Back in 2016, I wrote this post expecting I was going to have a daughter. Therefore, I started thinking about the various things I’d teach my daughter involving personal finance.
I was nervous about how to be a first-time dad, especially to a daughter. I had one friend in her early-30s perpetually go in and out of terrible relationships. The last thing I wanted was for my future daughter to go through 15 years of breakups.
Instead of having a daughter, we had a son in 2017. Therefore, my thoughts were shelved until the end of 2019, when our daughter finally arrived. Hooray!
Now that I am a father to a daughter, this post is even more important than ever. Perhaps you have a daughter as well.
I’d like to revisit this topic and offer additional points about what we should teach our daughters. But first, a story.
A Friend Looking For Love
My friend sent me a picture of her date’s car: a newish $80,000 Porsche 911 convertible. She says she doesn’t care about what kind of car a guy drives, yet she admitted she was all giddy when he picked her up in his new ride.
Being the jerk that I am, I asked her, “How are you going to make out with him since he still lives at home?!” For those who don’t know, there is no functional backseat in a Porsche 911 convertible.
My friend shot eye daggers my way and waved me off.
Her date really doesn’t still live at home with his mom at age 35. I was just poking at her. But he does rent a dinky one-bedroom apartment in the suburbs of San Francisco.
His house-to-car ratio for fiscal responsibility is totally out of whack, signifying to me he is a poor financial choice for a mate.
This interesting circumstance made me think about things I’d teach my future daughter so she doesn’t make too many dating and other life mistakes.
Now that it’s four years after I wrote this post, I have the ability of hindsight to tell you the relationship didn’t work out. My friend ended up marrying someone else, a homely guy with a good resume. But she admits there is no spark.
Meanwhile, the guy with the Porsche actually decided to move back in with his mom. He’s still single, but at least he has a nice car.
Things I’ll Teach My Daughter: Pay Attention To A Guy’s House Not His Car
I’m in father-to-a-daughter training mode because I know I’ll have a daughter if I ever have a kid. And you know me, I think long and hard about different scenarios way before they ever happen. Protecting my daughter from heartbreak is one of my main goals.
I want to help women around the world who are easily swayed by guys (or gals) with all show and no substance. A car is a perfect smokescreen. No matter how many times a woman says she doesn’t care about a nice car, she almost always does. Guys know this, so they take advantage.
I remember picking up a woman in my 2000 Land Rover Discovery II when he was still only five years old. Even though I bought him for only $8,000, a lot of people viewed Moose as a luxury vehicle costing close to $50,000.
After a couple glasses of wine, my date revealed to me that her neighbor friend texted her during our date saying, “How come guys in Land Rovers always gets the girl?” Apparently she was peeking out the window when I came to pick my friend up. Suffice it to say, I just landed on GO.
If you meet a guy with an expensive car who still lives at home or rents a modest place, warning lights should be flashing due to the incongruities. Start doing some research about his finances.
Questions To At Least Think About
* Did he pay cash for his car? Or is he leasing his vehicle? If he is leasing his vehicle, is he at least leasing it through a company he started?
* If he can afford a luxury automobile, why hasn’t he yet purchased his own home?
* What is his net worth composition? Does he own any assets that have the potential to appreciate?
* What is his debt load like?
* Does he have upside potential with his job?
* Does he have a trust fund or a generous Bank of Mom & Dad? If so, how does that affect the way he sees money.
* Does he read personal finance sites like Financial Samurai to help broaden his knowledge? Or is his favorite pass time playing video games?
* Has he come up with a retirement plan that makes sense? Or is he winging it?
Of course you can’t be so crude as to ask him all these questions directly. But over the course of many dates, you should be able to get a good sense of such things before being more serious. Life is much easier with a healthy financial partner.
Different Strokes For Different Folks
My friend was not pleased with my, “where are you going to make out comment,” so she defended her date by saying, “Different people have different values. He likes cars and he’s single, so why should he buy a place?“
My immediate thought was, “He can’t afford to buy a place because he just spent a fortune on a car!”
But I responded with a more cordial, “You’re right. Why should he buy real estate when he can have such a sweet ride. I myself am looking to buy a similar type of car once I turn 40.“
I know some of you who own nice cars and don’t own real estate may be a little agitated by this post. But here’s the thing. This post isn’t for you. It’s for all the people out there who are easily swayed by shiny expensive things.
For relationship harmony, follow this simple logic:
Be with someone who drives a nice car and also owns a nice house.
Be with someone who drives a regular car and owns his own place.
Be with someone who drives a regular car and rents a regular place.
Be with someone who takes public transportation and rents or owns a regular place.
Avoid someone who drives a nice car and rents a crap hole.
Of course, these conditions are based on the assumption that his debt load is manageable i.e. his asset-to-liability ratio is at least over 2. Owning a home he can’t comfortably afford can be much more damaging.
Things I’ll Teach My Daughter: Why Focusing On His House Is Better
For those of you still unconvinced by my argument, let’s make my reasoning crystal clear! Here are four reasons why having a partner with a nice house is better than having a partner with a nice car.
In 10 years, a mass produced luxury car will lose 90% of its value, but a home will likely gain 22% in value if we assume a 2% long-term annual growth rate (rate of inflation).
Even if the person’s house gains no value over the 10 years, the homeowner will likely gain at least 12% more equity due to monthly principal pay down. More wealth = easier life.
Real estate is my favorite asset class to build wealth. If you can find a partner who also believes in real estate, you will increase your chances of achieving financial freedom.
A homeowner is more likely than a renter to stay put. How many times have you met someone you adored who ended up breaking up with you because he had to leave?
If you are going to spend your time and energy on someone, he better stick around long enough! Even if your potential mate only owns a one bedroom condo, at least you know he’s established roots in the community.
You want to have as much stability in a relationship as possible. The average U.S. homeownership tenure is actually closer to 10 years ever since the pandemic began.
Someone who is consistent with his car and living arrangement demonstrates good intelligence and self-esteem. But someone who spends a lot of money on a depreciating asset and nothing towards a potentially appreciating asset is not someone you probably want to be with long term.
If he can so easily be swayed by the “different values” argument on two of the most expensive things one can buy, what other inane logic might your partner come up with? In evolution, intelligence is attractive because it increases a person’s chances for survival.
You don’t want some guy who is constantly chasing prestige and recognition. They’ve got a self-esteem issue.
4) The Future
Living in the moment is all fine until you run out of money. But a great partner is someone who looks to the future. Buying an expensive car he can’t comfortably afford means he is forsaking your future for his immediate pleasure.
Buying a two bedroom or larger property signals that he sees a place for the two of you to grow. It’s much better to be with someone who is thoughtful.
More Things I’ll Teach My Daughter
A father just wants his daughter to be happy. If my daughter can find something she loves to do, earn enough to live a comfortable life, and find someone she loves, I’ll die a happy man!
With the focus of wanting happiness and independence for my daughter, here are some other things I’ll teach by daughter before she leaves the house.
1) Don’t be financially dependent on anyone.
Financial dependence is the worst. I strongly believe each spouse or partner should have his or her own money. By having your own money, you have the financial freedom to do as you please. There won’t be a need to ask for permission or feel bitter about your household’s finances.
Of course, a couple is more than welcome to build a financial life together as a team. However, no matter how strong the partnership, always have an income source and assets of your own.
Divorce is common. If you spend 10 years being a stay at home mom and then end up separating, getting a well-paying job will be hard. Always keep your skills updated. Do some consulting or part-time work throughout motherhood. Hope for the best, but protect yourself from the worst.
2) Avoid a partner who is unable to practice stealth wealth.
The more a man has to show off his wealth, the lower his self-esteem. It is also likely that people who show off their wealth the most have the least amount of wealth.
Try and find a man who doesn’t tell strangers they went to Stanford within the first minute of meeting. Find a person who talks very little of his wealth and how he was able to accumulate his wealth.
Someone who believes in practicing stealth wealth for life is someone who will focus more on you rather than the trappings of wealth. The unhealthy desire for prestige has ruined many relationships.
3) Find someone who credits his success more to luck than skill.
Plenty of people work hard. But some people get much farther due to very fortunate circumstances. The playing field is uneven. Of course your chances of becoming a millionaire are much higher if your parents are already rich. Of course you’ll have a better chance of getting into your parents’ private university as a legacy.
Not only is the playing field uneven, the game is rigged. If you can find a partner who truly appreciates and recognizes his good fortune, there’s a lower chance he will take you for granted. He may also do more to provide for the family.
Related: Your Wealth Is Mostly Due To Luck: Be Grateful!
4) Find the optimist.
The world is a messed up place. Live long enough and we will all endure a tremendous amount of heartache and suffering. The key is to find the optimist who always tries to look at the bright side of things.
For example, although the global pandemic is a killer, it has also minimized the number of school shootings and traffic-related deaths. Find someone who can recognize the gravity of a bad situation and also look forward to a better future.
5) Find a partner who feeds you first.
Finally, dear daughter, I’d like you to find someone who is willing to feed you first before feeding himself. This simple gesture will permeate through everything he does – from considering how you feel first before making any big decisions to taking care of your parents and children.
Because he is so thoughtful, you will love him even more over time.
Below is a great comment from a reader which I think is true:
There needs to be a shift in focus as to what the future of relationships will look like when our daughters grow up.
I also have a 3 year old daughter, and given the trend and data that is out there, I worry LESS about her capability and ability to make a good living, and worry MORE about her finding a partner that will support her in these endeavors.
In essence, given the education and salary trends of girls/women now, my prediction is that my daughter will out-earn the pool of eligible men (or whomever) she may be interested in as a partner. As such, she doesn’t need to pay attention to a car, net worth, or financial capability of her partner, but more so his ability to be supportive of HER career, ability to earn, etc.
The tables will have turned, and just as men of 20 years ago tried to find a partner who would be a good mother, manager of the house, etc., my daughter will need to find a man that is willing to also be a good father, manager of the house, and caregiver.
Be Your Own Independent Person
“As I will tell my daughter one day, it’s easier to go from a hard life to an easy one. An almost superhuman effort is needed to go the other way.” – FS reader.
Look, single guys in their 20s can be forgiven for driving outrageously expensive vehicles that cost way more than 10% of their gross income.
A nice car is the first thing many guys who start making money after college want to buy. In their 20s, most guys and gals aren’t thinking about settling down, starting a family, or retiring early. They just want to live it up to the max!
But if you’re in your mid-30s or older and are still spending money frivolously, just know that eventually, not only will you not have as much wealth as you hoped for, you’ll probably need to buy an even more expensive car to impress other people.
This is because you’ll be older, less in shape, less attractive, and without the skills of a smooth communicator who doesn’t need to rely on an expensive vehicle to get a date.
Life is obviously much easier if you end up with a rich partner or spouse. However, life is also incredibly rewarding when you can be your own financially independent person.
We know our kids will have setbacks. It’s just a part of growing up. All we can do as parents is teach our kids as best we can.
