When your net worth is bigger than his

Bev asks:

“How does a woman over 50 whose divorce settlement made her a millionaire + handle dating when most men will not have anywhere near her net worth?”

First, since divorces can be devastating financially for both parties, it’s great you came out with a nice sum.

And it’s true that many people experienced financial setbacks following divorce, the recent down economy also created serious financial problems for even previously successful folks. So while not every potential suitor may have experienced financial losses, many will have.

So my first suggestion is to ward off opportunists by not letting on at all about your financial situation for many, many months into dating someone exclusively. While there are many, many good, honest, upstanding men in the dating pool, I’ve heard enough stories of scam artists to be cautious.

Take some extra precautions, like not wearing flashy jewelry, nor talking about expensive vacations or your high-end neighborhood. Look objectively at items or conversational topics that you think are common among your friends that would telegraph wealth. Then eliminate those from your first handful of dates with a man. Switch from your Coach purse to an off brand. Instead of St. John knits, wear something more pedestrian.

A well-off friend purposefully drives his Echo instead of his convertible Mercedes for the first few dates with a woman. If she comments on his crummy car he stops seeing her. He says he’s found that his Mercedes attracts more gold diggers and he just doesn’t want to waste his time.

You want a man who will fall for you, not your nest egg.

If it doesn’t appear he has the resources to treat for dinners and experiences you enjoy, after some months you can offer to have him as your guest. But not at first. Let him pick the restaurant that is comfortable for his budget. You can have a lot of fun doing low-cost activities.

You have to decide at some point if you’d be happy with someone who can’t afford the same lifestyle as you can, or if you’d be okay with paying his part to join you. Generally, mentally healthy men like to be able to provide or at least carry their own weight financially. It will usually gnaw on a man when he is continually financially unable to keep up with his woman and it can destroy the relationship.

Readers, what advice would you give Bev?


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3 responses to “When your net worth is bigger than his”

  1. Richard Avatar

    There is a difference between what you spend, and what you are worth. I would have more trouble in a relationship where she significantly outspends my ability to earn. As for assets, that is a plus. I would see it as being set for retirement, and thus being able to spend more out of current income for things like vacations.

    It is easy to keep net worth hidden, and it really is of no business to the other person (unless either party has a significant amount of debt) until the relationship gets really serious.

    If you are trying to hide your standard of living that is a much harder task. Like DG said, you can play it down some what, and you don’t have to volunteer every thing you spend your money on (vacations, weekend getaways, etc.).

    If I were to date someone with a significantly higher standard of living than I, my one concern would be: Does she spend out of income, or assets? She may have a million dollars today, but if she spends way beyond her income, then she will one day have a rude awakening. A million dollars doesn’t go as far as it use to. If you are spending $100,000/yr out of assets, then you will go through a million dollars in 10 years. What does she do when the assets run out?

    Similarly, a million dollars really is not that much if he is middle class or higher. Assuming your retirement is taken care of, an extra million dollars gives you the freedom to have some fun, but not enough that you can really change your lifestyle. But if “million +” means $10 million, then that could be a life changer. For someone 40+ it is enough that you could retire today.

  2. Lisa Avatar

    This is great advice for most of us on the flipside too! Like many I have experienced the financial trainwreck of divorce yet my home and accoutrements appear otherwise. Fortunately it is easier for a female to be treated than a male suitor. But what this advice tells me is to simply not let finances or possessions enter the conversation for at good while. If the relationship takes off then perhaps those details will have less impact than they would have early on.


  3. Randy Sloan Avatar

    Another great topic and one that I have very recent experience with. I briefly dated a woman recently who is a successful doctor. While I earn a respectable living, it is nowhere near her income and although she was extremely gracious and said it wouldn’t be an issue, I couldn’t help it… It bothered me a lot! In the beginning of a relationship it is easier to ‘keep up’ when it is just dinners, drinks, perhaps a weekend away in the city. But looking down the road, I knew there was no way I could keep up when it came to international travel etc., something she enjoys frequently. It simply isn’t in my budget right now.

    So yes, for me it is an issue. Unfortunately!