Is Having Money Alpha or Beta?

Reader Email: Does having a healthy 401k fall into the alpha or beta territory? How about a nice home? Shopping at the fancy grocery store? Expensive nights out? Tailored suits? Long vacations? Fancy cars? Where is the line drawn between alpha-spending and beta-spending? In a LTR, where money is usually pooled, can alpha-spending still be effective in inspiring sexual attraction? Can it be effective on a spouse?
Athol: Money is simply a store of value, so it is fluid in it’s application of being Alpha or Beta as it can be spent either way. Women will tend to perceive a mans money as being potentially spent the way they would most like it to be spent. Party girl sees a million bucks as a huge party waiting to happen. Homemaker girl sees a million bucks as a big house, a mess of kids and her getting to stay home and not work. Doctor girl sees a million bucks as the college loans gone and an awesome shortcut to a private practice with reasonable hours. Church girl sees mission trips and structured giving. So it’s kinda potent in that sense.
It’s less important than it was 50 years ago, but more money is better than less money when it comes to attracting women for sure.
As an aside, Jennifer and I have always about level pegged income our whole marriage and pooled the money. I always felt semi-stupid buying her gifts with our shared money. “Here’s some flowers, you just spent $10 on them, I hope you like them.” I made a determination early on that all the book/blog money was mine. (My nursing money just goes to the joint bank account) It’s been an interesting dynamic to have additional income and spending that I have control over.
Of course the timing chain on her car went within two days of the first book money arriving and sucked it up to within about $60 lol. So it’s not like I’m a bastard with my new cash. It’s just an interesting dynamic. Most of it is just going to catch up on the bills and store up for the next book for fancy cover et al.
Blogger just “upgraded” it’s interface and functionality. It’s way worse now. So the projected reaching into the back pocket for a proper web design is going to be sooner rather than later as well.
Plus there’s these iPhone covers on Cafepress that make the iPhone look like a Star Trek Tricorder… so I’m seriously tempted just for the sheer geekiness of it all.
I’m also kind of excited to get to buy her flowers once in a while without using her money. Even so, she doesn’t seem to overly respond to them anyway, but I like giving them. Something I’m going to look at a little closer over the weekend..we’re going to focus on streamlining your Beta efforts to require less effort but create more comfort than ever.


  1. "Doctor girl sees a million bucks as the college loans gone and an awesome shortcut to a private practice with reasonable hours."

    I have to admit I don't see any reason a spouse should be expected to absorb pre-existing debts of the other spouse. Of course these cases involve disparate income streams, it just sounds like a huge moral hazard to me, high-octane gold-digging.

    I understand that if you marry and pool your incomes, then any money you use to pay e.g. your student loans is fungible and in effect coming out of both spouses' pockets but it rubs me wrong to think that one side is directly pouring cash into the other's debt or even "cancelling" them en masse.

    Perhaps even compartmentalizing them with a prenup is a good idea if possible. Just don't get Why the hard work of one person should be used to wipe out obligations incurred by the other before the marriage.

    One of my wish items for Marriage 3.0 is legally-mandated financial disclosure.

    "Blogger just "upgraded" it's interface and functionality."

    Hmmm, wonder if that was before or after the entire system went down and lost a bunch of blog's comments. Have never regretted picking wordpress.

  2. Looking Glass says:

    Money is a measure of utility. It's just all in how you use it. Per both Athol and Roissy, I think the honest answer is:

    Alpha money: spent on you being awesome.

    Beta money: spent on her, trying to get laid.

    Now, Alpha money has the side issue of, depending on how you define "awesome", you're going to attract a different type of woman. Riced-out Honda has a very different appeal than a BMW 5-series. (Unless it's an M5, then while you still lose "cool" points, you gain "smartass" points, which are redeemed elsewhere)

    This is also probably the point to say "hit the Skittles post linked at the bottom of Athol's post" note. Actually spending money on a woman isn't really important. It's nice to have when you're doing the final sell on the "commitment" aspect, but basically you don't want to spend any on her, if not absolutely necessary. Basically, it's the corollary to "Money can't buy Happiness" is "Money only buys prostitutes".

