Sunday, January 21, 2018

Think twice before you marry the financially independent guy.


[ Kyith Ng of Investment Moats requested a fantasy themed picture to represent a financially independent person. I think a D&D Troll represents such a person best because our finances regenerate over time making us fairly resilient in a fight against adventurers. Of course, you can burn our capital away to stop that regeneration. ]


The first time I was exposed to this problem was years ago when I heard about an account of why a girl turned down a guy after one date. From the person who recounted the story, she and the guy had one date and then became evasive and came up with all sorts of excuses to avoid having a follow-up session. The person who recounted the story told me that the girl avoided that guy BECAUSE he was financially independent ! She just cannot imagine what it is like not to have a reasonable goal in life.

I refused to believe the story when I first heard it. In fact, I was so angry when I heard it, I thought I was being trolled by the person who recounted the story to me. Either the guy had other negative qualities that got him rejected, or the story was just plain untrue.

How can financial independence be a bad thing ? While the story had nothing to do with me, it felt like a personal attack and I felt slighted.

( I even offered to meet that girl to counsel her on the error of her ways. )

Because of the new exposure in my current career, I am starting to observe why financially independent or rich guys can be a really bad idea. As I cannot explain the details of my personal experience, I can only discuss the theoretically underpinings of this theory.

The question of whether you are financially independent or rich is completely independent of your intrinsic motivation in life.

There are three components of intrinsic motivation :

a) Autonomy 

This covers how independently you function in society. A rich guy on inherited wealth may lack autonomy because he does not have the means to generate more income even if he wanted to. While the wealth is enough, I have experienced rich men saying that he felt shame taking money from his family firm.  Autonomy means that either you do things that are valuable enough for others to pay you, or can find mays to make your wealth multiply. Cornelius Vanderbilt had plenty of autonomy, his grandchildren likely had less.

b) Mastery

This covers the amount of self-improvement people need to go through in life to feel fulfilled. Mastery means that somehow such a person is learning and growing. A "funemployed" scion of inherited wealth will struggle trying to decide what kind of activities to amuse himself. Very likely, folks at this level will either indulge in vices like casino gambling or prostitution, or meaningless acts of conspicuous consumption like collecting antique watches and synchronising them everyday.

c) Meaning

The final component of motivation is meaning. Within the grander scheme of things, the person must figure out what is reason for his existence. This is similar to the existential problem I spoke about in my talks on midlife crisis. If you cannot function in society and do not have meaningful things to improve upon, life automatically becomes meaningless. The rich "funemployed" man may develop a strangely controlling attitude towards his spouse or find ways to belittle his family and friends. This arises from a nihilistic philosophy that manifests when life was meaningless over a long period of time that is mixed-in with feelings of insecurity.

In summary, we need to raise our daughters differently if we want them to be happy in life.

While rich men who stand to inherit wealth are prized catches in the dating market in a materialistic society, we need to caution our daughters so as not to turn them into gold-diggers. ( Of course, matrimonial laws do have some safeguards against gold-diggers. )

When observing the behaviour of a guy who claims to be wealthy or financially independent on a first date, a savvy girl needs to ensure that this person has motivation : he needs to have autonomy, mastery and has developed a meaningful life philosophy.

This means steering the discussion towards the man's ideals, ambitions and how he sees himself in the grand scheme of things on a first date.

If the guy can only harp about his wealth, flash his expensive gear, and have nothing else to offer, it may be wiser to do what the girl in the story did.

Which is to run like fuck !




3 comments:

Spur said...

Biggest factor is how the kid was reared ;)

MT said...

I'm not privy on how the conversation during the date when, but if that guy achieved financial independence on his own and is currently engaged in activities that are meaningful to society (even if they don't pay well or at all), then financial independence shouldn't enter the dating equation.

Financial independence should not be a dirty phrase.

Christopher Ng Wai Chung said...

Ideally it should not be a dirty phrase, but in practice some guys can astoundingly bad at first impressions.