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Saturday, June 28, 2008

For love or money? For love OF money!

The following QUESTION and ANSWER washed ashore from the Internet-- Craig's list, New York, no less.  While there are aspects of both question and answer that are ha-ha funny, I think the more serious concern I have is about the underlying message.  And, curiously, I think it points to what haunts the greater part of the developed world: we want to be happy, yes, but we have assumptions about what makes us happy (exaggerated financial resources, youth, beauty... the list goes on and on...) and we have never been able to see how illogical and poorly constructed these assumptions truly are.

My upcoming book, "The Core of Happiness: Your step-by-step, fun-to-read guide to greater happiness. Guaranteed!", due out  in the fall of 2008, points out that achieving anything -including happiness- necessitates a clear understanding of what is desired.  Specifically, the stage of defining one's personal happiness must include a thorough review of the myths - some subtle, some not-so-subtle - which are so pervasive in our society.

Keep this thought in mind, particularly as you read the following "question."

THE QUESTION:  What am I doing wrong? 

Okay, I'm tired of beating around the bush. I'm a beautiful 
(spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I'm articulate and classy. 
I'm not from New York. I'm looking to get married to a guy who makes at 
least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind 
that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don't think 
I'm overreaching at all. 

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could 
you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 
200 - 250. But that's where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won't get 
me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married 
to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she's not as pretty as 
I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I 
get to her level? 

Here are my questions specifically: 

- Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars, 
restaurants, gyms 

-What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won't hurt my 

-Is there an age range I should be targeting (I'm 25)? 

- Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east 
side so plain? I've seen really 'plain jane' boring types who have 
nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I've seen drop dead 
gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What's the story 

- Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment 
banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they 
hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out? 

- How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for 

Please hold your insults - I'm putting myself out there in an honest 
way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I'm being up front 
about it. I wouldn't be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn't 
able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a 
nice home and hearth. 

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial 

PostingID: 432279810

Dear Pers-431649184: 

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully 
about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament. 
Firstly, I'm not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your 
bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here's how I 
see it. 

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a 
crappy business deal. Here's why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you 
suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring 
my money. Fine, simple. But here's the rub, your looks will fade and my 
money will likely continue into perpetuity...in fact, it is very likely 
that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won't 
be getting any more beautiful! 

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning 
asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation 
accelerates! Let me explain, you're 25 now and will likely stay pretty 
hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in 
earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you! 

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy 
and hold...hence the rub...marriage. It doesn't make good business sense 
to "buy you" (which is what you're asking) so I'd rather lease. In case 
you think I'm being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were 
to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It's 
as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage. 

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, 
I wonder why a girl as "articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful" 
as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to 
believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K 
hasn't found you, if not only for a tryout. 

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then 
we wouldn't need to have this difficult conversation. 

With all that said, I must say you're going about it the right way. 
Classic "pump and dump." 
I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of 
lease, let me know.

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