Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I am not sure I would have predicted this

A new article:
Although much research finds that "birds of a feather flock together," surveys of married adults suggest that opposites attract when it comes to emotional reactions toward spending. That is, "tightwads," who generally spend less than they would ideally like to spend, and "spendthrifts," who generally spend more than they would ideally like to spend, tend to marry each other, consistent with the notion that people are attracted to mates who possess characteristics dissimilar to those they deplore in themselves (Klohnen and Mendelsohn 1998). In spite of this complementary attraction, spendthrift/tightwad differences within a marriage predict conflict over finances, which in turn predict diminished marital well-being. These findings underscore the importance of studying the relationships between money, consumption, and happiness at an interpersonal level.

I think this is somewhat surprising. On the one hand, it makes sense that perhaps people would be attracted to people with opposite spending preferences. The spendthrift feels guilty about spending and is hoping their partner would constrain them (or perhaps they are looking to mooch off the other persons savings). The saver enjoys the thrill of someone who is willing to spend money freely. However, in the end, this seems like a recipe for lots of fighting as people ultimately return to type. Whatever gains may be found in the reasons I suggest have got to be dominated by the losses of fighting over money.

When its time for me to get married I would prefer my wifey to be more concerned with spending too much because I am more on the side of buying nicer things. The reason for this is b/c I would like someone opposite as me so there is a balance. I think if both the husband and wife both like heavy spending they could run into financial issues.
On the other hand I could see how opposite views on spending could really cause a problem, like if I wanted to buy BMW and my wife said buy a Kia.
I think for me, opposites attract.
My experience suggests otherwise. The stingiest person I know married the third stingiest person I know. But, I have to agree with Abe. When it's time for me to have a family, I would rather have a spend-cautious wife. But, when it's time to buy a BMW, i would stick with it.
I think my wife and I are the exception to this prediction. I'm the tightwad and she is the spendthrift. Whenever we go out, she is always able to find some cute outfit or pair of shoes and spends the money to purchase them, which is fine because she is rational. If we have the money, theres no big deal, if we dont then she wont buy it even without me there to tell her no. With that in mind, we cant be the only rational couple in the market so this kind of leads me to believe that the study may be biased toward broken marriages that resulted from financial issues...People should just be open and honest as to one another's expectations with each other and there wouldn't be a problem with marital finances.
I'm not sure what to make of this study. It does make some sense, but at the same time I wonder if a person's spending habits are a major part of the selection process for a potential girlfriend/boyfriend or husband/wife. I think that spending habits might be just one aspect of someone's personality, which is a much bigger part of the selection process. For example, a male that spends a lot of money on expensive clothing or flashy cars (like the C.E.O. of a company or a professional athlete), usually carries himself with a noticeable swagger. I believe it is the confident and often arrogant attitude of the "big spender" that makes him attractive to some women more so than the actual spending does.
Paula Abdul says it best in her song "Opposites Attract"! Why would enter into a relationship with someone who is just like you. Granted, you need a few characteristics in common but how are you to experience other opportunities unless you mingle with those who are different than yourself. People are curious about the unknown, and the unknown is exciting. Yes, this does carry through in finances as well. Why would a "tighwad", save his whole life just to die and not take part in any excitement or increase his utility. That is inefficient, so to maximize he needs a partner who helps him increase utility and less dead weight loss, yet this will not happen if he meets another "tighwad". Gonna go watch "Pretty Women".
This article makes sense if you keep in mind that it only addresses attraction and mentions nothing about long-term compatibility. The common cliche that people always want what they can't have would most aptly describe this phenomenon, though in this case it is an individual desiring what he/she is not in terms of personal characteristics.
I feel like in my relationship I am the more aware of my finances and keep a good budget compared to my girlfriend, but she also spends money on things that she feels makes her self look good, clothes, make up, shoes, or whatever it may be. It could be that the bigger spenders are more concerned with keeping up on looks, and the tighter people like that so they are attracted to them and let them spend the money on whatever they want because they gain utility from looking at them.
People usually want to get the thing that they don't have, and they are attracted with others who have things that someone doesn't have. In this sense, I agree with this and in my experience, I was attracted with someone who have things that I didn't have. However, this financial case causes sometimes a big trouble. The value of spending money is important value for me so if I was attracted with someone but she was "spendthrift", I really don't get along with her. But, women usually spend their money to buy some clothes and accessories and It's understandable for me so in this case, I deem acceptable.
My husband and I both enjoy consuming the finest things in life. Seeing as that is,it could impose a financial problem. I have seen financial trouble ruin relationships. It has been important to me not to let money be the cause of a failed relationship or be the cause of an argument. For that reason, I have made sure that I am more of the tightwad than the spendthrifter. For the majority, we consult with each other before making a big purchase. But we are rationale people and don't need to consult each other for every little purchase we make. This being said, I think people can have similar spending interest they just need to know how and when to spend it. We have been together for 8 years and 4 of which we have lived together and are yet to fight over money.
I think that a relationship between a spendthrift and a saver can work. I have seen a lot of people that are that way. I think that even though their may be some small fights, both people know that this is coming and like was mentioned in this post, the spender benefits from getting a limit and a little extra spending money and the saver might have a little bit more fun.
Of course that having a spend cautious wife is much better than a spend randomly wife. When the time comes to me, I will pick a totally different person than me and the perosn can limited me to do something worng. It's only my prdiction and my mom always says that when love comes, there is no choice for you.
It seems like if a spendthrift and a tightwad would be able to work out their problems effectively that this would be the perfect balance for each. Seems like sort of a big risk to take though because finances can be such a crucial part of a relashonship.
This research is definitely surprising to me. In my relationship, my boyfriend and I have very similar spending habits. I would figure that if one person in the relationship was a tightwad and the other was a spendthrift, there would be the potential for many fights and arguments over financial issues. I can see how opposites can attract in other cases such as appearances, but when it comes to finances, I would think that both individuals would need to be on the same page.
This study is interesting, the idea that people are attracted to mates with opposite spending habits seems like an odd thing to look for in a partner. Not to rely too heavily on stereotypes but i think that it is safe to say that in general women enjoy shopping much more than men, which seems like a better explanation for these findings.
There are so many reasons people get married. A lot of people settle and don't experience different relationships so partner spending habits are mostly random. Others marry for love while many marry for practical reasons despite lack of chemistry. I do believe opposites attract but the attraction can waver and a longing for similarities may develop or vice versa. I find it hard to believe that people are attracted to people who specifically have opposite spending habits. Instead, it would make more sense that people who are thrifty tend to be in general more careful and conservative and may be attracted to people who are more willing to take risk and be more spontaneous or vice versa. Whatever the case may be I think that most people fall somewhere in between. Personally, I would like a partner who shares common interests but also is different from me enough so it's more interesting. As far as spending habits, I prefer a responsible spender who does not spend beyond their means but also doesn't mind throwing down some cash every once in a while!
While the spending habits aspect of the article are interesting, the notion that opposites attracting, leading to future problems raises an interesting topic of discussion. I have never really thought of the future consequences of opposites attracting. It kind of scares me because I find myself falling into that same notion. I think future problems can be dodged if they are discussed prior to the future inevitably occurring.
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