Parents, what are some things you’ll teach your daughter? If you are a daughter, what are some things you wished your dad taught you?
If You Love Your Spouse, You’d Make Them A Millionaire
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I agree with a lot of this, especially the display of “wealth” through vehicle ownership. If showing off to a potential partner is the end goal a well educated individual should be able to see right through the BS in the early stages of dating. Dating is a personal interview process and showing up in the flashy car should be a green light for the tough curveball questions.
My personal situation is unique- I leased a 70k BMW at age 27 when I was single. The lease payments went through my business and the company, at the time, had a 7M valuation (I am a 50% owner.). I didn’t have a Rolex, designer clothes or a really nice place either. Just really liked cars and was sick of my beater SUV
I have made my fair share of irresponsible purchases but I’d say I’ve compromised in other areas to afford my guilty pleasures. Five years later I have a beautiful primary residence and two vehicles. Still avoid the flashy designer clothing and jewelry and practice stealth wealth at all times.
Not all my decision making is logical though. Just like I can go to the casino and lose 2500, but on my way out I am thirsty and refuse to spend $6 on a bottled water. Just how I operate I guess!
Our kids are the same age, although red shiny cars won’t be my red flags to look out for, you have raised some really good points pertaining to financial independence.
Though I believe this can’t be taught, it needs to be earned and learned through years of trial and error, improvising, resilience, opportunity costs and self realisation to self actualisation.
The value of learning through this process of becoming financially independent will supersede going through the dating pool with fine tooth comb with your ‘hard to fault/possibly hard to meet expectations’ guide.
Times have changed, women are levelling up to what was once perceived the main bread winner role; now they are becoming the main bread winner AND primary carer- sad to say, there is no need to look for men these days other than to procreate.
Unless ofcourse, they are equally/more capable than the woman, in that case- they are lucky to find each other and become that financial powerhouse that is so emotionally and intuitively in tune with each other.
Definitely, be teaching her the value of not just building wealth but ALSO protecting it also in the long run, as we all know relationships can breakdown esp if we find people who look good on paper, but don’t spell out the bad bones in the closet (like good family background/upbringing of values/beliefs, who they hang out with/chat with can equally corrupt and crumble the financial cookie house from alcohol/substance/domestic abuse).
Financial Samurai says
I think you’re right. The tables have turned and men need to recognize the shift. I’m excited about our daughter’s future. Equality and empowerment are wonderful. Th one thing I want to guard against is loneliness due to the unhealthy desire for prestige, money, and status. I’ve met so many folks who chased that all and ended up alone.
I agree with your article.
I think we have been in the process of a slow shift for a few decades. Old ideas are still hanging on creating an ebb and flo of drag but that is part of the process. We have to persevere in guiding our daughters and sons to do what we can to help them visualize and bring to fruition a happy, stable future. Finances are a big part of that happy and stable future.
My parents were very old school, with traditional male and female roles. I had to teach my mom how to write a check when my dad passed away. She was in her early 60s. They always instilled in us to get a good education and have financial security, etc. but no guidance on how to do that. I started earning my own money, when I was a teenager. I didn’t learn how to manage my money. I spent it all! I bought an old car, lots of clothes, recreation and didn’t save one penny. My dad paid for my car insurance. I didn’t appreciate that until I moved out on my own and had that payment turned over to me.
One thing a parent could do to help teach their children is give them hands on opportunities to manage their money. Savings accounts, investments, etc. Another very important parenting goal: help your kid develop interest and hobbies beyond ‘the screen.’ Teach/guide them while they are young so it is habit as they grow older.
Be prepared for your daughters and sons to change once they hit puberty. We can’t control the emotions that change and take hold. They might fall for the wrong guy or gal. Their heartbreaks break our hearts a little, too. Navigating the emotional waters of puberty doesn’t follow a logical path.
Remain steadfast in the background and quietly bring them back into focus with something concrete that is manageable and how to have fun, with or without that guy or gal. I’ve been a parent for a long time. I don’t have all the answers and I am still learning.
I have the same aspirations for my daughters, son, and young grandchildren: To be happy, loved, loving, to have a home, and to be financially stable.
Papa Foxtrot says
I love how you say “I know some of you who own nice cars and don’t own real estate may be a little agitated by this post. But here’s the thing. This post isn’t for you. It’s for all the people out there who are easily swayed by shiny expensive things.”
Because people who own expensive cars and don’t own real estate clearly showed that they are not swayed by shiny expensive things. Practically any expensive car could be a down payment for real estate instead, even if you need 20% down.
Ms. Conviviality says
I don’t think I’ve ever come across relationship advice to seek an optimist as a partner (believe me, I’ve read my fair share of Glamour and Cosmo). I think it’s such great advice since an optimist will always pick themselves up and keep moving forward when facing setbacks. The optimist will also try to smooth things over quickly in a disagreement since he usually sees the bigger picture and can easily remind himself of all the reasons he loves his partner rather than focusing on the thing that may be upsetting him at the moment. The optimist has big hopes and dreams to spark him into action and making them reality. I lucked out in meeting an optimist even though that wasn’t a quality I was looking for in a husband.
Good thoughts in this post but with this next generation, I’m not sure a fancy car is the right red flag. This new generation seems less preoccupied with cars and focused more on experiences. The great spots they’ve traveled to, fancy meals they’ve eaten, having the latest gadgets and fashions that are posted on instagram, tik-tok, snapchat, etc. I think these are the new red flags to look out for.
You hit it right on the spot!
Could not agree more.
