How Can You Tell If A Guy Is Rich If He Displays Little Material Wealth?

Sailing At Sunset In MallorcaIf 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.


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.


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!

Guy rowing a boat in Central Park

Rent boat. Row boat. Avoid ducks. Hope it doesn’t rain. Have your woman ignore everything you do. NYC 2013.


* 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.



Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship. Sam focuses on helping readers build more income in real estate, investing, entrepreneurship, and alternative investments in order to achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

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  1. says

    Someone once told me that Texans who are wealthy probably drive a truck, but check their hat and boots for quality. Rich Texans spend their money on their hats and boots! I think rich people usually will spend money to maintain their clothes. If you see someone in worn out clothes or shoes, he probably is not wealthy. Similar to an interview, it is the little details that tell you more about the person than what they may say or do. Normally, my clothes are modest except for an expensive sweater, shirt or shoes. No designer logo, but you would have to know quality to see it. Dressed up or down, the only other sign is my watch. I prefer casual to dressing up, so it may be harder to figure me out.

    Luckily, my wife liked me before I was materially successful. She told me that it was how I dressed that impressed her and then who my friends were. Maybe nothing has changed in the last 50 years! I think women are sharper when it comes to finding rich men.

      • says

        Old money drives trucks, new money drives Porsche – if a woman wants to live lavishly she should look for new money, if she wants to live powerfully she should look for old money. I think you overlooked the key here being the difference between old and new money.

        I think most women prefer lavishly at first and it’s pretty damn easy to see who the posers are.

        • freebird says

          Good point, although I’d see it as fast vs slow money. If you want a Cinderella experience, hook up with the fast money, and see firsthand the meaning of easy come easy go. If you want to live securely for life go for the slow money and stay with it through thick and thick.

    • Anonymous says

      My dad’s worth between $5 million and $10 million and pulls in $500k-$700k AGI (pre-tax) per year and wears sweaters and shirts with holes in them to fancy restaurants, much to my mom’s embarrassment! My dad tells my mom that no one cares but she gets really

      He’s without question my biggest idol. I’m just ceaselessly impressed with the fact that he doesn’t pine for material things and never ever ever flaunts his wealth. He drives a $30k Honda Odyssey (paid for in cash, or well, he wrote a check – same thing), and yet he paid $80K (cash) for my mom’s LS460, $40k (cash) for my IS350, and $47k (cash) for my brother’s C350. No leasing. No financing. All cash. He’s the sole breadwinner of our household and has the means to write checks for $197k in cars and yet he drives the most humble car among us. My mom, brother, and I all drive luxury cars and he drives a humble economy van. He deserves to be driving a $100k+ car but he has no interest in cars at all. He wears a $200 Seiko while my mom, brother, and I all wear more expensive watches (all paid for by him!) He hasn’t purchased a new shirt in years while my brother and I wear $100+ shirts and $400+ jeans. And, the only time he gets a new shirt is when my mom goes out and buys one for him without his knowledge! He just doesn’t like spending frivolously at all.

      Another story that I get a kick out of has to do with his work. He’s often called up by law firms to act as an expert witness. One time, he walked into a law firm wearing what I would call a very respectable, tailored $300 suit. The lawyers were apparently horrified by how “unsophisticated” the suit looked that they purchased a $2000 suit for my dad on the spot for free and told him to wear that to court the following morning instead of his $300 suit. Feeling slightly embarrassed, my dad obliged, but I get a chuckle out of that story because for all I know my dad likely pulls in more money than said lawyers and likely has a higher net worth to boot (although to be be frank I really don’t know), and yet here they were complaining about his suit not looking professional enough. Patent law cases aren’t won by the kind of suit you wear (for what it’s worth, they did end up winning the case).

      If I ever end up being even 1/10 as successful as my dad, I’ll be lucky. His ultra frugal, ultra stealth wealth ways have definitely rubbed off on me and left a lasting impression. Some days I’m embarrassed to be driving the car that I drive (as a college student), wearing the clothes that I wear, and eating out at all the fancy restaurants that I eat out at all on my dad’s dime (even though he says he’s happy to give my mom, brother, and I this kind of lifestyle). I feel like I won the genetic lottery and I can’t believe how unbelievably lucky I am to be in the position that I am in. I’m spoiled rotten by any reasonable standard, but paradoxically if I ever grow up to be wealthy (self-made wealth; I don’t like counting any future inheritance because it doesn’t feel like I’ve earned any of it) I plan on following in my dad’s footsteps – living a frugal lifestyle while affording my family the luxury of indulging in the finer things in life. I just think it’s badass.

