Reader BH sent in a question that’s an interesting twist on a topic I’ve addressed before:
Many of your articles discuss money spent on women. I completely agree that men need to avoid pressing the Provider button or they’re screwed and end up in “potential husband” territory.
But other than that, doesn’t money spent need to consider both the man and woman’s income? I prefer to think of thinks in percentages instead of flat numbers. Buying a million dollar car seems silly to me, but not for Bill Gates. Because he earns a thousand times more than I do. So the perspective comparison would be me buying a thousand dollar car, which is reasonable. Make sense? This model can’t (or shouldn’t) be extrapolated to everything, obviously. But does it translate to dating?
Example, nice steak place. I like to eat there and like to bring a fun pretty woman with me. It’s enjoyable for me. Disregarding the cost of my food, and discounting for the enjoyment of having a fun hot date with me, the real final cost to me is $30-$50 for multiple hours of fun and usually great sex afterwards. Now, my argument is that the $50 “value” needs to be thought of in terms of % of income. Since I earn a lot, it’s a non-factor to me. If i only earned 45k/year then it becomes a much bigger deal.
This is also similar to the Sugar Daddy dating you wrote about recently.
Yet another factor to consider is the woman’s income. If she’s a college student, little gifts are going to mean a lot more to her (financially) than they cost me in reality. Which is good. But isn’t it also easier to accidentally trip her Provider button?
I like doing expensive things because I make good money. Doing them with a hot girl strokes my ego. Am I ok because I have the income to support it, or am I being a fool? What % of income should a guy spend on women, to maximize feelings of gratitude and sexual excitement that they are with a “successful” guy?
Great blog. You’re helping a LOT of men. My life is so much better after having bought your books and reading your blog.
Let’s talk about your finances. First of all, you should be making at least $75,000 a year regardless of your sex life. If you don’t yet, then some of this stuff I’m about to discuss won’t apply to you yet, but it’s still valuable to your long-term happiness.
There are five factors at play you must consider when making decisions about the issue of throwing money at women because “you can” or because “you like it.”
1. Your personal net monthly income after paying all taxes, expenses, AND DEBTS. (I’ll explain why I capitalized that last part in a minute).
2. Your personal net worth and liquidity (and remember that these are not the same thing).
3. Her possible reaction to you spending money on her like a girlfriend, and the bullshit, drama, and demands that will ensue if this is the case.
5. Your level of drama tolerance.
Only after dispassionately evaluating these five things will you be in a place where you can make a rational determination of how much money to spend within a long-term, consistent happiness framework. I will cover each.
1. Your Net Monthly Income
By “net income” here I’m talking about the money you have left over after taxes, required lifestyle expenses (going out to a fancy restaurant is not a required lifestyle expense, but your mortgage or rent payment is), and any payments on debts.
Clearly, if you have thousands of dollars left over every month after these three things, then you’re certainly able to afford to throw all the money at women you like (within the next four factors we have not yet covered, that is).
However, the issue of debt is an important one that a hell of a lot of high income men don’t factor in. If you’ve read the wonderful book, The Millionaire Next Door, you know that the majority of so called “rich” people in the US are absolutely drowning in debt. I recently posted this article over at the CJ Blog that showed that 38% of Americans who make over $100,000 a year would have trouble coming up with just $1000 in case of an emergency.
That doctor or corporate vice president who lives in the huge nice house, drives a Mercedes, whose wife drives an Escalade, whose kids go to private schools, and who vacations in Europe every year is likely cash poor. Statistically speaking, he’s smothered in a gigantic home mortgage, car loans, college loans, credit card debt, personal loans, child support and alimony from a prior marriage, and all kinds of other debt, on top of massive lifestyle expenses. He also likely has zero or near zero liquid savings to draw upon. Not to mention he’s paying 50-60% in grand total taxes whenever he gets paid, since because of our corporatist society and ridiculous two party political system, we Americans get raped when it comes to taxes.
Compare him to a guy like me. I make a decent income too. However, instead of a giant McMansion, I live in a modest three bedroom house in a quiet, inexpensive, suburban neighborhood. Instead of a $120,000 Mercedes that he pays $1000 a month for in loan or lease payments, I drive a $40,000 Lexus that’s completely paid for, with zero payments per month. Moreover, I just got this car a few months ago; for the past many years I have been driving a ten year-old Nissan, also completely paid for. This new Lexus I’ll be driving for at least the next 8-10 years.
Instead of an expensive traditional wife, I have no wife, by choice. Instead of hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, I have zero debt. We both make six figures, but he pays 50-60% in total taxes, while I pay 14% because I’m self employed under an Alpha 2.0 business structure, which means I actually take home far more than he does, even if his gross income is a little higher than mine.
So yeah, if you looked at his car and house, he looks way richer than me. He might even feel richer than me, and that’s an important point I’ll be returning to. But if you actually looked at the numbers in our financial lives, I’m far more “rich” than this guy. It’s not even close. If this guy lost his job and couldn’t find a new one quickly, he’d be royally fucked, almost immediately. If I lost all of my income (which is extremely very unlikely because I own three small businesses in completely different industries, two of which with international income) it would be several years before I would even notice a difference in my lifestyle, and that’s assuming I didn’t ever recover my income, which I would.
So when I say you have plenty of net income, I’m talking about being cash rich, not outwardly rich. Many of you higher income guys feel like you have a lot of money, when in fact you don’t. If you have a high income but you have massive debt or high lifestyle expenses, you should not be throwing money at women at all, and instead should be focused on paying down your debt with a vengeance, just like I had to several years ago. Once you’re completely debt free, then throw a big party (I did), but until then, your personal financial picture is more important than any woman should be.
