If you shack up in a house full of men and women as I did in Mallorca, there will inevitably be conversations about the other side. Men want to learn more about how women really think in order to get more women or at least find one perfect woman to treat right.
I imagine it’s the same for women, although men are much easier to figure out. All we want to do is cuddle, give you foot massages, and make pancakes while you’re still in bed every morning. Is that really too much to ask?
One woman, let’s call her Chica Bonita, recently went through a divorce. Money, the number one reason for marital breakups was unfortunately one of their main reasons as well. Perhaps they had spending differences or perhaps the economy was unkind to two budding successes in their respective fields. I didn’t want to dig.
When I asked her whether she’d go out with a not-so-rich fella again, she said, “Absolutely. But can he at least be attractive?” Fair enough. Who doesn’t want to go out with a good looking beefcake? But by the end of our enormous plate of paella con mariscos and bottle of rosé she changed her mind. “OK, I’ve decided I’m only going to be with a rich guy in the future because breaking up over money problems is terrible! I did the whole poor fella thing and never again.”
THE TWO PROBLEMS RICH GUYS FACE
I know a bunch of rich guys who are looking for someone but don’t want women to explicitly know they are rich. Part of the reason is because women say they don’t want to date “rich douchebags,” as if all men who are rich are automatically categorized as douchebags! So long as you have more you will always be considered arrogant to others, even if you’ve done little to warrant such disdain. Miserable people can’t help but discredit other people’s achievements.
At the same time no man wants to feel used either, which is why some of the best relationships come out of college when both parties have hardly anything. Men realize it’s difficult to compete in the game of love if they don’t display some type of status. That’s why you see some guys spend a majority of their money on BMW car payments while living in a shack or worse yet, their mom’s basement.
Rich guys aren’t stupid. They know that wealth can help make up for any physical deficiencies or personality disorders up to a point. Women constantly buttress this phenomena as we constantly see regular looking fellas date women way out of their league. The tie that binds is almost always money and both sides acknowledge.
There’s a lot of nice guys in the world, but there isn’t mathematically a preponderance of wealthy gentlemen walking around. Only around 12% of the American population make more than $100,000 a year and I would say only 1% of the population is truly considered financially rich. Women are more attracted to nice AND rich guys all else being equal.
Now do you see how difficult it is to be the sex who always has to make a move? It’s all the woman’s fault for sending mixed messages about secretly wanting a wealthy man but trashing them at the same time for their wealth.
HOW CAN RICH GUYS COME ACROSS BETTER?
I asked Chica Bonita how she plans to find that rich guy if she can’t really tell if he’s rich in the first place. Remember, she’s looking for that low key rich guy. I was sincerely curious to know since it sounds like a difficult mission for both men and women to pull off.
She responded simply, “Mannerisms. You can tell a guy is well off by the way he speaks and the way he acts. Women will pick up on subtleties along the way. The key for a guy is to show enough to pique our interest, but not enough so we know everything.”
BAM! So for all you rich guys out there who know you’re a great catch for any lady, work on your diction. After cutting out those “umms,” “likes,” and pauses from your speech, start hitting those vocabulary enhancing apps. Instead of using the word “homeless” consider using the word “mendicant” before donating $10 in front of her while walking down the street. Instead of rambling on about a thesis, consider summarizing your thoughts in three succinct points. Maybe you can even learn a joke or two!
After you’re done sounding like a sophisticated gentleman, make sure you’ve got great posture and perfect eye connection. Given that you’re not allowed to wear outlandish designer clothing, you’ll need to be fit to look good in your t-shirt and jeans. Don’t be fooled by beauty. More than half the battle to looking good is just being in great shape.
Don’t hog the conversation time either. Make the dialogue dance in a 50/50 split. If you can amaze her with your listening ability and show that you empathize with her various concerns you’re well on your way to leveling up. She’ll eventually find out you are big balling. By then, it’ll be up to you decide whether you want to bust out the foot massages!