I have a nephew who has lived in NYC for 12+ years. He & the wife make high 6 figures each but have nothing saved & rent a 700sq ft apartment for $5500+. Their emails, instagram etc pics are of the $300 dinners with $15 cocktails, the many trips to the Caribbean & exotic cruises. Admittedly he doesn’t own a car but his bride flashes her $40k diamond engagement ring in every pic.
Meanwhile my 26yr old daughter drives a 2014 Tundra that she paid cash for & Sect. 179’d against her real estate investments. She just bought a 6 bedroom home in Scottsdale AZ qualifying herself, no points, no PMI. She makes great money & has had a corporate home office for several years.
She has yet to find a guy that has at least some drive, an inkling of ambition, who is devoid of crushing student loan debt & child support/joint custody baggage.
I do not envy the dating frustration that most aspiring millennials face.
While this is good advice, I think it misses the idea that people come to relationships with different backgrounds, experiences and resources, and that people grow and change over their lives. When my husband and I met, he had debt but good skills that he translated into a solid IT career. I didn’t have any debt when we met, and I worked full time, but I picked a low-paying field (higher education). I only surpassed his salary after 22 years of marriage. I was frugal to a fault; he need some financial planning skills – we worked together to be successful. Finding someone who supports your interests, with whom you share common goals, and who is open to change is key. Good sense of humor helps too. The spendy date may be open to change…….
I don’t remember my parents telling me anything in particular about what to look for in a guy. They were always pretty laid back, but I didn’t date much either. Really good pointers in this post. You clearly are a great dad to be thinking about all of these things!
Congratulations on a wonderful article! It should be required reading for both genders.
I am 79 and have been married for 57 years. We have a son and two daughters. We were married in 1963, and I became pregnant 3 months after marriage. We were renting an apartment in the UK and my young husband insisted that the baby deserved a house to live in. He moved in to our new house the day our son was born. We still use a lot of the furniture we got then.
We were both STEM graduates, my mother would have killed me if I had got married in university and dropped out. So we waited till graduation. In those days, women had to drop out of the workforce when pregnant. But my chemistry degree meant I could study to be a science teacher in the UK, all expenses paid, when my youngest was 7. Then my husband, who is a materials engineer, lost his job. He managed to get a job in LA, teachers are versatile, so we all emigrated. I couldn’t work with his visa, so I studied for a CA science credential. As we had sold our UK house, we could use the equity for down payment on an OC house. We then got green cards and I was able to work.
We are still in that house, which has appreciated no end, with proposition 13 tax relief. We are both fiscally careful, both worked till over 70, both saved in 401s. We both do a small amount of part time work, I am a substitute teacher and love it.
We both love each other more than ever. What were the clues to a very happy and stable marriage. When I was just a girl friend, he noticed that my hands were always cold so he bought me a pair of fleecy gloves. My mother was so impressed, told me that he noticed the little things and cared for me. Then there was his insistence that our baby needed a house to be brought up in. Later he bought the very first baby car seat model sold in the UK, and installed it himself. I remember he had to disassemble the back seat. We used that seat for all our children and it went to our siblings. When our developmentally disabled daughter lost the room she was renting, he helped her finance a small town house and set it up.
Here’s the biggest thing. Two years ago, I had a pulmonary embolism after an outpatient operation on my knee. My heart had to be restarted after he called the paramedics. I am so grateful to him. He was there throughout.
I have known so many women of my generation who are destitute now.
Please all young women and men, read Sam and Sydney, their messages are first rate. Save, save, save. Care for your spouse. Look into financial considerations, Sydney wrote an ideal article on health care considerations, READ IT!
This ^ right here is the best thing I’ve read on the internet in a very long time. Totally choked up. That’s all really good stuff, Gwynedd!
Financial Samurai says
Very glad you have a great life partner Gwyendd! What a blessing!
“When I was just a girl friend, he noticed that my hands were always cold so he bought me a pair of fleecy gloves. My mother was so impressed, told me that he noticed the little things and cared for me.”
Yes, this is what I’m talking about.. the little things as I mention in #5 “find a partner who will feed you first.” It’s these little things that go along way and permeates through everything.
NW Islander says
Sam, I feel a duty to disclose that I’ve been implementing your rules throughout my dating life and as a result there is basically nobody left for me to date! If my own experience is any guide, you might be setting up your daughter for failure.
Still kicking myself for turning down the guy who showed up to pick me up for Date 3 in his 3rd fancy sports car. He owned no real property at the time, while I owned several million in real estate. He casually mentioned that he was biding his time until a big inheritance from his parents, so no need to save his money. I felt that our priorities were out of synch, so I declined a Date 4. He might have been my last chance to have a family.
I’m almost 40 now, and my net worth has increased, but not so much for my dating pool. My attitude toward money vs. those of my prospective dates have diverged even more.
I do think your guidelines are realistic if faithfully implemented before the age of 28, when women still have some market value.
Sorry to hear your experience but I don’t think you are alone. You still have time to use a donor if you really want to have children. I don’t think financial samurai’s daughter will have the same problem as other women as his net worth is so high. I know many men who worked hard and provided well and married women with nothing because their dad had a high net worth and could provide a holiday home and inheritance etc. It isn’t right but happens all the time that equals don’t marry. Maybe women should consider men getting inheritances who don’t work hard as marriage material as well. I also agree with another commentator that a supportive husband who can take care of the children and home is just as valuable. Many of my colleagues are a lot more happy and successful than me as their husbands are stay at home dads. Some of their husbands haven’t worked for 10 years. Stereotypes are changing!
