I’m sorry it’s just not going to work out between us. Really it’s not you and come to think of it, it’s not me either, it’s your finances. We have to break up because of your debt and finances. I know finances aren’t the first thing that come to mind in a relationship, but they are a big deal that can influence the happiness of a relationship in the short and long term.
Want to Go Out Friday Night? Great Bring Your Budget
I don’t know how it happened but early on with each person I dated somehow money or finances came up. I’m talking teenage years and early 20’s. It wasn’t the first thing on my mind, but it always came up, so subconsciously it was there. It pretty much led to ending many relationships (most before they really got started) or perhaps they just didn’t like me which was probably the real factor.
My first memorable dating/finance came with a girl who lived nearby and went to the same high school. We’ll call her Wendy, because that is her name. Wendy was a nice girl who was really outgoing and involved in everything. I was excited to go out with her because we had hung out together with other friends quite a few times.
First date I go over to her house and there is a brand-new red jeep in front of the house. I knocked on the door and first thing she said was “want to go for a ride in my new jeep!”
Hey why not go for a ride and I thought that would be fun and we took off up the canyon which was nearby. I asked her where she got the jeep and assumed her parents bought it for her. Wendy said she bought it the day before.
“You bought it?” I asked her.
“Yeah, it was only $16,000,” she said.
Ah crap, she bought a new jeep, yes brand new and had all that debt. She didn’t go to college and was living at home making minimal money so it was a long loan with big payments.
That was the end of that. I didn’t really break it off, I was just turned off by the debt and let things kind of fade away.
I’ll call this person blind date because honestly I just can’t remember her name. I do remember the crazy car insurance and finance issues she had. Anyways it was about this time oh 15 years ago in the fall when my friend and I were invited on blind dates. We were all headed to a corn maze.
We had no idea who we were going out with and when we showed up to the house to pick up our dates a mutual friend said, “Lance this is your date and Robbie this is your date.” I made out way better on that deal and Robbie was instantly ticked at the dating assignments.
I Need a Ride Home
After dinner and the adventure out in the corn maze it was time to head home. Things had gone really well and it was a fun time. My date asked if she could have a ride home and I said that shouldn’t be a problem. As we got in my car I asked her if she had a ride over that night.
“My dad doesn’t let me drive anymore because of all my crashes and tickets,” she said.
“Wait what? Have you been in a lot of crashes?” I asked.
“Yeah, I was in two crashes and have a few speeding and parking tickets. My car insurance is about $200 a month now and my dad won’t pay it because the crashes were my fault.”
Seriously. Very nice, fun person, but man if that is where you are that early in life and dad isn’t paying then I’m not going to pay those bills either and things just faded away.
Debt Isn’t Everything When Starting a Relationship
There are so many components to a successful relationship you can’t just pin it to whether or not someone has debt. Some people have debt from school and that is how they make it through school because it is the only option or best option at the time. They work hard and struggle to get through school and handle the debt and become even stronger because they were able to work to get through those early challenges.
Ideally neither person would have debt to bring in to a relationship but the fact is that most people do. I would look at things differently for someone going in to engineering or a professional advanced degree versus collecting debt for communications or sociology that they probably aren’t going to pay back the debt they have accumulated. I also look differently at consumer debt which is often a choice of splurging early on because you can’t wait to earn something later on. You have to fulfill an immediate need. Rich people aren’t great either, they can run in to massive issues as well.
I think when you find the one you are also more willing to work on things together and help someone out instead of just giving up on them because of their circumstances. Why leave someone down in poor financial shape when you can help lift them up to learn to be wealthy and happy. So how do you work on it early on in a relationship or marriage? Are you upfront and honest about what needs to get done and set a plan?
The Ideal Partner in Life and Finances
Did you ever have a list of things your partner had to have or be? I know I had a list and it eventually started to get smaller and smaller. You see the more judgmental I am towards someone the more they are likely going to apply that to me. I am not perfect by any means. Just ask everyone that knows me. I still had some standards that I wanted in a spouse, but being a big sports fan probably doesn’t matter in the long run.
The Big Test
I always took my dates to a grocery store at some point. Usually I said that I wanted to make them dinner and needed to run to the store real quick for a few more items. On the way out I would ask them after I loaded in the groceries in the car if they would run the cart back.
If they just pushed it to the side or didn’t take it back, that was a deal breaker. I mean seriously, why can’t you walk 20 feet and take it back. I abhor laziness. That is something tough to break later in life. Lazy is almost always lazy. It just seems like such a small thing to do and if you are lazy at small things how serious are you going to take the big things in life.
Yes it’s silly, but I always admire those that go beyond the minimum to do a good job. The grocery cart test was just one small thing. Like someone who goes to school and get’s bad grades. Why don’t you put in the extra effort to become great in your life. You have paid the money for college, take advantage of the time.
My Totally Awesome Wife
I met my wife when I was 30 years old. She had just gotten back from living in Argentina. She spoke Spanish and so do I which is always fun, especially when you like to travel. She didn’t want to date me but eventually decided to give it a go after a few months.
The First Date
I was late on our first date because I was still in the TV business as a reporter at the time and was broadcasting live about 45 minutes away and so I didn’t make it back downtown until later than I had expected. I called her and let her know I was running slow, but that was a pretty big strike on the first date. (Most women I dated were impressed I was on TV but my wife could have cared less…”wow you can read, they give degrees for that”…I should have known she was a keeper at that point because she didn’t care about perceived success unlike her husband.)
Then I took her to a really nice sushi place near where I used to live downtown. It had a great atmosphere and amazing food so I was pretty excited. As soon as I grabbed the door my date/future wife said “I don’t eat fish.” Oh awesome. This is going to be a quick first and last date.
The rest of the date wasn’t amazing and I was pretty crushed because my wife was so smart and fun, and just seemed to be the complete package. She had a solid job, came from a solid family, had major plans for life and I was hoping to be part of that.
Are Those New Tires?
When I stopped back at her work so she could get her car I noticed that the tires seemed really shiny. I asked her if they were new and she said, “Well I guess they are because I bought the car on my lunch break today.”
How could this happen? The perfect woman and she just loaded up on debt. I was crushed again, but figured the way the date went it wasn’t going anywhere after that night.
Then she told me the rest of the story. Her uncle worked over at a dealership and got her a good deal on a used car that had low mileage from a returned lease and she went over and paid cash at lunch. No debt at all. She went on to explain there was no way she was going in to debt for a car. She also said had saved almost 80% of her money, most in to retirement and the rest in to savings. She lived at home and was trying to save as much as she could.
I said, “you must make pretty good money at work to do all that.” Then with a big smile she said she wouldn’t tell me her salary because she was pretty sure she made a lot more than me and didn’t want me to be even more demoralized than ii was after the way the date had gone that night. OUCH!
I Am In Love!!!
I loved the sassy attitude, confidence, and control of her life and money. She had the same philosophy about money as I did because we both learned lessons early in life. So date number one wasn’t great, but thanks to her sister I got invited to run a 5k with some other folks and help my future wife with that fundraiser so she could travel down to Central America to do some humanitarian work and somehow didn’t mess that up and here we are many years later married and working together on our money to build a financial legacy together.
Oh and by the way she returned the grocery cart. (I’m not sure it would have mattered, I’m just trying to keep up with her standards, I have a long ways to go).
Are you and your significant other financially compatible? On the other hand how have you worked together if you have different ideas on how finances should be handled? How have you handled someone bringing debt in to a relationship or going in to debt while in the relationship?