Call it the latest move in the search for true love: the Paycheque Swap.
Funny guys may still win the girl, but a new study out of Germany found that modern women are more likely to put the earning power of a future spouse at the top of their wish list, hoping to balance the marital budget by finding a husband with a salary similar to theirs.
The women surveyed said they wanted to avoid fights over earning differences. The study, released by the Institute of German Economy in Cologne, also discovered that the number of German households in which one spouse earns substantially more than the other has declined in the country over the past 10 years. (Of course, the rising salaries of a highly educated generation of young women across the industrialized world likely has more to do with that than money-savvy husband selection.)
But the size of one's paycheque is often a delicate subject. A London School of Economics poll released in January caused feminine outrage with its finding that 64 per cent of women wanted a husband who made more than them. (And none wanted a husband who earned less.)
On the future road to happiness, however, balanced finances may be good strategy for marital bliss. Consider a Cornell University study from last August that found that men were more likely to cheat if their salaries were far lower than those of their female partners. The opposite was true for women: They were more likely to stray if they earned more than their spouses.
As it turns out, many of us are cooking the books anyway. In an online survey conducted by Harris Interactive earlier this year in the United States, three in 10 Americans admitted to committing some kind of "financial infidelity," including lying about debts or earnings. The most common lie at 58 per cent was hiding cash, according to Forbes.com, which commissioned the poll. (Among the other offences: another 16 per cent said they hid a major purchase, and 11 percent said they fibbed about their earnings.)
In the end though, an honest money talk was always better. Sixteen per cent of the couples said being deceptive about money resulted in a far greater expense: divorce.