Consider taking your relationship to the next level this Valentine’s Day. It may be prudent to investigate the financial habits of your partner, as they can make or ruin a relationship.
Here are five red flags to watch out for regarding a partner’s finances.
Reluctance to discuss finances
A widespread misconception is that discussing money is unromantic, according to Dasha Tcherniakovskaia, a couples therapist in Massachusetts who specializes in financial matters.
She stated, “An inability or unwillingness to talk about money in general for various reasons should be a red flag,” The restricting belief that discussing finances and spending is uncouth and embarrassing hinders people from doing so.
Begin by attempting to comprehend your partner’s relationship to money, which is frequently significantly influenced by their formative experiences.
Unlike when you’re planning a future together, it may not be appropriate or important to discuss finances in the early stages of dating. However, Tcherniakovskaia advocates having a “money date.” when the moment is appropriate.
“I suggest couples plan a date over a glass of wine or hot chocolate, so it’s something they would actually look forward to, in a nice environment,” she said. Asking about values, as opposed to figures, is a more impartial and nonjudgmental method to discuss money.
According to relationship and personal finance specialists, unmanaged credit card debt resulting from impulsive spending is another red flag in a partner’s finances. Indeed, being in a significant relationship with someone who has a substantial amount of credit card or other debt might have financial repercussions for you.
“People don’t realize once they are in a long-term, committed relationship, even though it is the other person’s debt, it’s kind of your debt too,” said Nicole Victoria, founder and CEO of No Budget Babe, a financial literacy organization. “Them paying it off will affect your ability as a couple to work toward other financial goals together.”
Obviously, context is key, and it’s essential to comprehend how someone acquired debt in the first place. For instance, if your partner is impulsive and has a propensity for overspending, this differs from someone who incurred debt to deal with a medical emergency. And if a person is open to disclose their debt and is actively addressing it, this is a positive sign.
“Still, if you help them pay it off and have to shelve saving for other goals, it becomes yours as well, so it’s good to know about those things,” said Victoria.
According to a recent survey conducted by the dating website Eharmony and the personal budgeting tool You Need a Budget, the most desirable characteristic in a spouse is having little to no debt (YNAB).
displaying their money
Someone who flaunts their wealth may suffer from insecurity. Additionally, they may be spending beyond their means.
Sarah Schweisthal, a personal financial expert at YNAB, stated, “Lavish spending is a big red flag when they’re clearly spending more than their income allows,”
“Ask yourself why your partner usually buys the following round of drinks at the bar if he or she always does so. Emily Irwin, a wealth management specialist at Wells Fargo, advised, “Pay attention to your partner’s motivation behind their financial behaviors; be cautious if their desire to impress overshadows their financial reality.”
On the other hand, never offering to pay for dates or borrowing money repeatedly may indicate a lack of means or just selfishness. While living within one’s means is generally regarded as admirable, activities such as stiffing service personnel for gratuities or only consenting to dine out on your own cash are not.
“I am a massive proponent of everyone having a budget, but you want to think about how your partner treats you, your friends and others with whom you may not have as deep relations,” Irwin said. “That includes service workers like waitstaff and Lyft drivers, and you want to make sure you’re not with someone who is trying to save a penny at the expense of treating someone else with disrespect.”
However, frugality may not necessarily imply restricted financial resources. People with substantial financial resources can be miserly.
Irwin stated, “Just because someone has a big income doesn’t mean he or she can support their spending, and it doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t some unattractive frugality that’s happening,”
Transparency is essential when discussing money, and it may go a long way in guaranteeing a couple’s financial compatibility.
Consider a partner who conceals debt or misrepresents the scope of their holdings. If a couple is saving together for something like a down payment on a house, one partner’s evasiveness can hamper the partnership’s decision-making and cause financial harm to the other partner. Financial experts refer to such behaviors as “financial infidelity.”
“Things like being overly secretive with your money, lying about spending and refusing to share financial information with you are red flags,” Victoria said.
Financial abuse can occur in relationships as well. Some individuals use money to influence or exert power over their spouses, especially when one partner has much more riches than the other.
She stated, “A lot of times it comes down to control,” It could be that one spouse does not permit the other to spend money or have financial autonomy inside the partnership. The other partner may not have access to the couple’s financial accounts or may need to obtain permission before making certain transactions.
“I observe ladies who must ask for money or receive allowances. It’s harsh, and it’s used to control people,” Victoria continued.
When there is a significant income disparity between partners, unhealthy dynamics might also develop.
Tcherniakovskaia stated, “When the power to make decisions is based on each person’s contributions to the finances, it leaves the person making less money in a constant state of disempowerment,” “They must accommodate the preferences of the person who earns more money.”
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