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Meet and marry the rich

You don't need money or great looks to find yourself a rich beau.

Marla Trump did it. Roxanne Pulitzer did it, too and so did Tom Arnold. All three are well-known examples of middle-class folks who met and married wealthy people. Face it, most of us aren't going to make a fortune at our jobs. That's why living with someone who's already rich may be your only option if you want to experience the jet set lifestyle. Sounds impossible? Not really. You'll be convinced of this once you realize that finding a rich mate is more a matter of knowing where to search and how to act rather than what you look like.

Finding a sugar daddy or sugar momma

Here's the scenario: You've grown tired of living paycheck to paycheck so you set out to find someone who's going to pamper you like the royal you claim to have been in a past lifetime. But how can you meet rich people if you're on a tight budget? The first step is to live close to where the wealthy live even if that means making some sacrifices, according to Ginie Polo Sayles, author of "How to Marry the Rich."

"You must live where the rich live even if you have to live in a little shoe box," says Sayles, head of Ginie Sayles Enterprises in Houston. "When you live among the rich, you are able to absorb their value systems and the other subtleties that let you relate to their way of life."

Sayles, a former stockbroker now married to a millionaire, believes that frequenting the same supermarkets, coffee shops and restaurants as your potential mate will give you the perfect opportunity to mingle with the rich. Walking your dog or jogging in a wealthy neighborhood are two more ways of getting noticed by wealthy singles that won't cost you anything.

You may also want to consider using your job or athletic skill as a key to unlock the marital bank. She suggests that men and women take part-time jobs at country clubs or other places where the rich hang out. Pro golfer Lee Trevino's wife was working at a concession stand when she met him at a charity tournament, according to Sayles.

Jocks that teach golf, sailing or tennis classes can use that time to schmooze with the financially elite. However, Sayles warns fortune seekers to stay away from jobs where they'll have to wear a uniform because it creates a psychological status barrier that some wealthy individuals may not wish to cross.

Professional jobs in fields such as securities trading, real estate sales, banking and insurance sales can also introduce you to money movers. But don't give up hope if you're not likely to meet the Elizabeth Taylors or Steve Forbes of this world through your job. Lisa Johnson, author of How to Snare a Millionaire, says that charities offer you an opportunity to help others as well as yourself in the process.

"The best place of all to meet millionaires is at charity events," says Johnson, a freelance journalist in Salt Lake City. "These are the kind of millionaires that you'd like to meet because they'll be at those events giving something back to the community. Volunteering at these events means that you'll have access to the guest list and where people are going to be sitting. If you're volunteering then you also get in for free. Tickets for some of these events can be $500 or more."

Gold-digging etiquette

The next step in securing a lasting relationship with a wealthy partner involves learning the rules of behavior that go along with being courted by the rich and famous. Johnson, who claims to have received more than 50 marriage proposals from millionaires but still remains single, believes that downplaying the importance of money is a key to landing a rich lover.

"It's important that you not focus on their money because they're always worried that some gold digger will take it from them," says Johnson. "Act almost as if the money means nothing to you. Don't ask questions such as 'What did that cost?' or 'How much did you make?' Gifts are OK as long as you let the person know that the gifts come with no strings attached. Never accept money or they'll never respect you."

Linda Barbanel, a New York City-based social worker and author of "Sex, Money & Power: How to Keep $ from Sabotaging Your Relationships," agrees that making money your primary marriage requirement will create future problems. She thinks that greed is a sign of a manipulative or dependent type of person who needs to be taken care of by others.

"It warps your soul and your being by looking only for money," says Barbanel. "The love of money is not a healthy characteristic when it comes to relationships."

Chastity pays off

Here are a few more of tips for dating the rich man or woman of your dreams:

  • Don't sleep with them right away. Johnson suggests, "Not sleeping with them is attractive because there are not many people who will say no to them. You can probably get a proposal within three months by not sleeping with them. It drives them mad with desire. They want someone who's special, not someone who sleeps around."

  • Don't turn into a servant. Says Sayle, "Don't do things that they can get someone else to do. I knew of a wealthy woman who had her young boyfriend run errands, work in her yard and act as a bartender at her parties. She then began to speak of him as a houseboy rather than as her lover."

  • Sign a prenuptial agreement. Johnson advises, "A good prenuptial can be your friend. Rather than being offended by being asked to signed one, be happy because it can protect you."

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