In a recent survey, 1,000 single adults ranked financial responsibility higher than physical attractiveness when considering a mate. In fact, women ranked financial responsibility in a long-term partner to be equally essential as sexual compatibility.
So how do you find a financially responsible companion?
1. Look For A Willingness To Discuss Money Matters. If the cat's got his tongue every time you try to talk about money, he may be a dog. Look for someone not afraid to discuss the reality of finances. We use money every single day so it makes sense you would like to know their thoughts on the subject. You don't need to grill them about their credit score, but if they are willing to talk about dollars and cents, try a few open-ended questions, like:
- What kind of vacations have you taken recently?
- What stresses you out when it comes to money?
If you've been together a bit longer, you might like to know:
- Do you consistently track your savings and spending?
- How do you feel about debt?
- Do you invest? Would you describe yourself as conservative or aggressive?
A willingness to talk about money is a great quality in a potential mate. Open communication now means less misunderstanding and potential conflict down the road.
2. Watch For Warning Signs. If it seems like your potential mate has an extreme approach toward spending or saving you may want to reconsider a long-term union. If he spends money without considering future consequences or avoids participation in anything requiring a financial commitment, you may be dating a personality type we call a "flyer." They are not likely to care about consequences to their money decisions, because they believe relationships and memories trump financial responsibility. Of course, that is not all bad. But extreme spending or saving without any regard for the future may signal financial immaturity, not responsibility.
Along those same lines, is enough never enough for your honey? If they are a spender, does it seem like they never have enough stuff? If they are a saver, does it feel like there is never enough saved? Do they always look for a better deal, need to wait another year to buy the ring or miss out on making memories because they think they need to save more? Be wary of a consistent pattern of never-enoughness.
3. Know Yourself And Consider Compatibility. How do you feel about money? There's no wrong answer. Does it make you crazy or do your rarely even think about it? Do you love to browse online but don't feel the need to buy anything? Or do you feel best about your day when at least some part of your outfit is new? Do you hate spending money on little stuff, but don't mind a big, quality purchase? Do you have more coupons in your purse than dollar bills?
Everybody thinks about money differently and we don't choose how we feel. It is part of who we are and research shows that our attitude is not likely to change any time soon. Your potential mate's approach isn't likely to change either. So take a little time and think about how you spend, how you save and ultimately how you are wired when it comes to money. Then consider how that might complement or conflict with your potential mate's approach to financial responsibility.
If he or she doesn't mind some money talk, understands moderation with dollars and cents and seems to be the yin to your financial yang, then we recommend you invest in that relationship.
Scott & Bethany Palmer are financial planners who love to help people understand "the other side of money" and how it affects their relationships. Uncover your approach to money, your Primary and Secondary Money Personalities, with their free online quiz.
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