Ten Money Questions for Dan Savage
Dan Savage writes a nationally syndicated sex-advice column called “Savage Love” that is read by more than 4 million people each week. Sex is the juicy part, but often times, financial compatibility can be just as significant in the success of a relationship. I asked Dan a few questions about money, couples and kids.
1. In your book, The Kid, you write that children keep us relevant. They also cost a heck of a lot of money to raise. Are they worth the expense?
Well, i think so. What else would I spend my money on? Leather pants and party drugs? Past, oh, age 33, a man looks ridiculous wearing leather pants, to say nothing of huge black pupils.
2. What is your worst habit around finances?
Do I have to settle on one thing? I’ve never been able to keep a checkbook. I never get my taxes done on time. I don’t know where any of my financial records are, and wouldn’t be able to produce my mortgage statements if I needed them.
3. Do you and your partner see eye-to-eye on money?
Only when we’re screaming at each other. I don’t spend money. I own one pair of jeans, one pair of shoes. I wash my jeans a lot, so I’m not a stinky freak. But I just don’t like shopping – I find the process of spending money to be a painful bore. He, on the other hand, lives to spend money. And it can be a real issue between us.
4. If you could buy one thing right now what would it be?
Uh. I’m in a cafe, writing, and just had a cookie. I’d like another one, but I don’t want to get fat – can’t, actually, as I only own one pair of jeans.
5. What is your most significant memory about money?
My parents being stressed out about not having enough – they had four kids, in Catholic schools and braces, on a Chicago cop’s salary. I think those memories turned me into a driven workaholic. My parents worked hard too, don’t get me wrong. But they never got ahead. I guess I’ve had a little more luck in my working life than they had in theirs.
6. What advice would you give couples that fight about money?
Oh, man. Spending less is always better than spending more, but that could just be my personal bias. As with any issue in a long-term relationship, you have to hammer out compromises you can both live with. You both have to give. My boyfriend spends less than he would like to, but more than I would like him to. Often with same-sex couples there’s an income imbalance, and that can lead to weird game playing. I feel that two people have to pool their resources and treat money as “theirs,” not “his money over here and my money over there.” Keeping track of who owns and/or owes what is toxic.
7. Which is more important: how much you make or how you spend it?
How you spend it, for sure. Folks make money ethically and spend it carefully – so says the man who has never once balanced his checkbook.
8. For same-sex couples, who should pay on the first date?
The one who asked the other person out, of course. On the second date, the one treated first treats.
9. What did your mother teach you about money?
That you need to have some.
10. Does money buy happiness?
Nope. But it buys beer, which is close enough.
More about Dan Savage:
Queercents could have written a paragraph about Dan but it seemed easier and hipper to pull from his Wikipedia definition. After all, how many people actually have a Wiki-page?
“Daniel Savage is an openly gay American sex advice columnist, author, media pundit, journalist and newspaper editor whose strong opinions pointedly clash with both traditional conservative moral values and those put forth by what Savage has been known to call the ‘gay establishment.’ His internationally syndicated relationship and sex advice column is Savage Love. Its tone is humorous, profane, and on occasion hostile to conservative opponents, as in the Santorum controversy.”
“In addition to authoring four books, Savage is currently the editor of the Seattle weekly newspaper The Stranger and a contributor to This American Life, an hour-long radio show on Chicago’s WBEZ syndicated by PRI.”
Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.