Dealing with Income & Wealth – AMWF Style.

Money, well finances in general seems to be a very large issue for Asian culture. I would even dare to acknowledge that these take precedence over love itself. Who would not want to be in a socioeconomic position whereby you would never have to struggle to make ends meet?

Sadly this is something that many Asians crave, status and belonging. To be in possession of luxurious goods may suggest higher social status, but often is overshadowed by arrogance and vanity. Growing up as an Asian I was taught the stoic method of dealing with non family members. Never show your emotions because people will take advantage of it.

Being raised with parents who originated from Hong Kong, I truly understand why they think that way. Hong Kong would be the closest to a free market society in the entire world. Government intervention is kept minimal to emergency services, and policing. Welfare does not exist – you must fight hard to survive. Not only do you have to work hard to survive, you have to always be careful of the con artists. Thus, the humility and stoicism carries over as a defense mechanism to ensure protection physically, and financially as well.

However, while Asian are fully capable of suppressing emotions, they too fall victim to vanity. That is, having a false sense of respect from others because of your possessions. A large house and multiple cars suggests you are well established with a good paying job. Thus, being a relationship with someone of similar socioeconomic status may seem favorable as well. In theory the chances of a successful financial future seems completely plausible. Unfortunately we run into the biggest misunderstanding of personal or family finances: income, and wealth.

Despite their similarities, we often believe these two terms are interchangeable. Income refers to the earning potential, the ability to generate revenue. This may be active such as your job, or passive like rental income or royalties. Wealth refers to all tangible and intangible elements that have potential to generate money. This may be owning a business or even pursuing post secondary education. So in a sense, wealth is the accumulation of assets, and assets generate revenue (income).

Most people have the right idea: save more than you spend. However this is a fairly tricky issue and people do dedicate their lives determining how businesses should operate by optimally allocating resources. Thus it seems plausible if you are able to earn more money with a good job, you will probably be able to afford more luxury items. So your social status is higher, and you garner more respect. Right.

What really drives my Caucasian female friends up the wall is that to them Asian families seem so adamant on determining your annual income. Even worse is that my friends had to deal with Asian families that often lacked tact using the blunt words of “how much do you make?”. Money and status isn’t everything to a Caucasian woman, they also have a very keen inner sense of emotion and feeling as well. To them, it’s almost an insult to be stereotyped for gold digging and ostracized for their low income potential. The Asian parents never ask Caucasian women about the intangibles, personal skills, their ability to love and openly communicate.

What they should be really looking for is the wealth of an individual. An individual with a hundred thousand in medical school debt may have little income, but he has a wealth of knowledge. Likewise a female may not have the highest paying job in the world, but she is happy and enjoys life. She is filled with a wealth of experiences, and often is extremely competent in managing finances as well.

So for the sake of dating your Asian man, do your best to understand finances. Become wealthy in knowledge and impress his parents with your humility and frugality.

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