February is here, and everyone you know is in the mood for romance. Now, here’s someone you’ve been dating for the past weeks. The person is absolutely likeable. And whenever you’re together, your heart beats fast, time slows down, and birds appear to sing your favorite love songs. Your closest friends are asking if you’re already a couple. Of course, you have to convince them you’re just enjoying each other’s company – nothing official. But deep in your heart, you really want to know if he or she is the one you’ve been waiting for.
Questions about finances can help you with your concern because how a person views and uses money reflects their character. If you’re at a stage where things between you and your special someone are becoming more serious, these three questions can help you decide if a deeper relationship is worth pursuing or not.
Do you share the same views on money? You will not enjoy a relationship with someone whose view of money contradicts yours. Let’s say you’re managing your money well and you believe that you’re just a steward of the resources you have. However, your special someone thinks it’s alright to spend everything now without any thought of preparing for the future. This difference in mindset will be very difficult for both of you in the long run. Each time you date, for instance, you’ll definitely argue where to eat or how much to spend. Normally, you would want to let go of your preferences for the sake of love. But because there’s a big difference between the two of you in your approach to money, this will be a source of more arguments in the future –especially when your relationship blossoms towards courtship or marriage and you’re now deciding on more expensive and more important purchases.
Does the person have healthy spending habits? It’s toxic to be in a relationship with someone who can’t handle their money well. Observe how and where your special someone spends money. Do they get into debt problems because of overspending, an addiction to gambling, or an expensive hobby? When you’re in the mall, does he or she behave like a shopaholic or a one-day-millionaire? If unhealthy spending habits seem to be a clear pattern, it’s better to just stay friends. Besides, it’s hard to second-guess what might be drawing your special someone to you – hopefully not as someone who can help solve their money problems.
Is the person willing to abandon bad money habits? Yes, no one is perfect. Everybody has flaws and weaknesses in life. But it’s stressful to be with someone who does not want to improve how they handle money. Suppose, out of love, you corrected your special someone because of their borrowing habit or impulsive buying. If they think there’s nothing wrong with it and request that you keep money issues out of your conversations, that kind of response, my friend, is already a red flag. No relationship can grow if money is never discussed and where differing perspectives on finances are unsettled. And take note: if your special someone doesn’t want you to mind their bad money habits, it could be a sign that you’re not fully welcome into their life.
Of course, money is not the only important factor in the success of a relationship. But in this day and age when many married couples separate due to financial problems, it’s wise to avoid entering into a relationship with a person whose money mindset contradicts yours, has unhealthy spending habits, and is unwilling to improve how they handle money. Relationships costs money, time, effort, and a ton of emotions. So, don’t rush into a relationship just for the sake of romance or a feel-good experience. Your special person may be the most charming or dazzling individual in your list of prospects, but it will be better to remain friends than to engage in a romantic bond filled with conflict and disagreements on money.
Dennis A. Dawal is a Registered Financial Planner. He is a speaker, lecturer, and writer on personal finance and retirement planning.