Am I Being Too Materialistic By Giving Up on Dating a Man Who Is Not Financially Stable?

It can be challenging to know when it is appropriate to talk about money in a relationship. You do not want to seem too materialistic and superficial, but financial security is an often unavoidable fact of life. So, what happens if you find yourself attracted to somebody who is financially unstable, has money problems, or doesn’t make as much money as you do? 

Are there exceptions that should be made, or should dating someone with a lower income than yours always be off-limits?

While everyone has their own opinion on this issue, here’s Evan Marc Katz’s piece of advice:

Key takeaways:

  • When is a man a bad investment for your future
  • Is being practical a bad thing
  • What type of men should you choose


I decided to get back into the dating world, and I met this guy online — four weeks ago. So it’s all still very early and very new. But a big worry for me is that he has absolutely no stability or consistency in his life. I am a 30-year-old entrepreneur with my own online fashion store…soon to open my first physical boutique. I work hard but believe in balance, so I love to get out and enjoy spending my hard-earned dollar. But in the same breath, I believe in financial stability — I own property, invest, have savings, and have no debt.

This guy I have met is really wonderful. I paid attention to your blog about not looking for someone who is a clone of me but rather who compliments me. He is thoughtful, attentive, and supportive…at least what I’ve seen after 4 dates. Now here’s the problem — he’s 31. He has not finished his degree (I have two post-graduate degrees), has not kept a stable job for more than 12 consecutive months (in fact, he quit his job last week just because he didn’t like his boss anymore), and has no assets, no savings, no investment and still needs to pay off his student loan.

I am totally freaking out — as I said, he is a nice guy, so am I walking away from a good thing just because I find the stability (financial being one of many) and consistency (he seems unable to commit, complete or stick to anything) missing in his character?

I did discuss my concern with him — saying that we could still see each other and get to know one another on a friendship level (nothing physical has happened on our 4 dates), and once he has found his stability in his work/career, we can go from there. He totally freaked out on me and was very passive-aggressive – which opened up a whole other can of worms. But my question remains — am I being ridiculous in expecting a partner who is at least on the SAME financial and career playing field like me?

Ready for Lasting Love?
Ready for Lasting Love?


Being Materialistic Vs. Being Practical

I’ve answered a version of this question before and told a favorite anecdote of mine here.

But I wanted to take this because it’s a juicy topic for conversation.

In short, no, you’re not being too materialistic if you pass up on dating a man who is not financially stable.

However, you may be a little short-sighted if you assume that your partner has to be at least on the “same financial playing field” as you. 

This is a VERY important distinction that it seems that many women have difficulty making. 

Of course, women want serious relationships, financial compatibility, and to feel comfortable with their partners. 

But there is a huge difference between an aimless slacker who doesn’t have drive, ambition, and follow-through and a man who chooses a career with a lower financial upside.

Your guy is in the former category. He didn’t finish college. He can’t hold down a job. He’s not financially secure.  Besides that, he doesn’t seem to have a long-term plan, much less a short-term plan.

This man is a bad investment for your future, and you are being very smart by moving on from him. You’re not bad, not even shallow, for walking away from a man struggling financially or doesn’t exercise financial responsibility. You’re just practical in wanting a financially stable partner.

But you revealed your blind spot when you stuck with the illusion that a man must make as much or more money than you do.

Men and women are equal. (The oft-debated pay gap doesn’t take away from that fact)

And if we are equal, then we should date equally, no?

So if I’m a man making $300,000, do I need to find a woman who makes $200,000, also?

I would think that you would disagree with that. So do most men. Men choose women based on how those women make them feel. Funny. Sexy. Trusted. Smart. Noble. Connected. Important. Appreciated. Admired. Accepted.


Whether she makes $50,000 or $350,000 is largely irrelevant. Why?

Because he HAS money and manages his own finances, and he doesn’t expect her to support him. 

Is there any reason, Michelle, that you can’t date the same exact way? You have money and don’t need financial help. Right?

I think it’s wonderful that you are driven, ambitious, and achieving your financial goals. I hope you are soon raking in high-six figures for what you’ve accomplished because that means that you can marry a man for one reason and one reason alone: love.

Hope you are soon raking in high-six figures for what you’ve accomplished. Because that means that you can marry a man for one reason and one reason alone: love.

Two examples of great men who make less than their wives:

First, a high-school history teacher and soccer coach with a Master’s degree. He has his summers off, a pension, and is home before 5 pm every day. He is fit, world-traveled, and fascinating.

Second, a user-interface designer for a biotech company. He’s handy. He’s sensitive. He’s well-read. He makes six figures. He’s a great dad and excellent in the kitchen.

The teacher is the man who married my Georgetown law-educated cousin. The user-interface guy is the man who married my Duke-educated sister.

You don’t need a man who makes as much as you. You need a man who makes you feel comfortable and safe, heard, and understood – who is able to take care of himself financially without debt.

The majority of men aren’t slackers and aren’t millionaires. They’re normal, stable, hard-working men with real middle-class to upper-middle-class jobs.

The majority of men aren’t slackers and aren’t millionaires. They’re normal, stable, hard-working men with real middle-class to upper-middle-class jobs. Choose one of them.

Choose one of them.