Financial Samurai says
Ah, women will always have market value! Don’t sell yourself short.
However, everything is a tradeoff. We can’t expect our partner to be perfect in every way because we aren’t. Often times, we must compromise.
Who knows, what have you ended up starting a long-term relationship with this guy with the third fancy sports car and he turned out to be a complete player? In such a scenario, it is way better you did not go out with him!
Big Sarge says
Believe me you dodged a real tool. If a person is discussing their finances or future inheritance on the 3rd date they are BS’ing! If people have financial security or future inheritance they are not discussing it on the 3rd date. You hardly know the person. I did not share w/my now wife that I owned 5 houses until after a year of dating. My net worth was probably 1.5 million at the time. Neither she nor I come from any kind of wealth. Relax on your age. I did not get married until 45 and she was 46. We have been married 7 great and happy years now.
Lots of people discuss their income and net worth on a first date these days. I’ve dated a few multi millionaires (five in total) and they always tell me on the first date. Been offered a holiday to France on my first date and other expensive gifts (politely declined both men on a second date as I was not physically attracted to them). Dated or stayed friends with the other millionaires as I was attracted to them. It has always turned out to be true as I have been able to verify their assets and jobs online. Likewise the men who told me their parents were multi millionaires or they had trust funds. All disclosed on first or second date and verified. Most people don’t lie about their families finances.
My mum’s advice was to marry either a chef or a hairdresser…I did end up marrying a chef and have been happy ever since!!
Financial Samurai says
Great! Good advice. I’m watching Chef’s Table on Netflix and the stories are simply beautiful. Please go watch it if you haven’t already.
If a car does not embarrass me to be seen in it, carries me in relative comfort, and starts (and stops) exactly when it should (every time), then I’m good to go with it.
So far as daughters go. At my first college, a large southern school, at our dorms we had to sign in female visitors (and sign them out) during visiting hours, shout “Woman on the floor” when we took them upstairs, and leave the doors to our rooms open while they were there.
At the large northern college I graduated from. It was less formal. I lived in a 12 story dorm that faced the street and, with no air conditioning, we all had our windows open one spring night at about 3 AM when a drunk came home and started yelling at the building. Naturally, a lot of people (a whole lot) started yelling back at him to shut up. I noted that a very large percentage of the voices, perhaps almost half, were female. This was not a coed dorm.
It occurred to me then that, if I ever wound up having sons, they could come to that school. But any daughters would have to go to my first school.
I think there probably needs to be a shift in focus as to what the future of relationships will look like when our daughters grow up. I also have a 3 year old daughter, and given the trend and data that is out there, I worry LESS about her capability and ability to make a good living, and worry MORE about her finding a partner that will support her in these endeavors. In essence, given the education and salary trends of girls/women now, my prediction is that my daughter will out-earn the pool of eligible men (or whomever) she may be interested in as a partner. As such, she doesn’t need to pay attention to a car, net worth, or financial capability of her partner, but more so his ability to be supportive of HER career, ability to earn, etc. The tables will have turned, and just as men of 20 years ago tried to find a partner who would be a good mother, manager of the house, etc., my daughter will need to find a man that is willing to also be a good father, manager of the house, etc. As such, your points #4-5 are more critical, as points #1-3 she will definitely have covered…
Financial Samurai says
Wise words. You are probably right. I should include your thoughts in this post. Go in the majority of college graduates are now women, the trend is definitely that women will make more money and become the main breadwinners.
Therefore, a supportive spouse is indeed important. And this may also mean that many men may end up single and frustrated at their lack of prospects if they lack charisma, looks, personality, and a great career
I’m intrigued about the future!
I always knew I wanted what my parents both had, a partner in life.
My last girlfriend in college, whom I seriously considered marrying, was a senior getting a degree in a very difficult STEM. She would have been great, intellectually and, ahem, in appearance. She also likely would have made a bit more money than me for a lot of my career.
But she would always have wanted to walk three paces behind me. Figuratively, not literally (she wasn’t from an Asian, African, or Muslim culture). She deferred to me in everything and I could not change that, although I tried. That was just what she wanted.
That wasn’t what I wanted.
I didn’t want a permanent subordinate through life (nor a supervisor, for that matter).
Even why you are a guy with no lack of charisma, looks, personality, and a great career (would never say that if this wasn’t anonymous, not because it’s not true but because I’m all that and humble, too), it can be hard to find someone to be your wife that won’t lean one way or the other.
You want an additional challenge in raising a daughter? There ya go. Raise her to neither dominate or be dominated.
Amusingly, people that work with wolves have to be extremely careful to avoid giving the wolf the impression they are either attempting to dominate, or can be dominated. Not that I might be comparing men with wolves . . . or am I?
The future is intriguing, but it is likely already here. Here was a great article on this prospect. wsj.com/articles/a-good-man-is-getting-even-harder-to-find-11570200829
My husband and I currently make the same income but given my career in finance I likely have the ability to out-earn him in the future which brings in careful consideration of who’s career will need to be supported more – conversations that I can imagine my daughter will have even more so.
Ms. Conviviality says
I come from a family with 3 daughters and one son. All the sisters and even my sister-in-law make significantly more money than the husbands but we’ve all managed to find really thoughtful, caring, and intelligent husbands. I think our success comes from having the same values about family and respect.