      Anyways, I’m not really sure why I posted this in this particular section. Maybe this comment should go in the stealth wealth section. Oh well.

      Long story short, I don’t know if you can go by clothes or watches. A lot of my dad’s colleagues are pretty wealthy as well with similar incomes and net worths and they wear calculator watches, casios, timexes, and seikos. Seiko is very popular among them. When not at work, they wear kakhi shorts ($30? $40?) and polo t-shirts ($50?) or simple blue jeans and t-shirts.

      The only real way to tell that they are wealthy is to look at their houses ($1M-$3M which is a healthy amount in Texas. I know a comparably priced house in SF or Manhattan would be paltry). Some of my dad’s colleagues drive reasonable luxury cars as well (Mercedes E350s, cars of that sort). But the one constant is the house.

        • Anonymous says

          Absolutely not. When my brother and I were younger, we were not spoiled to the extent that we are now and for two reasons First, my dad’s biggest fear was that we would become unmotivated and dependent on his wealth. There’s no honor or satisfaction in living off unearned money. I can’t feel “badass” (to reference my earlier post) if I become nothing more than a financial leech. The “badass-ness” comes from earning one’s own way in this world and building one’s net worth by living a steady, frugal lifestyle well below one’s means.

          Instead, we grew up mostly running the gamut from “middle” middle class to “upper” middle class, and we were pushed to excel academically from an early age. I’m pursing a degree in Chemical Engineering from UT Austin and will head off to medical school after graduation, and my younger brother (also in college) is pursuing a degree in electrical engineering with aspirations to go to graduate school.

          The second reason that we were not spoiled to the extent that we are not is because if we were spoiled to this extent, then we (as a family) would have been living well beyond our means. My dad came to the U.S. in the early 80s and made $80k/year fresh off of graduating from his PhD program. That jumped to $120K in the early 90s, $160k in the mid 90s, $200k in the late 90s, $300k in the early 00s, so on and so forth. Income builds steadily over time. The reason why my dad is in the position he is today is because our lifestyle did not grow proportionally with his income. He faithfully saved and invested the bulk of his money early on (after maxing out retirement accounts). The upper class pampering (the luxury cars, eating out, vacations) came mostly in the late 2000s. Even still, as a family of four we spend (including room and board; my brother and I attend college on full scholarships) roughly $110k/year. My dad’s mortgage is already paid off. The remainder is just saved in bulk and invested in the market.

          Once it was clear that we were on a reasonable path to earning our own way in this world, my dad felt more comfortable pampering/spoiling us. But, he’s always stressed the importance of frugality early and often. If I went out and purchased a comparable entry level luxury car or moved up a class in 10 or so years, I’d be making a mockery of what my dad has taught me over the years.

          • Whoop 2011 says

            Texas university is an ok school to learn how to recycle, smoke weed, and hug trees, but why would a Chem E major want to go there?

            Do you want to design the next organic pichouli oil or perfect the tie dye t-shirt process? If not then you need to move to a real school–someplace here the students do more than smoke weed, play ultimate frisbee, and meet for environmentally friendly drum circles.

            You need to go to Texas A&M. WHOOOOOP!

        • Anon says

          This dad literally sounds exactly like my friends dad. But Financial Samurai, what do u mean by kicking back? Not going to college? chilling? Getting an average job?

      • Harold says

        Your dad rocks. He also leads by example for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. As for all of you others in family you seem to be the one that has those eyes and ears.

  2. says

    Mr Geek and I met at our private University. 11 years together (2.5 married) and counting.
    It’s a great relief not to have to date :)

  3. says

    That’s a good point about relationships that start in college when both people are basically on equal footing and money hasn’t really come up yet. I agree that the Bay Area has a lot of hidden wealth because of the laid back culture here and the amount of young people working at the big tech firms. It’s also cool to take public transportation, use rideshares, or drive eco friendly low range cars and not drive flashy souped up cars.

