’t right?!
Agreed. As long as all being equal (just as you said.)
I can understand a woman wanting to marry a man who was sensible with his use of money, and who could be a good provider. But, money in itself shouldn’t be the motive to marry someone, it could never last.
I think money is always a part of the motive. Along with everything else. 🙂
My vote is for the “responsible with money” and being a contributor. I strongly dislike the model of “male sole breadwinner” and “female everything else provider.” So – if you’re willing to earn your own way and want someone who is your equal, sure, go for it.
Complicated topic though and those are only 3 sentences expression part of my opinion.
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How different is gold digging from prostitution? This amounts to a commercial barter system – “you provide the money and I will provide the love services”. Men are then better off paying a prostitute (in long term contracts) than risk getting creamed in a divorce court later when the woman invariably feels a need to upgrade; at least, if men go the prostitution way, they will have constant supply of purchasable youthful variety of women. Now how does this sound to women? Abhorrent, right? Just as gold digging sounds to men!
I’m surprised that a majority of women cling on to this gold digging view, while simultaneously harping on equality. Would a lot of women be so hot about marriage if [most] men went with the same gold digging view? Why can’t women strive to earn the money they need, instead of aiming to become parasites?
You can’t hope to love someone and do a good job for the rest of your life if your partner pre-selection criteria is money. If money holds together your marriage, lack of money will destroy it.
Men are better off single, then.
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Great post. I’m torn on this. I don’t come from a lot of money but I came from a middle class family and the only chance I have of getting into the upper class (or even staying in the upper middle class where I live) is to marry up. I’m not doing a good job at that. My boyfriend is unemployed and has $0 in savings at 30. I make $100k per year and have $200k in savings which is a decent amount at my age, but it’s not getting me a life of “white linen tabled restaurants” either. I don’t have a desire for the finer things in life as your friend does (I enjoy them on occasion and if I had more money I’d travel to more exotic destinations) but I do want stability. I have the opposite problem however where I don’t feel comfortable with a man who makes more money than me because then I feel like I owe him something – being the perfect housewife, always being sexy, etc. I don’t want that kind of pressure on my life. I’d rather have my husband for love and support and then myself for money. I just need to figure out how to make more money to support my shopping addiction. 🙂
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