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Let’s bury the ‘women are spendthrifts’ narrative in personal finance

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A recent study suggests that money is the top reason for strains in a relationship, ahead of differing goals for the future, career decisions, politics and kids. What's the top predictor of a disagreement about money? A husband thinking his wife spends too much.

Meanwhile, the biggest contribution to stress for wives was having a husband who sees them as a spendthrift. The idea that women are avid, free-spending shoppers seems to be ingrained in our thinking about money. Based on a recent experience at a drugstore, I would like to suggest that there's no difference between men and women as spenders and consumers.

Buying some razors, I noticed a new shelf of skin care products for men. Shaving cream used to be the only choice. Now, there are lots of products for moisturizing leathery, macho faces that used to go au natural. Clearly, men are now buying some of the same facial-care products as women. Might men as interested in shopping and buying stuff than women overall?

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Think of the German cars men buy, the carbon fibre bikes, the 20-year-old scotch, the gimmicky golf clubs, the skinny pants and the stylin' short-back-and-sides haircuts. Guys, you like to spend just as much as women. Accept it and stop acting like your wife is the guilty one.

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Rob's personal finance reading list…

Serve up a nicer kitchen to sell your house
Strategic kitchen facelifts that can raise the value of your home. It's noted here that full reno jobs in a kitchen don't always produce high returns.

Why you should stop buying your lunch
All the usual excuses for not making your own lunch and instead buying it are explained here. I almost always bring my own lunch to work.

Students and taxes
Canada Revenue Agency offers a useful rundown of tax issues for young adults who worked all summer and have headed back to school.

Own a rental property? Don't make these mistakes
Must reading for current or would-be landlords on the rules that must be followed with respect to tenants.

Today's featured financial tool
Trying to get pay down multiple debts? This debt planner can help you strategize.

Ask Rob
The question: "Would you please explain the significance of holding U.S. dividend stocks in any account – non-registered, RRSP or TFSA?"

The answer: "This tax guide may help – it's aimed at ETF investors, but it does address how U.S. dividends in general are handled in various types of accounts."

In case you missed these Globe and Mail personal finance stories
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- How to survive rising rates: A seven-point guide for bond investors (for Globe Unlimited subscribers).

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