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September 14, 2021

Tightwads and spendthrifts tend to marry

When it comes to love and money, opposites really do attract, says a University of Michigan researcher.

New research by business prof Scott Rick suggests that people who are tight with their money often end up marrying those who like to spend more freely – much to the detriment of their marriage.

Generally speaking, we tend to be attracted to mates who look, think, and act like we do. But Rick’s work with couples suggests that most of us are really quite polarized when it comes to emotional reactions toward spending.

There’s no way around it, he says: Tightwads, who generally spend less than they would ideally like to, and spendthrifts, who generally spend more than they can handle, tend to marry each other.

Tightwads differ from the sensibly frugal, who enjoy saving and bring a righteous zeal to the exercise, in that they tend to be unhappy with their emotional reactions toward spending money – something Rick describes as the “pain of paying.”

Spendthrifts, on the other hand, don’t feel enough pain for their own good, leading them to splurge beyond their means.

What’s worse, the more dissatisfied we are, the more likely we are to be attracted to people with opposing views toward spending – leading to money squabbles and deeper relationships problems.

Tell us: Are you and your partner in sync when it comes to money?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...