First off, we are essentially estimating our own value (which may or may not be accurate), Adshade notes.

At the same time we are estimating others’ value, and whether they are likely to respond - or whether they are “out of our league.” Then we are weighing interested suitors against the “opportunity costs” that there may be other, ‘better’ options still out there.

Some of those qualities might be age or attractiveness - and some are financial.” Indeed, just go on popular dating sites such as Match.com, and one of the criteria for winnowing down potential matches is annual income.

dan ariely on dating sites-71

It will take more time to sift through that broader pool, but that is better than “artificially reducing the size of your search sample,” she says.

“That is the biggest mistake.” The writer is a Reuters contributor.

Adshade’s key advice for would-be romantics: Broaden the criteria you are looking for in a mate.

If you are solely looking for a man who is over 6’2” and makes six figures annually, you have instantly gone from a “thick” market - one with literally millions of people - to a “thin” one, with few remaining options.

“This income preference is more pronounced for women.” The takeaway: As much as we like to think we are beyond the days of Jane Austen, when suitors were evaluated largely based on how much money they brought in - the famous Mr.

Darcy in “Pride & Prejudice” was worth “Five thousand a year! “Someone’s income will almost always factor into the equation,” says Douglas Kobak, a financial planner in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.

Another study, co-authored by famed behavioral economist Dan Ariely, uncovered similar online-dating preferences.

“Men and women prefer a high-income partners over low-income partners,” the authors wrote in the journal Quantitative Marketing and Economics.

“When you are becoming serious, you need to consider what your partner is bringing to the table besides love and a good time.