    I can see how some women want to go after wealthy men but there has to be a connection in personality and fit for things to blossom and progress long term. A friend of mine went on a date last weekend with a guy she thought would be great, but the date was so boring she’s already lost interest!

  4. DaleRose says

    I appreciate this post as I am 46, newly divorced and anticipate these issues arising as I move forward into new relationships. Heck, I have already been told by one potential paramour that I am too frugal as she chastised me about my choice of automobile (paid for 2011 Honda CR-V)…go figure

  5. Phillip says

    Good luck around here. The wealthiest guy in our town is a retired UFC Champion. He’s usually driving a John Deer Tractor. He buys his clothes from the salvation army. Until last year he lived in a $60,000 dollar house. Now of course he just bought a mini mansion, so that would be about your only tip off.

  6. Joe says

    I also think the best relationships are those that happen out of college. Or even high school. As far as I can tell, it’s very difficult to protect wealth in the event of a divorce, particularly when there are children. The woman that marries a rich man can later decide to take up with a more charismatic yoga instructor, and the both can live happily ever after on the rich man’s net worth. Theoretically wealth can marry wealth but chances are a wealthy woman is no longer young and nubile.

  7. says

    My dad always said he looked at a man’s watch in business meetings to see who he was dealing with.
    But I also met a guy who was dressing to impress and attending expensive places, spending all his money on appearance to marry a rich woman. It is pretty messed up. I don’t care too much if a guy has money or not as long as he has his financial life together and similar plans for the future.

  8. freebird says

    Wealthy guys “love to go the complete other way” because those of us who have to pony up our own investment capital don’t piddle it away on trinkets. The guys buying bling are just admitting they don’t know how to make their pile grow. Lots of extremely successful women here too, they’re also mostly hidden, and quite a few are stuck alone and middle-aged because even here most moderately successful guys won’t marry up. If you’re willing here’s a hint: low employee badge numbers from the back end of the IPO pipeline often good for an 8 figure pop.

      • freebird says

        At the right “company” those double-O numbers are a licence to kill it. Further down it varies, some places serve crumbs above the teens while at others the single-Os all sit high table. Treat an associate at your favourite VC firm to a few pints and find out the capital structure, that’s a tell. Another hint: timing is everything in community property so know his or her milestone dates for grant/vest/exercise and schedule your wedding accordingly. And in the honeymoon suite expect to be shaken, not stirred.

    • nbsdmp says

      Hey Freebird! There are actually a few wealthy guys out there who’s pile is already large enough that piddling a little bit away on a nice JLC or Patek shouldn’t necessarily be a sign they are clueless in the capital creation department : )

  9. Maverick says

    I`m not a slave to fashion. I don`t wear jewelry. Not even a watch. There is no need to wear a watch since the cellphone has a clock. It keeps great time and you don`t need to make the twice yearly adjustments. I`m usually casual and frown upon sweat pants on guys or gals unless you are working out or lounging around the house. It`s like walking around in pj`s, geesh! :)

    • says

      “There is no need to wear a watch since the cellphone has a clock.”

      Excellent! LOL

      But, there is something to say about a man and his watch. Believe it or not, females notice. If anything, use it for bait. It doesn’t have to be expensive or upgraded often. I’ve been wearing the same Movado for the past 13 years. I don’t upgrade my watch, I upgrade the glass once it is scratched enough for me to care. :-)

  10. Allison says

    To be honest, I couldn’t tell whether this article was written sarcastically.

    I’ve never spent any time trying to figure out whether or not another person was rich, male or female, and the only luxury items I pay any attention to are Chanel purses–on women–but I would never buy one. There’s nothing wrong with being rich and successful, especially if one is humble about it. Waving money around in the face of others who are struggling is the mark of a bad, thoughtless person, and I don’t associate with them if I can help it.

    My husband and I are one of those college relationships you mentioned, and I would rather be dirt poor with him than financially comfortable with anyone else. Money makes life easier, but there’s plenty of money in the world and you can always get more. Other things are more important.

    If any of you like cheesy musicals, you may be interested in the movie “Thoroughly Modern Millie” with Julie Andrews. It touches on this very subject as a somewhat side-plot. The play is a bit different from the movie, but the idea remains.

