“I just got an email from a woman on Match who asked if the lack of a stated income on my profile meant I was unemployed. Should I include my income?”
Let’s think about this from a search perspective. When someone is choosing criteria that they prefer in a mate, are many people selecting a specific income?I would guess that there’s a decent amount of people who do. Hence, it might be a good idea to include a salary just because you want to come up in as many search types as possible so that you can drive traffic to your ad. The downside, of course, is attracting people who only wish to date people who fall within a certain income bracket. My guess is that if you work in a field that is known for it’s high salary then you’re used to being targeted by such people and can sniff them out pretty quickly. I’d suggest planning a low key date at a modestly priced bar. If your date tries to upgrade then you know that they’re more drawn to you for your wallet than your personality.
As I’ve said before, people who make high salaries aren’t opposed to spending money. They know that that’s all part of the Dating Game. They don’t mind sharing the wealth as long as their date appears to appreciate it. They don’t have to have someone match their spending habits on dates to do that. A simple offer to pay for the cab or buy a round of drinks will suffice. It’s not about the amount, it’s about the gesture of appreciation.
Now, what if you want to select “Prefer not to say?” Personally, I think that’s the best way to go. I don’t like the idea of people feeling obligated to reveal sensitive information like salary range to strangers. This would never come up in regular conversation if you met someone at a bar or party.Either choose that option or undercut your salary a bit. I always suggest to clients that they don’t go into great detail about what they do for a living. Don’t give it all away upfront. If you work in the corporate world select Executive/Management as a career field whenever you can.
In my example profile that I use when doing profile reviews, I identify as financially self-sufficient as opposed to financially independent. I place more importance on whether or not someone can take care and support themselves than how much they make. I also prefer to date someone who lives a similar lifestyle to mine, meaning they live on their own and, while maybe don’t make enough to travel to Europe on a regular basis, can still afford to go out and enjoy certain activities and is responsible enough to maintain a savings.
The phrase “financially independent” says, to me, “I don’t need you. I got this.” That’s not a message you want to send to potential partners. You want people to think you need them to some degree. “Financially self-sufficient” says, to me, “I’m responsible.” That’s what sufficiency is about – being able to take care of yourself. I often advise women not to make mention of finances or careers in their profiles. For one, they make themselves targets to the OKCupid/Match.com Hobos looking for a place to rest their weary heads. Yes, that’s a thing. The other reason is that men just don’t care what a woman makes or what she does for a living as much as women care about the same things. Men want women to use their more “feminine” qualities to attract men. Most men focus on personality traits and characteristics than on financial or professional ones.
On a somewhat related topic, can we all talk key words for a second? A great way to draw the right people to your profile is to include specific key words. If you’re super health conscious, then make sure to use words like healthy, diet and exercise. Go even more specific and use words like organic and yoga. If you like being outdoors, include words like nature, hikes, environment, sunset, mountains, etc. Looking for a nerd? Think of the various descriptors and hobbies you think someone like that might identify with and put them in your profile. I’ve found the, more and more, people are honing their searches by using the key word search option.
So now I’ll turn it over to you:
Do you complete the income question on your profile? Why or why not? Have you encountered people who have seemed judgmental based on your admitted salary? Have you been targeted by people who appear to primarily seek people in your income bracket? If so, how did you know and how did you handle it?