While new dating apps are popping up every other week to help you find your perfect match, romantic relationships are still extremely complicated. A major goal for many couples is to get married one day. If you do get married, consider all the money decisions you’ll need to make together. Planning and paying for a wedding is just the first one! Other things include sorting out housing and bills, deciding between joint or separate bank accounts, and figuring out your monthly food budgets.
Throughout your relationship, make sure to consider how your partner handles their finances. Are you both on the same page when making joint financial choices?
After all, one of the top factors that lead to failed marriages is fighting about money. So, let’s make sure you don’t swipe right on these 3 financial flags below:
Being Dishonest About Finances
The healthiest relationships establish open communication early on, including conversations about money. Compare how you handle your finances individually.
- Do you follow a paper or digital budget, or no budget at all?
- Do you have any debt? If so, are you implementing a debt repayment plan?
- What are your financial goals?
Once these things have been discussed you can begin to see whether you both align financially or not. If you’ve dodged these money conversations in your relationship, put this on your to-do list for next week! For those that talk about money often, how do you know if your partner is being financially dishonest?
A major financial flag is discovering that they’re keeping money secrets from you. If your partner has a bank account or extra credit card they’re hiding from you, that can be a big deal!
Financial infidelity can be a sign that your partner isn’t completely aligned with the financial goals you’ve set out together. If you notice this happening, have an honest conversation about the reasons rooted behind these hidden accounts. Remind yourself and your partner that healthy relationships involve a willingness to have difficult conversations. This means, keeping secrets about money is definitely not the way to have a healthy relationship!
Being Too Generous With Money
If you notice signs that your partner is overextending themselves financially, that’s a financial red flag! Maybe they’re lending money to family and friends too often. Or they’re buying overly expensive gifts. Perhaps they don’t set spending limits on vacation. These are all little actions that can cause a huge hole in your bank accounts.
We’ve all heard the saying “actions speak louder than words”, right? No matter what your partner says about their spending behaviors, you can clearly see if their actions show otherwise.
This can become a major problem down the line since you will need to make joint decisions about money fairly often. If your partner is unwilling to make the best decision for both of you, this can lead to anger and resentment in your future.
Even if you both keep your income separate, you still have to think about the next steps. This is especially true if your partner can no longer contribute their fair share to the financial responsibilities in the relationship. In the event that this happens, you will probably be the first person in line to take on these responsibilities and help your partner out.
The worst thing you can do is wait until the situation is terribly out of hand before you begin to take action. Just like with your physical health and well-being, prevention is better than cure. Be proactive in pointing out these concerning behaviors to your partner and see how they respond. Are they aware that they are doing this? If not, then you may be able to help them improve, only if you don’t have to worry about the third financial flag, which we’ll discuss below.
Being Unwilling To Make Financial or Behavioral Changes
Humans are so complex and multi-faceted. We can choose to change our mind after taking into account other perspectives or rationales in a discussion. Changing our minds can often lead to changing our behaviors.
This is why I’m a firm believer that people should avoid hard rules in relationships such as, “I’d never marry someone with debt” or “I would never have a joint bank account with anyone.” Decisions like this, which involve money, require context. We need to consider the context of the financial situation that we’re in relative to our partner’s before we make a major decision.
That being said, if you notice that your partner is unwilling to change, then you should recognize it as a financial red flag! Anyone can change for the better, if they’re willing. Having support and guidance especially from their partner always helps these behavioral changes. The important thing here is to test and see if your partner is willing to make financial changes for the better before getting too serious.
If you’re hiding money secrets from your partner, then you need to have an honest conversation with yourself. Evaluate why you don’t feel comfortable sharing that with your partner.
All too often, couples wait till they’re engaged to begin sharing their financial details or openly discussing financial goals and deal-breakers. This is a huge pitfall that couples should avoid at all costs. Start by communicating about money early and often. If you’re not willing to be honest about money, the conversation about a potential wedding can wait.
What are some financial red flags you’ve experienced? How did you overcome them? Share with us in the comments.