Shortly after I got here I was chatting with G, the senior guard at my house. He said he wasn't married and was sorry about it. I asked why not, allowing that he was a nice man, with a good job and a stable life. He replied "I wasted 10 years of my life as a soldier. I had no money for a wife."
A couple of months ago I was talking to a driver who had recently gotten a big raise. I asked him what he was going to do in the new millennium. "Get engaged" he replied. I asked whether he knew the woman and he said he did, but now he would be able to convince her.
A colleague who works near me also got a big raise recently. Yesterday, all smiles, he announced his engagement to his three-year girlfriend.
Recently the same guard from the first paragraph got *his* yearly raise. He also got into the final lottery for a subsidized apartment. He was naturally elated and said that now he would start looking for a wife.
When you think of the list of things we Americans have as prerequisites for getting married, money isn't usually on the list, at least not the spoken one. While the stereotypes have women more attracted to men with cash, you see lots of starving-student marriages. Here it's quite open. A very young driver recently told me: "oh no, no woman would marry me now, I don't have enough money for a house."