In this new economy is a frugal date a turn-on...or a turn-off? Well, a new survey suggests that depends on your gender.
That's right. Two thirds of the men surveyed by ING Direct USA said they'd consider a frugal blind date to be sexy. But less than half the women agreed--with a third actually comparing frugality with stinginess.
So why the big difference in the sexes when it comes to pinching pennies? We asked Reeta Wolfsohn, CMSW, and founder of the Center for Financial Social Work who deals with gender issues in finances on a day-to-day basis.
"Women traditionally equate money/spending with love and caring, i.e., “emotional spending”," she says. "While men equate money with success and achievement, which is why women like to be “lavished” with gifts, and men prefer to hang onto their money (accumulate wealth.)"
But it goes further than just dating habits, she says. Men and women tend to approach money differently in every aspect of life. "Women tend to have a more ‘now’ approach to money, spending to nurture others and to improve how they, or others, feel," she explains. "Men have a more future oriented approach to money and tend to spend on assets (home, stocks, etc..)"
And the current economy doesn't help matters. "It has created a great deal of financial insecurity and instability which tends to further entrench men and women in their financial beliefs," says Wolfsohn. "At the same time, it increases financial stress and worry which oddly enough results in overspending (in the belief that this will make one feel better) or hoarding – to create a sense of having enough."
Related: Would You Date A Guy Who Is Broke?
In addition to frugal vs. ‘spendy,’ the ING survey also looked at how men and women weigh personal issues versus financial ones. Women were found to be more upset by personal stresses--such as a cheating husband--than financial stresses--such as losing one's job. Men were just the opposite--they'd rather suffer a personal setback than a financial one.
Wolfsohn doesn't find this surprising. "Women spend their personal time nurturing and caregiving to family, friends and others, not on accumulating wealth or assets," she says. "As a result, women care more about people and feelings than debt or money."
However, she stresses, it's important to remember that these are broad generalizations. And it really comes down to the individual, regardless of their gender. "Each person’s sense of self is very heavily influenced/determined by his/her financial circumstances."
So whether you're a man or a woman-- frugal or spendaholic -- Wolfsohn offers these 10 practical steps to help take control of your money and gain control of your life. Check them out here!