Gentlemen, feeling a little financially overextended? Well, before you ring up $5,000 on your credit card for a 60-inch plasma TV, think about who you’re trying to impress with your purchase. A University of Michigan researcher found that the degree of financial consumption of men ages 18 to 45 was directly related to future mating intentions and past mating success. It all boils down to making babies—men overspend to attract mates.
Financial consumption was the only factor that predicted how many partners men wanted in the next five years and also predicted how many partners they had in the previous five years. Marriage made a difference in the frequency of one-time sexual partners in the last year, but not in the number of partners in the past or the number desired in the future.
Twenty-five percent of men with the most conservative financial strategies had an average of three partners in the past five years and desired an average of just one partner in the next five years. The 2 percent of men with the riskiest financial strategies had double those numbers.
Researcher Daniel Kruger says that the findings suggest men overextend because they’re in a status race. Men have expectations that spiral upward as they make more money and want to show that they’re better than average—even if that means spending what they don’t have.
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