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Debt and Your Dating Life

Would you stop dating someone because of their debt?

Washington Post finance columnist Michelle Singletary admits that while she ‘loathes’  debt, she also would not judge someone based on debt alone. While you do not want someone to take advantage of you or lose out on a good relationship, you also do not want to ignore it if your honey owes a lot of people money.  She offers tips on what to look for in “Is debt a deal breaker when dating? Four signs that it is.”  And before you quiz someone you are dating, you might consider examining yourself if you are also not totally free of debt.

How does this person discuss debt? Does your date seem nonchalant about owing money to people or institutions? You have to not only listen to what someone says about the amounts they owe or how long they’ve owed it but also to the way they discuss this. When discussing just how they came to accrue the debt, listen to whether or not your date has any regrets. Does this person accept responsibility for taking on the debt? Or does the person blame others for both the debt and the fact that it remains unpaid?

How does this person plan to decrease their debt? As you spend time with your date, do you notice that they either spend a lot or discuss frivolous spending? This is not an encouragement to be judgmental but rather a call to pay attention and not ignore evidence that someone may be less than financially responsible.

Singletary adds, “ If your significant other ignores calls from creditors, isn’t opening mail and doesn’t have a specific strategy to get out of debt, you should be very concerned.”

Being around to see if someone is avoiding creditors likely means that you are beyond your first few dates. Singletary is not necessarily saying that you should demand a financial breakdown during those first initial outings; she is suggesting learning about someone’s finances before becoming seriously involved.