Dating men with money?…bet you think you didn’t have to think about that again for a while!
If you are newly separated or divorced after a long marriage, like me, you probably are realizing that money is going to be a much bigger issue now than last time you dated.
Middle aged dating is challenging for a lot of reasons, but one big reason is that the ball has moved a lot since you last dated. Your criteria for picking a partner, or your “discernment”, is now based on a number of different factors than when you were young. Top deal breakers for daters over 50 in an Ourtime.com survey are “poor health at the top at 78%, followed by financial instability at 76% and physical unattractiveness at 75%.” When I was last dating in my 20s, poor health was not even an issue, and financial stability basically meant “Did they have potential to have a good career or not”.
I have dealt a lot with physical attraction in other posts. I will talk about health and functionality in other posts in the future. Right now I want to talk about money issues and dating in middle age.
We are older now and our financial history has been most of the way written. Granted we are still in what Money magazine calls the “Wealth Building Years”, but if are not set up with a good career and a good habit of spending and saving then there is no wealth and probably won’t be.
As a middle aged dater, you will probably want to ask your self two questions when it comes to
Money and Dating:
1. What is the minimum salary I am willing to accept in a partner?
2. What is the minimum net worth that I am willing to accept in a future long term partner?
All of the dating books that mentioned finances warn to wait a good while after you meet someone before talking about money. One book mentioned to wait 3 months at least. I personally prefer to put my income on my dating profile because I have had two bad experiences with men getting upset when they found out I made a significant amount more money than they did just by seeing my house when they picked me up.
As far as net worth, I am still on the fence on that issue. I have had one person tell me he had a very high net worth; in fact he had almost twice the net worth I hope to have when I retire. While I felt this added attraction to me, I would not like to think that I would go out with a man just for the money. It also made me feel vaguely like he was trying to purchase me. I guess it depends on your place in life and your values as to what factor a higher than expected net worth would play in your decision.
I have also met men with a lower than expected net worth; men with no or even negative net worth in late middle age. This scares me a lot. While I don’t think it would be a deal breaker for me if they were still trying to save, it certainly would be a big strike against them. I can take a few strikes but too many strikes equals a deal breaker.
One idea is to set the minimum at the same net worth as yourself. If you don’t know what you net worth is, here is a tool to calculate it. A great app to get to see what it should be for your age and income is: Ballpark Estimate
One of my wise single friends said that she would only consider dating someone who can afford to do the things that she enjoys doing such as travel, dining out and seeing live events. This is very understandable. I would want someone who would support themselves and I would expect to support myself, at least.
Most people do not share money in second marriages. This is because money is one of the top things that people fight about. My father and stepmother have been married almost 30 years and they still negotiate who will pay when the three of us go out to dinner. They keep their finances all separate to avoid fighting.
My ex and I had good luck sharing money but still giving each other a generous “allowance” of money we could spend without consulting the other. This reduced arguing quite a bit between us and I highly recommend it despite the extra bookkeeping it requires. We separated due to him changing sexual orientation so we succeeded in other areas of our relationship, just not the romantic.
Another money issue that has come up since I have been dating, is having a different value system on what to spend money on. I personally like to spend more than average on food; around 20% of my take home pay. I am a big foodie and would rather drive a crappy car to Whole Foods than a drive a luxury car to Safeway. One of my top hobbies is trying new restaurants. I have met some men who felt that food was not an important thing to spend money on. I am not sure if this difference is a deal breaker or just a strike, but money value issues like this are good to mull over in your quest for discernment. Remember though, that you can only be so picky at this late stage in life, especially if you are a woman.