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Money Things

How to spot financial red flags

Money Things

How to spot financial red flags

Talking to your potential partner about money doesn’t have to kill the mood for love.

Ain’t love grand? Finding a partner that you vibe with is really amazing. But do you know what’s beyond amazing? Finding out the person you are dating knows how to manage their money. Mmmm hmmm! Now, we know it’s not exactly sexy to bring finances up when talking about dating, but it’s important to know what you’re looking for in a partner and have conversations to understand compatibility, especially when talking about money management.

In addition, the digital world doesn’t always show authenticity, especially when you’re swiping left and right on an app. Dating profiles show what a person may look like or what they like to do for fun but topics such as financial situations might take a bit more digging and a lot more honesty.

The convo may be awkward to bring up while you’re taking a long walk on the beach or staring at each other over candlelight, so it’s best to breach the subject by being prepared. So, what are some of the red flags to look out for when you’re getting to know someone romantically? Let’s discuss.

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  1. Dating in the 21st century
  2. What financial red flags should you look for?
  3. Don’t give up on love

Dating in the 21st century

Modern love has resulted in humans finding romantic partners online and, unfortunately, it doesn’t deter people from lying about themselves on their profile. According to a report from the dating app eharmony, 20% of matches have resulted in long-term relationships, yet 53% of users admitted to lying about their personal information, including what their job and income is. In addition, catfishing and scams are also very much a thing since both men and women have admitted they’ve been fraudulent on their digital profiles. Obviously, it may make it harder to spot potential red flags if you don’t even know you’re being lied to! Before you embark on a dating adventure with someone you met online, it’s important to vet who you are talking to by having phone and video communication before you set up a date.

So let’s say after some sleuthing, you do decide to meet someone IRL and things are going swimmingly. You vibe on shared likes, hobbies, faiths, beliefs, political views, etc. Plus, you find them hot! But even with all those qualities being in sync, what if the financial aspect isn’t on par with your goals?

What financial red flags should you look for?

As you’re having conversations about life and money goals, some things that might cause you nervous pause are:

  • Debt: Are they drowning in debt and bills? While it may hint they’re not great at paying their bills on time, consider that student loans, in particular, are still amassing large amounts of American’s debt. Communicate to understand if there's a plan to pay off their debts or if they are simply financially irresponsible since those things are mutually exclusive.
  • Credit: If they have bad credit (or no credit at all), it can affect future goals of getting credit cards and hinder the ability to rent or purchase property.
  • Budgeting: Part of being financially savvy is being able to budget, so it bears discussion if there’s reason to believe they don’t manage their money well.
  • Financial goals: Do you want to travel? Buy a home? Save a lot of moola? If you don’t have similar money goals it may cause issues when trying to build a life together.
  • Career aspirations: Job ambition, or lack thereof, can be a point of contention between a couple.
  • Family planning: Being dishonest about a desire to have or not have kids will be an issue if the truth comes out after you’ve settled down.
  • Home/real estate: Are you cool with renting an apartment in a city or are you more of a suburb lover? If it’s different from what you want, then it’s possible your lives may not be in sync for partnership or marriage.
  • Life insurance: When it comes to life insurance, your partner or spouse will likely become your beneficiary (or vice versa). If they don’t think getting coverage and protection is necessary, it may cause issues when discussing the future.

As you review the possible red flags, consider the timing of these conversations. The first date may not be ideal for bringing up their retirement plans or what budgeting apps they use but you can start off with talking about jobs or careers and see how the convo flows from there. Once there’s more consistency, you can be more precise about budgeting, career aspirations, money management and other financially-related talks.

Don’t give up on love

Discussing personal finances with someone you’re dating may seem daunting and awkward, but it is part of overall compatibility. Plus, you never know when lightning will strike, so it’s important to know what you want out of a potential romance and have conversations to see if your financial and lifestyle goals align. Take note of the way someone talks about money, if it’s surface level and possibly irresponsible, or if they talk about their future financial goals in a way that you find, well, attractive.

Despite the rollercoaster that is dating, people are still finding love. This may be the result of couples choosing to get married later in life compared to the generations that came before. This could be the reason why divorce rates are declining, which may allow people to become more well-rounded adults. Women, specifically, are able to further their careers which can help them get out and stay out of debt, whether they’re married or single. These stats fare well in showing us that people can be successful, financially and otherwise, both independently and in relationships.

And despite online dating being the way of the world, don’t limit yourself to just a digital connection. Being social in general may put you in a situation where you may meet someone who might share the activities and fun things you enjoy. You may just feel that romantic spark before you know it.

The opinions we expressed in this post are for general informational purposes only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations.