The Moneyist: My wife spent $50K on cosmetic procedures. It horrifies me to see so much money being blown on something so frivolous’

United States

Dear Quentin,

Over the past three years, my wife has spent over $ 50,000 on cosmetic procedures. She never used to be a vain person. It started with a face lift after she turned 40, and now she can’t stop blowing money on everything from Botox and lip fillers to cool sculpting.

I can think of a dozen ways to use that money more responsibly, but every time I mention it, she just shrugs and says she likes looking good. According to her logic, she works a lot of overtime and drives a 15-year-old car, and she wouldn’t be doing either of those things if she didn’t choose to get these procedures.

I admit that she has paid for all this with her income, and she is frugal in other ways. She looks gorgeous, but it horrifies me to see so much money being blown on something so frivolous. Should I be more supportive?


Dear Husband,

We are ALL a work in progress, and how we spend our money reflects how we see ourselves and how we want the world to see us. And, yes, people will also be judged for it.

I can’t say that your wife is spending this money on cosmetic surgery because she thinks she’s worth it — to paraphrase a certain shampoo commercial — or because she thinks she’s not worthy, or none of the above, or a combination of both. But if you and she are financially solid, and she’s otherwise good with money and being careful about her selection of surgeon and the number of procedures, I don’t believe it’s anyone’s job to tell her that she’s vain. Even if she asks.

Of course, she could save that money for retirement. But we could all do with some forensic financial soul searching. Perhaps a new kitchen with a marble splash-back is frivolous to your wife, or an SUV that will make the neighbors pea green with envy, or new golf clubs, or spending thousands of dollars on a hair-restoration clinic, or $ 30 on L’Oreal Professionnel Volumetry Anti-Gravity Volume Shampoo when you can spend $ 1.99 on another brand that does the job just the same.

Your wife is not alone. Plastic surgery has been booming during the coronavirus pandemic, for those who can afford it. Men only make up about 8% of procedures, but men’s appearances are not judged anywhere close to how society judges women, and how they look. Some 70% of members American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery reported an increase in bookings and treatments during the pandemic, with 90% of facial plastic surgeons reporting a 10% rise.

If she asks you what you think, tell her, “I love you. You were beautiful before you had cosmetic surgery and you are still beautiful. Even and especially when you drive that beat-up old jalopy.”

You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions at

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