Chris R says
This is a real thing. We are older Millennials. My wife has a more successful career than I do, although I’ve done fine too. I’ve passed on some things so that she can advance and it’s paid off really well, but you have to be willing to swallow your pride and be the star in other areas of your life. I take on more household responsibilities, including managing money/budgeting, coordinating childcare or taking care of the kids, cleaning, cooking, shopping, home maintenance, taking care of her needs, etc. My role is to bring balance and improve the quality of our lives outside of work, and also to prudently manage all the bigtime money she is bringing home.
It’s a challenge, but I think lots of men are up to it if they can develop meaning in their lives at home/with family.
I never realized how many people consider other’s purchasing power/spending so early on in dating. My wife and I met at 16 so our perspective is obviously outside the article scope, but similar in some ways.
She was driving her dad’s 10 year old blazer and I was driving a new, fully loaded, fixed-up Ram truck (mostly paid for by my parents) when we met. Here she was, 16, driving around in a fixed up truck with me; she will still tell you how exciting it was. I loved the truck and it was really nice, but I always told her it was just a truck.
At 16, we had no idea who paid for what and what that even would mean in the long-term. But what’s interesting is that I never cared what she drove or how much money she came from even though my family grew-up quite well-off. So we are trying to instill a similar mindset in our kids.
I think it is just as important to look past the cars, houses and bank accounts and really see the person for who they are. At 16, that’s all that mattered to us and it still is all that really matters to us twenty years later.
We are trying to teach our oldest (7) that what matters is the person, not the stuff around them. Sure, the stuff around them may offer some context, but only at a given time, and it can change dramatically and quickly. And if it’s you providing the context based on your own past experience, it can be quite erroneous and you might miss out on the rare, exceptional ones.
Financial Samurai says
That’s great! When both don’t have much money and meet in school, that’s always a treat since the focus is on the relationship. My wife and I met in college and went on the financial path together and more.
Will you be Ok if your daughter gets into a serious relationship at 16?
Assuming s/he is emotionally and mentally mature enough, I don’t have any rational concerns with him/her dating or being involved in a potentially long-term relationship at 16.
I love stories like yours. I have had a few relationships over the years. I believe my first boyfriend and I shared that innocent love you are speaking of. Unfortunately as you age and accumulate positives such as wealth and children as well as negatives such as broken hearts and trust issues it is hard to find that love again. I would love my children to meet their partners young and build their wealth together.
We grew up together pretty quickly as she battled cancer at 18, we spent about 18 months going through multiple (serious) surgeries, chemo and recovery. A second scare, surgery and preventative care for another 3 years after until she went off the week before we married. Moved out of state for two weeks to start grad school, regretted it, withdrew from grad school and moved back to our home area (within 4 months of getting married), and two kids (via multiple IUIs and eventually IVF) all by 35.
Sometimes it just seems like we never got off the rollercoaster and I guess we both kind of liked riding it, together. All those intense life experiences, failures and setbacks along the way helped keep us focused on what really matters.
And the car certainly isn’t it–even if its M5 in the driveway.
As a father of a 14 year old girl I know as a father it is much harder to raise a daughter than a son because you are much more worried about her and how some guy might take advantage of her.
I know a lot of women who had promising careers put on hold because they sacrificed for a potential relationship at the time (moved long distance to be with the guy, put off graduate training etc because it didn’t fit in). Then years later they get divorced and struggle because it is hard to pick up the career path they would have been on after so much time.
I hope to instill in my daughter the confidence to make the guy put in is as much to the relationship as what is expected of the girl.
Pay attention to the condition of a car of someone you might date. If he doesn’t have winter tires for the winter then he doesn’t prioritize safety or any attention to budgeting. Winter tires are a good investment in safety and there is a discount on car insurance for having winter tires.
This may not be pertinent advice where you live Samurai.
Jeff VA says
I don’t know…
I had dedicated winter tires on cars that were RWD. On FWD or AWD, all-seasons were perfectly capable on snow. Of course snow tires will perform better, but making a conclusion that a person doesn’t prioritize safety or pay attention to budgeting because they don’t put winter tires on their car is in my opinion a reach.
Single mum says
I love cars so I am very attracted to men who drive nice cars (Mercedes amgs are my favourite). I find men who drive nice cars are like me adventurous in other ways. Caveat on that is they should also own property. I always buy my cars (usually European luxury brands) for cash when they are about 5 years old. I trade them in 5 years later. Works for me. My last car was only 1% of the cost of my own house which I own. I am a single mum with kids and never been married. Never received child support. I am the extreme end of financially independent but would love my daughter to get married and be a stay at home mom if she wanted to. Or work part time if she wants to keep her career. I have told her to have her own property before she gets married as well which she can rent out to contribute to family income. That is provided she would get a property settlement and the husband would pay her good child support if they split. That was my plan but out of necessity I’ve had to take care of myself. Will be interesting to see what choices my daughter makes.
Christine Minasian says
What a great post Sam since you now have a little girl. Having 3 teenage daughters, I wholeheartedly agree with all of your advice! I tell them all the time- be able to take care of YOURSELF!!!! Love it. Keep up the great work.
That is a good list Sam,
I would add something about paying attention to your experiences, goals and dreams first and not prioritize finding a guy. As a dad you can encourage exploring different activities as she gets older.
Perhaps she wants to be a tennis pro, musician or expert chef. Having passions and accomplishments beyond her day job will develop her sense of self then help her be brave/trust her instincts. She’ll then likely look for someone who also has developed passions and skills.
Financial Samurai says
Noted! Thanks for the tip. Makes sense!
It would be great if my daughter wasn’t interested in guys until 25 or until she finds a career, whichever comes last! LOL
I’m so excited to introduce her to EVERYTHING and let her figure out what she enjoys doing.
