Dating can be an exciting part of life, a chance to meet and spend time with someone new. Although the unknown can be attractive, what you don’t know about your date could cost you in the future. A recent poll revealed that 60 percent of individuals believe couples should date for at least six months before sharing financial information with their partners. While Emily Post would probably agree, getting serious with an over-spender has its risks.
So, how can you tell if your date is a spendthrift? The signs are obvious when:
1. Receipts don’t matter. Scenario: Your date has offered to pay for dinner, a gesture you graciously accept. When the check comes, he hands the waitress a credit card without looking at the total. This isn’t new. He regularly buys things without giving the price a second thought.
Unless your date is independently wealthy, the cost of dinner should matter. Whether he’s trying to impress you or simply doesn’t care about budgeting, neither is a recipe for success. Mention his habit the next time you observe it and ask for an explanation. If he shrugs, it’s time to reassess your choices.
2. Everything is a must-have. Whether your date has been spoiled since birth or simply feels entitled, everything is a must-have in her world. She expects the best in clothes, food, entertainment—you name it, she wants it. To make matters worse, she doesn’t seem to care what it takes to attain these things. She has her own career, but you feel the pressure to contribute more than your fair share.
Run from this person as fast as you can. A compulsive spender is usually deep in credit card debt, a burden you’ll bear with her if marriage is in your future. Avoid a life of excess by sticking with someone who values common sense, not status symbols.
3. Lateness is expected. When it comes to dates, your guy is never on time. Excuses range from “there was traffic” to “I got stuck at work.”
Sometimes lateness is unavoidable, but what does the habit say about your significant other? Does he pay his bills on time? Does he follow through with other responsibilities? Is he comfortable making excuses? Ask yourself these questions before committing to a serious relationship. Lateness and credit repair usually go hand-in-hand.
4. A night in is not an option. Your date loves to socialize. At first, you found her energy exciting and charming, but now you’re wondering why she isn’t willing to spend a night at home.
Some people crave a fast-paced life, a fine choice with an accommodating budget. However, if you’re feeling a squeeze in your own wallet, talk to your significant other about reigning in date-night spending. Her response will help you gauge compatibility.
5. Job and lifestyle don’t match. Your date drives a BMW 5 Series and lives in an expensive condo. His clothes are high-end and he always pays for dinner. The problem? He works as an assistant manager at a department store.
There’s no secret to this scenario. When job and lifestyle don’t match, the answer is usually credit card debt. Your date is likely funding his purchases by making minimum payments to his overcharged cards, a habit that will catch up with him eventually. Approach this topic sooner rather than later. Don’t allow appearances to cloud your judgment.
6. You suspect an addiction. Whether it’s smoking, gambling, drugs or alcohol, impulse control is a problem for your date. He concedes that there are things he can’t live without, and his budget pays the price.
We all have our vices, but addiction can be a serious problem. In addition to health risks, the need to fuel the addiction can affect savings, debt reduction and retirement planning. Decide whether your date’s addiction is an issue. Long-term problems aren’t likely to have quick solutions.
7. “Everything will work out.” Your date is sunny and sweet, always hoping for the best. She believes everything will work out.
There’s optimism and then there’s blind faith. While your date may plan her day with positivity, is she planning her retirement in the same way? Serious relationships require responsibility from both partners. Talk to yours about financial goals in tandem with relationship milestones. The bottom line: Don’t commit until you have all the facts.