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Would you ever refuse to date someone because of their financial situation?

I don’t really know anyone in my life who has gone up to a potential boyfriend or girlfriend and straight out asked these questions, and then used them to screen for whether or not they’d be compatible mates:

  • What’s your credit score?
  • How much do you have as your net worth?
  • What’s your income?

I’ve never done this, but looking back, I will admit that if I heard things like:

  • I never check the price tag on anything because it’s not worth my time
  • Yeah, I’ll probably be in debt forever
  • My credit card statements? I don’t even bother looking at them
  • I put this $10,000 vacation to Las Vegas on my credit card and had a blast gambling it all!

…my brain kind of sent of a PF bat signal of caution something like this:

bat-pf-signal-money

SCREENING BASED ON MONEY VALUES

I was trying to screen guys I was dating based on their money VALUES, not how much debt they had or their net worth.

I didn’t really care that they had lots of debt — I did too! $60K! Who was I to judge?

I also didn’t care that they didn’t have a million dollars in cash (actual money) at the bank* — Who the hell does!?

*True story, it’s a criteria of a single girl I know.

Ridiculous.

Don’t worry, I already scoffed at her silliness and predicted she’d be single forever.


…and I’m still right.

What I cared about was how they saw their money, and if it was something they pigeonholed themselves into having this “debt forever” mentality.

It’s more that it’s an incompatibility in our lifestyle, and if we ended up together, I don’t want to be on the opposite side any more.

Been there, done that, got the T-shirt.

I want someone who shares my values, and that includes how we spend our money (that includes whether it’s spent on street food, or not!)

Beijing-Photograph-Street-Stall-Grilling-Meat

Photograph I took of a cute couple in Beijing, China… oh and the girl and boy are cute too 😉

I cared about:

  • whether or not they realized that saving for the future was important
  • if they could be a partner beside me through the tough and the good money times
  • whether they could really afford that nice car they were driving or if it was just image
  • whether they had any ambition and work ethic
  • whether or not I’d always have to be the one bailing them out money-wise
  • ..or whether I’d always have to be the Debby Downer because he was the irresponsible “Fun” one

GUYS SCREENED ME TOO!

Trust me, I had my fair share of light money-related questions.

I’m sure women probably get grilled a lot more than men do, even though it’s not fair to judge and say that women who dress nicely are wasteful shopaholics and women who dress like slobs are frugal penny pinchers.

I can’t remember what the context was, but once, I remember replying to a date that I was saving money for my retirement by maxing out my employer’s contribution (100% match), and suddenly the guy became more interested:

Oh that’s really cool! It’s kind of rare to find someone who thinks about saving for their retirement when they’re young.

Alas, we were not compatible in other areas, but it was a screen of sorts, and we found common ground in terms of money values.

There were other light-probing questions, and by the 5th date, I disclosed how much debt I had ($60,000) and what I was doing to get out of it — namely learning how to manage my money, being frugal and sticking to a tight budget while tracking my expenses.

He was a bit shocked at the amount (being from Europe and never having had a penny in debt), skeptical that I could actually clear it when I said I would (3-4 years was my estimate, but I ended up clearing it in 18 months), but immensely pleased that I was doing something about it.

ALTHOUGH PEOPLE CAN CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOURS, THEIR PERSONALITIES ARE THERE TO STAY..

Yes, people can change. People can change their behaviours and cues with a lot of hard work.

I too, was once someone who didn’t bother looking at a budget or tracking my expenses, but I learned my flaws in managing my money, and set up new cues and behaviours for myself, in addition to becoming a minimalist.

….but your deep down personality however, doesn’t ever really change.

For instance, I like to shop and do things impulsively, I tend to buy now, worry about it later, and I don’t really deny myself anything I want.

Even today, with all that I’ve accomplished, I still struggle with impulse shopping and I always will.

Other personality traits are that when I was a kid, I would save all the best bits of my meal for last (vegetables were eaten first), so that I could savour them. I am able to recognize that my sacrifices and efforts now, will produce a greater reward at the end.

This is absolutely what I tell myself when I do something stupid:

Or how about even though I graduated with $60,000 of student debt, I had never racked up a penny in credit card debt? 

So in hindsight, it’s no surprise that when it came down to clearing my debt, I was shaky at the start but then a speed demon to the finish line once I got the process down and realized what I had to do to reach my goal.

I just needed to wake the debt-clearing beast, who could save aside chocolate and not be tempted to finish all of it at once, which works very well to my advantage.

So if someone seems to have a personality that will always clash with mine 90% of the time, then we’re simply not compatible because we don’t share some of the same values and will probably end up fighting all the time over money.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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24 Comments

  1. Kathleen

    I think that some of these negative personality traits come to light in finances and in general. You can filter jerks however you want!

