They say money can buy you a dog, but only love can make it wag its tale.
Wow. We must be pretty hooked on the idea that money can’t buy love – we’re bringing dogs into it!
That idea looks great on the big screen, too: love stands higher than the material world. Tons of Hollywood scripts revolve around the cliché of a rich guy chasing after a girl who doesn’t love him and is, instead, in love with a poor guy. The rich guy is either boring or doesn’t truly love her, while the poor guy can give her everything she needs – except money. Girl runs off with poor guy to live happily ever after, THE END, roll credits.
Only we never really know if they do live happily ever after. The movie usually ends at, or soon after, runaway point.
REMEMBER “TITANIC” ?
I’m sure you all cried when Jack went forever into the deep cold ocean. I did, too.
But don’t you think that the “Titanic” sank at a very convenient moment? That way, we never got the chance to see what Rose’s life would have been with him.
There’s a widely spread notion that if you marry for money without love, your life will be easy and comfortable but you’ll never be truly happy. Probably true. Then there’s the idea that if you marry for love without money, your life will be tough but even with all the struggle and hardship you will be happy.
Now that’s probably false.
Not too long ago, as pictured in Jane Austen’s novels, society had viewed marrying for money as something perfectly acceptable, if not even encouraged. It’s no secret that there were – and still are today in some countries – many arranged marriages where older relatives matched their young according to education, social standing, and wealth.
While these factors are still taken into account nowadays, it seems that society today has much more praise for marrying for love, while looking down on marrying for money.
The romantic sentiment for love without money is strong enough to take certain types of stories to epic stardom, such as “The gift of the Magi” by O. Henry.
It’s about a young couple in love, James and Della. Della takes pride in her beautiful long hair, and James’ most valued possession is a golden watch.
Christmas is coming and they have no money. Secretly, James sells his watch to buy Della combs for her hair; secretly, Della cuts and sells her hair to buy a chain for James’ watch.
So they realize how deeply they love each other. It’s so romantic. The end.
But if those two love-doves had money, they wouldn’t need to sacrifice and in the end they could actually use the gifts and enjoy them. Instead, because they didn’t have money, James was left with a useless chain and a bold wife.
But enough about stories and movies. In real life, when poverty walks through the door, love flies out the window.
The only way you could enjoy love without money is if both you and your partner start off small and work your way to riches together. Even if you never get rich, the journey itself will actually bring you closer.
Of course, the definitions for what’s rich and what’s poor are conditioned by the circumstances you grew up with. If you grew up in a cheap two-bedroom apartment without a family car, then you wouldn’t feel that living in a three-bedroom apartment and driving a 20-year old Ford is poor. Yet if you grew up in a big house, had your own car at sixteen and helped with the family business, you’d have a hard time settling for a lesser life.
LOVE DON’T PAY NO BILLS
You can’t live on love alone. Love don’t pay no bills.
Suppose you’ve chosen to marry for love without money. You and your partner are broke. You go to the store, fill up your cart with food, and you head for checkout. The cashier rings up your items: “That’ll be 22 €.” You go, “Oh, sorry, we don’t have any money; but we love each other very, very much!” Let me know how that works out.
Money is the engine behind independence and control – two things (among countless others) that love alone can’t provide for you.
Kim Kiyosaki points out that many women are completely dependent on their husbands for money. (Striking! Wasn’t that the same thing Jane Austen wrote about back in 1787 ?) If it’s temporary, it’s actually not such a bad thing – people get sick, go through tough times, or make risky decisions such as changing jobs during recession , ending up broke. Knowing you can depend on your spouse is a great thing to have.
But what if you’re completely dependent on him and it’s permanent?
I’ve heard horror stories about how drastically things change once the husband starts earning significantly more than the wife. She thinks the family could use a new refrigerator, he thinks he’d love a flat screen to watch sports on. If they can’t reach an agreement, it all comes down to “Hey, after all it’s my money!”
That sucks. But do you think she packs her bags and leaves him? Nope. According to Kim Kiyosaki, many women stay in dead marriages just because they can’t afford to be on their own.
It’s true. I’ve been there.
Back in my Sofia years, my then-boyfriend and I rented a flat together. For quite a while he was making more than me, usually two times more. He was a construction worker and up until 2009, his wages were really good.
But when the recession hit in 2009, he brought less and less money home, and his pay was now irregular and often late. That’s when we started having our first serious fights, and they were all about money. I couldn’t rely on him to provide his half of the rent money on time, and – this was the real issue – he didn’t seem to care.
After several big fights and two nights without electricity due to unpaid bills, I started thinking about moving out.