    As for the Gift with shared money thing, I worked this out during high school. It's not where the money comes from (assuming it's not a massive amount), but *why* you got the gift and how thoughtful it is for the receiver.

  3. Athol, I've been thinking about this money issue.

    If you're first officer, all the marital money should go into your bank account and the woman should ask you when she wants to spend some of it. You can decide on a case by case basis.

    It's another way a woman can help to set up the right dynamic, the right polarity in the relationship.

    What do you think?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Money is helpful for your own life, but you ought not place a big emphasis on it when evaluating your attractiveness to women. It's true that quite a few women, once they are *husband* selecting rather than bedmate selecting, are interested in how much money you make for the reasons Athol cites. But that's all pretty much in terms of how it benefits her and "her" kids down the road (regrettably, whether she stays with you or not).

    Having a good income used to be more important for men in terms of getting their needs met when it comes to women back in the days when sex outside of marriage was, while available, shamed and less socially accepted — it was the means for men to get wives and access to sex. This isn't the case today, and in fact today it kind of works the other way round — many of the guys who are working hard and making good money in their younger years are relegated during women's "prime sex attraction" years by women in favor of men who are sexier but don't have two bits. It's only when a woman starts husband selecting (whenever that is … some women do it earlier than others, but the trend is for that to come later and later) that it comes into play, and it's strictly a "practicality" issue –> that is, she isn't attracted to your money or earning capacity, lol, she is simply making a rational decision regarding long-term potential of the partnering, and will sometimes/often overlook a lack of sex appeal (most women frankly don't find average joes who are working hard to be sexy unless they have something else going on that generates attraction .. work ethic in itself does not) when selecting for a long term partner, something they did not do when they were having fun in their younger years because they were then selecting for sexy and fun, rather than for long-term partner potential.

    So, overall, if you want good things in life for yourself, if you are interested in having kids, if you are interested in improving your rational rating as a long-term partner (or ex-partner as the case may be) of a woman, then money still plays a role. It doesn't play a role (and likely never did, really) in female sexual attraction, however, and now that sex is freely flowing, many men will find that their efforts to get their needs met are better spent earning less money and working on other aspects of themselves geared towards obtaining more sex from more women, than vice versa — but again, that depends on what you personally want out of life.

  5. Athol Kay says:

    Badger – when you married you become a finanical unit, so you're going to absorb the mutual debts in one way or the other.

    Agree with the credit check – actually most decent landlords do a credit and criminal background check before renting an apartment for a year. You're stupid not to do the same for a potential spouse.

    Blogger completely changed the backend interface on me as of yesterday. It's awful.

  6. Athol Kay says:

    Looking Glass – I think you're using Roissy's Alpha/Beta more than mine here.

    For example, when I spent over a thousand dollars on Jennifer's car, I'm not doing so as a Beta chump trying to get laid. I did so because she's my wife and there was a clear need to get the car fixed. The timing chain didn't break as a Fitness Test. Sometimes shit happens and TeamKay handles it.

    Jennifer is my wife, so she gets preferred treatment a.k.a. "The Princess Fiona Plan". Another woman's timing chain breaks, it's not my problem because I don't rescue women I'm not fucking… a.k.a. "The Donkey Plan".

    The Princess Fiona Plan just comes with clear expectations of treating each other extremely well.

  7. Athol Kay says:

    Marcus – why be bugged over every single decision? First Officer should be capable enough to pay the bills without checking with you endlessly.

    "The children's lunch money fund at school is running low sir, may I have access to the funds to ensure the children have lunch at school?" …I mean who wants to play games that deep? Most bill paying is a boring chore requiring no decision once in place.

    Talk about the unusual purchases together.

  8. lol @ the "what about the children?!" defense.

