Find Your Financial Soul Mate

  • Money Matters... A Lot

    One of the few things that men and women seem to agree on is that sharing similar money values is essential for a healthy relationship. According to Good Housekeeping, the best case scenario is that you find someone whose money strengths and values complement your own. And with good reason: Money matters are often cited as one of the leading causes of divorce. Many thoughtful articles have been written about conversations you should have with your significant other before you get married to make sure you’re a good fit, but the general consensus is that talking about money, like talking about your ex, should be off limits on the first few dates. Yet, even before marriage, you may face serious financial decisions as a couple – how to split rent if you move in together, whether to loan your partner money and how to deal with career shifts and salary changes. Obviously, I don’t advise that you ask what your date’s credit score is right away, or whether he/she has ever failed to meet a mortgage payment. Still, there are plenty of broad, unobtrusive questions you can ask on the first few dates that may give you a better sense of your date’s true money identity, and also might serve as ice breakers to help you get to know the person better. Photo Credit: Ed Yourdon
    Have you taken any nice vacations in the past year?
  • Have you taken any nice vacations in the past year?

    It may sound like an unrelated question, but there is a big difference between the person who goes back and forth to the Jersey shore on the weekends and the person who flies to a villa on the Mediterranean every three months. At the same time, if your date hasn’t gone anywhere in the last year, he/she may be the type who works too hard, which is great for saving money but may be a drag on your lifestyle. Photo Credit: epSos.de
    What did your parents do for a living?
  • What did your parents do for a living?

    According to The New York Times, one of the key issues you should broach before marriage is your partner’s “financial ancestry.” In other words, to find out how your partner’s parents dealt with money and how it may affect their own habits. While you may not want to dive too deep into this on a first date, it certainly helps to know whether your date’s parents were lawyers or if they lived on a commune where the only currency was sunshine and old Van Morrison records. Photo Credit: rejon
    Where do you work and how long have you been working there?
  • Where do you work and how long have you been working there?

    Like some other questions on this list, you’d probably want to ask a version of it on the first or second date anyway. But a few responses are obvious warning signs for future money matters. Particularly, if the person seems to have hopped around between professions multiple times, you might wonder how stable his/her career is. On the flip side, if your date has been working in the same low-level position for several years, upward mobility might not be his/her game. It may sound like a job interview question, but relationships are a lot like jobs anyway. You want to make sure your partner is reliable (unless of course you’re just looking for someone to be with you part-time and get you coffee). Photo Credit: MangAndri ( ...please deh!...)
    What is the most expensive thing you ever bought yourself?
  • What is the most expensive thing you ever bought yourself?

    According to SmartMoney.com, one of the main obstacles couples face is an inability to keep their spending in check. Everyone has bought something that cost more money than they would care to admit. But it’s useful to see how open they are to discuss this. A big problem in relationships is that people will spend frivolously then try hard to keep it secret. Photo Credit: DonFrance-photos
    What are your guilty pleasures and how often do you treat yourself to them?
  • What are your guilty pleasures and how often do you treat yourself to them?

    Keep in mind that a crucial step for couples is to come to a consensus on your financial goals. Part of this means agreeing on what is and isn’t worth spending your paycheck on. Everyone is entitled to their splurges once in a while, but if she confesses to regularly splurging on expensive jewelry or he admits to buying a collection of pricey guitars, it can serve as an early warning signal. In that case, the next two questions may give you a sense of whether your date is able to budget. Photo Credit: Roadside Guitars
    Where do you get your hair cut?
  • Where do you get your hair cut?

    It may sound like a silly question (it is), but this can serve as the ultimate litmus test for a person’s spending habits. If they say Supercuts, you know they like to be frugal with some of their regular expenses, whereas if they drop the name of a small upscale beauty parlor, you know they are willing to splurge on themselves every few weeks. This doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but if you are worried, you might want to ask follow-up questions later about where and how they like to cut corners. Photo Credit: Jennie Faber
    Where did you buy that outfit?
  • Where did you buy that outfit?

    We expect that everyone tries to dress their best for a first date, so finding out where they shop for the best of their wardrobe can help you figure out the top of their price range. However, if they don’t know the answer or stumble around a bit, it may be an indication that they either don’t buy their own clothes, or else buy things willy nilly. Photo Credit: mason bryant
    Do you like to be spontaneous? What's the biggest risk you've ever taken?
  • Do you like to be spontaneous? What's the biggest risk you've ever taken?

    SmartMoney.com notes that it’s important to figure out whether or not your partner is a risk taker. This is one case where your date might give you an answer to impress you with their daring-do, without realizing that it may have a different significance when it comes to finances. Still, with or without exaggerations, the answer should help you figure out if your date is much more adventurous than you by nature. The ideal, according to SmartMoney, is that you only take the financial risks that your income and shared goals will allow. Photo Credit: Claus Rebler
    Do you rent or own your home?
  • Do you rent or own your home?

    This can be a great way to measure exactly where your date is financially. If they already own a home, they are probably farther down the path to financial maturity than if they are still subletting a closet. Does your date still live with the parents? This may be a sign of frugal living, but by every other interpretation, it’s a sign to get the check, which brings us to the final question. Photo Credit: cincyproject
    Will you let me split the check?
  • Will you let me split the check?

    It’s a simple question, but it may point to whether you and your date will be able to share financial duties in the future. Many men (and women) may prefer to pick up the tab to impress, but they should be willing to meet you halfway if you insist. But perhaps a better question to ask yourself is how long he or she looks over the check before paying. For all the talk, body language may be the biggest tell in their true financial comfort zone. Photo Credit: wickenden
Show Comments