6 signs your date is a financial dud
Published 1/27/11 (Modified 3/22/11)
By MoneyBlueBook contributor
Dating is like walking on a minefield: You never know what your next step will bring. Now to make it even harder, dating experts are adding a new twist.
It used to be as easy as intuition, dinner and a movie, but now experts say that financial compatibility is an important factor in finding the right person. If turns out that if the man or woman you are dating is a financial mess, they can take you down with them.
If you survived the dating battlefield like me and are now married, you probably have some of your own war stories. But if you are still out there in dating never-never land, you may need a little help. I can give you a few tips on how to figure out if your date is a financial dud.
You just have to read the signs:
1. Overspends like crazy
If your date keeps trying to impress you with how much everything they own costs, you might think twice about your future with them. Wild spending can lead to all kinds of financial problems as witnessed by the record number of mortgage defaults and credit card delinquencies seen in the last couple of years. If your date seems overly impressed by their own spending, it may be that they are forgetting an important fact: Eventually they have to pay for it all.
2. Leases to impress
Although it is not a set rule, in most cases buying a car is a much better financial option than leasing a car. As long as you don't plan on changing cars often, it's better to build a little equity as you make your monthly payments. But even worse than leasing, is leasing solely to impress.
If your date is driving a leased the car that seems to be way beyond what they can afford, you are not dating a financial wizard. Chances are pretty good that they are being taken to the cleaners on their lease deal and those costly lease provisions.
3. Loves get-rich schemes
It may not the most exciting thing in the world to hear your date discuss their dollar-cost-averaging approach to retirement savings, but at least your date has a financial vision. Wouldn't you rather have your date bore you with details about their 401K than hear about how they have figured out how to make a million dollars from online poker?
If your date's retirement plans seems to be wrapped up in a multi-level marketing or other pyramid scheme designed to double your money in two weeks, then run for the hills.
4. Pays only with prepaid cards
You might think that if your date uses a prepaid credit card that they are showing a certain amount of financial responsibility. After all, they are only spending what has been loaded on the card and they are not building up debt. Unfortunately, it's not that simple. The problem is that using prepaid credit cards can be a huge warning sign that your date has bad credit and can't qualify for a normal credit card.
5. Doesn't believe in saving for a rainy day
Let's be honest. There is nothing sexy about investing in a certificate of deposit or opening a savings account at a bank. But a little advance planning can go a long way when trying to pay for a wedding, a vacation or your first house. It takes a little discipline and an ability to go against the crowd. If your date thinks keeping a savings account at a bank is uncool, you know they may not be very adept at long term financial planning.
6. Tips too much or too little
You can tell a lot about a person by how they tip. In some ways it can be a microcosm for their overall financial intelligence. A person savvy with money will tip based on the level of service. They don't stick by hard-and-fast rules, but will adjust on the fly. They don't tip on the tax and will always check to see if the tip has already been included on the bill.
The financial dud is easy to spot when it comes to tipping. Either they will tip way too much because the waiter or waitress was slightly flirty or they refuse to pay a premium tip of over 15 percent even if the service was excellent. You will also get a bad feeling about your date if he or she asks to borrow pennies and nickels to get the tip just right. Go with your gut. If they can't handle tipping, they may struggle mightily with the bigger financial decisions coming down the road.