Green Is For The Money…

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…and gold is for the honeys…my apologies to Bishop Don Juan for jacking his steelo for my post title..LOL!! I got this question in my Twitter DMs and thought I’d answer it, then put it to the commenters:

At what point do you think people  who are dating should get into discussing intimate financial details???

The answer to this is subjective of course but for me and Myron, we seriously started talking INTIMATE financial details when we got engaged. I didn’t want us to go into our marriage without financial transparency. We discussed debt, credit issues and salaries in great detail. We also discussing whether we would merge accounts (we use the 3 pot method – joint accounts for all money and personal accounts for play money – which we allocate out). We talked about planning for retirement and about insurance (health, life, etc.).

I think dating people don’t necessarily need to lay out all of their financial business. Dating does not equal married, even if you live together. I’ve lived with a man before and didn’t feel the need to tell him all my financials. All he needed to know is that I could cover my part of the rent and the household bills and if I could then I needed to let him know. If you don’t live with someone, you probably don’t need to share much at all.

However, you can note how a person handles their money; if you are observant enough. Listen to their conversation. Are they always talking about being broke and you know that based on their profession that they probably make a decent living?? When you are at their home, are there pink notices laying around?? Are there calls from bill collectors that they quickly shut down? Are they always just a little short toward the end of the month??  If they are a parent, are they dodging calls about child support from the other parent? Those may be things that you may need to file away in your mental Rolodex.

Now I don’t think that you should totally dump a person because of less that stellar financial habits: I have forgotten to pay the light bill before and been sitting in the dark and I have student loans that I’ll be paying off until I am 98.75 years old. But there is only so much you can discuss while simply dating a person. Your mileage may vary, of course.

The floor is now open, commenters. What say ya’ll??

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9 responses »

  1. I’ve only gotten that serious with my husband and we looked at all that when we got engaged. He was very much full disclosure. We ended up not blending accounts mostly because we had the two houses and we had plans to do it once we got our own house together.

    I couldn’t marry someone who would not allow me access to their financials. Period. I also could not marry someone with bad credit unless there were extenuating circumstances like an extended period of unemployment or a business that collapsed.

  2. About a month into our relationship we started talking about finances. I believe because it was at that point we knew we were going to get married. My husband was much more forthcoming than I was, being that he was a divorced. He was definitely more comfortable talking about his personal finances than I was.

  3. Just dating…your finances are your business.

    When we start living together, then we need to have a serious sit down talk about money. Because even at my age I would not live with a man that I wasn’t (at the least) considering marrying.

    Now before we have a LEGAL relationship, we are talking about FULL DISCLOSURE!!! I need financial records dating back at least 10 years. And I’m dead serious!

  4. There needs to be disclosure when the other person’s financial health is going to affect your own (i.e., marriage) but when dating, it doesn’t need to get into the nitty gritty until it gets to that point. I agree, upon engagement, have the discussion.

    Mister and I have been together six years now (whew! Lol) and even though we moved in together a couple year’s back, we didn’t have the “discussion” until later on. We paid what needed to be paid and what you did with the rest of the money was your business.

    Now, we have a joint checking account to pay household bills out of. I keep my student loans separate and so does he. We each have our own personal checking account and savings account.

  5. I’m with the observe and note team if we’re just dating. I am a lot less critical of credit scores and situations these days — the economic downturn hit a lot of boomers HARD. Some of my friends (~ 50′ish age range) ended up in corporate layoff hell and ended up with jobs paying significantly less if they found one at all. Well-educated, experienced folk being out of full time work for 2 years+ is not uncommon round these parts. Glad I found your blog :)

  6. Finances are a big deal to me because I hate that feeling of being consumer debt broke. I’m not talking about having student loans or a mortgage (even one that is slightly upside down). I would try and pay attention to how he talked about money and/or debt. We should have the same philosophy about managing money and I’d rather know that while we’re dating because that’s one of my non negotiables.

  7. I have a friend who recently moved in with her boyfriend. I think it’s important to note that it was PURELY a financial decision for both of them. He really didn’t want to and she only kind of wanted to. In any case, they’d been together in his house for 2 or 3 months when somehow the conversation about her credit cards came up. She ended up admitting that she had a large credit card debt that she was steadily trying to pay down and he was livid. He said she should’ve told him this from jump.

    When she and I spoke about it, I asked her if she thought he was mad because he felt like she was keeping things from him or if her credit situation really impacted their lives (given his own credit isn’t at all stellar). She wasn’t sure, but she was definitely sure that she wasn’t supposed to have told him anything at all about that and I agreed. They split bills like roommates do and like you said, Tiff, all that matters is if she can cover her half.

    I don’t think it’s time to get into intimate money details until you’re at the point where it matters and that’s when you’re about to join households (so that my debt becomes your debt or vice versa) or make a big purchase together. Otherwise, I just need to be able to hold up my end.

    I remember a lady calling me, when I worked on the Hill, because her daughter had married a man and then they had consolidated their student loans. She never asked just how much he had in student loans (or at least was led to believe it was far less). Turns out his were almost triple what hers were and at the point her mother was calling, they hadn’t been married a year, he refused to get a job and she wanted a divorce and their loans unconsolidated. No can do on that last part. It pays to ask when your butt is on the line. Otherwise, nunya.

  8. I’m sorry, I will dump a man that’s over 25 & has piss poor $ management. I am not the best, but I have a decent grasp on how to make ends meet. My grandma always told me to never get with a man that has less than I have- and i’m starting to make that a hard and fast rule. But now, it’s way more about character & habits.

    Other deal breakers are being behind in child support & having justice system debts (parole, restitution)

  9. We talked in general while dating. We knew ballpark debt, habits, places where we’d struggled financially and our respective strengths. There were some things that we intentionally tabled until we were engaged. That’s when we went deep and detailed.

    We’re three (or four or five) potters too. We have a joint checking and two joint savings accounts. We both kept our personal checking accounts for personal fun-money but our PFM is budgeted and comes out of the joint account.

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