Do men prefer women who make less money than they do?

Not trying to stir the pot (okay maybe a little) but I am reading The Millionaire Mind right now, in the section about choosing Spouses and Mates.

On pages 248-249 of The Millionaire Mind, this is is more or less what I read*:

Do women search for men with high income producing capabilities? Gray** believes they do but men are different. Not only do they want to provide economically for women, they are also more likely to be turned off by women who are generating or have the potential to generate high incomes on their own. (Gray p. 51)

Women and men have the same five big qualities that they look for in a mate:

  1. Intelligent
  2. Sincere
  3. Cheerful
  4. Reliable
  5. Affectionate

Men want their spouse to be intelligent but only a minority became interested because of “income potential” or “ambition”. More often than not, the millionaire wives allow their husbands to take the role of main breadwinner for the family.

*I changed the wording of the above only slightly, as to make it flow better. The original intent is not masked.
**John Gray is the author of that famous series of books: Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. But this particular excerpt is being taken from “Mars and Venus: Do men buy love? Are women needy? (Currency – April 1998. Not a book)

That’s really interesting for me, seeing as a lot of people would consider me (yes, a girl) to have a lot of “income potential” and “ambition”. That said, I am not the breadwinner of the family, and neither is BF.

We share everything equally because we have the same income potential.


I know we all kind of know, or at least have experienced firsthand guys not really digging girls who make more money.

Here’s a response from Big Cajun Man of Canadian Personal Finance Blog:

(For those of you unclear with how Twitter works, I wrote the first sentence, and then he replied with: I’ll take Duh? for $200 Alex.)

And from that I came up with some cookie-induced, general theories that I shall now share with you:


  • Men feel less like men if they don’t make more money
  • Therefore, it means men put a lot of weight on salary as an indicator of power*
  • Men need to feel ‘needed’, and with their big incomes that’s how they get it
  • Men want to “win” the competition, even the salary game
  • Men want their women smart/intelligent…… but not TOO smart, right? πŸ˜›

*I think society in general adheres to this principle. More money/income/salary = More power


  • Women generally don’t want to be the breadwinner
  • …or have the responsibility of being the breadwinner**
  • Women who make more money are a threat to a man’s “need”
  • High-income potential/producing women are doomed to be singletons
  • .. or they should just lie until the guys gets to know & love them
  • Perhaps say that they’re air hostesses, waitresses or an acceptable job***

**I do find a lot of women who are breadwinners, don’t enjoy being in the position. Men seem to enjoy it more. My own observation of course, nothing scientific.

However, I do believe that being a breadwinner puts a lot of pressure on you. I don’t like that kind of pressure (and I feel resentful as a result), but perhaps men don’t hate the pressure in the same way?

***Thinking of that Sex and the City episode where Miranda lies to some guy, and says she’s an airplane stewardess, not a lawyer. πŸ˜›

I should be thrilled I a BF who values an equal partnership so we can wholeheartedly support each other.

We cover our basic needs of shelter, food and household items 50/50.

This works for us because:

  • Neither of us feels resentment about someone paying less than their fair share
  • We make the same money and have the same income potential which helps A LOT
  • We spend on common goals and have similar spending habits
  • ..which means neither one of us is spending like a rockstar versus the other
  • We LIKE IT. Enough said.

Way back when I posted about this, one reader (Anonymous of course) caustically said:

You two are acting like a bunch of roommates, splitting everything equally and not like a team.

Grow up.

My reaction was:

Er.. 50/50 to us, IS being a team. πŸ™‚

We each put in our fair share and no one feels resentment or irritation.

There’s no mental ledger or count to be kept about who paid for what, when and if it’s our turn next.

Not surprisingly, I posted this on twitter last night, and got this in response:

I’m not sure what Scott meant but I didn’t care to clarify because no one gets to call me names, even jokingly. I blocked his negativity out of my twittersphere after that comment.

50/50 for us works to cover the basics. If there are treats, like being outside and wanting an ice cream cone, I’ll buy him one too. Or vice versa.

We don’t keep count for those things, because our basics are already covered equally, and we made the personal CHOICE to treat the other.

If one of us needs help, we’ll lend it. But we’re trucking along pretty well just the way we are.

I know it doesn’t work for everyone, and I am not knocking on your methods of what you all agree is FAIR. Different strokes, different folks.


I haven’t had a problem with guys hating on my income, but then again, I didn’t make this kind of money until after BF and I were securely in a relationship.

He was actually the one who supported me into taking the leap to quadruple my income.

He said to me: If the money is there, take it. You are worth more than what they’re paying you.

When I landed my first contract, he was so proud, he took me out to dinner to celebrate, and he couldn’t stop smiling all night.

Then just recently when I told him quietly that I had a pretty good 2010, he hugged me tight, congratulated me and was genuinely happy for me.

Definite keeper, especially if the majority of guys out there wouldn’t be as thrilled or as supportive that their GF is making bank.

So a few of questions for you readers!

What do you think?

Do men prefer women who make less money?

How do you split money in your household?

50/50? Income percentage weighting? One breadwinner?

I’m interested in your reasons of how you came to your joint decisions!

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.