    First officers should also be capable of sucking your cock without asking, but it's fun for both when she begs and you grant her request. Let's not confuse "she's capable of doing x" with "x is sexy".

    If you're worried about being bothered by too many requests, give her an allowance and let her spend it as she pleases. The real point here is that, ultimately, you have the power to raise or lower that allowance.

  9. Athol Kay says:

    Marcus – The kids lunches things is a perfectly real example. Parenting kids come with hundreds of little chores. We'd rather just get things done and go on a walk or have sex together.

  10. Double down on "but, the kids"! Lol.

    Interesting. I'm getting push back on this, but not for logical reasons. I already specified that it's easy to back off the micromanaging while still having overall control.

    I agree this sounds a bit over the top when it first hits the ear, but so did the idea that women respond well to dominance.

    The rule I'm proposing is followed by pimps, drug kingpins, and many wild animals. The alpha male gets paid/eats first, and what the subordinates get is by the alpha's grace. Needless to say, you don't have to like the people/beasts I'm drawing my examples from to recognize that they may have a couple useful tools in their belts.

  11. On spending money on others: I've noticed you can get a lot of points with some women by spending money on other people than her – tipping well, buying a friend a meal, etc. The magnanimous generosity can produce waves of good feelings in the woman. Not sure if it's alpha or beta, probably a bit of both (but be careful not to be a chump about it).

    "Badger – when you married you become a finanical unit, so you're going to absorb the mutual debts in one way or the other."

    I've vaguely paranoid about gold-digging, alimony, etc, so my concern is of starting a marriage with someone in financial dependency to begin with. If she's on a serious path to getting the debt wiped out, that's a good sign she knows the value of money and can handle the kind of future-planning tasks a marriage entails. On the other hand, I can't imagine marrying someone who ran up a bunch of debt in college and has farted around not paying it off since then. But then again, someone in that situation probably has other red flags of non-responsibility.

    "Blogger completely changed the backend interface on me as of yesterday. It's awful."

    I'm not even going to make the jokes, it's too easy.

    "when I spent over a thousand dollars on Jennifer's car, "

    A thousand dollars for a timing belt? Wow I got off easy.

    "The Princess Fiona Plan just comes with clear expectations of treating each other extremely well."

    I really liked that post, it really gets across "don't put her on a pedestal until she earns it and even then make sure she knows what's expected."

  12. If one spouse has a lot of money and the other is a doctor still paying on student loans then it sounds quite likely that there is a big age discrepancy. Probably a doctor just out of med school marrying someone more established in his career.

    When considering age discrepancies one must also consider the fact that the younger person will be working longer than the older person, and if the age gap is real big the younger person will have to sacrifice many of their prime retirement years in the caring of needs of the older spouse.

    So it isn't always as black and white as "well I don't have student loans and she does so I am more responsible with money". There may also be the fact that one spouse came from more privileged background and had their entire college paid for.

    All I am saying is it should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

  13. Athol Kay says:

    Marcus – I'm confused as to why you are mocking me on this point. Feeding kids lunch isn't a "defense", it's an example of family life. It's one more bill no different than the power bill or the water bill.

    Why even ask for my opinion if your intent is to pull it apart for something to mock?

    If you want to write posts about acting like a drug kingpin go ahead, it's just not going to be the Captain and First Officer model.

  14. Of the many examples you could have chosen, you picked the one with the most "if you disagree with me you'll look like a bit of a kid-hater" value. (And it wasn't accidental – every second argument on the internet is couched in terms of what's best for "the children"; the rest are in terms of what's best for frail grandmothers.) As you know, emotional arguments do not require logical responses – they require responses on the same social plane of engagement, one of which is ridicule.

    P.s. I actually really like your blog and your book. Credit where credit is due. But I HAVE to bump back on a shit-test like answer to a question I've asked.

  15. Athol Kay says:

    Marcus – your entire set of comments is testing based on your imagination that I purposely sought to shame you into my viewpoint.

