Today I’ve got a guest post from Patty. She blogs over at Working Life Mother about managing finances as a working mom and raising financially educated kids.
Talking about money on the first date?
Sounds like a complicated and very involved topic, right?
It may be, but it is important that it is spoken about. Even if it is not on the first date, it should be brought up before the relationship moves in a serious direction. Data has shown that money matters in relationships and while you want to think that it does not, it does.
There are many stresses that come along with money and if you or someone you meet is in a lot of debt, then the cause of your future arguments may be about your financial situation. Money is often an uncomfortable topic and one that people get tired of hearing about, especially if he or she is in debt.
One of the reasons why you should speak about finances is to gauge where the individual stands on money. If you are conservative with yours and you want to budget save for your future, but he or she is into parties and blowing money on alcoholic drinks, then obviously it is not the relationship you want.
To put it into perspective, you want to find out someone’s financial situation before you commit because imagine how upset you would be to find out that the individual you are about to marry has $100,000 in debt. Or imagine how angry they would be to find out that you are $75,000 in debt with your home in foreclosure.
Now, when it comes to debt, you should discuss what type it is too. For example, $100,000 in debt from student loans and a career as a doctor looks different than an unemployed individual with $100,000 in credit card debt.
Discussing finances early on will prevent fights later on in the relationship and can help you understand your partner in a better way, even if it is uncomfortable to do so.
Tips to Help You Talk about Money on a Date
We all know that it can be nerve wracking to talk about money on a date and it is scary. You need to make sure to take it slow and be careful not to step on any toes. Below, we will talk about some tips to help you get through it.
- Don’t jump in with both feet ahead of you. You want to approach the topic slowly and you want to ask simple and subtle questions that will tell you indirectly what you want to know. For example, you do not want to say, were your parents wealthy? You could say, how was your life growing up? Or what hardships did you experience as a child?
- Do not bring up specific numbers. Okay, do not bring up specific number, at least yet. You do not want to start out asking the individual what their credit score is and how much money that have in their bank account, as this will just scare someone away. You should talk about different behaviors and feelings that the individual may have about money. Ask lead-in questions that indicate whether or not the individual saves money or splurges on things that are not necessities.
- Try not to judge. Yes, you may want to cringe when the person tells you they spent $150 on dinner one night, but try not to judge them just yet. You want them to open up to you and tell you about them and their money situation, so keep an open mind. If the individual says something you do not agree with or you find odd, keep your calm and show the curious side of you and not the harsh side. If you come off as harsh or brass, they will not tell you any more about themselves or their finances.
- There is a time and place to learn more. The first date is not a place for the numbers game or serious stuff. You can be curious and you can skirt around to gather information, but you do not want to bring up serious stuff yet. You should never ask someone how much they make on the first date, but should they offer the information, great. Once you get to a point where you can be open with one another, you can talk about the more serious stuff.
Final Thoughts on Finances and First Dates
Yes, you should talk about finances on the first date, but you do not want to be too blatant about it. It is important to go over each one of yours and your partner’s finances to ensure your goals are aligned and that one individual does not bring too much too handle to the table.
Patty runs Working Mother Life – a blog about balancing motherhood and work. You can follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her latest posts, tips, and tricks.