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Ocean waves

Marrying for financial security (For Austen fans)

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Ocean waves

I love watching and reading Jane Austen but I’ve never fully understood the money side of things.

I know women could not inherit from their families so many had to find (love and) financial security in marriage. When a gentleman was said to earn 5000 pounds a year - what did that mean?
 

Were those his wages from being a pastor, or a dividend from money held in trust, or earnings from property?

Was the amount paid annually or in installments? 
 

Was that earning capacity then passed on to the sons?

I’m just curious ....

 

Thanks

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Lalala4

In the Jane Austen sense, usually a combination of investments (mostly bonds or shares in eg a merchant trading voyage) and income from their farm (mostly tenant farmers paying rent). Sometimes business (as with Lizzie’s uncle, a commercial lawyer) but this was not as socially respectable as earning your income from your large landholdings as it’s implied Mr Darcy does, which is why Mr Bingley’s sisters were so keen for him to buy an estate.

Women could inherit at the discretion of their parents but the system of ‘entailing’ to the male heir definitely disadvantaged women. There are however a couple of rather rare examples where a British title is specifically allowed to pass to  daughters or sons of daughters.

(I’ve only just realised how utterly nuts about Austen I must be to have come across this stuff!)

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Lalala4
Posted (edited)

A thousand pounds a year would let a small family keep one or two servants to do the heavy work,  and a horse or two, but not to do much by way of lavish entertaining or expensive education. Small occasional dinner parties and teas, not balls etc. what we’d think of as very modest middle class.

The biggest issue for educated but poor women was that earning was limited to governess or personal companion/carer. No other options were socially acceptable. If you couldn’t score those you had to beg relatives or friends to look after you.

Edited by Lalala4
Edited for clarity
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3rd time lucky

Yes - I think it sounds like a great idea.

 

🤣🤣

 

I always laugh at my sister, who after two divorces, and vowing to never marry again said “if I had my time over, I’d just marry a sugar daddy when I was younger”... 🤣

shes now happily partnered up with a great guy, on a modest income, and neither want a marriage certificate.

 

Sorry - off topic! 

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Ocean waves

Thank you x

i actually read today that in 2017 the English ten pound note had an Austen quote on it referring to books being the best thing ever. However the quote is from Miss Bingley who was trying to impress Mr Darcy and had no interest in reading. 
 

"I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!" 

 

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Ocean waves
2 minutes ago, 3rd time lucky said:

Yes - I think it sounds like a great idea.

 

🤣🤣

 

I always laugh at my sister, who after two divorces, and vowing to never marry again said “if I had my time over, I’d just marry a sugar daddy when I was younger”... 🤣

shes now happily partnered up with a great guy, on a modest income, and neither want a marriage certificate.

 

Sorry - off topic! 

Off topic is fine - just glad I didn’t get flamed for suggesting we marry for money! Glad to hear your sister is happy!!

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Lalala4

Sorry just edited again, possibly because I’ve had a small glass of wine and love this topic...

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Ivy Ivy
Posted (edited)

Off tangent a little, but boy am I grateful women have more choices these days, and won't end up near destitute if they don't marry, or have a son, have a generous brother, or ..... basically in some way have a male who will take care of them.  Gosh, what an existence.  How precarious that would feel to the average modern independent female these days.

To the OP, the money is from all sources.  Not much inflation then, and I get the impression the interest from govt bond equivalents (they were called the percents) was fairly stable and reliable.  The following is a summation, and of interest re Wickham the scoundrel, but I'm not entirely sure of the figure translations because I've read differently elsewhere:

https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/p/pride-and-prejudice/critical-essays/money-in-pride-and-prejudice

Edited by Ivy Ivy
spelling
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Winter frost
Posted (edited)

Slightly off topic but i have had a couple of glasses of wine. I get the idea of marrying for money, particularly in a generation where divorce wasnt an option.

I am not sure i could do it myself. But i have no judgement for those that do where both parties are going in with their eyes open.

Over the years ive known a couple of older men marry young asian brides. These are men that would have found it very hard to marry someone educated in the west with access to resources. Ive got to know a couple of the wives quite well as we were neighbours. One is still with her, now v elderly, husband. The other divorced after 20 years. The lady who is divorced is v clear it was for her still the v best decision and so is her ex. He got a child and a wife for 20 yrs. She says it took her out of extreme poverty. She firmly believes she would be dead by now if she had not taken this path. She was able to finish school, do a nursing degree and send their son to a private school. She has no regrets. Nor does he (although i do struggle a bit with more with him than her).