    Please search the blog and book for another single example of the "think of the children" defense.

    Personally I thought your suggestion that the wife shouldn't even have access to money without her husband's approval just ignorant of the practicalites of being an adult.

  16. Now I'm bursting with laughter. What a brilliant illustration of the frustrations many men have with women and the danger of engaging logically where it is not warranted.

    Woman shames man.

    Man lols at the absurdity.

    Woman asks, "What's so funny?"

    Man explains.

    Woman shames man again, saying, "You're too sensitive."

  17. Anonymous says:

    I don't think that "asking the husband for lunch money for the kids" is a shit test Marcus…unless you have no children. Everyone's financial setup is unique and I would never spend my husband's hard earned money willy nilly but if I had to "ask for the kid's lunch money" or money to pay the utilities I would be like, WTF? At that point I would turn the financial bill paying over to my husband. If he wants to micromanage like that he can take care of that on his own. I don't mind doing things for my husband but when it becomes more of hassle than just letting him do it himself, I draw a line.


  18. I don't think that "asking the husband for lunch money for the kids" is a shit test Marcus

    That makes two of us, darling. Reading comprehension.

  19. Stingray says:


    Flowers… meh. They're beautiful sure, but they just die and you feel guilty throwing them away. Find something else she likes for ten bucks. Hubby will buy me a book I have been putting off, a dvd I would like, CD or something like that. Something I probably mentioned in passing that I would never buy for myself. Always means the world to me when he shows up with stuff like that. Mostly because he was listening to me talk about nothing important and cared enough to take the time to do for me what I never would have.

  20. Athol–

    Blogger completely changed the backend interface on me as of yesterday. It's awful.

    Can you migrate your archives to WordPress? It seems WAY better to me.

    Well I've never blogged. But I've never heard a single blogger who's worked with both say they prefer Blogger, and many, many who say they prefer WordPress. Which also has lots of better template skins.

  21. Athol Kay says:

    Doug1 – I had an WordPress blog once before and hated it compared to the ease of use of blogger. I'd rather write than deal with the backend. Unfortunately now the backend upgrade of Blogger which I've been waiting for is simply awful.

    Anyway, it's all a moot point. The next step is in the planning.

  22. Joint marital money is an interesting area, I've been mulling about recently.

    I didn't have much in debt when I got together with my ex, it felt like a lot to me (I was quite young post uni and it was about 10k sterling so a lot but not compared to student loans in the US) but I would not have in a million years expected him to pay them off. Just wouldn't have occurred to me. I am not sure he ever knew of it beyond that I had an overdraft from university/early days in the big city. I think I paid off within 1 or 2 years.

    The financial arrangement we had was that we both paid X into a joint account which our mortgage and household bills came out of. So the rest of our money was ours independently. Though he was older and therefore earnt more for many years he had considerably more than me for himself. A friend of mine said to me when he found out that was how we did our money that it meant we weren't committed to the relationship. He and his wife just had one joint account. This got me thinking about it initially (though in the end this friend got divorced not long after that).

    The boy and I haven't worked out our finances yet properly so I'm thinking over what would be a good model. Still not sure.

    Marcus, I find your views bizarre. A lot of women contribute equally financially (e.g. Athol's wife) and some women (probably an increasing amount) more. On a pure monetary perspective that is. A few of my friends are in this situation (though the most successful Rs seem to be where the guy is more alphaish even if he earns less, in some cases significantly). For them to put all their money in a joint account and ask their husband or partner for permission to pay for kids lunches or even a haircut is just so ridiculous.

    You're not helping the case with 'The rule I'm proposing is followed by pimps, drug kingpins, and many wild animals'. Not a model for healthy marriages perhaps.

  23. My ex used to buy me stuff sometimes and it came across as alphaish behaviour. Though in hindsight I wonder if it was a bit unfair that as a 24 year old I was paying a really big % of my salary into a joint account compared to him (we paid the same amount in but he earnt a lot more than me at that stage, also my pa topped up what I'd saved up to pay my half of the deposit on the first place we bought).