However, if one of us wanted to move out, the other one couldn’t keep the place we rented as a couple because it was too big and expensive for a single person. Each of us had to move to a new place as a single tenant, in which case we had to cough up money for realtor fees, transportation costs and deposits… So it took us several months before we could afford to break up.
And what if we had a kid?
MONEY MEANS CONTROL
Whoever has the money calls the shots.
Recently, GRS posted this: If parents are paying for college, are any majors off limits? The parents of a young girl had a college fund saved up for her, thinking she would study to be an attorney. When they learned she wanted to be a film-maker, the parents started wondering about whether they should still give her the money – or tell her they’ll only pay for a “sensible” major.
You should try to TALK her out of it, not THREATEN her out of it.
If you can’t talk your daughter out of a major choice like this, you need to re-examine the quality of your relationship with her. Why did you not see this coming sooner? Why would she not listen to her parents? I think that’s the bigger issue.
There’s always a “bigger issue” behind money. In this case, it was about who has the final say about a major life decision. Do you want to leave that up to someone else, even if that someone is your parents or your spouse?
How you handle money reflects how you handle risk, responsibility, planning… and life in general. That’s why savers and spenders don’t last together. That’s why rich and poor don’t mix.
A friend and I recently talked about couples we both knew, and about who had the upper hand in those couples. She said it’s the one who is better at solving problems; I say that coincides with the one who brings more money.
If the one in charge is the best problem-solver, and if nowadays solving problems requires money, then the one with the money is the one in charge. The one who has control.
I used to think men would appreciate a woman who’s independent and who’s not a burden on them financially. I mean, it must get tiring to constantly take care of someone else’s bills: a coffee now, a soda later, the occasional dinner… over time it adds up.
But I’m not so sure anymore. Men need to feel powerful, and they need to feel they’re in control. Paying the bills is the obvious way to assert that.
A bill sitting on the table, staring you in the eye, is a sort of a “problem”, and the knight in shining armor rushes to solve it! But if you, his lady, solve it for yourself, he feels like you are not so much his lady but more of another knight he has to compete with for the charge.
When a woman is paying her own bills, it comes off as “I can take care of myself, I don’t need you, so I don’t have to listen to you. You are not in charge.”
Maybe some women don’t mind depending on a guy and letting him make all the decisions. Maybe these women prefer not to be bothered with making decisions. I guess I’m not like that. I want 50/50! (And if we are buying a car together, I’m going to use all my voting power to get a pink one.)
While my ex and I were still together, we had a brief period when I was unemployed and managed to earn just enough money to pay my part of rent and utilities, plus some humble amounts for food.
That meant when he wanted to go out for pizza, I had to say I couldn’t afford to; then he of course would say it will be on him.
I usually went along but kept my mouth shut and left all the decisions to him. Take the bus, cab, or walk? Order small, medium or large? Beer or soda? Since it was him paying for everything, I felt it would be inappropriate for me to say “No, I want this (more expensive) type of pizza” or “I don’t want to ride the bus, let’s get a cab.”
I’m not saying he didn’t ask me what I wanted. I’m not saying he rubbed it in my nose that I was dependent on him. But you can’t throw demands when you’re on the courtesy of the other person.
Whoever has the money calls the shots.
WAIT FOR LOVE UNTIL YOU HAVE MONEY ?
I hope you don’t misunderstand me. I have no problem with men who are currently broke. I have a huge problem with men who don’t mind being broke.
((Not that I’d ever date women.))
I talked to a really nice guy recently, and all was going great, but when I mentioned money he kinda brushed it off. “Money’s not important,” he said, “it’s only love that matters.”
“Love is more important than money,” I said, “but you can’t have love without money.”
“No romance without finance. When poverty walks in the door, love flies out the window. Need more clichés?”
“Wow, you’re more material than I thought.”
“I’m not! But our world is a material world. Having a car, putting gas in the tank, going out for drinks – it all comes with a pricetag.”
“So you’re saying you must have money before you can have love?”
“And just how much money do you need so you can have love?”
“It’s definitely more than what I have now.”
“Then how long will it take for you to raise that money?”
Ouch! Okay, I get the hint. Yes, if you wait to settle down until your life is all neat and orderly, you’ll have to be fifty. Or ninety.
Still, I can’t bring myself to think about having a family and raising kids on what I currently make. Besides, having a young kid would significantly limit your earning opportunities – kids need time and money, meaning there’s less time and money for developing additional income streams; and kids also make relocation that much harder.
Not to mention it’s pretty damn hard to be romantic without cab money, drinks money, restaurant money, calls money and presents money. There’s nothing romantic about cheap restaurants or riding the bus.
Being cheap is never sexy, unless we’re talking about a low-budget adult movie.