This “ 9 Financial Red Flags in a Relationship “ post provides an overview on what the red flags that couple need to be aware of. These red flags, when addressed promptly, can help build and/or strengthen relationship. On the other hand, these red flags, if not solved and/or are overlooked at, can have detrimental effects to your relationship with your loved one.
One of the truths about relationships is that a good relationship is not just about love, trust, commitment, and all those other words with big meanings. It’s also about money or how to deal money to be specific.
I’m not saying relationship is just about money and that you need to think about it before you go in a relationship or in marriage. All I am saying is that it is part of a relationship. I’ve seen quite a few of couples or families go through difficulties in life such as divorces, disagreements, and fights because of financial issues.
According to a study by Jeffrey Dew of Utah State University, money disputes were considered to be the best harbingers of divorce.
A lot of people say that prevention is better than a cure. The same thing goes with relationship and money. Whether you are going into a relationship or are already in one, there are red flags in finances that you and your loved one need to be aware of.
Often times, many people tend to overlook or try to not to understand their situations about money. Many hope that time can help solve the problem but, sometimes, it doesn’t. By the time they try to solve the problems, these dilemmas have already grown bigger that couples can no longer find ways to solve them.
Financial Red Flags in a Relationship
It is always best to start addressing the red flags in a relationship before they get worse and get out of control. But before you address those red flags, you both have to know what they are. Here are some of the common but overlooked signs that you both need to be aware of.
1. Not talking about money
One of the red flags in a relationship is when couples are not talking about money.
For those who are getting ready to enter a marriage or already in one, there should have been the money talk and a lot of it. Money talk is as personal as it gets and exactly the same thing with going into a marriage or being in a marriage.
If you both haven’t talked about money like discussions on who will pay what or how much each other’s debts are or something else, then, that’s a red flag. You don’t want to go into marriage totally unaware of the financial situation of your better half and vice-versa.
2. Filing for bankruptcy
Another red flag in a relationship is when your loved one filed for bankruptcy in the past.
Bankruptcy is one of the solutions that people avail whenever they are in deep money trouble and they can’t find other ways to solve their money problems.
In a relationship, there should always be transparency especially when it comes to finances. If you find out that your loved one filed for bankruptcy in the past, you may find the need to ask why it happened. Although the event happened before you got into a relationship with your loved one, it’s always a good idea to understand the story. You’ll never know when such story or lessons from bankruptcy can come in handy.
You may be able to use this as a cross-check just in case your loved one is showing some signs of financial problems similar to those he/she had in the past. After all, you need to know almost anything and everything about your loved one.
Bankruptcy can be a red flag or just a small blemish in your loved one’s past. It’s always a good idea to know stories like this so you can prepare yourself or see the signs if ever your loved one is going through the same problems now or at some point in the future. Your knowledge about bankruptcy can help you both in figuring out a solution as soon as the signs leading to bankruptcy exist.
Lying is never a good practice in a relationship. Lying destroys all the foundation of trust and commitment. If you find out that your loved one is lying about his or her personal finances, then, you need to sit down, have a talk, and see if he or she is hiding more than just the finances.
You don’t end the relationship just because you found out that your loved one is hiding his or her personal finance situation from you. Find out why your better half is lying. Although lying is not a good practice in any relationship, find out what the root problem is so you can fully understand the gravity of the situation.
You can also reflect if you’ve done something that prevents your loved one from opening up to you. Ask yourself if you’ve said something that gave him the false reason or impression to hide from you.
For me, lying is one of the red flags in a relationship. Lying is not a good practice but it’s not a deal breaker because there are reasons, false or true, that can cause someone to lie. For me, understanding these reasons is key before making any decisions on the directions of your relationship with your loved one.
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4. Having different attitudes toward money
One of the red flags in a relationship is when you and your loved one have different attitudes towards money.
A lot of people say that it’s easier to get along with your better half if your attitude complements his or her attitude.
Different attitudes toward money can cause friction and endless arguments. If your better half is a lavish spender and you are a massive saver, then, both of you may find yourselves arguing over a few dollars here and there.
If you are the saver, you will likely reason out that both of you don’t need to spend on things that really are not considered as needs. On the other hand, the spender, who is your better half, will argue that the money spent is the money from working hard at work and that he or she deserves a reward for doing just that.
Although the reasons may be both valid, the differences in attitudes can or will interpret the reasons both of you have in a wrong way. If your attitude towards money is different than that of your better half, then, it’s best to find a common ground or a common goal that either of you can live by or agree to.
You don’t need to pinpoint who’s right or who’s wrong because it can go either way. What you both need is to make sure that you are on the same page. This way both of you won’t have to argue because you don’t understand your loved one and vice-versa.
