What woman hasn't dreamt of marrying a millionaire? The sparkling diamonds, holidays in the Caribbean, fabulous castle...Keep dreaming.
Still, the chances of marrying a millionaire are increasing. According to Global Wealth Report, the number of millionaires worldwide rose by about 12% last year, to 12.5 million. In China, the number of millionaires is growing quickly, third on the global list with just over one million millionaires. The U.S. leads the race with 5.2 million millionaire households, followed by Japan.
On the individual level, every girl who grows up reading Cinderella or watching Breakfast at Tiffany'sknows that it is not easy to snare a millionaire. Audrey Hepburn's Holly Golightly does all she can to find a rich man, including waiting outside fine jewelry shops each morning dressed in her most elegant evening wear. At the end, she doesn't find a millionaire – falling in love with a writer instead.
Starry-eyed Chinese women would prefer to avoid that, so they go to charm schools. How to find a millionaire must be something one can learn, they figure. At the modestly named Moral Education Center in Beijing, Chinese women can get a 30-hour crash course in snagging just the right rich man.
For 2,300 euros, they learn how to pour tea, wear makeup and engage in sophisticated conversations. “The lesson is to encourage women to get the best of themselves,” says founder Shao Tong. The Center hopes to bring women closer to a goal that is becoming widespread in China's growing middle class.
Teachers also instruct the would-be diggers of gold how to distinguish liars based on their facial expressions, so that they can protect themselves from frauds claiming to be loaded.
Access to the moneybags
More than 3,000 Chinese women have already taken the course, which attracts mostly students and young professionals. One of them is 23-year-old Zhou Yue. “My family owns a business, and there have been times when it was very difficult for us,” she says. “So I thought if I marry a rich man, then I won't have to worry about all of that.”
The good news for those like Zhou is that it's apparently not only difficult for women to find a millionaire husband, but also for rich bachelors to find a suitable partner. For a 3,500 euro fee, men can also pay the Education Center for the privilege of meeting girls from the charm class. This is how Wen Wen met his girlfriend. “Women who attend the course can increase their personal qualities and have better chances of meeting expectations of men like me,” he says.
The fact that most of the women are in it for the money and that the matches are arranged by the school does not seem to deter many of the millionaires. Already more than 30 marriages have been facilitated in this way.
Such courses are not yet offered in Germany, but it may only be a matter of time. According to the Global Wealth Report, Germany is fifth on the list of countries with the most super-rich, totaling an estimated 400,000 millionaires.
But China is not the only country where women attend school in order to marry rich. In Moscow, a guru teaches courses in manipulation. A woman who can learn how to be a femme fatale leaves nothing to chance. A mechanics institute in New York has long been offering a course on “How to Marry Rich.” There, the women learned the three golden rules: move to the most elegant part of town, appear at prestigious parties, and work out in the same sports clubs as celebrities.