    FWIW the boy is quite generous with his money and I think he's done it in an alpha way. He does it because he enjoys doing it not to get attention or affection. It's not just for women but friends but mainly himself. Though when I had complications in my pregnancy he immediately said he wanted me to get the best treatment and he would pay for it (we have a national system not insurance over here and it's pretty good so it's the default for most people regardless of class or income).

    A guy spending money to get into your pants is pretty omega though.

  24. Looking Glass says:

    @ Marcus, I don't think you typed what you think you typed. You were basically arguing for a female servant, not an LTR. If you want to continue on that line, I recommend this post about it:

    @ Athol: yeah, I should have confined my parameters better. It came off a little bit from where I thought I was going. I was trying to address the non-LTR aspects, when the question was actually two parts. My bad!

    Outside a LTR, I think my "awesome"/"laid" spectrum pretty much works, though it's rather crude. I just don't want to spend a while refining it.

    Inside a LTR, I think money loses most of its Alpha nature and becomes more of a "Beta-trap field". Too much deferral monetary decisions or purchasing for the woman, and the "comfort building" actively becomes "you're a bank account". Too little and you're just her boss. Neither of these states is good for a LTR to survive.

    So, in sum, money, in a Western Society, is more risk than reward when it comes to relationships. There is far more ways to mess up your Alpha traits with money than without money. As we also know, those Alpha traits really don't require much of any money.

    If you're outside a Western society, then, yes, Money can be all Alpha (though it comes with a lot more dangers). Also, assumption of debt in a marriage is generally assumed, so a pre-nup is the only way to margin some of that off. But, you really should have all of this information before getting married, so you can come to an agreement on it.

  25. Looking Glass says:

    @ Lily: about the "A guy spending money to get into your pants is pretty omega though" comment.

    Don't disagree, but it's also what society tells men they're supposed to do for their woman. Because the statement applies to both prostitutes and St. Valentine's Day.

    Over here in the states, we have a large, chain jeweler named "Kay Jewelers". Their motto is "Every Kiss Begins With K", which pretty much outright says to treat your partner like an expensive whore. While it is Omega… it's also just buried into society right now.

  26. Anonymous says:

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  27. Money is aplha.

  28. Miles Anderson says:

    I suspect some of the disagreement above might come from a disagreement about what resources are useful for. Money is freedom to do as you want. If you created a family unit it is freedom for that unit to do as it wants. Understanding that the family is the unit that is decided at is important. That is pretty different from the phase when you are attempting to attract a mate. If you spend money during that phase to make up for something lacking then the relationship will always suck. Call it "Beta" is just a big cover for your not attracting her on the right grounds and your are setting up expectations that in the long run will be impossible to meet.

    As far as flowers. Go pick some. Putting some bright color on the dinner table has a ton of reward and little cost. And if you live in some concrete jungle where you can't find/grow something living and green then bloody move. I don't mean tomorrow. I mean now 'cuz your life is seriously broken.

    The idea of picking flowers is really an example of the more general idea of doing things with your hands and on your own. Fixing her broken car or paining that sad piece of siding, etc. has a lot higher return then you would expect both for yourself and for your relationship.

  29. Flower picking is a good example. My first love bought me flowers etc (sometimes in response to'fitness test') but the thing I remember was when he picked flowers in the wood. And taking my car to the car wash :-)

  30. Lily–

    The financial arrangement we had was that we both paid X into a joint account which our mortgage and household bills came out of. So the rest of our money was ours independently. Though he was older and therefore earnt more for many years he had considerably more than me for himself. A friend of mine said to me when he found out that was how we did our money that it meant we weren't committed to the relationship. He and his wife just had one joint account. This got me thinking about it initially (though in the end this friend got divorced not long after that).

    Technically I've had no joint accounts with either my ex wife or any of the girls I've lived with. However that's just technically.

