Can buy you love?

You may think your life is a success story but that does not necessarily mean a woman sees it the same way. Grant Woodward reports.

THEY may have sung that money can't buy us love but surely even The Beatles would have to accept that is not always the case.

After all, how else do you explain Ringo Starr ending up with a Bond girl?

The truth is that financial matters can play a big part in a relationship. Research carried out by UK firm National Savings and Investments shows that many women agree.

More than half of those surveyed in the Yorkshire region said they considered financial security to be important to relationships.

Trend

They did buck the national trend with two-fifths of those surveyed saying good looks were important in a partner compared to 32 per cent who said they preferred a healthy bank balance.

But they also said that they only considered a man to be successful and wealthy when his annual salary hit an average of a whopping 41,273.

Even more worrying for men is the fact that the region's women are only impressed by a savings pot of 24,992 – the UK's highest figure.

"Our findings show that finances form a very important part of relationship dynamics," says Dax Harkins, senior savings strategist at NS&I.

"This is reflected in the expectations people have, both in terms of salary and savings levels. Maybe people do believe they can buy happiness after all."

So just how are men meant to achieve the financial security that women crave?

Well, climbing the corporate ladder might do the trick.

Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that the real earning power lies not in productive capacity or wealth creation, but in management and administration.

However, the decline of British industry means that manufacturing jobs are relatively poorly paid compared to other professions, with the bulk of employees working in the service sector.

Indeed, production and works managers come as far down as 29th in the league of the country's highest earners, well below advertisers, IT professionals and senior police officers.

The biggest gains in the salary stakes last year were made by doctors, who on average took home 81,744, making theirs the second-best paid job in Britain.

But if it's too late to swap careers then maybe it's time to start saving instead.

Although men in the UK have an average of 20,335 in savings, that falls well short of women's expectations – despite the fact that women have 5,000 less in savings, averaging 14,167.

Kate Maycock from Relate, believes financial security can go a long toward building a healthy foundation for a relationship. "Two people are unlikely to exactly agree on what is a healthy nest-egg and what is a financial crisis," she says.

"Accept that you will not change your partner's attitude to money, but that the two of you can come to an agreement on how you will manage your differences and plan your saving."

Salary

But there is a ray of light for those men who fail to make the grade financially.

Liz Kelly, author of Smart Man Hunting: A Fast-Track Dating Guide for Finding Mr Right, says a man's salary isn't the be-all-and-end-all it is often made out to be.

"Guys without money to burn need to work a little harder, that's all," she says.

"Small gestures, like burning a CD of your favourite music, go a long way towards making a woman feel special."

But she has one important tip for blokes who may not be taking home hefty pay packets but still want to make the right impression.

"Guys should pay for dates early on," she says. "It sets the stage for building a stronger relationship."

grant.woodward@ypn.co.uk

The smart money...

The highest-paid jobs in the UK (average annual salary) are:

1. Company directors and chief executives – 171,509

2. Doctors – 81,744

3. Brokers – 80,233

4. Financial managers – 79,545

5. Senior civil servants – 71,825

6. Aircraft pilots – 61,585

7. Management consultants – 52,505

8. Lawyers, judges and coroners – 51,579

9. Police officers (inspector and above) – 51,487

10. Marketing and sales managers – 50,575

And a few that might meet the expectations of Yorkshire women...

26. Dentists - 41,385

27. Senior fire, ambulance and prison officers - 41,047.

UK Average - 28,210.

Figures supplied by Office for National Statistics.

THE BLOKE

CHRISTMAS is cancelled.

The Bloke doesn't want to sound like a Scrooge but he's suffering from a distinct lack of festive spirit.

The presents are still to be bought, the cards yet to be written and if I had a goose he would be getting no fatter than Nicole Richie on the Cabbage Soup Diet.

I'd always looked forward to Christmas.

I didn't seem to notice that every shop on the high street was playing St Winifred's School Choir or that the telly was chock-full of Christmas adverts by late October.

I didn't even care that my mum was guaranteed to burn at least one ingredient in our Christmas dinner or that my Auntie Marion was still buying me Smarties at the age of 30.

Heck, you can never have too many Smarties.

But then gradually the magic wore off and I didn't know why, until last week when it suddenly hit me.

Growing up, Christmas only officially started when my mum came home armed with the bumper double issues of the Radio Times and TV Times.

Me and my sister would then spend the next week or so deciding who could watch what. To see us anyone would think it was Reagan and Gorbachev thrashing out the latest nuclear arms treaty.

One TV in the house and no video recorder put negotiations on a knife-edge.

Yes, she could watch The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm on the 22nd, but only if I could tune in for the Roland Rat Christmas Special on the 23rd.

Thankfully Christmas Day decided itself.

Noel Edmonds and awful jumper would be somewhere up the BT Tower in the morning, with the Top of the Pops Christmas Party following after lunch.

We would play with our presents during the Queen's Speech before reuniting for the Only Fools and Horses special and the big Christmas Day film.

Of course most of it was utter rubbish, but that wasn't the point. The point was that as you took the mickey out of your sister for going all misty-eyed at the end of ET, you knew every other brother in Britain was doing the exact same.

The shared experience was the thing, a feeling of community that you just don't get anymore in these post-Sky TV days.

Still, I may just have found a solution.

The line-up on UKTV Gold features the 1970s Christmas specials of Steptoe and Son and Porridge, a season of Carry On films and more Only Fools and Horses than you can shake a stick at.

Now if only I can persuade the rest of the country to tune in, Christmas is back on.

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