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Why I’m telling my daughter to marry RICH: Some might call me anti-feminist, but I wish MY mother had instilled in me how crucial money and status are in a partner… Anyone who says wealth can’t buy happiness is kidding themselves!


A stately home set in acres of grounds, a pristine black VW Beetle — electric, of course — on the long, gravel drive and a wardrobe bursting with designer clothes, shoes, handbags. As for the preferred choice of pet: a pack of Saint Berdoodle dogs (yes, that’s a cross between a Saint Bernard and a Poodle).

There’ll also be regular foreign holidays: Lapland at Christmas, Florida in the summer. Oh, and a second home in the mountains for skiing, naturally.

My 17-year-old daughter, Lara, has her future mapped out with laser-like precision. She even has a Pinterest account, where she keeps ‘vision boards’ of where she will marry (the upmarket spa hotel Luton Hoo is the current favourite). She has also decided the names of the two children she plans to have (though won’t share them with me).

And while she might not know her future husband’s identity, she’s certain of one thing: the size of his bank balance.

Lara is unabashed about her desire to marry a rich man. And, far from bristling at what some might consider a depressingly retrograde goal, I am right behind her.

My 17-year-old daughter, Lara, has her future mapped out with laser-like precision. She even has a Pinterest account, where she keeps 'vision boards' of where she will marry (the upmarket spa hotel Luton Hoo is the current favourite). She has also decided the names of the two children she plans to have (though won't share them with me). And while she might not know her future husband's identity, she's certain of one thing: the size of his bank balance

My 17-year-old daughter, Lara, has her future mapped out with laser-like precision. She even has a Pinterest account, where she keeps ‘vision boards’ of where she will marry (the upmarket spa hotel Luton Hoo is the current favourite). She has also decided the names of the two children she plans to have (though won’t share them with me). And while she might not know her future husband’s identity, she’s certain of one thing: the size of his bank balance

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling her to sit back and forget about her education. She attends a private school and last year achieved straight As and A*s in her GCSEs.

She has her sights set on Oxbridge and would like to study classics before converting to law. She then plans to work for one of the ‘magic circle’ London law firms.

Admittedly, her reasoning for working towards academic success is that she believes such institutions will help her achieve the ultimate aim — meeting a like-minded, uber-wealthy man. She goes so far as to say she’d like to marry the boss. Some might recoil but why not aim high? I support her 100 per cent.

What mother doesn’t want the very best for her daughter? Whoever says ‘money can’t buy happiness’ is kidding themselves. It bloody well can!

We tell ourselves these frankly outdated tales to justify where we’re at in life. Of course you can have money and love. If only because money means you really can actively choose to buy the things that make you happy. I’ve got friends who are extremely wealthy and are in long and happy marriages; and I also know people who live in council flats who aren’t happy.

It never occurred to me that mothers would snipe over such aspirations for their daughters. Yet when a recent post on a parenting forum posed the question, ‘Be honest! Has anyone ever set out to marry a rich man and/or encouraged their daughters to do it?’ it caused uproar.

Commentators on the thread said everything from ‘Marry a rich man and you’ll earn every penny’ to ‘Would I pimp my daughter out to an older rich man? That’s a no from me.’

They say that surely women have moved on since the days of Mrs Bennet in Pride And Prejudice. But just because a woman has a good career of her own doesn’t mean she wants to ‘marry down’.

Lara is clever and ambitious, but I don’t want her to be the breadwinner — can you imagine? I’d be horrified if she was picking up the slack (not to mention the tab) for a beta male with low expectations in life.

Even £50,000 a year wouldn’t cut the mustard. In an ideal world, at his prime, her husband would earn a six-figure salary — obviously! We live in expensive times and you’ve got to keep up.

But in all seriousness, the current cost of living crisis has focused everyone’s minds on just how much harder it is to buy a nice house, run a car and raise your own family.

People might think me anti-feminist and say I’m doing Lara a disservice by encouraging this kind of attitude. But I genuinely wish my mother had impressed upon me the importance of money and status when I was Lara’s age.

I had a normal middle-class upbringing in Hertfordshire. My dad was a surveyor and mum stayed at home to look after me and my sister. We went to the local state comprehensive school, and I was 19 when I had my first serious boyfriend, who was a musician. (Sadly, he died years later of a drug overdose aged 40.)

He was one in a line of very undesirable boyfriends. That’s why I’m glad Lara isn’t like me.

I made the mistake of falling into my first marriage with my heart and not my head. My ex-husband had absolutely no earnings to speak of when we met in 2004.

I was 30 and slightly dazzled by the fact he lived in the U.S. Within a year, he’d moved to the UK to live with me and I was soon pregnant with Lara.

That’s when the hard work really started. I found myself working three jobs (in commercial lettings, at Marks & Spencer in the evening and I also, somehow, fitted in some work in John Lewis merchandising).

Unsurprisingly, I was exhausted throughout the pregnancy — and the awful morning sickness I experienced didn’t help.

My then husband managed to get a job in a warehouse for a major retailer. We were hardly upwardly mobile.

Lara is unabashed about her desire to marry a rich man. And, far from bristling at what some might consider a depressingly retrograde goal, I am right behind her

Lara is unabashed about her desire to marry a rich man. And, far from bristling at what some might consider a depressingly retrograde goal, I am right behind her

That said, having always had a strong work ethic, I had a pretty decent nest egg, which meant that when Lara was born I could take a few years off before returning to the property world. I had climbed on to the property ladder in my early 20s so was already on my third home: a four-bedroom townhouse in St Albans.

Fast forward to today and I have a flat in Dubai, as well as a couple of other properties I rent out in the UK.

Having divorced my ex in 2008 when Lara was two, I now live in a lovely four-bedroom house in Hertfordshire with Lara, my second husband, Nicholas, 64, a sports broadcaster, and our son, Zack, now eight.

People often assume that because Nicholas works in television, we’re rolling in it, but that isn’t the case. He’s now freelance and there are no guarantees from one day to the next in the fickle world of entertainment.

We were paying £15,000 a year in school fees for Lara until Nicholas was suddenly made redundant in 2015. When I explained I’d need to take her out of school, because we could no longer afford it, she was offered a scholarship. If they hadn’t, I’d have stopped going on holidays, gone to budget supermarkets, bought clothes in charity shops, basically I’d have scrimped and saved to keep her there with the very same peers who I just know will open all sorts of doors for her in later life.

Research consistently shows that to get ahead in life, the old adage ‘it’s not what you know — it’s who you know’ still counts. Only this week a study revealed that just under a third of young employees secured their jobs through a personal connection. The private school fees might be a stretch for us, but Lara’s already in good company — one of her friends is the daughter of a Manchester United football player.

Lara has been boarding since the age of 16 and is doing incredibly well academically.

I push both my children to do well. ‘Strive to be the best’ is a pretty good motto to live by. That’s why I’m fussy about the kind of money Lara marries into, too. I’d be worried about someone who hadn’t lifted a professional finger in his life, preferring to live off a trust fund. Where’s the ambition? I want her to be successful and be with someone who is the best they can be too.

It was after watching Legally Blonde at the age of 12 that Lara first announced her desire to marry money. Yes she was inspired by the Reese Witherspoon character, who proves everyone wrong by becoming a successful lawyer, and Lara does want a brilliant career of her own. But she also wants a wealthy husband.

Money will give my daughter not only a comfortable life but choices, too. If, when she has children, she wants to stay at home with them, then she can. Likewise, if she wants to return to the office pronto, then decent childcare won’t be an issue for my grandchildren.

She plans to establish her career first and have a family in her 30s.

Lara is just starting to date. We’re both in agreement about no tattoos or piercings. Such visible markings are a total barrier to a decent life and the opportunities that come your way.

Besides, Lara is so innocent she’s only just had her ears pierced.

I recently asked about whether there were any serious boyfriends on the horizon. Things can change so quickly with teenagers.

I got the usual grown-up response from my daughter telling me: ‘No mum. School is my priority, boyfriends definitely aren’t.’ She went on a date last month, and I warned her not to kiss the boy unless she was sure they’d see one another again. Your first kiss is the one you remember for ever.

I didn’t have to worry. Lara told me he had no aspiration and he made the fatal faux pas of announcing that Latin club was stupid.

Lara certainly doesn’t need my help in selecting the right dates. I’m confident she has her head screwed on in that regard.

I’m happy for her to step up a social class. There’s no shame in being upwardly mobile. Whatever the naysayers claim, money really does make the world go round.

As told to Samantha Brick



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