    • says

      Allison, you speak from the view point of a seemingly happily married woman. To answer your uncertainty, pretend you were a single woman looking for a wealthy man in an environment where it’s hard to tell. Would this post help her?

      • Allison says

        Yeah, I suppose the article could help a woman like that find a mate. If money is that important to a person and is necessary to their happiness, it may be better not to waste anyone’s time by looking for signs like these. I’ve just never even met women like this, though I’m sure they exist, so it’s hard for me to put myself in that place.

  11. Shaun says

    I don’t know any women who will only date rich men. I know many who won’t date guys if they don’t have a job or live with their parents or maybe even wanting the guy to make more than they do but none who have “he needs to be making 100k+” in their dealbreaker category.

    I think the whole money thing with women is overblown. Its a correlational thing and not causation. Men who have a buttload of money probably tend to be more confident, not dumb, socially adept, have more free time to focus on dating, the funds to dress better etc compared to a guy working his butt off just to get by who’s one pinkslip away from a catastrophe. Also rich guys are probably older and just have more experience with women and a bigger dating pool. I’m sure there are maybe even a lot of gold diggers in existence but I don’t think that speaks to anywhere close to the majority of females.

    • says

      This topic is what so many women I’ve spoken to are secretly wondering.

      All you need to do is drink heavily, party hardy, and rent a villa in Mallorca to understand every woman’s thoughts and concerns. It’s tough research, but somebody’s got to do it.

    • says

      Unless the man’s riches were inherited, his personality is probably something to be that most women wouldn’t want to deal with. Young or old, women “just want to have fun.” A disciplined older man, I imagine, would soon grow old of spoiling his hyper-needy, gold digging, girlfriend, especially when he has many other options.

  12. B says

    If I were single now, I definitely wouldn’t date a guy who makes less money than me and I wouldn’t want to end up with someone with a lower net worth than me either. People tend to tell you how they are with money if you let them – there are subtle clues and you can gage a person’s financial literacy through conversation. I wouldn’t look at fancy watches or cars as a sign of wealth, per se. In fact, I would be turned off by men who drive too flashy of cars just because I’d think he is a player (using the car to get women) and not relationship material. Besides, what’s wrong with being a gold digger? Men largely choose women based on their looks – I think dating a man based on the size of his net worth would be less shallow than dating a woman based on the size of her breasts.

    Anyways, getting married young has some benefits, including that you can grow your net worth together and not have to wonder if you’re together for money. I’m glad for having picked an equal partner.

  13. Terry Pratt says

    ??? “Wealthy men try to look for as much value as possible because there’s a deeper appreciation for a dollar earned.” How do wealthy men have a greater appreciation for a dollar earned than a poor man? I’m poor and I highly appreciate a dollar earned, precisely because it’s so hard for me to earn dollars – my highest lifetime wage to date is $8.50 per hour. One can easily imagine that a dollar might not be worth so much to a person who earns millions of them annually.

    ??? ” In 2007, the average net worth of a homeowner was $200,000 vs. a average net worth of only $5,000 for a renter.” How can you support a “renter’s tax” when you know just how regressive it would be?

    • James says

      Or conversely, because you haven’t earned large amounts of money it’s harder for you to appreciate all the sacrifices, risks, and innovation it takes to make money?

      Is believe more about money from people who start from nothing and make a lot vs those who start with nothing and stay poor.

  14. Special_Ed says

    One of my best friends is a multi millionaire. He lives in his modest home, drives a work truck with more than 300,000 miles on it, and routinely wears a dirty work uniform with his name on it. He usually looks like he just spent his last nickle. But he owns his company and has a fabulous car collection that includes many classic and newer luxury and sports cars. You have to talk to him for a while to figure out that you don’t need to hand him a $20.

  15. nbsdmp says

    I actually did a little experiment recently to see how women react to the wealth factor. I went on two different dating sites. The first I didn’t display any hints of wealth, the second I did. I used the same pictures other than a couple where you could conclude a level of wealth from looking at them. Honestly I had good success on both, but the shear volume and ferocity that the women that saw wealth was very telling. Yes I 100% agree that women and men do not and should not marry for money, but it will get the attention of a higher level of women if they know you are not some slacker off the street. Women want somebody that they feel has their act together and can be proud of dating…being rich will not get you the girl, but it will get you that first date, the rest depends on your personality and skills in dating!