2. Your Personal Net Worth and Liquidity
I’ve said before that truly “rich” starts at a net worth of around $10 million. If your net worth is $10 million or more, and it’s in solid investments (instead of something like a tech startup that can radically shift in value at any time), then you’re good to go and can spend all the money you want, any way you like, and you’re welcome to move on to the next section.
If you aren’t worth at least $10 million (I’m certainly not), then you need to take a harder look at your financial situation before you think about throwing money around with women.
Every man who seeks long-term, consistent happiness and who considers money important should have some sort of net worth goal or residual investment income goal (the latter is better). I can’t tell you what number to shoot for, since that’s a deeply personal decision based on many factors I’m not aware of, including your personality, age, relationship status, the part of the world you live in, the number of kids you have or want to have, lifestyle goals, and a host of other things.
If you have already hit that goal, then congrats, you can move on to the next section.
If you have not hit that goal yet, you need to be extremely careful about how much money you throw at women, no matter how rich you feel. If you make a decent amount of money, I’m not saying you can’t throw around some. You can if your income is high and your debt is zero. I’m just saying you have to be careful. Your extra monthly income belongs in your savings and investments, not with some chick (who likely won’t even be in your life in 1-2 years). Your net worth should be your financial priority, not her, at least not until you hit your net worth goal.
There’s also the issue of liquidity. If you’ve got a $2 million net worth in rental real estate, that’s cool and I’m impressed. But if you’ve got a $2 million net worth in a bunch of diversified ETFs, from the standpoint of liquidity, now I’m really impressed. You’re liquid. The real estate guy isn’t. (I’m not saying real estate is a bad investment. It’s a fantastic investment and I’ve made plenty of money from real estate investments over the years. I’m saying it’s not liquid, and that’s a disadvantage.)
As usual, everything I’m saying here applies to me as well, and I walk my talk. I have a very specific net worth goal. It’s actually a monthly net, after tax residual income goal, since I think that’s more important to focus on than a net worth figure. (This is because a net worth number is always arbitrary. Do you know exactly how your money will be invested and what your exact rate of return will be 15 years from now? No.) Regardless, it’s mathematically tied to a net worth amount. I have not hit that goal yet (it literally my last financial goal I haven’t yet achieved), but I should in the next few years by the time I hit age 50 or so. However, I won’t get there if I throw a bunch of money at women because “I enjoy it” or “I can afford it” or whatever. Sure, I can spend a little money, but the bulk of the money I earn goes exactly to where it needs to go: into my investments to ensure my long-term, future happiness as an old man.
3. Her possible reaction to you spending money on her like a girlfriend.
The bottom line is this: The more money you spend on a woman, regardless of what kind of relationship it is, regardless of your frame, and regardless of what your intentions are, the more boyfriend behaviors she will start to expect from you. Boyfriend behaviors include things like talking every day, going out on dates more often, sexual monogamy/exclusivity, meeting each other’s family, and all kinds of other Disney beta crap. She will start to expect at least some of this stuff, then demand this stuff, and when she doesn’t get it, you’ll get DRAMA.
If you don’t like drama and don’t like a bunch of relationship rules, you need to avoid spending money on women whenever possible, regardless of your income. I talk about appropriate amounts to spend for different types of relationships here, so feel free to read that if you want more specifics. Just realize that just because you A) can afford to take women out to expensive steak dinners and B) you like taking women out to expensive steak dinners, doesn’t mean she isn’t going to start in with the betaziation and drama when you do so. She will. Just give it time.
4. The type of relationship you have with her.
I linked above to the article regarding the appropriate amounts of money to spend depending on if a woman is a FB, MLTR, or OLTR relationship with you. The point here is that the amount of money you spend on a woman MUST precisely match the type of relationship you have with her. Taking a MLTR out to dinner every once and a while is fine, but taking a FB out to dinner is an insane idea that’s going to cause all kinds of confusion, drama, and hurt feelings down the road (which will all be your fault). Taking a woman out to an expensive, super romantic night on the town would be a terrible idea for a low-end MLTR, a perfectly fine idea for an OLTR, and only good for a high-end MLTR if your Alpha frame was very strong and 100% perfect.
Be aware of all this. Before you ever spend any money on a woman you’re in a relationship with, regardless of if you can afford it, stop, pause, and ask yourself what relationship category she’s in. If you don’t know, then you’re doing all this wrong and are in for big problems no matter what you do. If you do know, then force yourself to stay within the rules of that relationship category, even if you don’t “want” to, or enjoy all the problems it will cause. Speaking of problems…
5. Your level of drama tolerance.
Of course every guy is going to have a different level of drama tolerance. I cover the four levels here.
At one extreme, you’ve got guys who are absolute drama queens and have drama with women regularly because they kinda like it. Then you’ve got guys who have regular drama because they don’t really mind it. Then you’ve got guys who dislike drama but put up with it because they’re betas, have oneitis, or suffer from scarcity mentality (“I’ve never been with a girl this hot!!”). Lastly, you’ve the opposite extreme of guys like me who hate drama, don’t tolerate any of it, and instantly soft or hard next whenever a woman throws some their way.
If you’re one of those guys who secretly enjoys drama or doesn’t mind it too much, then you can spend money on women more freely and bend a lot of these rules. You’ll get drama, but you won’t care (or you’ll like it). If you’re more like me and don’t like drama at all, you’ll need to stick to these rules to the letter. I certainly do. That’s why I’m so happy.