TESS VIGELAND: Remember that Fox show “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?”
That’s so seven years ago. These days, you’re no one unless your betrothed has at least nine zeroes before the decimal point on his or her bank statement.
Love is great. But money is fabulous. At least that seems to be the message in the latest issue of Money Magazine. The headline says it all: “How To Marry A Billionaire.” Ka-ching!
Marlys Harris is the author and she joins us. Hi, Marlys.
MARLYS HARRIS: Hi.
VIGELAND: All right, let’s get one thing out of the way. Is this story a joke?
HARRIS: Well, everybody asks that. And what I have to tell you is that there are about 900 billionaires in the entire world. So your odds are pretty low. So I don’t think we were that serious.
VIGELAND: And as you point out in the story itself, this is not what you call a politically correct way of finding a mate.
HARRIS: No, it isn’t at all. And I’ve actually received a lot of verging on hate mail about the story.
VIGELAND: Well, let’s just go ahead and go through the story and see what you’ve found. What are the chances, at this point, of finding yourself a rich man or woman to marry?
HARRIS: They’re very low, if you really have to have a billionaire. But there’re lots of hundred-millionaires and up . . .
VIGELAND: That would do, wouldn’t it?
HARRIS: Yeah, I think so. That’s why I tell people to lower their sites, perhaps a little bit. There’re a lot of people out there who are achieving, you know, $300 [million], $400 million. And there are ex-wives and ex-husbands and heirs and heiresses. So while it’s not something I would stake my life on, I think it’s doable.
VIGELAND: One of the “tips” that you provide is that often, these relationships, when men and women meet their potential partner who is . . . just happens to be a millionaire or billionaire, it’s at work.
HARRIS: That’s right. Mainly because the billionaire has a type A+ personality and is always at the office. And so, he’s not going to go on the, you know, the church or synagogue hayride – he doesn’t have time, you know, as his mother probably told him to, to meet somebody. I suggest that you get an MBA degree, because nobody really knows what MBAs do, so you can get hired almost anywhere. And, you know, you can go for the hedge fund, or the investment banking group or whatever, and that should put you in the right milieu.
VIGELAND: All right Marlys, I have to ask you – have you followed any of your own advice here?
HARRIS: Well, I married so young, and I was so stupid. My mother’s been lamenting ever since. In fact, when she read this article, she was tearful at the lost opportunity. But, no, I married someone really quite ordinary.
VIGELAND: . . . and you’re perfectly happy.
HARRIS: Well, I don’t know about perfect. I would say there’s one thing missing from our marriage, and that is money. But otherwise, we’d be perfectly happy.
VIGELAND: Marlys Harris is the senior editor at Money Magazine, and her article “How To Marry A Billionaire” is in the July issue. Thanks so much.
HARRIS: I enjoyed it.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.