OTHER HINTS FOR WOMEN TO TELL IF AN UNASSUMING GUY IS WEALTHY
* Education: If he went to a good university or has a graduate degree from a reputable school, chances are high he makes more than the median income. Memorize the fact that the median income for 29 year old MBA graduates from the top 20 schools is around $120,000 a year to start. Know that first year cardiologists, radiologists, and orthopedic surgeons make at least $250,000 a year in big cities and 30%+ more in smaller cities. Here’s a chart of the median total pay package for graduates from the top 15 MBA schools.
* Occupation. The large majority of people who’ve worked for more than 10 years in the field of medicine, strategy consulting, investment banking, private equity, venture capital, successful internet startups and high tech all make six figures a year and have net worths of over $1 million dollars. If they don’t, they will with enough time and financial competence. Hence, if you want a wealthy man find a man who is in his mid 30s or older. It all depends on how old you want to go as you can find plenty of 65 year old fireman with enormous pensions as well!
* Items of clothing or accessories. It’s almost impossible not to wear anything nice if a man has money. Common things to look out for include watches, dress shirts, shoes, belts, and wallets. One good hint is to see whether his dress shirts are tailor made. Tailor made clothing isn’t necessarily more expensive, but they do provide hints that the man cares about quality and potentially travels for work, which are both correlated to wealth. Many wealthy men also can’t help but drive a nice car or wear a nice watch. Memorize that entry level BMW 3 series, Audi A4s, Mercedes C series, and Lexus IS models cost about $40,000-$60,000 and go up in 35% increments for each successive line. If he’s paid cash, you’re golden. If he leases, you’ve got to figure out whether he put in on his company (good), or whether he’s leasing because he can’t really afford it (bad). Women should also look out for watches like the Rolex Stainless Steel Daytona, IWC Big Pilot, Hublot Big Bang, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and Panerai Submersibles. They cost between $7,000 – $15,000 and are considered a wealthy man’s “everyday” watch. Finally, look out for guys who rock $100 digital watches from Casio and Timex. Wealthy guys love to go the complete other way.
* Attitudes about wealth. For the mass affluent, there is an inverse relationship between how much wealth you display and how wealthy you are. The more men try to showboat their wealth, the more likely he is spending beyond his means with credit card debt. Women should question a man’s thoughts on debt and consumption by asking about the state of the overall consumer. Most wealthy men I know have a good understanding about finances in general. They take calculated risks with their money and have firm opinions about politics, social welfare, and foreign affairs. Wealthy men try to look for as much value as possible because there’s a deeper appreciation for a dollar earned.
* Homeownership. In 2007, the average net worth of a homeowner was $200,000 vs. a average net worth of only $5,000 for a renter. A lot has happened since then, but the real estate market is clearly recovering. A 40X greater net worth difference is statistically significant. Canadians have enormous net worths due to a bull market in housing. Women should figure out whether the man owns his primary residence and when the primary residence was purchased. An innocuous way of finding out is by assuming a man does not own by asking, “How is your landlord and is s/he raising the rent this year?” If he is a homeowner, he can’t help but admit his ownership and probably when he bought because he’ll be so proud. Obviously there are very wealthy renters as well. If your man is a renter, then it’s up to you to figure out whether he owns other assets like a large stake in a successful company.
The more observant a woman is the more she’ll be able to figure out whether the guy is wealthy or just another over levered Joe Schmoe. Wealthy men in the San Francisco Bay Area make it a sport to look poorer than reality because it’s in our culture. We’re the ones who pioneered Casual Fridays during the dotcom era and popularized billionaires who wear hoodies and flip flops at work. Wealthy guys looking for love just need to figure out whether the woman is interested in him or his money. We’ll leave that topic for another post!
Women, how do you tell if a guy is rich if he doesn’t display any wealth? Why do women overtly criticize wealthy men for being douchebags but secretly want to snag one of their own? What’s wrong with men being rich and successful? Would you rather date a rich average looking guy, or a poor really good looking guy all else being equal?
Men, what are some of your strategies to look more low key? Have you ever met a woman who turned out to like your wealth more than you? Are you as encouraged as I am that a latest study shows that 44% of women are the primary breadwinners in a household now?
Note: I’ll be sending out my first private newsletter this month with results from the survey of what you’d like to see more of. Sign up for more insights!
Photo: Sailing at sunset from Port de Soller, Mallorca, 2013.