When you are first dating someone, finances are the last thing on your mind. It might not even register on your radar to discuss early in the relationship. However, it is essential to talk about as 59% of divorced couples say that money played some role in their divorce according to an Experian survey in 2017. Below are six signs to catch any financial instability early and keep an eye out for these red flags. It might not end the relationship, and there are lessons they can learn that will only help them in the long run.
1. Your partner just lets the bills add up
Michelle Goeppner, a senior manager at Alliant Credit Union says to watch out for avoidance tactics around paying bills and working on finances. A stack of past due notices and credit card bills are clear indicators that your partner might be hiding from their financial problems. What other problems might they hide in the future?
2. Your partner struggles with an addiction
It doesn’t even have to be drugs or alcohol. Online shopping, television, video games, eating, etc. can all take priority over anything else including you and your finances together. More often than not in cases like this, your partners might even take money from your joint funds to support the unhealthy habits including groceries, utility bills, or rent. This type of behavior isn’t suitable for your relationship overall anyway. The only thing that should be as important or even more important than you are if you have children together.
3. They are completely ignorant to their financial situation
If your partner is struggling with debt or bad credit, but they are taking steps to correct the situation, that is not necessarily a red flag. However, not even knowing what your credit score is or how much debt you have certainly is. Michelle Goeppner comments again that we should “look out for someone who doesn’t have a good pulse on where they are.” This does not ensure trust and maturity but instead, worry and stress for you. The financial burden becomes yours alone, and it will only build resentment in the future.
4. They have tons of credit card debt
Unless they have mastered the credit card point system hacks, it is a huge red flag if their wallet is bursting at the seams with different credit cards. Once again, they are ignoring the fact that they cannot live within their means and surprising credit card debt can kill financial stability instantly. There should be no surprises, either you can afford it, or you can’t.
5. Things simply don’t add up
Are they driving a fancy car? Always get the newest smartphone on the market? But they don’t seem to have a job that could afford that? Well, you might be right. If something doesn’t make sense, don’t ignore it. They might be lying to you, getting the funds from somewhere less than pleasant, or merely racking up so much debt they will never be able to dig themselves out of the financial pit. Don’t allow them to drag you in too.
6. All of your dates revolve around shopping.
If they are always suggesting going to the mall to “window shop” but always end up with bag after bag, they might be a shopaholic. Sanam Hafeez, a licensed clinical psychologist, said, “When someone enters a store thinking, what can I buy here? As opposed to what do I need? You know they are looking for the high that spending gives them.” This will only lead to more debt, more time apart as they are not paying attention to you, and eventually will lead to trouble you might not be able to get out of.
If you find any of these red flags in your relationships, then address them. Sit them down and discuss things like adults because the financial world will always hold you responsible. A way of talking about this is to talk about goals rather than attacking their abilities. Schedule regular meetings with a financial professional, set up a budget to follow together, and always be open to getting to any real issues that the poor finances might be hiding.