According to a study authored by Carolyn Washburn and Darlene Christensen, understanding how partners view and value money can begin to open the lines of communication and lessen the conflicts.
5. Hiding from your loved one
Ever found out that your loved one has secret bank accounts or stash of money hidden somewhere in your house? If yes, this may be a red flag as well.
Just the other day, I was watching The Good Wife. In one of the scenes Mrs. Florrick, the mother of Gov. Florrick, found out that her soon-to-be husband who’s a lawyer had a secret bank account with a balance of $2M. This scene stuck in my head for some reason. I believe that this is one of the red flags in a relationship.
I wonder why a number of people hide money from their loved ones. Is it because there’s a possibility that divorce will happen or something else?
If ever you are in this situation, always take time to talk to your loved one and ask why he or she has money or a lot of it that you don’t know of? It may be because you are a big spender and your loved one wants to make sure that you don’t spend all the money unwisely.
You’ll never know what the problems are until you have a serious talk. You may not realize that the concern is not really with your loved one but is with you.
6. Neglecting debts
Another red flag is when your loved one is neglecting his or her debts.
Do you find your loved one with a ton of unopened mails on bills from the same creditors or from collection agencies? If you do, then, there may be issues on your loved one’s financial situation, which can or will affect you sooner or later.
When you see situations like this, always take time to talk to your loved one and you need to make it a priority. You can always open the mails but you may be violating his or her privacy. I know if I were in situations like this I still won’t open my wife’s mails.
Have a conversation right away because you just don’t know how serious the problem is. You don’t know if the house that you both live in is under foreclosure or the credit card companies are trying to recoup their money from your loved one.
If you happen to be working for the state or federal government or private companies that require good financial standing, your job may be affected if your better half is in bad financial state.
7. Multiple jobs
Hopping from one job to another may also be considered as one of the red flags in a relationship. If you are going to be into a long-term relationship or in marriage, you need to ask yourself if your loved one will keep on getting new jobs or hop from one job to another once you are married.
Better yet, ask your loved one the reasons that he or she is going from one job or another. Is it because of getting laid off? Is it because of better job opportunities? Is it because of recession?
Having multiple jobs can be a red flag especially when your loved one gets laid off quite often and make it as one of the reasons for having a number of jobs in just a few years. Getting laid off several times can signal your loved one’s lack of responsibility and this lack of responsibility can extend all the way to your relationship or marriage.
According to the findings of the study led by Liana Sayer – Ohio State University, the husband’s employment status threatens marriage but the wife’s employment status does not.
As a couple, you both need to help out each other in good and in bad times. These events test how strong your relationship is. Find a way to solve your loved one’s job situation. May be your loved one needs therapy, work in a different job industry, or something else.
8. Paying one loan with another
If you find yourself paying one loan using another loan, then, you need to make sure that there’s a plan on how to address this before going into the marriage. If you are already in a marriage, then, find a way to break this cycle. The same thing goes with your better half.
Ask yourself how you’re going to pay your own debt. Are you going to use your better half’s money? How are you going to pay your debt when you start having kids and find yourself not having enough money? These are just a few of the questions that you or both of you need to address.
The reality is that changes do come and sometimes, they come unexpectedly or they come all at the same time. You and your loved one need to be prepared to handle these changes. One of the best ways to prepare for these changes is to address the issues with paying one loan using another loan.
9. Using too much credit
Is your better half racking a mountain of debt? If so, you both need sit down and figure out the (gravity of the) situation.
You don’t just dish the person out because of the insurmountable amount of debt. What I am saying is find out how and why your loved one is in that situation. Did your loved one have to pay for emergency, unforeseen medical expenses? Or, does your loved one use credit to pay for lifestyle?
Ask if there’s any plan on paying the debt off? If there’s one, then, you have something less to worry about but you still need to be aware of such plan or plan of actions to make sure the plan is getting implemented. But if there’s none, then, that mountain of debt will become an issue sooner or later.
According to a research about marriage and money, consumer debt increases the likelihood of having a fight over money. It also increases the likelihood of arguing over issues other than money. If you both stay away from discussing debt issues, you may find yourself not being able to communicate with each other. On the flip side, you both may find yourselves arguing even on the smallest and non-sense topics that don’t really matter to your relationships.
Don’t let your loved one figure out alone what the best thing to do with the debt situation. Be proactive and tackle the debt together. Your loved one will be more than willing to pay off the debt knowing that your support and help are there. After all, as a couple, you are both in a relationship to help out each other in any situations you both are in.
There are financial red flags in a relationship, some of which are very obvious and some are subtle. It is always best to discuss financial matters as these can or will affect positively or negatively your relationship with your loved one.
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