I have a $1,500 car that smokes when I drive it, I rent a great townhouse that costs me 13% of my pre-tax income, and I save 30% towards savings and retirement. Would you date me?
Financial Samurai says
Probably not. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have a fun and successful dating life. How is it by the way?
Do fine for myself – got a great long-term GF. I remember trying to tell a co-worker who made $45k/yr that he didn’t need a Camero to get the girl. He didn’t believe me. He’s still making payments.
I’ve got a little girl myself and was the victim of financial abuse by my ex; I’ve talked to a lot of other women who’ve been in that boat, too. I read a study recently that said that 98% of domestic violence victims surveyed (female, for this particular study) had experienced financial abuse at the hands of their ex. It’s more common even than physical abuse, since often DV can be emotional/psychological without hitting. Also, around half of homeless women are homeless because of having left a DV relationship, and financial insecurity is the #1 reason for staying in such a relationship (we’re not talking oh-no-I-can’t-afford-nice-cheese type of insecurity, we’re talking sleeping-with-kids-in-the-car kinda insecurity)
Keep in mind, DV happens in nice suburbs too, and even to girls with great fathers, so this is stuff your daughter might need to know one day too.
I’ve thought about what lessons I want to teach my daughter based on my own experiences and that of other victims I’ve spoken to, and in addition to the sort of thing you’ve mentioned, this is what I want to teach her:
1. Don’t rely on anyone else for your financial security. Make sure that you can be financially independent if you need to.
2. Don’t rely on your potentially-future-ex being honest, either. A lot of marriages end in divorce, and it’s not uncommon for one party to that divorce to royally **** the other.
3. Always have some money in a bank account that’s just under your name, so if you need to get out, you can.
4. Any assets NEED to be in both parties’ names.
5. Just because you love and trust someone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect yourself.
6. Don’t be scared of money. There’s still a societal attitude that “girls can’t do finances”, and it’s way too easy for a girl to accept a guy’s offer of “I’ll look after the money since I’m the head of the household/breadwinner/*insert 50s stereotype here*”. Letting someone else take the reins entirely is a recipe for disaster.
You live, you learn, huh :(
Also, your future daughter might meet an absolutely lovely guy who’s a starving artist, while she’s working as a CEO. Encourage her to find her own successes so that she can look at the person first, house and car second. There was a thing going around on TV in China where a very materialistic girl said that she’d rather cry in the back of a limo than laugh on the back of a bicycle; it’s great to be rich, it’s great to marry rich, but I still think that the best thing is to have a life full of joy and love.
I don’t know whether to give you a standing ovation or a hug, but I feel like doing both. You’re doing your daughter a huge favor by teaching her these lessons in advance. I have also been a victim of domestic violence/abuse and financial abuse was a material component of it.
The only one of your rules that I have a slight issue with is #4: “Any assets NEED to be in both parties’ names.” I think it just needs to be clarified. Any assets that were purchased with joint funds need to be in both parties names. Any assets that were purchased with YOUR FUNDS ONLY need to be titled in YOUR NAME ONLY.
In my particular case, my then-boyfriend (the abuser) lived with me in my home. One of his chief complaints was that it always felt like MY home and not OUR home, no matter how much I encouraged him to rearrange things, paint, etc. I am embarrassed to admit how close I was to deeding at least a small percentage of the house to him, just so he would feel like it was his home, too. Thankfully, I didn’t. Can you imagine how awful it would have been for me to buy that little sliver of my own house back from him later? He might have made me tangle in the courts for years to get him off the deed, and I might have had to sell my entire house to be rid of him.
So for #4, absolutely make sure the stuff you helped pay for is titled jointly. And make sure that the stuff you paid for all by yourself is titled ONLY in your name. If the person you’re in a relationship with gives you grief about having your own separate property, tell them that it is rightfully yours because you bought it, but you’re happy to share so long as you two stay together. If they insist on you titling your separate property in a joint name with them, that is a HUGE red flag. Don’t give into it. And if they keep insisting on it, break up.
Oh yes! I hadn’t thought of that, too easy to just think of things in my context! I put my income in his bank acct and let him buy the house with my savings cause he never saved, but in his name alone. Fortunately courts have seen this b4 so I think I’ll be OK to get my fair share, but gosh, I look back and think how love really is blind! Oops.
Big Sarge says
Point #4. You wrote “All assets NEED to be in both parties names”.
Point #5. You wrote “Just because you love and trust someone doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect yourself”.
There are plenty of “Bad Actors” be it male or female out there.
I don’t care if it’s the woman or the man that may have assets before the marriage, union, etc… Protect your assets.
I agree, protect yourself! People may say that you don’t truly love that person. Don’t forget there is a flip side to that and it says the same thing. It goes both ways.
Been there … I would add to your list:
1. Don’t sign a tax return you don’t understand. If he(/she) hasn’t paid taxes on his/her income, then file separately, even if it costs you more as a couple.
2. Avoid joint credit cards if you have any reason for concern.
3. Keep track of both of your credit scores regularly to make sure your partner has not incurred new debt for which you are responsible.
If you’re with an abusive partner, they will try all the tricks described above to manipulate you into adding them to title on your separate assets, or absorbing their debt, or opening up your credit to them. They’ll make you feel guilty by suggesting they you are selfish or greedy or whatever terms work for them to get what they want.
Obviously the better thing to do is choose a quality partner, but we’ve all made mistakes before and trusted the wrong person. The best thing I had going for me was a strong support system when I was ready to open up, so in addition to helping my own daughter make better choices than I did when I was younger, I will also make sure she knows that she can come to me as an adult for guidance or help if she finds herself in a prickly situation.
