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September 11, 2021

Which would you rather be in a relationship with ... a saver or a spender?

Most people would rather be in a romantic relationship with someone who prefers to save money rather than partner with a big spender, according to a recent ING study.

What’s interesting is that the results of this poll mirrors other studies on the topic.

For instance, researchers found that online daters are more likely to describe themselves as a saver on their dating profile than they are in a private questionnaire.

This suggests people are aware that savers come across as attractive partners and are willing to highlight spendthrift ways – even if it stretches the truth, the study suggests: "Savers are naturally viewed as possessing greater general self-control, which increases their romantic and physical attractiveness."

Do opposites attract? Often, it seems. Another study suggests that tightwads and spendthrifts tend to marry each other, despite their differences.

One reason they get together may be that they don't like their own typical spending behaviour. Tightwads aren't people who just spend small amounts of money. They're actually pained by their inability to spend when they should. Similarly, spendthrifts are pained by their inability to save.

Savers typically see themselves as the adult in the relationship while spenders tend to view themselves as providing the needed spark to keep things working.

Either way, making things work is never easy, largely because money arguments encompass more than just finances.

"Money doesn't just represent money; it represents love, power, control, self-esteem, freedom," says money coach Olivia Mellan, the author of "Money Harmony: Resolving Money Conflicts in Your Life and Relationships."

If each partner is aware of the other's spending style and the lines of communication remain open, each person will have a better idea of where the other one is coming from and will be less polarized, she adds. 

If you're lucky, the spender eventually realizes that listening more closely to the saver makes taking that dream vacation in a year or so a bit more likely. The saver discovers that there's more to life than stashing every cent you make in the bank. 

Which would you rather be in a relationship with, a saver or a spender? How are things working out so far?

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...