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:
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.
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!)
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.