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For the love of money

In matters of money, is your ideal mate frugal or frivolous? The answer may be itemized in your own credit card statement.

Money is not the most important thing in the world. Love is. Fortunately, I love money.
– Jackie Mason

In matters of money, is your ideal mate frugal or frivolous? The answer may be itemized in your own credit card statement.

Researchers at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business who surveyed 1,000 married and unmarried adults identified a tendency for skinflints and squanderers to seek each other out.

The more unhappiness respondents reported with their particular monetary kink, whether it was overspending or oversaving, the more they were attracted to the other extreme. In this case, it seems opposites really do attract and, as even a non-scientist might predict, that’s trouble.

Take the typical couple’s set-tos over money matters then add the irritant of one partner obsessively building a nest egg the other seems intent on poaching. Stir vigorously and duck.

At this anxious economic pass, obviously it’s the profligate spender who’s going to take the most flack, but what about the stimulus-choking hoarder? Neither extreme approach to money is necessarily a virtue.

Perhaps the cheapskates need to learn to loosen up a little as much as the shopaholics need a bit of self-restraint.

There’s a simple division of labour argument to be made: If you either can’t balance a cheque book or can’t pry it loose for a much-needed vacation, it only makes sense to find someone who can. But can you ultimately live with that someone?

But as some women find themselves drawn, mortifying clichés notwithstanding, to the bad boy, perhaps Mr. Bad Credit Rating has a similar allure. I’ve never been seriously tempted to hook up with a big spender, and just between you and me, I’ve never been financially well-endowed en­ough to really tempt one, either.

There isn’t much fiscal turmoil at chez Steve. I’m half Scottish and my thrifty beloved is not only Scotch but also Dutch. Loath as I am to perpetuate ethnic stereotypes, she’s definitely the more penny-pinching half of this small-spending couple. When we go out, she audits me for over-tipping, though she’s a softer touch when hit up for spare change.

A married couple we know are our opposite, but also allegedly financially compatible. Neither is what you’d call tight with a dollar. Both are impulse buyers, neither ever has much money left over, and they give each other hell about it. (This is far from the only thing they spar over.)

We muddle through based on roughly similar values, lots of laughs and uncommonly good chemistry. Separate bank accounts, in my experience, are also helpful.

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