Is Frugal Sexy? Men and Women Disagree

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If you’re a woman looking for that special man, a low credit-card balance might be sexier than a low-cut dress, says a new study. And if you’re a man looking for that special woman, throwing your money around may be more impressive than lifting weights.

Those are the findings from online banker ING Direct USA, which says 61 percent of men find a frugal blind date to be both “smart” and “sexy.” But women sure don’t.

Only 44 percent of women say frugal dates are smart and sexy. In fact, 17 percent of women call a frugal blind date “boring” compared to 13 percent of men. And women are twice as likely to get upset by a partner who spends too little on them.

But men and women in the surveyed did agree on one thing – 68 percent said women are better at managing household bills and spending. Other intriguing stats…

  • Men are more likely to get upset about losing a job (46 percent) than about an unfaithful spouse (39 percent) while women would be more upset about an unfaithful spouse (44 percent) than losing a job (40 percent).
  • Women are more likely to get upset about gaining weight (30 percent) than accumulating debt (27 percent), while men said they’d be more upset about accumulating debt (34 percent) than gaining weight (24 percent).
  • Women are less willing to give up chocolate and shopping (39 percent) than they are sex and alcohol (16 percent) to eliminate debt.

Of course, the women-vs.-men debate is an old one, even when it comes to finances.

“We know that taking sides in a female-versus-male debate generally isn’t a good idea, but this time, we agree that being a saver is smart,” says Arkadi Kuhlmann, ING Direct USA’s president and CEO. “Transparency about your money habits and low credit card debt can prevent money disagreements and help build long term trust in a relationship.”

Even therapists agree that the reason men and women argue about money has more to do with the way they communicate than the way they spend. Psychology Today magazine wrote…

When two individuals form an enduring relationship with each other, money is always a partner, too. In these liberated times, couples discuss many things before marriage, but the meaning of money is not one of them. Money is still a taboo topic.

If partners spoke candidly about money, they could split the financial chores to play to their own strengths. For instance, a survey last year [PDF] by financial education company Financial Finesse found that 71 percent of men agree with this statement: “I have a handle on my cash flow, so I spend less than I make each month.” But only 51 percent of women in the survey said the same.

One thing’s for sure: talking about money with your mate – if not your date – is definitely a good idea. Check out our story Money and Marriage: Like a Horse and Carriage.

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