Fatal (fiscal) attraction: Spendthrifts and tightwads in marriage

Scott I. Rick, Deborah A. Small, Eli J. Finkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Although much research has found that &qout;birds of a feather flock together,&qout; the authors suggest that opposltes tend to attract when it comes to certain spending tendencies; 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. Despite this complementary attraction, tightwad-spendthrift differences within a marriage predict conflict over finances, which in turn predicts diminished marital well-being. These relationships persist when controlling for important financial outcomes (household-level savings and credit card debt). These findings underscore the importance of studying the relationships among money, consumption, and happiness at an interpersonal level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-237
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011


  • Consumer behavior
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Marriage
  • Personal finance
  • Spousal decision making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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