However i also know a guy in his early 30s. Not traditionally handsome, but v wealthy and a bit of a nerd. He married a v attractive brazilian lass after an internet romance. On their 3rd anniversary (or whenever it was she became eligible for a visa) she walked out. He has never recovered and i am not sure he ever will.

Edited by Winter frost
Sp and remove a comment about caucasians

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QuisbySchmoo

Women did inherit. My great great great grandmother inherited 3000 pounds from her father (for her sole use and benefit according to the terms of his will).

On another note, Jane Austen does have a bit of a sarky mouth on her. On the marriage between by 4th great grandfather and his second wife, also her second marriage  (I guess she would be my step-4th great grandmother), in a letter to her sister Cassandra, Austen writes:

'Mrs. John Lyford is so much pleased with the state of widowhood as to be going to put in for being a widow again; she is to marry a Mr. Fendall, a banker in Gloucester, a man of very good fortune, but considerably older than herself, and with three little children.'

Cheeky cow!

When William did die, (12 years later), here is an excerpt of his will that I have transcribed which describes three percent bank annuity that he gives her.

I will that my said son John shall be admitted in my stead as partner in the Gloucester Old Bank... I give and bequeath unto my dear wife the sum of two hundred and fifty pounds to be paid her as soon as may be after my decease. I also give and bequeath unto my said wife such part of my plate, linnen and furniture, books, pictures, wines and liquors as she shall require and I will and direct that my said wife shall have the complete power of disposal of that money in the three percent Consolidated Bank Annuities now standing in the names of the Rev. Henry Dyson and the Rev. George Moultrie and of the sum of one thousand pounds secured by mortgage made to her by her brother James Lodge on the Blakenham estate together with all interest and dividends.

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Lalala4

Oh that’s fabulous Quisby Schmoo!

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DQMission

I was under the impression that landholdings had to go to any living male heir before it could go to a female heir but I could be wrong.

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QuisbySchmoo
3 minutes ago, Lalala4 said:

Oh that’s fabulous Quisby Schmoo!

Yes, was quite surprised when I stumbled on it a few years ago when I was researching the family history. She was a bit of a cow about poor Rev. Dyson and his wife as well (Rev. Dyson was married to  William's second wife's sister, so I guess William's brother and sister in law), anyway Austen writes again to Cassandra,

‘We went to Baugherst [sic] – The place is not so pretty as I expected, but perhaps the Season may be against the beauty of Country. The house seemed to have all the comforts of little Children, dirt & litter. Mr Dyson as usual looked wild, & Mrs Dyson as usual looked big’.

Elizabeth (Mrs Dyson) was pregnant with number 7 of the 12 children she had. But Austen, always had a thing about pregnancy. 

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ainira
30 minutes ago, Ivy Ivy said:

Off tangent a little, but boy am I grateful women have more choices these days, and won't end up near destitute if they don't marry, or have a son, have a generous brother, or ..... basically in some way have a male who will take care of them.  Gosh, what an existence.  How precarious that would feel to the average modern independent female these days.

To the OP, the money is from all sources.  Not much inflation then, and I get the impression the interest from govt bond equivalents (they were called the percents) was fairly stable and reliable.  The following is a summation, and of interest re Wickham the scoundrel, but I'm not entirely sure of the figure translations because I've read differently elsewhere:

https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/p/pride-and-prejudice/critical-essays/money-in-pride-and-prejudice

Unfortunately, the first paragraph doesn't apply for women in some parts of the world. Saudi Arabia comes to mind...

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QuisbySchmoo
Posted (edited)
12 minutes ago, DQMission said:

I was under the impression that landholdings had to go to any living male heir before it could go to a female heir but I could be wrong.

Not necessarily. I have another will (1692) that gives one landholding to his son, another landholding to his daughter (both holdings in Gloucester), all broad pieces of gold to the son (a broad was a gold coin worth 20 shillings) and then the  London property to the daughter. So she got two properties and he got all the gold and one property.

Edited by QuisbySchmoo
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Ozquoll

This blog post has lots of info on female inheritance in Britain in Austen's time:

https://austenauthors.net/inheritance-and-the-need-for-a-widows-pension-in-jane-austens-novels/

 

About the marrying for money thing - there's so much hypocrisy about this subject. We all pretend that it's all about marrying for love and money doesn't matter at all. Yet I don't think I've ever met a woman who says she would be happy dating a guy who's been on the dole long-term. Or even dating a guy who earns substantially less than she does. 

I say this as someone who definitely married for love, not money! I adore my husband, but if he earned any less we would be in serious trouble, despite living a very modest lifestyle. As it is, we have been struggling to get by on his income since DS was born seven years ago. We don't own a house, and our only chance of doing so in future is because my mother has kindly allowed us to move into my late grandmother's house rent-free while we save a deposit.

