Why You Should Talk About Your Finances on The First Date

Is talking about finances on the first date a good idea?

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?

Yikes!

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.

  1. 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?
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

 

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10 Comments

  1. I really like this… regardless of your or your dates circumstances, it is important to get a real picture of who they are in many aspects (not just “good looking” and “fun to hang out with”).

    Honestly, Mr. Adventure Rich and I had difficult money conversations while dating, but I am so glad we did. We moved forward and worked together to pay off debt… heading into marriage with our eyes wide open. I think that was one of the best decisions of our dating!

    1. Oh for sure! Good looking and fun to hang out with is a definite plus! But when you read about money being the #1-cited reason for divorce, it deserves the conversations!

      I was never one to date just for fun – I mean I DID/DO have fun when Kristin and I go on dates, but if I knew a relationship wasn’t going to end in marriage, I was typically quick to end it. And by typically I mean like 1 time because I haven’t dated many people, hahaha. I just didn’t see the appeal in dating someone if I didn’t see something long-term there.

      Kristin and I started talking about money relatively early on as well – and like you, we headed into our engagement/marriage fully knowing what our current situation and future goals were. Kristin had a little bit of debt and she paid that off before we got engaged. Other than that we’ve been pretty fortunate and focus a lot on making sure we communicate. It’s worked out great so far!

    2. If I had to do it over again, this is definitely something I would have discussed more often when dating my wife. It could have helped us get on the same page financially sooner. We too had difficult money discussions early in our marriage, but fortunately, we eventually managed. Not sure I’d have this discussion on the first date, but I’d definitely recommend having this discussion early on in the relationship.

      1. yeah, Kristin and I getting on the same page before we got engaged was a huge help! Now more than ever we’re extremely conscious of our financial situation and have very strong goals ahead of us. We talk about money basically every day 🙂

        First date or not, like you said it’s important to talk about this stuff early. The sooner you can work toward goals together, the better of you’ll be (in my opinion).

        Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

  2. Nice Post, and I agree that money is definitely something to discuss while dating and it’s been part of my dating conversation. Both people need to be heading in the same direction to have a chance of working out.

    Brian

    1. So true! Even if you don’t agree 100% with each other on every little thing (it’s rare that that’d happen ever), heading in the same direction is super important!

      Thanks for reading and weighing in!

  3. Great post! I made the mistake of not asking in DETAIL about debt with this guy I dated and I found out he was in debt. He said he valued frugality too but his actions spoke louder than his words. It was pretty heartbreaking I wish I knew more about him before I got into a relationship with him.

    1. Actions definitely speak louder than words – it’s one thing to talk the talk (we all KNOW we should spend less than we earn) but to be able to do it is another thing. Same goes for investing and, well, just about anything in life.

  4. I can’t imagine that date will end well! I don’t think that meeting a life companion should be based around each others financial situation. I agree that an honest conversation at some point in a SERIOUS relationship is a must. However, I hope that the world is not so cold and calculated to go over each others income statements at coffee. May as well sign up to a millionaire match maker site. Interesting read though!

    1. I think it could have disastrous results with the wrong person for SURE. 🙂 But hey, if it’s something THAT important to you, better to head it off early I think.

      That being said yeah I do agree it should probably be reserved to a potentially serious conversation. But I was never one to just ‘date’ with the intention of it NOT becoming serious, so I’d personally see nothing wrong with talking about money – at least at a high level – on a first date.

      Thanks for weighing in! Always great to hear another perspective.

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