Should you include your income in your online dating profile?
I have been of two minds on this question — and came to the conclusion: Yes.
After a divorce, I've been single for five years, actively dating for four. When I first ventured out into the new-again world romance, first on Match.com, later on OKCupid, I omitted my income. Why? Well, for all the usual reasons: It is considered impolite to talk about money. I didn't want to come across as being obsessed about a guy's income. And, because my income is high, I didn't want to scare off potential suitors.
But some months into my dating venture I found that I wasn't meeting guys I really dug — and that includes many qualities, including that they are professionally ambitious.
I am 38 years old, and usually, date men my age and older. And in middle age, if you aren't established or very well on your way in your career, the likelihood that is going to do an about-face is slim.
I'm not looking for a guy with many millions of dollars, and in fact prefer to date someone with a similar financial picture as my own, as I find we have more in common (see below).
My career is important to me, and I identify best with men who feel the same. Being financially stable usually comes with professional accomplishment, even if the guy may earn less than me.
And so in the right-hand column of my OKCupid profile that highlights the key personal details, I changed my status from blank, to my six-figure income. Almost immediately I started meeting very interesting men. Lots of them.
This last point was of interest to my friend Farnoosh Torabi, the financial expert and author of the fascinating When She Makes More: The Truth About Navigating Love and Life for a New Generation of Women (the paperback of which was recently released).
Torabi advocates for high-earning women to disclose their finances early in a relationship, in an act of transparency that allows for any resentment to be worked through early in the courtship.
After all, the chances of divorce in couples where the women earn more than their husbands is double that when the inverse is true.
To that, I add my own reasons high-income women should include their salaries:
1. Sharing openly about my income says a whole lot about me — including that I'm not in the market for a sugar daddy. Torabi writes:
Emma Johnson disclosed her income in her online dating profile after not finding guys she was interested in to date. As soon as she disclosed her six-figure income, quality men started to contact her. “I’m a single mom and freelance writer,” she told me. “If that doesn’t scream poverty, I don’t know what does.”
2. Successful middle-aged men are usually divorced, paying alimony, and really, really upset about it (including the very progressive, feminist ones I hang out with). I told Torabi:
“The divorced guys I date love the fact that I’m financially independent because they’re so angry that their ex-wives stayed at home, so angry they’re paying alimony. In their opinion they think, ‘She was lazy. I wanted her to get a job. I didn’t want her to stay at home.’ ”
3. Take shame out of the equation. You are professionally successful, so why hide it? Of course, if a guy is threatened by your success …. I don't even need to finish that sentence.
4. If you're passionate about your career, you want to discuss business with your partner. The man I'm dating now is also independently employed. One of the main things we connect on is business, which I find incredibly hot.
5. Successful guys like to talk about work and business with successful people. Including women. Including women they date. See above. Flip the equation. Not rocket science dating advice.
6. Take one for the team. Yes, there is still a contingent of successful men who are truly intimidated by high-earning women, and openly seek a homemaker with a low IQ they can manipulate. More commonly, I find, are men who are quite progressive and respect women of all incomes, and are perhaps unconsciously influenced by centuries of socializing that makes them squirm at the notion they may be the lesser earner in a relationship.
In the spirit of pushing the tide forward, I say: Ladies, include in your profile your real income. Do not hesitate to share your professional success. Do it for yourself. And do it for women everywhere.
This originally appeared on my Forbes column.
Portions are adapted from an excerpt from WHEN SHE MAKES MORE by Farnoosh Torabi, courtesy of Plume Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
What is your experience? Does being specific about your income help or hurt your online dating prospects? Share in the comments!
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.