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I say tomato, you say toh-ma-to!

August 28th, 2009 at 02:33 pm

Recent research by scientists at the University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern University suggests that people tend to seek out their opposites in spending patterns. The researchers also determined that people self identify that they would be happiest with people of their own spending patterns -but the research suggests that people do not actively seek out partners who share their financial outlook.

The researchers noted that the findings suggest that we dislike aspects of our own spending patterns and unconsiously look for partners who believe differently. For example, thinking: "he makes me feel so free" or "she reins me in -I feel more responsible"

Unfortunately, partners who do not share a like outlook on finances are more likely to have marital conflict, and divorce.

(the abstract of the paper is here: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1339240)

My husband and I are probably fiancial opposites, but rarely fight about finances, because he's taken the "Yes, dear" approach. That, and we can talk about finances without getting mad or accusatory (mostly!).

So, in the spirit of the study: is your partner your financial opposite?

8 Responses to “I say tomato, you say toh-ma-to!”

  1. mrs. Says:


    My DH and I are polar opposites - he worries about the big picture and I worry about the nitty gritty. He also has had the attitude "I make the money, you manage it" which left me feeling isolated and frustrated. This past summer we attended a 7 Steps to Finanical Freedom sponsored by our parish, and while it didn't change our polarity, it did facilitate communication and discussion which led to greater insight as to where the other is coming from. It has also given us the opportunity to have a shared vision for our finances. Now he is more aware of the day-to-day details of the budget and I am more aware of our networth. I think understanding one's patterns and POV will help bridge most discourse.

  2. Broken Arrow Says:

    Interesting. I don't disagree with such a study, but I prefer a woman who thinks exactly as I do when it comes to financial matters. That's because, unlike the people cited in the study, I LIKE my financial habits. Therefore I would like to find someone who shares the same beliefs and interests as I do.

    It's similar in concept as believing in religion or any other area of strong interest, and then wanting to find someone who shares that interest.

    The only time, I find, where things are best suited to be opposites, is in personality.

  3. Jerry Says:

    My wife and I have both similarities and differences in our fiscal views, but I think that time and experience leads us to be more alike than different in that regard. We are both bargain hunters, we both appreciate nice things but refuse to pay through the nose for them, even if we have the money. We will search together to get the best deal on whatever we are looking for... insurance, groceries, clothes (well, not so much clothes - we still try to find a good deal, but we buy those on our own.). I do agree that financial strife can be a huge reason for divorce.
    Jerry

  4. Ima saver Says:

    My husband tends to have the same views on money as I do, thank goodness.

  5. monkeymama Says:

    IT's very interesting.

    My husband and I pretty much have the same financial personality.

    Come to think of it, most of my friends and family are also very similar. I don't think I ever even dated a "spender" or opposite type. I am attracted to people with opposite personalities, no doubt. But apparently not so much to people with different money tendencies. I like practical people.

    I've probably never met anyone with such the SAME view as money as my dh. We were raised similarly and have been together since age 18. Most of our views on money have evolved since we have been together - no doubt why we are so extremely similar.

  6. Caoineag Says:

    Hmm...hard to say. I wouldn't classify my DH as a spender or a saver and I classify myself as a spender who wishes to do better so I would say that we are fairly similar.

  7. NJDebbie Says:

    My husband is a tightwad and I consider myself frugal, but I don't nickel and dime all everything. I believe in saving for a rainy day, but my hubby wants to take his money to his grave and it seems to be the reason of our contention. A few weeks ago I had a long talk with him about holding on to money and not enjoy life and ever since then he's been trying very hard to change his ways.

  8. lizajane Says:

    Hmmm. I didn't read the article, but I think DH and I are pretty opposite. I think I was born saving money and shopping for deals. He likes the deals but does not save money well. Growing up, they didn't really HAVE any money to save, so it wasn't taught at an early age. Although...I say that and then recall that at various times in our marriage he has accumulated quite a stash in his wallet and saved it for specific big-ticket items. So, maybe my analysis isn't 100% accurate. But it does seem that we're not very closely aligned in our money thoughts. And, yes, it's been the one thing we've fought the most over in our marriage.

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