Debt–does it matter in a relationship?
You’ve met the person of your dreams. You’ve fallen madly in love and feel like they are your other half. There’s just one issue–it seems your significant other may have some serious debt baggage. So, you may be wondering, “Is dating someone with debt a bad idea?”
There’s no doubt that it’s awkward to ask someone about their financial situation on the third or fourth date, but being open and honest early on can help you avoid nasty surprises down the line. Transparency makes for stronger relationships.
And for many couples, money issues rank high among reasons to argue. That’s why it’s so important that you and your partner share the same attitude toward managing money. If not, it could spell big trouble later on. If you’re not comfortable chatting about finances with your new love interest, maybe start by observing a few clues. It’s important to protect yourself and figure out what kind of money mentality your significant other has. Here are few red flags to watch out for.
The “ignorance is bliss” attitude
Some people are not comfortable with the subject of money, so they do little to no financial planning at all. This could be from a lack of interest, or it could be they just don’t want the added stress of dealing with financial matters. In fact, some people who have this attitude don’t even know how much is in their bank account.
This can be dangerous. If your partner doesn’t know or care where they stand, there’s a pretty good chance that they may not be financially healthy. No one is saying they need to pull out a suite of budgeting tools every time they buy a taco, but pay attention when your partner talks about making large purchases or important future plans. Do they have a strategy to achieve their wants and goals? Will they make adjustments to earn or save more money in order to get them? This will help shed some light on how they manage their finances.
The “money is no object” approach
Splurging on something nice every now and then may be ok, but does your love interest have the income to match their expenses? Additionally, someone might have a great job that pays well, but if the money needs to go towards student loans, rent, car payments, and other debt, there may not be a whole lot of wiggle room left for indulgences without accumulating a lot of debt.
Similarly, if your significant other acts like they have money to burn–drives a fancy car, wears the designer duds, and goes on luxury vacations–but doesn’t have the job to back it up, it’s likely that they’re either an heir to a secret fortune or racking up an insane amount of debt. If it’s the latter, dating someone with debt and an exorbitant spending problem could be a recipe for financial disaster.
The “card denied” events
Denied credit cards could be another sign of financial trouble. Of course, technological blips happen every now and then, but if it’s occurring on a regular basis, there might be a problem. Someone who consistently pays their bills on time will usually be shocked if their credit card doesn’t go through. They’ll most likely want to try the same card again. On the other hand, a person who knows they are carrying debt and has maxed out their credit cards before, might just casually pull out a different one.
If you’re dating someone with debt who fits into any of these categories, it could be a sign of financial trouble. While finances aren’t everything in a relationship, it’s definitely up there in the top things to consider when assessing a potential long-term partner. Knowing what’s going on with the other person and getting on the same page financially will help you better protect yourself against damaging your own financial health.
Help them help themselves
While dating someone with debt doesn’t mean you’re destined for financial difficulty, it’s not something you should ignore, either. Thankfully, learning how to deal with debt, money, and planning for your future doesn’t need to be hard, and you can help your significant other get their financial house in order. To that end, we’ve developed a simple to follow guide to help you find the tools you need to move to a better financial future. Get started by downloading our free guide right now.
- Debt Is a Deal Breaker for Nearly 75% of Americans, and It May Be Limiting Your Dating Pool (USA Today)
- 5 Ways for Couples to Get Out of Debt (Freedom Debt Relief)
- Antidote to Financial Infidelity Is Honesty (Reuters)
- How to Get Out of Debt (Freedom Debt Relief)