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Weekend reading: Savers appeal to the opposite sex

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What caught my eye this week.

Academic research has confirmed what we obsessive savers already suspected – that we’re pretty damn attractive to the opposite sex.

As Jonathan Clements at The Humble Dollar reports:

Savers, both men and women, were viewed as more desirable romantic partners, because they’re perceived to have greater self-control.

In truth, it isn’t clear that good savings habits and greater overall self-control really are connected.

But because good savers are viewed that way, they’re seen as less likely to, say, lose their temper, drink too much, or be unfaithful.

It brings new meaning to the phrase “interest rate”, eh?

Form a queue please…

From Monevator

Book Review: Beyond the 4% RuleMonevator

Could global prime property be the canary in the goldmine? – Monevator

From the archive-ator: How to get a 13% return from RateSetterMonevator


Note: Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber.1

BOE Governor Mark Carney: Brexit could delay interest rate rises – BBC

Half of high net worth investors expect to live to 100 – Guardian

Buy-to-let sector being reshaped by tax changes – ThisIsMoney

One in three UK millennials will never own a home, report finds – Guardian

How a 32-year old turned $200 into a company he sold for $10m in a matter of months – CNBC

Each mooted Brexit deal will leave Britain worse off, study finds – Guardian

Products and services

Wyeland Bank’s new two-year fix tops saving table, pays 2.15% – ThisIsMoney

Ministers under fire as student loan interest rate hits 6.3% – Guardian

Beware “cheap” funeral plans that could leave your family out of pocket – ThisIsMoney

Vinyl records turn the tables for collectors and investors [Search result]FT

Scottish Power to increase energy prices by 5.5% – ThisIsMoney

Understanding the State Pension/NI fiasco – Young FI Guy

How much does a patio heater cost to run? – ThisIsMoney

Entrepreneur launches a website where you can raffle your house instead of selling it – ThisIsMoney

Comment and opinion

Stealing the golden years – A Teachable Moment

In the Land of the Lost – Of Dollars and Data

Five tax traps to avoid in retirement [Search result]FT

The recent success of momentum investing in the UK – Twitter

Merryn S-W: Payback time for QE looms [Search result]FT

Smart Beta ETFs don’t do what many investors believe they do – Factor Research

Would you pay £1,000 to go a wedding this summer? – The Pool

Forecast your misery to live a happier life – Financial Samurai

Cashflows as a guide to retirement planning – The Financial Bodyguard

Do big US endowment funds generate alpha, or just take more risk? – Abnormal Returns

Help! Ten years might not be enough for financial independence – 3652 Days

Bitcoin is worth… somewhere between $20 and $800,000 – Bloomberg

The yield curve is flattening. Eventually it will matter – The Macro Tourist

The biggest companies can be casualties of their own success – Morgan Housel

Entrepreneurs are ‘cherries’ and employees are ‘lemons’ – Steve Blank

Lars Kroijer on the truth about hedge funds and demystifying investment [Podcast]Marketing and Finance

There’s something you should know about fairness – The Escape Artist

Kindle book bargains

McMafia: Seriously Organized Crime by Misha Glenny – £0.99 on Kindle

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley Ph.D.– £0.99 on Kindle

ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever by David Fried – £0.99 on Kindle

Side Hustle: Build a Side Business and Make Extra Money – Without Quitting Your Day Job by Chris Guillebeau – £0.99 on Kindle

Off our beat

Why US Midwest cities are losing their accents – City Lab

People and the productivity paradox – Maudlin Economics

Stella McCartney: “Only 1% of clothing is recycled. What are we doing?”Guardian

Jerry Muller on the tyranny of metrics [Podcast]EconTalk

Flight/Wings (Xenogears 20th Anniversary Concert) [Video]YouTube

And finally…

“Remember, retirement planning for average life expectancy is quite risky – half the population outlives their expectancy.”
– Wade Pfau, How much can I spend in retirement?

Like these links? Subscribe to get them every Friday!

  1. Note some articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”. []
{ 28 comments… add one }
  • 1 Gaz April 20, 2018, 8:21 pm

    I’m curious, does anyone here budget for a monthly ‘no guilt’ spend? Sometimes I feel guilty after spending a bit of money on lunch when I normally bring pack lunch every day. I’m wondering if I plan to put aside a small amount of money to literally spend on anything it will help me get out of this mindset?

  • 2 dearieme April 20, 2018, 11:43 pm

    “Do big US endowment funds generate alpha, or just take more risk? ”

    Judging from his graph, by ‘risk’ he means annual standard deviation. I can’t see why an extremely wealthy perpetual corporation would find that a natural view to take. Then again, I don’t know what Yale is saving up for.

  • 3 dearieme April 20, 2018, 11:48 pm

    “Only 1% of clothing is recycled. What are we doing?”

    I’m wearing it until it’s got holes in it and then tearing it up for rags. A favourite shirt went to Valhalla just this morning.

