Are you afraid you may be romantically attached to a financially irresponsible person? Or maybe you’re unsure about how to know if you’re dating a deadbeat. These are both serious situations that require immediate attention.
I’m very fortunate that the Honeybee and I rarely have a disagreement regarding money. In fact, after 26 years of marriage, I can only remember it happening once — and that was entirely due to a silly misunderstanding.
One particular study affirmed the conventional wisdom that says money is the most likely point of conflict in a marriage. This is especially true when one spouse tends to be a spender while the other is a saver.
When a married couple has different philosophies regarding the importance of financial responsibility, there’s usually going to be big problems somewhere down the road; many times, the only solution ends up being a messy and expensive divorce.
Of course, that’s why it’s important to know if your partner is financially compatible with you before you tie the knot.
So, does your current steady have their financial act together?
If you don’t know, you better find out — especially with Valentine’s Day around the corner. Think about it. Just because your flame is spoiling you doesn’t mean that he (or she) can afford it.
True, your lover may seem to be financially well-off, but will he be able to maintain his lifestyle after you get married? And if not, does he possess the discipline required to throttle back on the spending pedal?
Unfortunately, folks who fail to ask those simple questions often end up being led into a financial quagmire.
Thankfully, there are warning signs for those who choose to pay attention.
How to Know If You’re Dating a Deadbeat
In Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with Your Honey, co-authors Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar offer five indicators that may signal you’re dating a deadbeat. I’ve listed them here, along with a few additional ones of my own.
How many of these apply to your current valentine?
They always insist on picking up the check at a big dinner or throwing down a credit card without looking at the bill. This may be the sign of a big spender living beyond his means in an attempt to impress you.
They live in a large but sparsely furnished home. According to Thakor and Kedar, this can indicate your partner has, as they say in Texas, “a big hat, but no cattle.”
They avoid answering phone calls. This is a potential sign that your steady is avoiding bill collectors.
They lease a car. Yeah, this seems like a bit of a stretch to me too. However, leasing is often a sign of living beyond one’s means.
They ask you to buy things for them or cosign loans. But, Len, they always promise to pay me back. Okay. Let me know how that works out for you.
They have a lot of bills marked “urgent” or “past due.” This is another big financial red flag.
They have bills in somebody else’s name. It could be an ex-sweetheart’s bill, or indicate that your current lover couldn’t get an account on their own. Then again, it could also mean that the postman simply delivered the bill to the wrong person — so make sure you verify that address before you get too accusatory.
They admit that their credit cards are maxed out. This, too, is a great indicator of somebody having trouble living within their means.
They have a payday loan company magnet on the refrigerator door. Ah, yes … “Joe’s Payday Loans: When nobody else will lend you money. Not even your relatives.” Don’t laugh. Short of a loan shark, the payday loan company is typically the lender of last resort.
They have a live-in maid named “Mom.” Psst. Come closer. If you said “yes” to this one, and you happen to be in your lover’s house right now, listen to me very carefully. Put down the mouse. Then calmly walk out the door and get away. As fast as you possibly can.
Photo Credit: FBellon
Darwin's Finance says
Great article. So many people find out when it’s too late what they’re getting into. While you may be “blinded by love”, you’re going to be quite unhappy later if you’re inheriting a mess in marriage. Once married, it’s both your problems.
Some of the items on this list also apply to someone in debt, but is truly working on fixing past mistakes. Finding the difference is interesting.
Kate of Thunder says
That’s one of the things you take time to find out before rushing into marriage.
Here’s another one: Does your sweetie not have a checking account/debit card/credit card and run to a check cashing shop on the corner every Friday on their way to purchase lotto tickets and some cold ones? 🙂
Lol funny tips.. ahh yes finances are often the source of many problems in relationships… good to figure these things out prior to getting married!
Thankfully I’m married. The things you have to go through LOL
What do you do if you were both spendthrifts when you married, and now one of you isn’t? (Besides argue a lot… lol)
KC @ genxfinance says
Dating and you are already co-signing? no no no no.
oregon girl says
You add him to your bank account so he can cash his paychecks and the State of California seizes same bank account for unpaid child support…….BIG RED FLAG! He told me he hadn’t gotten around to opening his own bank account after his divorce was final. Guess what…..his divorce wasn’t final either.
Stephanie Moss says
OMG!!!! I would kill the prick really I think I would. What a snake to do some thing like that! Never, best I would ever do for a person any person is if all they want is a paycheck cashed have then sign it over to me, I cash it and give them their money. They don’t like it they can eat me, bite me whatever….another red flag to that is them getting pissy cuz you won’t add them to your bank account. I been burned before I will admit, first time shame on them second time shame on me.
