Lending The Money

August 3, 2008

Last spring, Russ conducted some research that revealed 68% of middle-class women in their 20s, 30s and 40s were "very" or "extremely" interested in marrying for money, with interest peaking at 74% among 30-somethings. When asked what number would clinch the deal, we learned that a mere $1.7 million in net worth would do it.

I feel that amount to be an inadequate sum. But no matter what amount is enough for a woman who wants a rich husband, these types of "arrangements" rarely occur serendipitously and, like most goals, can only be reached with focus and concerted effort. There are, however, ways for ladies to improve their chances for success, and it's also possible that some of your wealthy clients want their single daughters to marry "well" and might chat with you about this proverbial goal. So read on ...

Know Your Needs. Today's financial tipping point could be tomorrow's pocket change. Inevitably, your interests and desires will change as you move through life and that could translate into more expensive tastes and hobbies. Calculate both your annual and long-term financial requirements, keeping in mind that a good Rene Lautrec bag can run $35,000 and avoiding commercial air travel calls for $10,000 or more an hour.

Confirm It's Genuine. We've all run across posers, so make sure your prospective spouse isn't one of them. It's worth incurring the expense of a comprehensive background check to validate the level and structure of assets. This can put your mind at ease and uncover any unnecessary restrictions on the money. On a related note, he should be comfortable with the idea of marriage since the unions born from overt manipulations rarely last.

Test The Chemistry. Although money is the impetus, there must be something more in the relationship. Find the things that you two can connect on and nurture them faithfully. The best partnerships usually include an active sex life, and you should take responsibility for keeping it hot by bringing incrementally greater eroticism to your interactions and surprising him. Gradually, this will create a favorable environment for you to pursue your personal interests, say couture or destination spas.

Insist On A Prenup. When you've found the right man and you're both ready to take the next step, it's time for business. If he does, in fact, have comparatively more wealth, you should expect him (often at the urging of family, friends and associates) to suggest an antenuptial agreement. This makes perfect sense and you should be very supportive. It's a clear sign that the relationship isn't only about money, and, with some careful oversight, could work in your favor if the marriage stumbles.

Be Prepared. The goal is to marry a wonderful and adoring person who can provide you with an appropriate, if aspirational, lifestyle. And while most marriages begin with both parties committing to a lifetime together, this doesn't always happen. Keeping a positive outlook and hoping for the best is OK, but don't be naïve. Stay attuned to your spouse's financial universe, understand the basics of his business and make sure his equally wealthy colleagues notice your contributions to his success and well-maintained physique. These efforts can prove useful if things deteriorate, and may even be instrumental in your search for husband No. 2.