      • nbsdmp says

        Ha, thanks! I’m going to roll with that assumption! Seriously though…it’s 99% chemistry after initially meeting a woman, but I get hot chicks coming out of the woodwork to ask me out, it cannot just be a coincidence.

    • nbsdmp says

      So here is the scoop…first off all of the information provided in both profiles (on different dating sites) were 100% truthful and all the displays of wealth are really my paid for things. I’m reasonably attractive & fit btw. The descriptions of me and what I like to do, family, hobbies, what I’m looking for were identical. The difference was in the “wealthy” profile, I inserted a subtle picture where you can see my home in the background if you pay attention, a couple pictures of me at the race track with some of my different cars & a sunset picture from my backyard over looking the water. Also I gave a general income range as well. I did go on nice dates from both, but I would get emails from literally all over the country (& world). I would get pretty racy photos and suggestive emails from extremely attractive women. On the “normal guy” site, I still got numerous responses but no where near the fevered pitch as on the rich guy site. Long story short, my conclusion is there is a massive shortage of the type of men women are looking for compared to the amount of available attractive, articulate, successful women out there.

  16. says

    Sam, do you agree with Princeton Mom that the ideal time to date is in college? If hypergamy is the goal, I agree with (at least) the point that it’s harder to find a high concentration of motivation/quality mates outside of college. Not impossible, just far harder.

    She caught a lot of flak for that piece, but I think people took her words the wrong way. College *is* a place where you find motivated people of both sexes… I didn’t think that was in doubt, haha.

  17. says

    A better question is, “how would she define rich?” Better yet, “how rich is rich?” I’d imagine that she wouldn’t be able to articulate her thoughts using the diction that she demands.

    More important than your stereotypes that are clearly anti-The Millionaire Next Door, how was Mallorca? :-)

    • says

      I think rich is either $500,000 a year income or $5 million+ net worth or both! At these levels, nobody can make an argument this person is not rich, even if they are living in Switzerland.

      Mallorca was fantastic. A summer to remember for sure!

  18. says

    Funny story … a friend of mine and I used to be all about watches. We had always had at least 1 watch for every day of the week … and the watches cost $100 or more at the time. I still have one of those fancy watches. I literally paid like $300 for it at Macy’s!, but the battery has been dead for years.
    Since I’m not dressing to impress much anymore, I buy some of the cheapest junk out there (last watch I bought was for a mere $8). Would my DW have picked me as her hubby without a fancy watch and dress? I’ll never know, and don’t think she cares too much anymore since she stays at home with the kiddos like we both wanted.

    One note, the reason that I buy very inexpensive watches, is because I enjoy doing work around the house and I’m usually wearing the watch. So when I smash it into a 2×4 or slab of concrete because I need it to move and I’m not paying attention, I can easily replace it. :-) Yes, I know it’s easy enough to take off, but I don’t really care much about the watch. It serves me one purpose, that is to tell me the time of day and date. Although I used to own one that also had a remote controller for a TV and VCR. LOL

  19. says

    I’m not a woman, but I totally agree that you can generally tell who the well off men are by the subtle differences in the way they dress, speak and carry themselves. Watches are a great indicator because they allow a guy to show off his wealth without being too overt about it (generally).

    • JayCeezy says

      Way back in the 1980s, it was possible to LEASE a Rolex. Oh, yes!:-) I worked with a guy who did it, drove a leased BMW, and had a Palm Springs timeshare. We had the same job, salary, title, education, etc.

      Wish I could say that his profligate ways bore rotten fruit. But he was constantly with strikingly beautiful women, had amazing adventures (I once tagged along to a black-tie event, meeting Pierce Brosnan, Emma Samms, and Milli Vanilli…did I say it was the ’80s?!?!!), and wound up married to an heiress and lives an accordant lifestyle. But to me, he will always be ‘the dude who leased a Rolex’.

  20. Swensodts says

    Everyone else glossed over the bash on people that lease cars?? Why buy a depreciating asset and incur maintenance costs? Same payment every month, no surprises, new car every 3 years. I know your rule on cars, but if you enjoy motor sports, are you allowed at least one vice? Have you ever seen the price of labor and replacement parts on a German sports sedan?