  • 4 Chris April 21, 2018, 6:37 am

    @Gaz. I have something similar. I have a £20 monthly giveaway fund (and no, there is no application process). If I see someone in need or a fixable situation and £20 will help – I spend it without thinking about it. I have paid for someone’s train fare and topped up an unpopular colleague’s leaving present fund in the past (my contribution more than doubled it!)

    I never feel guilty about spending on new experiences (although will try and build in anticipation rather than make them spur of the moment), but try to defer purchases of stuff to see if I really want them.

  • 5 Ms ZiYou April 21, 2018, 7:25 am

    I’m not quite convinced on this savers are attractive to the opposite sex thing…..I tend to think it’s more of a bird of a feather flock together effect. But maybe that’s just cause I don’t spend a lot of money on frivolous things which naturally repels the spendy men

    And maybe it’s a sign of age, but I find it hilarious that hypothetical articles are now asking if people can cope with a 2% base rate! That is still tiny, and given how much the mortgage lending rules have been tightened recently, people should be ok with a small raise, no?

  • 6 Gaz April 21, 2018, 12:34 pm

    @Chris Interesting, thanks for the idea. Although I think I want to me more selfish and actually spend the money on myself without feeling guilty afterwards! I often wait and sleep on more expensive purchases so I know I really want it, but it’s the little things that I don’t actually need but are nice to have.

  • 7 hosimpson April 21, 2018, 2:44 pm

    Perhaps I should start wearing my Reliable Saver badge again 😉
    Not sure whether the results of Olson’s experiments are very meaningful outside the lab environment. “I save 60% of my income” would be a strange pickup line to hear. Of course, flinging money around is crass, so you can quickly filter our that portion of the dating pool, but when it comes to the rest, people don’t discuss their saving habits with someone they’ve barely met. I think bringing up money on the first few dates is … a little vulgar, and there’s something inherently cringey about the idea of being liked for any reason to do with money.
    I’m unconvinced.

  • 8 Neverland April 21, 2018, 3:55 pm

    Having perused a lot of blogs from obsessive savers, I think they generally fall into two types:

    – married with understanding spouse
    – single

    I can’t think of a single financial independence blogger (who I’ve read) who actually coupled up while saving half or more of their income

    Therefore I am rather skeptical about obsessive savers being attractive to the opposite sex…

    … however if you asked me whether rich people are attractive to the same/opposite sex…

    … well yes obvs

  • 9 YoungFiGuy April 21, 2018, 4:32 pm

    “Would you pay £1,000 to go a wedding this summer? – The Pool”
    I was quite shocked and looked at the underlying numbers – even if they are a bit ‘toppy’ – they aren’t unreasonable. I’d recommend my earlier advice, have a cheap wedding! If only for your guests sake!

  • 10 Ms ZiYou April 21, 2018, 4:38 pm

    @Neverland, you may be right there. Loads of blogs where people decided to save together, not many where frugal people attracted a spouse….

  • 11 FI Warrior April 21, 2018, 7:46 pm

    @Neverland, that is a very serious point, as a man, until a potential partner knows you, looking ‘careful’ is kryptonite to your chances, she’ll simply think you’re just not that into her; it definitely totaled one of my marriages.

    Being single for most of your life is understandably too harsh a penalty for most, so I reckon that must be a huge factor in even the financially savvy playing along as sucker consumers. It’s a more massive lack than peer pressure and family pressure to conform; having said that, the single portion of the population’s never been this high, though I don’t know if that’s just from being priced out of the mating game by ongoing austerity.

  • 12 Mousecatcher007 April 21, 2018, 9:14 pm

    What a fascinating article about US accents. I would never have stumbled upon it myself. Thank you, Mr Monevator.

  • 13 Steve April 22, 2018, 7:57 am

    I’m not sure about savers being attractive to the opposite sex.
    All of the women I’ve met spend obscene amounts of money on themselves and seem to desire men that do the same.
    Any mention of saving, investing, living frugally etc has always been met with boredom and scorn.
    They know that they won’t get a penny out of me and that makes me completely unattractive to them.

  • 14 Amit April 22, 2018, 8:23 am

    On reflection, I don’t think it is the spending or saving attribute in a person that appeals. The spender is described as an extrovert and the saver an introvert so there may be something there. Also I can see why the sex appeal of someone fully invested in their current self will be greater than someone budgeting for a future self. They would probably appear richer, uninhibited and in their prime, unaware and therefore unencumbered by what future holds for them.

  • 15 The Investor April 22, 2018, 9:02 am

    The research talks about a strong saving habit being seen as a proxy for control, and in my experience self-control *is* a very attractive trait with the opposite sex. I believe a lot of people get burned by going out with someone who hasn’t got control or willpower, and who does this or that to excess. Or perhaps they see it in a friend’s relationship and recoil, or perhaps even try to avoid what they saw in a parent.

    All my partners have mentioned my self-control as being one of my rarer and most attractive (/least appalling 😉 ) qualities.

    Of course you tend to underrate something that comes easily to you, and perhaps the sort of people who’d read this blog think a high level of self-determination is more commonplace than it is.

