How to spot the gold diggers who want to date you when you work in banking

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If you're a junior in investment banking, you probably don't have much time but you probably have a fair amount of money. You'll soon find that this combination can make it difficult to sustain your existing relationships while attracting the sorts of people you really shouldn't be dating as alternatives.

I've been there. I spent three years working as an associate in the investment banking division of Goldman Sachs when I left the London School of Economics. I saw friends and colleagues succomb to the sorts of partners who are only interested in the lifestyle that a banking spouse can bring. They were both affluent men and women in banking who didn't want to put the emotional/mental effort into a real relationship.

Personal observation suggests there are tell-tale signs that the person interested in you isn't actually interested in you.  

  • They're only happy on expensive dates or costly first-class experiences. Their enthusiasm wanes when you suggest cheap, free or non-status-boosting things to do together (think staying in, or hanging out in nature.)
  • They don't have much income of their own but have weirdly expensive tastes.
  • They're much more friendly once you mention your income, properties, family or net assets.
  • They treat you differently, or their mood changes depending on how much you spend on them.
  • They treat other people (e.g. service staff) differently depending upon their income and perceived status.
  • They make plans that hinge on your cash flow events (e.g. bonus).
  • They put a lot of emphasis on gift-giving holidays like Valentine's Day or Christmas.
  • They almost always expect you to pay. They might offer to pay sometimes, but display some discomfort if you take them up on their offer.
  • They talk in, "We should" statements. For example, "We should go on a trip," or "We should go to this new restaurant." (which translates to "We should do this thing that is beyond my means to pay for myself, and you can pay for us both".)
  • The most inexperienced are often shallow and find it hard to carry a more in-depth conversation about politics, science, philosophy or other substantial topics.

The super-experienced gold-diggers take this to another level and can be particularly difficult to resist. They're far less shallow than their amateur counterparts and can usually carry a conversation with substance. However, the topics they're most knowledgeable about are often the arts, equestrianism, ballet, and opera - which are of interest to the affluent. Other give-aways are:

  • They will seem infatuated with you almost immediately.
  • They flatter you often.
  • You encounter them in a setting where wealthy people engage in affluent activities. (e.g. a private members club or an art-related events), and you keep encountering them at all such events.
  • They dress tastefully and expensively.
  • They are elusive about previous relationships and their life. However, everyone seems to know them at a party.
  • They do not introduce you to friends or family.

If you work in finance, you need to avoid these people for you own long-term emotional health. So....

  • Don't flaunt your wealth or reveal any information early on about your income, family, or status.
  • Wear clean, neat outfits but also dress simply and low-key.
  • Get your dates to pick where you should first go out (e.g. With the excuse that you are new to the city, or other reasons suitable to the circumstance). In that way, they will pick places and activities that she is familiar with, not the places that they might never afford to go to on their own. After the first few times, you should suggest similar venues that are in the same price range.
  • If you own any (stylish) properties, don't bring your dates back to your house for a while (e.g. go to theirs).
  • Bring up the topic of marital prenup early on and gauge your dates' reaction.
  • Don't give out gifts for no reason. Don't react to any sob-stories.
  • Date people who care for noble causes, e.g. the society, rather than being self-obsessed.
  • Date people who are financially sufficient themselves (e.g. people with a stable/lucrative career and a higher than average income), or those with a credible potential and drive for such earning prospects. Financially unstable people (e.g. college students, fresh graduates with unclear future, or others in lower-paying jobs with a lack of personal finance skills) will be focusing your wealth as a saving grace to their situations.

You reap what you sow. If you use money as your strength to attract a partner, you will attract people who are in it just for your wealth. Act like an average earner and use your best judgement regarding what/when and to whom you disclose. Good luck!

Photo by DAVIDCOHEN on Unsplash

The author is a former associate at a US investment bank.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: sbutcher@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available.

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