This post was prompted by a post by Ed Latimore entitled “30 for 30: Lessons from 30 years of life” , which got me thinking about how the actions and choices I made in my teens and twenties are affecting me in my thirties. Furthermore, if I could go back, what would be my primary focus for each decade, and what advice would I give to a son who just entered his teens.
Einstein is quoted as saying that the most powerful force in the Universe is compound interest. The concept can be explained in a fairly intuitive manner as earning interest on your interest year after year. What this means is that every year, the interest is added to your principal, and the amount of money you earn from interest will increase. In the short term the amount of money will seem to be minuscule, but compounding rewards those who are patient and who continue to contribute to their principal on a fixed basis.
Many retirement funds are focused on this perspective as they are accounts often started in a person’s thirties, with the goal of enjoying the results when that person retires 20 – 40 years later. Perhaps one of the things that has not been talked much about in terms of male sexual market value is how it is affected by compounding and investments that are made prior to the SMV peak. The classic SMV graph merely shows that a man’s value starts to increase in his early to mid thirties and the continues to increase as he nears his mid to late thirties. However, as I cover in the upcoming Gendernomics book (read a sample here), and have on this blog before as well, male SMV and female SMV are different. Female’s are born with their reproductive value “built in“, males build theirs with little of it being gifted by nature.
This means that a male who wants to realize his maximum possible sexual market value has to make contributions to it over many years prior to realizing it fully. Naturally, some men are able to realize an above average sexual market value prior to their mid-thirties. High School athletes, wealthy heirs and those who find celebrity young for instance, however, what is unique about them as examples is their attainment of the societal merit required for high SMV at an age that represents a statistical outlier. The high school quarterback attains high sexual market value early, due to demonstrating a combination of genetics, leadership ability and gaining a massive amount of social proof very early in life. In addition, his success at a competitive endeavor will translate into much increased confidence in other areas. The wealthy heir will be born into an advantageous social position, that permits him to gain experience at a faster level, for instance through travel, partaking in business deals well above his weight, and the social proof that goes with it. The celebrity, will gain the massive social proof that comes with fame, in addition to a demonstration of high ability compared to his peer group.
This essay is not written as a foolproof guide, but as a series of reflections on how one ideally should dedicate time across 3 decades of life, ages 10 – 20, 20 – 30 and 30 – 40.
Building SMV in your teenage years (10 – 20)
I’m well-aware that there will be few teenagers among my readers, however I’m also aware that some readers have sons that are around this age or fast approaching it. The first half of this decade is when most boys start noticing girls, most likely the girls in their peer group will also have started to notice boys, most of the time a few years older than them. This is a challenging time, as the girls who are the prime target-group for boys will be either too young, or interested in boys who are 2 – 3 years older than them, sometimes more.
The males who do well at this age, tend to be the above mentioned examples that tend to punch above their weight in terms of sexual market success. While this is a select group, as high SMV males are always the top 10 – 20% of the population, and requires some foundation work to be done in the early part of this decade and the previous one, it is attainable for those who are early bloomers. Those who do not have their path already thought out, with some realistic plan for how to achieve it, should seek to figure out what their interests are.
Towards the latter end of this decade most men will have had their first sexual experience and probably their first relationship, which most of the time is highly blue pill in nature. This first relationship will build patterns that are often very hard to unlearn, especially if prior psychological damage to the male exists, such as codependency, scarcity mindsets or parentification.
The most important focus for boys during this period, is to work on the foundation that will carry them into their twenties, failures at this age often feel world-ending, yet tend to have few if any long-term consequences if they are handled correctly,with support from parents and peers. Any psychological damage sustained in this time, will often tend to be carried forward, and can do substantial damage to SMV development in the early twenties.
Patterns that are learned in this period are often difficult to unlearn, as in addition to the first sexual and relationship experiences, most have their first job, compete seriously for the first time, experience the first failures that have actual consequences, and many others that can contribute or detract from the next decades of their life.
Building SMV in your twenties
The age from 20 – 30 is probably the one where a man learns the most, and have the potential to make the most mistakes. The twenties is also where much of the foundation for the rest of your life is built, and the goal of them should be to come out at 30, a man who knows himself well.