    Reply
  2. Amy Turner

    Financial stability was never one of my requirements to date a person. I had known a few rich people when I was dating but there was no spark with any of them. I guess I’m just a very simple gal who values simple things in life.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Amy Turner: Only if money doesn’t matter to you (as in you make your own), does financial stability not matter 🙂

      Reply
  3. MakintheBacon

    Funny for me, this never really came up in conversations. It was more trying to see whether or not we had common interests and if there was that “spark”. I guess I just lucked out that my bf happened to be frugal.

    However, if I was still single at this point, I would most likely be turned off if they were financially irresponsible. (Does that make me financially vain? :P)

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @MakintheBacon: Yes it does make you financiall vain but who isn’t, as a PF blogger? 🙂

      Reply
  4. Debt Blag

    Yup! It’s not about what you make; it’s about what you save. The guy who’s smart about money will have more of it down the line anyway 🙂

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Debt Blag: Just need someone who is even halfway interested!

      Reply
  5. Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

    I think you’re right on about not judging about how much money they have or don’t have, but about their values on money! That says it all. Responsibility with money often speaks volumes about responsibility in other areas too, but not always. Character is key when screening dates, that’s for sure!

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Laurie @thefrugalfarmer: What I like to see in guys is that they’re fair but that goes for girls too.

      When I was on dates, by the second date I would always offer to pay something — an ice cream, gas for all the driving around, whatever. It just wasn’t fair that the guy was expected to shell out all the time. If he refused, that was his thing to be chivalrous, but I always offered and meant it.

      Reply
  6. Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle

    Everyone can run in to financial troubles but they would have to be working to improve their situation and not just whining about it.

    I don’t date smokers unless they are 87 years old, wealthy and have no living heirs.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle: *LAUGH*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I am still looking for a rich sugar grandpa for you.

      I really don’t like smoking. It physically makes me ill and psychologically makes me sick.

      Reply
  7. Michelle

    I am very concerned about dating someone with similar money values. I notice when people stiff waiters/waitresses on their tip, have way too much bling bling, too many labels (Prada is my favorite-no visible label) could care less about wearing labeled clothing (LV, Chanel, Nike, etc) If they’re really into that-it gets old really fast. I have debt so I don’t feel that it’s reasonable to say “no” to someone because they have debt. I just need someone who is focused and on the same page that I am and has a similar idea about what they want for their future.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Michelle: OH YES!!

      It is a dead giveaway if someone doesn’t pay the wait staff at least 15% for a job that was done well.

      I can understand if they’re angry that they were ignored, the food was cold, the food was bad, the atmosphere was horrible, etc… but not if it was a good meal and then they go and leave 5%.

      I definitely don’t enjoy blatant designer labels, LV is the worst for this, and so is Gucci. When I see it on guys especially, I silently roll my eyes.

      Reply
  8. Cassie

    I can’t say that I would ever outright consider someone’s net worth or credit score in my dating criteria, but I do consider some of the traits that generally lead the person towards having a high credit score or net worth, like you’ve noted. If their money habits clash heavily with my money habits, that’s a no go.

    I kind of snickered at the story about you leaving your favourite foods until last. I would eat my favourite things first, but I would always leave a piece of it until last so it would be left with that taste in my mouth at the end of the meal.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Cassie: Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to spend money… but if I am in debt and/or I don’t have a significant chunk to feel comfortable about spending it, I feel sick.

      Oh that’s a good one. For me, I always just ate the bitter vegetables first (bitter to my child’s palate), and then saved stuff like meat to the end… although now that I am eating mostly vegan, it all tastes good to me now. 🙂

      Reply
  9. Leslie Beslie

    Someone’s finances are only important to me as a reflection of how they view responsibility & ambitions in their life.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Leslie Beslie: @Leslie Beslie: Amen! But also that the way they spend their money is an indication of how fair they are.

      Some guys are selfish with their money — spending it only on THEMSELVES, whereas others are too generous which makes me feel like they’re pushovers.

      Reply
  10. cj

    15 years ago I would not have considered this because I was an idiot. Today, it would weigh very heavily in my decision to continue a relationship or not.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @cj: Well you were also 15 years younger.

      Someone made a good point on Twitter (@karahudson) that being 45, she would definitely consider their financial situation before getting into a relationship. At 25, you’re less inclined to care because you have time to get out of the mess.

      Reply
  11. hey now

    I have never not dated someone just because they were broke. We all go through periods in life. After college, let go due to GFC, etc. My dealbreaker is someone without a plan or any interest in a plan. Happy to be in debt and not interested in addressing it. My view is if you aren’t willing to address this topic and be reasonably responsible by the time you are mid 30’s, what other areas in your life are you still irresponsible in? That is my issue. I have no interest in being someone’s accountant or mother. Don’t want or need the drama.

    Reply
    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @hey now: This is very true. If you can’t get your crap together by your 30s, you are probably leaving other things unfinished, perhaps back taxes, or irresponsible decisions, etc.

      I know someone who still held student loans at $20,000 with 7% interest (!!!!) well into his 30s. He tried to date me and I was just not interested because I was on the path to be debt-free of $60,000 at 25 and he had already displayed a genuine lack of caring about his finances.

      Reply

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