Middle Class Millionaire says
LOL! This post totally reminds me of somebody I know. This individual is 27 years old, lives at home rent free. He just told me a couple weeks ago he just ordered a brand new Corvette ZR1. He literally spends the majority of his income on depreciating toys! I have tried on several occasions to talk with him about personal finance. He does have a home based landscaping/contracting business where he will do odd jobs for people in the neighborhood. The last I heard he probably makes on average about $4,000 per month net. I have tried to talk to him about changing his spending habits, buying a home and taking more personal responsibility. Although he always says he agrees with me, his actions show otherwise. As far as I know he has absolutely no plans to leave his parents’ home. Pretty amazing the mentality of some people.
I like this post. Most personal finance sites tell you to drive a reliable, boring car, and while I think that’s great advice, it ignores a small group of people–people who like cars. And I don’t mean “people who want a Benz to say that have a Benz”, I mean people who actually enjoy vehicles for more than how luxurious they are. And I think owning something more than, say, a 10 year old Civic doesn’t necessarily mean you’re financially irresponsible, just that you spend your money on things you like (cars) and may be responsible on things you care less about (kind of a Ramit Sethi approach).
But I’m biased. I drive a 2009 Mustang, and also have a motorcycle. Both bought used, and owned outright. I rent a less-than-amazing apartment (it’s not a shithole, however), but rent where I’m at is crazy and I have student loans coming due soon–but I have a few months of savings (and it’s growing), I sock away money in my 401(k) every paycheck, and pay off my credit card in full each month. Owning a fun car doesn’t necessarily have to mean you’re financially irresponsible, you just have to get a fun car that doesn’t break the bank while being financially responsible in other areas.
I suppose it helps luxuriousness in cars doesn’t matter to me–I really don’t care to have a push-to-start car, or something with fancy video screens everywhere, just give me something with a manual, and some power to it. I’m thinking the next car may happen in a few years, and it’ll probably be a used Civic or something similar, in a sportier trim than base though. I’d absolutely hate life if I had to drive a boring car every day, but I want something with a bit more reliability than a Mustang (I’ll always have a soft spot for muscle cars, despite their flaws).
I think a good rule of thumb is that if you want something to look flashy or cool, and there’s no other reason (e.g. buying super expensive clothes if you don’t enjoy fashion, but just to claim you have them), don’t buy it.
I dated a guy who had a good job with potential for advancement, an ok car, nothing flashy and lived with his mom who had some medical stuff going on. Looked ok at the start. He did buy his own place, rented the other room to a friend, turned that into a rental when he got the next house. But after thinking he knew the business better than his boss and losing the job ( a few times), not having the money to repair the car, letting a 401k be disbursed to him, I had some big questions. I would pay for a Friday night date (2 for $20) because he didn’t have the funds. When he got the 401k money it meant (7 years older than me ) he had $0 saved for retirement. Was he expecting me to pay for both of us? He was one of those people who hates working for someone else, but didn’t want to pursue self employment, but I knew he wasn’t going to be happy working when I retired if he wasn’t happy working then.
I have soooo many red flags now! Yet a lot of this is why I intend to have a pre-nup. All my hard earned money is mine, yours is yours, and we can co-mingle what we earn together.
I am so much happier now! It can be more than the car, house etc, it’s the money mentality that is revealed over time.
Financial Samurai says
You are right about having a strong money mentality. You either think about saving first or spending first. I want to be someone who wants to save and invest for his or her future, and then use the proceeds from the profits of his or her investments to pay for a wonderful life.
Life is much much easier once you think about your future a little more carefully.
I went out with a guy who turned up in a beat up old car.
Sadly, his (rented) apartment was not much better.
A flash car would put me off for all the above reasons, but a nice car I think makes a good initial impression. Much as you would ponder over whether a flash car has been paid in cash, you could also wonder if the guy is driving a heap of junk because that’s all he can afford!
Plus, you’re hardly going to be asking about his savings rate or networth on a first date!
Mrs. SimplyFinanciallyFree says
I love this post! Whenever I see a new shiny expensive car my first thought is always “what are they compensating for and who are they trying to impress?” Yes, some people do make a lot of money and make wise money choices but there are probably more people who do not. I am so not impressed with one’s ability to spend money on a car. I am much more impressed by someones net worth, which of course you never do know. I am thankfully married to a wonderful man but after a date with a guy like that I would be hesitant to continue a relationship unless I knew he was actually financially stable and not up to he eyeballs in debt.
I can honestly say that I’ve never cared about any guy’s car and that in fact the nicest cars always made alarm bells go off for me (probably due to my rural Alabama roots and naivete, but still a helpful reaction).
In college I once had a guy at a club press his car keys into my hand and become angry when I didn’t recognize the Ferrari logo. I kept thinking he was too drunk to drive and just giving me his keys! I also once was shown the garage on a tour of some guy’s house at a party which contained several expensive cars (probably Lamborghini’s or the like). The house wasn’t that awesome though, and again I was pretty disgusted and also alarmed; suddenly I felt trapped like I was in some drug dealer’s house or at the very least with men who cared a helluva lot about trying to get laid above all else. I went running for a taxi.
Damn you Sam, sometimes this site is a painfulto read! Just sold an expensive Porsche for profit and convinced myself that buying a cheaper Porsche was akin to ‘saving’. As we know, spending less is still spending, not saving. But this Porsche will definitely depreciate and my net worth is only ~$1,000,000
Future me thanks you for this timely reminder.