Considering that financial problems are cited as a leading cause of divorce, it is vital to make sure you and your partner are on the same financial page.
It’s best to start figuring out if you and your mate are financially compatible early on in the relationship. Sitting down and having a talk about finances with your future spouse is about as romantic as talking about sexually transmitted diseases but it is a conversation that you should have. You don’t want to become part of their financial mess.
Be aware of how your potential life partner handles money, you can do this early on in the relationship during your first few dates. Frivolously spending money in order to impress you is not a good sign. Also watch to see if they use cash to pay for everything or use a credit card and ask them why. They might be using cash exclusively in order to avoid credit card debt or it might be that their credit is so bad that they no longer have any credit and all of their credit cards are maxed out. …another warning sign.
Something else to watch out for is if they usually use a credit card for every purchase and then suddenly change to using only cash. This could be a sign that the credit has run out and their debt has gotten out of control.
Keep a look out for signs of financial stability. People who own their own homes are typically more financially stable than someone who rents.
If your suitor has been at the same job for a long time as opposed to someone who jumps from job to job is a good indicator of financial stability.
Once you are deep into your relationship and you are considering that this is the person who you could see spending the rest of your life with, you should delve a bit deeper into how they approach long term finances and if they have established any financial goals.
The following is a quiz adopted from the book “The Courage to Be Rich” by Suze Orman, self-proclaimed financial guru. Print out this article and then you and your partner should take this quiz and compare the results.
Circle the statement that best describes your partner in each of these five categories:
A: Invites you to dinner, chooses the restaurant and then complains about the prices on the menu.
B: Expresses material longings for things such as vacations, jewelry, etc. far beyond his or her budget.
C: Constantly buys and sell stocks for the thrill of it, rather than as carefully considered economic moves.
D: Seems to regard his/her parents or others as a source of income.
E: Is saving the maximum allowed by law in retirement accounts and monitors all these investments to make sure they are performing to the best of their ability.
A: Complains about child support obligations.
B: Tries to impress your friends by bragging about money.
C: Prefers to take vacations in places where there is gambling.
D: Has a messy wallet, or a wallet full of maxed-out credit cards but absolutely no cash.
E: Never buys an item to impress others and never brags about money.
A: Talks about using his/her business expense account for personal items.
B: Cannot pay off credit card bills at the end of every month.
C: Cannot get up and walk away from a gambling table, even if losing badly.
D: Spends money on a new pair of expensive shoes, even though other bills are overdue.
E: Loves to talk about finances and is open to teaching you.
A: Seems uncomfortable using the pronoun “we”.
B: Can never go into a store without buying an item whether he/she needs it or not.
C: Is constantly baffled where the paycheck went.
D: Receives calls from bill collectors.
E: Is charitable and generous and does not define him/herself by how much is in the bank account.
A: Would never put loose change into a donation box after making a purchase.
B: Gives you unusually expensive gifts that you know he/she can’t afford.
C: Is constantly placing bets, be it on a backgammon game or an office pool.
D: Avoids talking about money and acts like everything is just fine when you suspect it isn’t.
E: Pays all the bills on time and rarely carries a balance on credit cards.
Now for the score: count how many of each letter you have circled and record the number below.
The letter with the largest number reveals your partner’s primary money traits:
A = Penny pincher
B = Spendthrift
C = Gambler
D = Financial wreck
E = Financial catch
Financial problems are one of the main reasons couples get a divorce, so you want to start talking about money with your soon to be spouse as soon as possible. If the two of you are not on the same financial page, it will be important that you both find some common ground that will let you to create a stable financial future together.
There is going to be some give and take in order to work through your financial differences. Take the advice of Suze Ormond: “Be patient. If you are financial opposites you are not going to resolve your differences in one conversation.”