In matters of love, humor beats money


You read the title of this blog correctly. When choosing a mate, a lot of people tend to be drawn to a person with an appealing sense of humor as opposed to someone who has money saved.

Surprised? Me too, especially since many of us have assumed that it is money that talks, and money that changes everything, when looking for a mate.

Guess we should have checked out our assumptions with the researchers at Bank of America (BOA). In April, those researchers surveyed 1,000 mass affluent Americans who have $50,000 to $250,000 in investable assets. This was for a survey that BOA recently published in its Merrill Edge Report.

Many of the survey questions were about retirement, but a few of them touched on that delicate area of money and mating — specifically, the role that finances play in relationships. What they found is that, overall, three-fourths (74 percent) of the mass affluent are most likely to be drawn to someone with an appealing sense of humor.

Another charmer was someone with whom they have chemistry (66 percent).

It’s downhill after that: Only half of the mass affluent said they are attracted to someone with financial stability (49 percent). And, ee-gads, only one-fifth (20 percent) said they are attracted to someone with money saved up.

“What?” I said to myself when I read those answers. “Does everything these individuals ever learned about money and mating just fly out the window when Mr. or Ms. Funny comes along? Is saving money a turnoff? Really?”

Well, not entirely.

When the researchers evaluated the results by gender, they found good-ole common sense rearing its economical head. Specifically, they found that women are more than twice as likely as men to be attracted to someone with a stable job (51 percent versus 24 percent). Women are also almost twice as likely to be attracted to someone who has financial stability (64 percent versus 33 percent).

But sense of humor still trumped all the other factors for both women and men.

Putting it together, 75 percent of women said they look for mates who have a sense of humor and 64 percent look for mates who have financial stability. Meanwhile, 73 percent of men favor mates who have a sense of humor and 70 percent look for someone with whom they share chemistry.

Advisors might want to keep those findings in mind when working with clients who are looking for a mate. If a woman is all ga-ga over the wry one in IT, or if a male client is all wowzie over the witty one in the local coffee shop, how about asking — ever so gently — if the relationship is, “um, serious.”

If the answer is yes, that could open up an opportunity to review client attitudes on money, spending, saving, etc., or at least open the door to the discussion of the role of money between mates. Sometimes all it might take is a nudge — said humorously, of course.


Linda Koco, MBA, is a contributing editor to InsuranceNewsNet, specializing in life insurance, annuities and income planning. Connect with Linda →

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