The Beatles once serenaded us into believing that money can’t buy love. But now that the 60’s are over and consumerism has soared into a hedonic hysteria, does the statement still ring true?
We put the theory to the test and asked our members about the relationship between love and money in the context of long-term relationships. Does a high salary seduce? Is poverty a putt-off? The answer, it seems, is yes. And no.
Dating vs. marriage: a different kettle of fish
When it comes to dating, our survey participants agreed that love is not a buyable commodity. 96% of male respondents and 92% of female respondents said they would not date someone based purely on their wealth or yearly salary.
While our members stand doggedly against dating for a big bank balance, there were some stark gender differences when it came to choosing a partner for a long-term commitment or marriage. While 80% of men rated a partner’s salary as ‘unimportant’, just 30% of women said the same. Similarly, 92% of men indicated that they would marry someone earning less than them, whereas 69% of women said they would prefer their partner’s income to be equal or higher than their own.
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Are women really looking for love at the bottom of men’s pockets?
From the outset, these statistics may look as though women are dead-set gold diggers, but further inspection into the love and money figures paints a rather different picture. While the majority of women did indicate that they would prefer a partner who earned more than they did, only 8% said they would want to lean on their partner, 37% said they wanted mutual economic support and 55% sought complete financial independence. What does this mean for the modern woman looking for love? That having a partner with an equal or greater income is merely a safeguard against financial freeloaders – not a grab for the gold.
According to psychologist Dr Wiebke Neberich, this can be attributed to the fact that ‘’women today have long fought for social and financial independence from men, and rightly treasure this achievement.’’ In other words, the majority of women are unwilling to share their income not because they’re stingy, but because it’s been a hard-fought battle to reach their status as a high-earning, successful woman4 and, as a result, many choose to protect their financial independence.
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Love and money: small financial foibles don’t go unnoticed.
Upon asking our members about the types of financial habits they find most annoying, responses came thick and fast. On top of the list was a fairly innocent but evidently irritating one; when our partners borrow small amounts of cash without paying it back.
Pilfering pennies wasn’t the only matter of concern. Other bothersome traits included splitting every bill evenly, being told how one should spend their money, being too frugal and lying about how much things cost. Men indicated they especially disliked when a partner concealed the cost of something, while women showed particular disdain towards being told how and when to spend her cash.
So, there you have it. Money can’t buy love, but it does buy financial independence – and when it comes to love, it’s a well-performing asset.
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1 All percentages based on a survey of 500 ELITESINGLES members from New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and South Africa. Statistics may not equal 100% due to rounding and multiple choice answers.
2 TV Tropes: Meal Ticket.
3 TV Tropes: Gold Digger.
4 Claire Matthews, writing for Stuff, 2013. Increasing women’s economic power.