(Family Features) The way someone saves and spends money can tell you a lot about them, and it can also impact how one chooses a future partner.
In fact, according to an April 2014 Valpak® Consumer Survey, 74 percent of panelists said they find people who save money responsibly more attractive, which is sparking a new relationship trend — savers, not spenders — are the new sexy. While expensive getaways and lavish gifts are nice to fantasize about, couples are finding enjoyment in celebrating the savings and practicing smart budgeting together.
With wedding season well underway this summer, and the national average wedding spend at an all-time high, the topic of money savings is front-and-center with couples nationwide. Renowned relationship expert Dr. Terri Orbuch, better known as The Love Doctor®, is the director of a landmark study called “The Early Years of Marriage Project,” funded by the National Institutes of Health. In her research, she has followed the same 373 married couples for more than 27 years.
“When couples don’t talk openly about money, it can become a sensitive subject and lead to conflict,” said Dr. Orbuch. “As a result, couples learn to avoid serious money conversations that need to happen.”
Four easy steps
Dr. Orbuch has developed four simple money strategies to foster a healthier relationship based on her expert research and observation of couples for more than two decades.
Don’t let finances come between you
My research shows that in the early years of a relationship, money is the number one source of conflict. Too often, disagreements about finances have little to do with the money itself and more to do with other issues within the relationship. When a financial issue comes up, ask yourself if it’s really a money problem or if it’s a relationship problem. Think carefully as you discuss money issues with your partner to make sure there isn’t a larger problem at the core.
Focus on smart saving
Studies show that being financially responsible (or saving smart) can increase the romantic desire between you and your partner. People who focus on saving smart are seen as more desirable and attractive, than those who spend excessively. This is because savers are viewed as responsible, trustworthy and more committed to the relationship.
Have a direct and specific conversation
When you sit down with your partner to have a “money chat,” start with simple, direct questions like, “What are we spending?” or “How can we save?” If talking about money is new or difficult for you as a couple, start with this approach. If one person in the couple is more familiar with handling finances, keep the language as straightforward as possible with a positive tone.
Keep things exciting and new