Chef Lynnie says
Oh No! NEVER, I repeat NEVER believe anything … ask to see the custody agreement, divorce decree, and bankruptcy filing…if unavailable RUN, do not walk, to the nearest exit and leave the LOSER behind as he eats your dust!
Doable Finance says
That creates a problem when one spouse is a big spender and the other is careful with spending especially when they have the same bank account.
I prefer the direct approach and asking outright how they manage their money. I am not suggesting to do this on the first date but before you take things to the next level.
Also I feel that trust has to be earned and not given just because you are really into a person.
Good list. We avoided the issue until it hit us in the face but it’s all over now and we do talk about money and plan a lot.
Yay, another article that reinforces my decision to NEVER EVER GET INVOLVED WITH ANYONE!
My financial habits are better than almost everyone else I know. I’d probably be a deadbeat magnet, and there’s almost no way anybody I might hypothetically try to date would be able to match me.
Volfram: I could add #11:
If your spouse has chosen not to pay their child support, no matter how other responsible they are, run for the HILLS. I do not care how frugal they are, how tight they are, how responsible they are.
I do not give a rip about their “sad stories”.
You know my story.
I am now of the mindset to not get that involved with anyone. I’d rather live alone and lonely for the rest of my life, than have the last 30 yrs of savings ripped out from beneath my feet in 23 months.
I was a deadbeat magnet. Never again.
Child support is a deal breaker. This person failed at marriage once, why should I think their second time will be any different?
If you’re marrying a divorcee, you already know this person isn’t able to maintain a committment. You shouldn’t be surprised if they skip out on YOU.
Sheesh Volfram! That is entirely blaming so very many victims!
OR they lived in a no-fault-divorce state & their ex-deadbeat-who-cannot-commit DIVORCED THEM! Prolly when they put their foot down & insisted on separate checking accounts– the best solution for a saver married to a spender, LOL.
Chef Lynnie says
Oh No – another trusting soul separated from his money…but, take heart – we ALL are not deadbeats, just SOME… IF you really choose to be alone don’t waste your life being lonely – ENJOY it, find your passions, get up and go, get out and LIVE life…it really is not a dress rehearsal, this is the real deal! And who knows, if you are out there having fun, biking, hiking, swimming, cooking, shopping, shooting, WHATEVER floats your boat, you might just meet one of us who enjoy the same things and who are NOT deadbeats! Good luck and I wish you all the best!
David C says
“They live in a large but sparsely furnished home.”
That described my 1700 sq. ft. house after I came home to find my wife and most of the furniture had taken leave. LOL
I have had the misfortune of dating a deadbeat, Minnie the Moocher type. Lesson learned. I aam a lot more selective these days.
About the sparse furniture… I hate clutter and overstuffed houses so I’d be considered being sparse by most people even though I’m financially fine, so I’m not so sure about that one if you’re dating someone who has a tendency to be a minimalist. I found that even though my husband and i discussed everything before marriage and we seemed to be a perfect match, life didn’t prove it so. He went from admiring me to berating me which included my ability to pay debt down and save. There’s no guarantee and now I’m busy learning to my enjoy my God given gift of life with friends and helping others.
Haha! Now I can use those tips to assess my Valenine’s date. I’d take note of those 10 tips Len.
I was fortunate enough to not have the ‘pleasure’ of dating someone like this, but, if the 2 people in a couple are this different, when it comes to money, problems are bound to happen
I also lived with my ex who was always in debt. Reason for her debt was, compulsive buying. Living in that kinda circumstances was horrible. I am person who knows how much I have and how much I can spend, but she was always telling me that I am cheap. We broke up because of debt. I realized that I could never live with person who always has that kinda problem.
This article made me laugh. I am so glad I’m married. I still hear dating horror stories about deadbeats moving in after the first date after professing their undying love for their date when they find out they have a job and a disposable income. Then the parasite doesn’t want to move out.
A friend has a spendthrift husband. His credit cards are always maxed out, and every bill is paid late, including the mortgage. He’s always buying the latest electronics, and the UPS guy is always delivering stuff. When you visit, you hear that the phone rings but nobody answers it, because it’s probably bill collectors. He blows every dime he gets his hands on, and then some. It has wrecked their credit rating and their marriage.
Arabella Mudon says
Wow! it’s a very interesting post, I totally a lot of enjoyed this post.
The Texas expression is, ‘All hat and no cattle”. It applies to many different situations.
Don’t let your heart blind your eyes and mind. You’ll notice the warning signs about money if you watch, and listen.
Len Penzo says
Beware. There are those looking for a “nurse with a purse”. Those you should avoid. Some have never learned about handling money/budget well. If your Valentine is truly improving and not just pretending, then there is hope for the relationship. Great items to discuss with your Valentine.
John Rocks says
My mother had a saying, A woman can throw more out the back door than a man can bring in the front door.