    I've tended to split true joint expenses proportionately to income. E.g. mortgage and utilities at the primary residence, auto, food, etc. Actually probably a bit more generously than that, but then I've always made a whole lot more than any woman I've lived with. In part this is because the sense of affordable level is divided along these lines. Total joint income in other words.

    However I've never wanted to be responsible for any woman's wild spending sprees. Never cosigned any loan or credit card. NO access to all my money for her clothes or homeware. Yeah I might contribute to that, sometimes the former a lot to the later. But it's my decision on a larger case by case basis. She estabishes prudence, she gets benefit of the doubt.

    This is all within the context of someone who's rather a wealth builder rather than spendtrift, with a high income, who also has never wanted to partner with spendthrifts.

  31. CheshireKate says:

    I think I see Marcus's point…in my house, husband makes much more money than I do. We have a joint account that both our paychecks go all into, but it still feels a little like "his" money more than mine.

    I pay bills and handle the household expenses, but I always mention bigger purchases to my husband. That's not because I "need permission", but because I recognize he's the one providing the income.

    The way I see it, it's like his saying "thank you" when I make dinner…I did 95% of the work, but the end benefit is meant for both of us to enjoy. (And yes, I recognize the difference in having a job and making dinner). The point is that I'm showing my appreciation for his willingness to provide for me.

  32. Having disposable income, in and of itself, is incredibly helpful in attracting female attention. As someone who started making a very good wage around 25, I confirm that statement, first hand.

    The reason is not the money. It's how you change because of that money.

    I'm not a big spender, never have been, never will be. But having a good income means that you stop sweating the small stuff, and you get to indulge in your hobbies / interests.

    For example, I like good food. With the increased income, I could stop bringing lunch to work, go out to eat, and not have to deal with the typical fast food chains.

    So when I meet a girl, my natural meeting spots for drinks or eats is a step above the crowd. Not because I want to impress the girl, but because those are my natural hangouts.

    Girls pick up on that right away. That you aren't just spending money on them to impress them, but that you naturally do stuff that most people cannot afford to do regularly.

    And that's a huge advantage.

  33. Deborah says:

    I'm a stay-at-home-mom (my husband made it clear early in our dating relationship that that's what he wanted, and although it took me a while to come around, I'm glad I did), so all of our money comes from his work. And yes, I said "our money," not "his money," because we're married, and money is part of what he contributes to the family, just like my work with our daughter and around the house is part of what I contribute. I realized from the start that I wouldn't feel right about buying him gifts with our money, so we agreed that in our monthly budget, we'd include fun money for each of us, which we can spend as we like. My gifts to him come out of my fun money, and his gifts to me come out of his. The rest of the budget is our money and is spent on family expenses, usually at my lead (I do the financial detail work as part of my household duties) but with his approval (he approves the budget I put together each month). I think that's a much better example of Captain/First Officer than Marcus's suggestion.

  34. Confidunce says:

    Money is exactly the kind of thing where the alpha/beta divide as envisioned by Roissy is pretty dumb. Alpha qualities are relevant to a girl's attraction only inasumch as they enable a man's beta qualities. I.e., what good is a strong man who doesn't protect and provide? And what good is a desire to protect and provide if a man doesn't have the strength actually to do so?

    Making money is alpha. Having money to spend is beta. Trying to separate the two is a futile exercise.

  35. Anonymous says:

    As a parent I can attest that there's no power play involved in paying for raising children. Marcus, it might help you to think about the opportunity cost of spending time on something like that. There are so many more interesting, alpha ways to spend time than dealing with bills.

    However, I will concede that in the past, I have resented some expenses my wife was making but didn't stand up to her about it. Taking charge of that particular expense and eliminating it felt right. So, I can see how if Marcus thought children shouldn't have lunch money and his wife kept giving money to the children, he'd be in a pretty beta situation until that happened.

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  37. Money should not be a priority when it comes to relationship.

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