A fairly well-known quote within the manosphere is “If you chase women in your 20s and money in your thirties, you have wasted two decades“, this is an accurate statement, because most men will be far off their peak sexual market value at this point, thus will be negotiating from a non-advantageous position, in addition to competing for high value women against men 5 – 10 years their senior. This is not to discourage working on relationships with women during this period, and most men will have their first long-term relationship at this point, many will also make the mistake of getting married for the first time, but this is where you lay much of the foundation for the rest of your life.
Most people stake out a career path at this point, others just work a string of random jobs without much focus. It is very easy to turn the twenties into “party years“, something which may have drastic consequences for how high you are able to bring your SMV in your 30s. Around 25, a man should finish higher education if he elected to attend, or be getting close unless they are seeking a doctorate within their selected field or engaging in post-graduate education. This is the point where a man should have decided on major goals within his life.
Time should also be taken to introspect to identify goals. Learning game and practicing game is a smart move in the start of this period, but be wary of centering your life around women at this point. First of all, smv will not be maxed, secondly being distracted away from long-term goals often leads into a deficit that it can be hard to recover from. Examples of this would be marriage, and the need to go through a divorce, having children, failing to build a strong financial position, or a solid skill stack.
Building SMV in your thirties
Once a man enters his thirties, he should have built a solid foundation in most areas of his life. Physically, in terms of being both in shape, and having found a style of dress that fits his personality. In terms of money, he should be on the way towards his end goal, whether that be self-employment in some form, a corporate career or what ever choice he makes. He should have had some experience with both short- and long-term liaisons with women, to serve as a foundation for the rise in SMV that tends to come throughout his thirties.
The reasoning behind having such experience is that many men who are unaware of SMV, may suddenly experience a lot of attention from women in their peer group, many of whom had not offered them a second glance in the preceding 15 years. Some of these woman having had their party years, recently hit their epiphany phase and seeing the wall fast approaching, start to seek out the former “nice guys” for long-term monogamy. These are often men who have spent their teens and twenties with some, but limited SMP success, but have spent their time building their life around solid financial prospects, physical prospects and thus made themselves into targets.
Men of this type, beta, and blue pill, yet with high SMVs but little experience with woman, are prime targets for those women who seek to lock down a provider. Oblivious to the sexual market place, yet with high value, tends to translate into men who are shocked when the prom queen they drooled over for the past 15 years suddenly have an interest in them. They then come to the conclusion that after going through their Sheryl Sandberg line-up of men, she has finally realized what a great catch they are, and become an adult ready for a grown-up relationship. They get locked down for the next 5 – 20 years, sacrificing their prime-SMV years, for her SMV twilight. Traditionally, when men and women got married earlier, it was an equitable solution, as the women gave the man her prime SMV years early on, and he gave her his prime SMV years later on. Presently, under the rules of near-open hypergamy, women seek to maximize their value during their peak SMV years, and lock down a man during his peak SMV years.
A man who enters his 30s without having built much of a foundation during his teens and twenties finds himself having to work much harder to catch up and maximize his value. Some things can be fairly easily rectified in a couple of years, learning game, getting the notch count up, dropping some unnecessary fat, gaining some necessary muscle, learning the fundamentals of style and grooming. Some things are more difficult to rectify such as building a career, or attempting to attain formal education.
Summary and Conclusions
Advice for people who are beyond their 30s is more difficult to come up with, as beyond 40, is more of a maintenance stage, than a construction stage. Some late bloomers may find their SMV renaissance at this point, and some may find their twilight. More than anything a high male SMV is a case of effort compounded over long periods of time. This requires that a man be mindful of how he spends his time, as things do have an opportunity cost.
This is not to say that if you are reading this at 30, and you spent your twenties partying, going from entry level job to entry level job, that you have no chance of improving your sexual market value, it just requires a disproportionate investment compared to what it would have been if you had started at 15. In that sense, sexual market value is a lot like saving for your retirement, if you start early, you can stop in your mid to late thirties and still make out OK, if you start in your 50s, it is going to take serious work.
I made many mistakes in my teens and twenties that I had to be rectified as I went through my late twenties. Making mistakes is a natural part of the human condition, and failure is something every man needs to become familiar with. How a man handles set-backs and failures is in many ways what defines him.