    • says

      Feel free to lease a car if you wish, so long as you make 10X the value of the car. Leasing is definitely better for those whose time is more valuable because they make more money, and who have businesses where they can partially write off the expense. The 1/10th rule for car buying is a guiding principle. You’re free to go crazy and break the rule if you love cars. I won’t tell!

      • Swensodts says

        Thanks Sam – Not going crazy but if you can afford the payment you can afford the payment. Most “experts” say not more then 20% of your net should be car payments, which is crazy. I’d say about 5% of my take home is the payment, but man listen to that engine!! :-)

        • says

          Cool. It’s an individual choice. But btw, if you are worried about the cost of replacement parts down the road, maybe that’s a hint you are spending more on the car than you should!

          I’m waiting for the new 335i BMW coupe to come out this Fall. Should be a beauty. The new 911s look and sound sweet though!

  21. says

    Hey Sam,

    I think there is a lot of room for discussion in your posting. For example, on what basis are you asserting that rich men are more likely to have expensive clothing or cars? Or that men in venture capital or investment banking are more likely to be rich.

    In fact if you look at IRS data the truth is more american millionaires are modest small business owners. Its the guy in the plaid shirt who runs a successful construction company, not the seemingly well heeled NY banker who makes up the bulk of American wealth.

    That said, I think you are correct that there is a class of women who spend time looking for rich guys to marry.

  22. says

    The bottom line for me is that looks can be incredibly deceiving. How many times have I been mistaken when trying to judge someone’s wealth by first looks!

  23. CL says

    Sam, it’s true that there are women who are going out and looking for wealth. But I think that it’s more accurate to say that women prefer men who are in some sort of stable position, rather than needing an ultra-wealthy guy making a half million a year or with a 5 million dollar net worth. Those guys can be really cocky and it is off-putting.

    There are also multiple reasons for being “poor.” If you are living paycheck-to-paycheck while raking in $100,000 a year, then I probably don’t want to date you. If you are into yoga and don’t believe in material possessions, then it is ok for you to be completing your umpteenth unpaid internship while definitely not supporting yourself. Granted, a golddigger would not really differentiate between the two, but a normal woman would.

    I’ve dated rich guys and poor guys and normally the poor guys have better personalities and are kinder people. This is why there’s a stereotype that rich men are automatically douchebags. It has a tiny root in reality. It’s nice to date someone wealthy who wants to and is fully capable of paying for everything, but it’s not a requirement. Also, someone who has the idea that men are required to pay on dates tends to think in terms of rigidly defined gender roles, which means that he’s not open to being a stay at home parent while I keep my career. It’s all in what you want out of life or a relationship.

    • says

      You might be right. But imagine finding that humble, kinda, funny rich guy. What a catch for any woman whose family will be set for life!

      I always like to think of this situation from a parent’s point of view of a son or daughter looking.

    • JayCeezy says

      @Parlayjoe, that’s what I was thinking. I read ‘Made In America’, and Matt Hughes is a metaphor for America, right, wrong, good, bad, and all points in between.

  24. Steve says

    I really like your post. It livens up what is usually a boring subject. Btw, I like boring too, and read a lot of boring personal finance articles.

    For women who want to follow this advice, though, a few caveats. Like everything, this is work. Identify a good watch? Takes work. There are so many watches out there, let alone brands. I’d add shoes as well. Many wealthy men have good shoes. But it is work to know enough to identify good shoe brands as well.

    And then there’s the limited chance to have the effort payoff. The number of men sporting nice shoes is low, and the number of false positives (men buying shoes with debt) is compounded by the number of wealthy men not wearing nice shoes. And many wealthy men don’t wear watches (or something stupid like a pebble). Plus, the chances of finding a five figure watch on a wrist of a single guy is pretty low. Btw, Rolex is typically a negative indicator (except Daytona in ss).

    Much better odds I think (and probably more fun for women) is Princeton mom. Find someone smart and motivated, and marry before he earns his money and earn it together. statistics say that married men make more money, and smart men know this. And smart rich men who happen to be unmarried also know that getting married is of limited financial upside (they already made their money).