    And obviously I sometimes eat too much or skip a running session (or spend too much on a flat at the tail end of a housing bubble… 😐 ) and lambast myself for it. But that is the self-control feedback in action I guess.

    Thinking about it, I’ve also avoided getting involved with various potential out-of-control situations, including pretty much someone just being in debt when older than 25…

    Wildness, emotional excess, and extreme unpredictability are attractive qualities. For about a week. Ideally experienced in your late teens or early 20s. Preferably with somebody French.

  • 16 Neverland April 22, 2018, 9:37 am


    Why not drop the coy hints about “great self-control” and retitle the blog “MrLoverMan”*

    Who knows you might get more traffic

    *specialing in foreign women

  • 17 TheFIJourney April 22, 2018, 12:40 pm

    Hehe at self-control being one of your least most appalling features… I have had women who think my interesting in finance and saving for FI is cool and boring/life limiting.

    I think the article about how 1 in 3 millennial will never own a home was interesting, almost all my friends are currently renting barring one or two that have just managed to get a mortgage but these mortgages are 30/35 years in length.


  • 18 hosimpson April 22, 2018, 7:44 pm

    (or spend too much on a flat at the tail end of a housing bubble… ) and lambast myself for it

    Don’t lambast yourself for it.
    First of all, anyone who bought property in London in the last 15 years paid too much. Just sayin’. More importantly though – second (of all) – if you think that your being a saver makes you attractive to the opposite sex by projecting reliability, self-restraint or whatever other desirable qualities you think that projects, then owning property in London should make you practically irresistible – especially to the 1 in 3 millennials who’ll never own a home.
    #brightsideoflife 😉
    Also, it’s so much easier to make people aware of the fact that you own your place in a socially acceptable manner (and without looking like you’re trying too hard) than informing them of your saving habits. For example, they ask you what your plans are for the weekend/ tomorrow / this evening. You say: “Oh, unpacking, probably. You see, I bought a flat last [insert time] and I still have a few boxes I haven’t gotten to. Unless I find an excuse / something better to do, I recon I’ll have to just get it over with. Don’t you think moving house is a pain in the ass?” (Or something along these lines).
    You know how back in the 90s glossy magazines were full of tips how a guy was supposed to flash his Breitling to make females desire him (I think J Lo might’ve even written a song about it). Well, forget all that nonsense about timeless Swiss engineering – nowadays you buy a book in DIY, and you carry it with you 😀 .

  • 19 hosimpson April 22, 2018, 7:48 pm

    *book on DIY. You need an edit comment button (or I need a grammar checker).

  • 20 dearieme April 22, 2018, 8:19 pm

    “but these mortgages are 30/35 years in length”: seems reasonable; life expectancies have risen a long way.

  • 21 The Investor April 22, 2018, 9:46 pm

    @hosimpson — A few people have suggested that but I’m very unlikely to add an edit button because sadly trolls abuse them, and change what they say afterwards. (I’ll *possibly* add one that gives a 3-minute edit window, but it’s a lot of faff really.)

  • 22 Pinch April 22, 2018, 10:33 pm

    @Gaz #1
    I budget £50 per month as “Spending Money” / “Pocket Money” – whatever you want to call it – to be used for lattes at Starbucks or coffee/occasional lunch at work or whatever else.

    Most of the time though I find that I have only spend some of it and the rest goes either into one of my savings accounts or into shares in the following month.

  • 23 Troy @ Bull Markets April 23, 2018, 12:21 am

    Well I think it depends on the person really. My wife really likes the fact that I’m frugal (because she is too). But a lot of girls are all about the bling.

  • 24 Mr. Income Master April 23, 2018, 2:10 am

    Definitely depends on the person. If your partner is a big spender, they generally will like it if you are looser with your spending as well so 1) They don’t feel guilty as you’re doing it too and 2) so they have more chance of having things bought for them.

  • 25 The Rhino April 23, 2018, 9:12 am

    @HS, TI – definitely don’t add the capability to edit comments. Its very unpleasant when people retroactively edit conversation threads. Its happened at another well known UK FI Blog and based on that I’d say you certainly don’t want it over here.

  • 26 Little Miss Fire April 23, 2018, 2:26 pm

    I love the interest rates! Surely that’s a reason to save in itself! 🙂 I am surprised though since we are now more consumeristic as a society.

  • 27 AAJ April 25, 2018, 2:44 pm

    Couples who are a good match usually share a common path in life. Past experiences and background, political or religious beliefs and so you’d expect frugal people to gravitate towards frugal people. I can’t see my frugality working any magic on the cast of TOWIE. However, it did work on the Mrs who was quite impressed when I turned up on a date with a homemade cheese and tomato sandwich 🙂

  • 28 Learner April 25, 2018, 9:43 pm

    @dearieme true, life expectancy increase is astonishing. Roughly +3 years every decade! However I seriously doubt there will be a matching expansion of employment opportunities for those over 50.

    Not that many of these first-time buyers with 35 year mortgages will be holding it to completion. If that’s what it takes to get manageable repayments for a few years, so be it.

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