Author Manisha Thakor looks at Tell-Tell Spending Habits

SUSIE GHARIB: In the “Money File” tonight: your relationship, and your relationship with money. Here’s Manisha Thakor, author of “On My Own Two Feet: A Modern Girl’s Guide to Personal Finance.”

MANISHA THAKOR, CFA & CO-AUTHOR, “ON MY OWN TWO FEET”: Last week, my hubby and I had dinner with our dear friends, Harry and Olivia. Towards the end of the meal, Harry asked a very interesting question: When you pick up a menu, what side do you look at first, the right or the left? Harry and I both immediately said the right while my hubby and Olivia both said the left. Now, what’s on the right side of a menu? Why, the prices! And what’s listed on the left of the menu? The food! Harry’s question beautifully highlights a trend academics have long noticed, namely that we are often attracted to our financial opposites when it comes to financial behavior. It turns out there’s something intoxicating about “financial otherness,” especially in the early stages of courtship. That’s why so many savers end up marrying spenders and vice-versa.

Our dinner conversation inspired me to consider other areas of our finances where behavioral patterns play a significant role. Digging around, I was thrilled to discover fresh insights from Carl Richards in his new book, “The Behavior GapSimple Ways to Stop Doing Dumb Things with Money.”

Reading “The Behavior Gap ” reminded me that one upside to this choppy economy is that it’s a great catalyst for thinking about whether there are any financial habits you want to adjust to increase your happiness. I’m Manisha Thakor.

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