    I have one friend who is wealthy and single and under 40 and looking to get married. There is a reason he is still unmarried!

  25. says

    Watches can be a massive giveaway of wealth – working in the finance industry I have learnt to recognise and appreciate some of the more popular or iconic timepieces and researched enough to hold a short conversation about them (despite there being no way I can justify owning one myself).

    This actually comes in more handy with clients than co-workers…it’s amazing how many clients I see who will claim to be financially struggling, but are wearing watches worth more than my monthly salary. Complementing them on their watch and asking a relevant question lets them know that I know enough about their attire that they aren’t telling me the whole truth.

  26. yo says

    change the title to, “The Gold Digger’s Guide to digging deep into a man to find out if he’s made of Gold”

    Yes, that would be much more appropriate, also mention that you don’t mind using your wealth as leverage for power and domination in the relationship, but most guys like dominance.

  27. says

    Interesting article Sam.

    Some agree and some disagree here, this day and age if you’re hoping to date a young girl in the USA nice guys are certainly not rewarded, the mating culture is actually quite the opposite. In fact being a “douchebag” is practically a good thing.

    We even wrote about this in relative detail, basically all girls call their ex boyfriends… Wait for it…douchebags! (D-bags for short, proud to be d-bags for sure). So basically most douchebags actually end up having healthy sex lives (fulfilling we can leave up to debate).

    Will try to peruse the blog more, interesting observations nonetheless.

    Oh one final one, food for thought, if you have no interest in marriage/kids…it kind of kills the stealth wealth (avoiding gold digger problems) because simply put… who cares if she knows at that point.

  28. Ndasuunye says

    MAN, this entire article is pretty much how to turn yourself into a good golddigger without looking too susceptible. When I get rich, I’m just gonna take a day to walk around looking like a raggidty hobo and smell real bad just with a guy who’s dressed the part of a rich fella just to see how many hoes I find in one day. Because if your love life is based on a man with a 100k+ salary, then is the markings of a hoe and you can never be truly happy, don’t care what you say. Because after all, you liked him first because he was well off right?

    • Tevin H says

      Me too man. Once I hit $100k, I am buying a big ass house (full payment, no mortgage), two cars, a fancy ass GMC and a crappy little honda. And I will be abusing that honda. And I will still dress like I came from the hood (not the designer version, the 80s no worth version). but smelling good. At least you can definetely tell who’s real about love and who’s real about money.

  29. Ed says

    This drives me nuts: “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”. Absolutely correct but, unfortunate. I grew up in the sixties. Almost no one wore black clothing, t-shirts or sweatshirts. I’m in the company of foreigners all the time and occasionally I will hear about what “sloppy” and “slovenly” poor dressers men are in the US. My wife has pointed out how this type of heinous dressing comes from men today not wanting to appear to look gay. I have to agree, although while gay’s used to dress well they now dress just as badly as everyone else. Hearken back to the “Rat Pack” days. Guys in that era were proud of the way they dressed and knew how to do it. They could match clothes well. Yes, men have always had a tougher time coordinating than women but, compared to today, forget it. Men today know how to throw on a black t-shirt or anything black or grey and jeans and that’s about it. Oh, don’t forget sports clothing. My father never wore a t-shirt and always had on a collard shirt. While it may be hard to believe and yes, I’m proud of this, I don’t own a single item of black clothing, not one! I also don’t own any t-shirts except for white that I wear under my shirt. Also, my kids aren’t allowed to wear t-shirts out side the house and they never have. My three kids have been given many nice compliments about how they dress and they love it. When I get dirty around the house it’s always in an old polo. Perhaps it’s time to throw away the t-shirts and sweats. Just one wealthy man’s opinion.

  30. Roj says

    Oh my, I accidentally came across this page. wtf. Gonna go to bed sad now. Disappointed with the human race.

  31. Tevin H says

    What about the rappers like Kendrick Lamar (at least those who dress like bums but have CEO money), hell what about those that own and actively co and operate Slaughter houses? If you know anything about slaughter houses, you know that they literally rake money off their lawn (after the feces is cleared up of course). ANd I can bet you they dress like blue collar bums but probably live in million dollar homes? Then how can you tell the difference between million dollar bums and $10 bums?

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