Love doesn’t seem to be free in today’s troubled economy. Indeed, more and more people are looking to find someone to settle down with and possibly even raise a family. Yet the rules of dating seem pretty complex — one minute you’re doing well with someone, the next minute you just don’t know what happened — but everything just sounds like rubbish. Is there a happy medium, so to speak? Perhaps — but it all goes back to finances eventually. A lot of people hate talking about love and money in the same sphere, because they imagine a world where money doesn’t have any bearing on relationships.
Yet as a personal finance site, we think that it really should be different — finances and love are part of the same conversation. While most people aren’t really looking for movie star money, they do want to make sure that you can take care of yourself. A few surveys have come out stating that people in a new relationship actually do ask for credit reports and even credit scores. Is this fair? Perhaps not — but there is a definitely a stigma over people who do not have their finances together.
A strong financial truth is this: in order to attract quality people, you have to be a quality person. A quality person, in our opinion, has their affairs in order. Are you constantly running from creditors on the phone? You might need to get your finances in order. Are you constantly paying late fees to energy suppliers? You might need to get your affairs in order. If you have a comfortable job yet no savings, you definitely need to get your affairs in order.
All of these points aren’t designed to get the other people to realize how much money you have or don’t have. It’s a thing that you do to feel better about yourself. You have to make sure that you’re really focusing on how you look to other people, especially if you want to get a date. When you’re confident, you radiate and project confidence. When you’re not confident, don’t worry — everyone already knows about it.
You don’t have to spend a lot on designer clothing to get attention. Choose pieces that are well within your budget…and then take care of them. Make sure that you understand how they’re laundered and cared for. Do they need steam? Are they better off being taken to the dry cleaners? A fine suit that isn’t taken care of will always look shabby compared to a modest suit that was lovingly watched over from the very beginning.
You have to step back and consider who you want to attract as well. If you’re just going out for a few casual dates, you might not want to talk too much about finance. But if you’re going to be thinking about a future with someone new, you might want to have the financial conversation sooner than later. It shows that both of you are on the same page. This is better than just assuming you’re not going to be able to make too many moves because you’re so worried that you’re going to offend them. If they’re the right person for you, they will realize that a serious relationship needs this type of discussion.
How much information should you honestly disclose depends on where you’re at in the relationship. The more likely that you have a desire to marry, the more that you should be discussing finances. Even if you plan to move in together, you need to have expectations outlined — and even written up just to be on the safe side. It’s so easy for someone to say that they didn’t know what they were really getting into.
We know that we’re not treating this topic very lovingly, and we certainly apologize. But in a troubled economy, nobody wins by being vague and mysterious about finances. If you are in good shape, this will definitely show. If you’re worried about money all the time, you might want to take a dating break until you get things under control. This will ensure that you’re not just spinning your wheels, or getting envious every time your new boyfriend or girlfriend can buy something…while you’re still trying to pay off last month’s bills.
Good luck with all of your relationships and remember: honesty really is the best policy!