I see the problems with marrying only for money...but marrying with no regard at all for money is 1) foolish; and 2) not something most people do, despite the pieties to the contrary.

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Ozquoll
12 minutes ago, QuisbySchmoo said:

She was a bit of a cow about poor Rev. Dyson and his wife as well

She was a bit of a cow in general 🤨. I love her books, but after reading Claire Tomalin's biography of Austen I didn't like her (Austen) much as a person.

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QuisbySchmoo
1 minute ago, Ozquoll said:

She was a bit of a cow in general 🤨. I love her books, but after reading Claire Tomalin's biography of Austen I didn't like her (Austen) much as a person.

I'm glad I'm not the only one Ozquoll. 😀

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seayork2002
7 minutes ago, Ozquoll said:

This blog post has lots of info on female inheritance in Britain in Austen's time:

https://austenauthors.net/inheritance-and-the-need-for-a-widows-pension-in-jane-austens-novels/

 

About the marrying for money thing - there's so much hypocrisy about this subject. We all pretend that it's all about marrying for love and money doesn't matter at all. Yet I don't think I've ever met a woman who says she would be happy dating a guy who's been on the dole long-term. Or even dating a guy who earns substantially less than she does. 

I say this as someone who definitely married for love, not money! I adore my husband, but if he earned any less we would be in serious trouble, despite living a very modest lifestyle. As it is, we have been struggling to get by on his income since DS was born seven years ago. We don't own a house, and our only chance of doing so in future is because my mother has kindly allowed us to move into my late grandmother's house rent-free while we save a deposit.

I see the problems with marrying only for money...but marrying with no regard at all for money is 1) foolish; and 2) not something most people do, despite the pieties to the contrary.

When DH proposed his only income was a student loan through uni (overseas) I had a part time job, on and off over the 21 years we have been together dh and i have earned more than the other.

No i didn't marry him for his money nor him marry me.

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blueskies12
11 minutes ago, Ozquoll said:

This blog post has lots of info on female inheritance in Britain in Austen's time:

https://austenauthors.net/inheritance-and-the-need-for-a-widows-pension-in-jane-austens-novels/

 

About the marrying for money thing - there's so much hypocrisy about this subject. We all pretend that it's all about marrying for love and money doesn't matter at all. Yet I don't think I've ever met a woman who says she would be happy dating a guy who's been on the dole long-term. Or even dating a guy who earns substantially less than she does. 

I say this as someone who definitely married for love, not money! I adore my husband, but if he earned any less we would be in serious trouble, despite living a very modest lifestyle. As it is, we have been struggling to get by on his income since DS was born seven years ago. We don't own a house, and our only chance of doing so in future is because my mother has kindly allowed us to move into my late grandmother's house rent-free while we save a deposit.

I see the problems with marrying only for money...but marrying with no regard at all for money is 1) foolish; and 2) not something most people do, despite the pieties to the contrary.

I married a man for love and not money. I earn a fair bit more than him and always have.  I have imagined what it would be like to marry someone that earns more money...would life be easier?! I wouldn't put anyone down that would marry for money. I would hate to be in the position to have to marry for money, where that is the only solution.

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eilca

I think in these times it is more about staying married for money.

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Ozquoll
1 minute ago, seayork2002 said:

When DH proposed his only income was a student loan through uni (overseas) I had a part time job, on and off over the 21 years we have been together dh and i have earned more than the other.

No i didn't marry him for his money nor him marry me.

Student loan, so presumably he had a degree or was part way through getting one? He had good prospects in other words, even if he was on a low income on the time. You probably didn't have any worries that he would be on the dole or earning minimum income his whole life. 

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Ozquoll
3 minutes ago, eilca said:

I think in these times it is more about staying married for money.

Yes, there's many stories of women getting divorced in their 50s with few assets and almost no chance of buying a house at the current crazy prices. 

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seayork2002
2 minutes ago, Ozquoll said:

Student loan, so presumably he had a degree or was part way through getting one? He had good prospects in other words, even if he was on a low income on the time. You probably didn't have any worries that he would be on the dole or earning minimum income his whole life. 

No he does not have a degree and was living in the north east of England not the best prospects in the world but he did get a job in Australia, at first I earned more than him then him me and back and forth now he earns more than me.

We are financially independent of each other now and earn enough that if we were not married we would be OK, no we can't see into the future but as much as I can plan for i won't rely on my husband for money

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Apageintime
Posted (edited)

Maybe not marrying for money but I certainly know a few friends who are staying in a marriage for money. Could't afford a house near the kids schools seems to be a particularly huge concern. 

I wish I married for money, would have been a damn sight easier in some ways. 

Edited by Apageintime
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