By Quentin Fottrell
‘I see wealth as a sign that someone is ambitious and aims high’
I’ve reached the point in my life where I want to settle down, but I recently had a disagreement with a friend about my priorities, and I would appreciate your perspective. I’m 46, a college-educated singleton, and earn $210,000, not including my annual bonus. I have paid off my student loans and own my home. It’s worth about $700,000 and there’s about $400,000 left on the mortgage. Here’s my issue: I want to meet someone rich. Is that so wrong?
My friend expressed dismay when I told her that, but I see wealth as a sign that someone is ambitious and aims high. I’m sick of dating losers. The last person I dated had been living in the same rent-controlled apartment for nearly 20 years. It’s the size of my dining room. I know living in a rent-controlled apartment is something that is sought after in a city like Los Angeles and its environs. Maybe that was good when he was 20. But he’s now nearly 50.
Am I being too judgmental? When I expressed my feelings about limiting my search to dating a wealthy man, my friend gave me a look and took a long, slow drink of her margarita. That was her way of showing disapproval. But I have worked hard to have what I have, and I don’t see anything wrong with wanting a partner who has the same level of assets and ambition as I have. I work as an interior designer, and my business continues to grow.
P.S. I come from an upper-middle-class family, one that has always worked for what they have. My parents were both successful Realtors.
Single for the Holidays
If you objectify someone for earning less than your annual salary, be prepared for an even wealthier person to do the same to you.
There are many people who earn a quarter of what you earn who would rightly see themselves as winners. The median household income in the U.S. hovers at around $71,000 a year. Better to regard your own income as a gift rather than a barometer by which to measure — or judge — others.
There’s a big difference between wanting to date a guy who is “wealthy” — and/or has a job and is financially independent — and describing someone you dated as a “loser.” It’s possible that your friend quietly rolled her eyes at that. Perceptions of what constitutes wealthy are relative.
The first suggests you believe you are owed the same “yield” on your relationship as you have earned and/or inherited from your parents in your own lifetime. (That inheritance may include an education that enabled you to go to college and/or money inherited from your parents.)
The second implies anyone who has not had the same opportunities as you, or has not chosen a job that pays as well — such as a teacher, nurse or social worker, some of the most important professions in the world — is not up to par. Neither of these positions sit well with me.
Nearly half of people who are dating said in this survey that financial transparency makes them more comfortable early on in the relationship. In other words, money matters. And yet more than a third of people have hidden debt from their partner. Translation: They know money matters.
That said, using wealth as the one filter for your search for a life partner could limit your choices, and put the desire for material things or a certain “lifestyle” above other important criteria: humility, kindness, intelligence, compassion, etc. They don’t have Instagram (META) filters for that.
Baby boomers are expected to transfer up to $68 trillion in wealth to younger generations over the next 20 years, according to one projection by the Investment Company Institute, a global association of regulated funds. That would be the biggest intergenerational transfer in history.
Some of that wealth will be in the form of property. The world is not built equitably or fairly. Black homeownership hovers at around 45%, according to one recent estimate, while the white homeownership rate is closer to 75%. (Against the backdrop of redlining, the 2008 housing crisis and other structural barriers, Black Americans are also far more likely than their white counterparts to be rejected for mortgages.)
Before we congratulate ourselves on where we have ended up in life, it’s important to take a reality check about where we started. You want to find a life partner who has a similar or larger bank balance to you. They may or may not share your…