Three days ago I was being interviewed on the "No Romance without Finance" show which leads to today's topic. What are the financial red flags before marriage? The host wanted to know what should people be looking for that could give them a warning sign that they should maybe slow down and pay attention to their loved ones financial behavior. Without delay, let's jump right in.
1) If you have a person that does not want to discuss money at all prior to marriage, this is a clear sign that you could be headed for some tumultous times. What is the reason they don't want to talk about money? Is it your presentation? That means are you pouncing on them as soon as you get together saying I want to talk about money now. Are you approaching it from a negative standpoint? Or are you saying, it is going to cost us this for the wedding and we need to spend more. PRESENTATION is everything especially when it comes to money.
2) A person who is spending (overspending) on you. They are showering you with gifts. This is a clear sign that they could be avoiding a deeper issue and would rather try to remain in a false happy space. Money is a topic that is emotional and can bring out the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in people; however it is something that can be controlled. The key is to find out who your future spouse is when it comes to money. Why do they spend the way they do? How do they like to make their purchases – do they prefer cash, credit or even check? You have to get intimate with their financial personality in order to work with it instead of bumping heads.
3) Excessive debt without a financial plan to get out! Okay brides and grooms, beware of this one. Hear me clearly – when you are engaged a fiance' or fiancee' is not a financial plan. The debt that you have created prior to marriage more than likely had nothing to do with the other person; therefore you must have a plan to get out of debt whether you marry them or not. If you are looking at the other person as a financial plan, you are in for a rocky road after you say I do. Let's keep it real. You need to be up front and show that person that you may have made some mistakes AND you are on the road to reinventing yourself and cleaning up that behavior.
4) Can't keep a job! Let's put it on the table – if a person is constantly unemployed, how are they going to pay their bills? If this is happening during your engaged state and they don't have a plan for employment lookout before you know it you are going to be shouldering all of the financial responsibility in the NEW marriage. You will be paying your bills and the bills of your new spouse that were brought into the marriage. Granted these are not bills that you created together – so how will you handle that if you decide to gloss over this? The answer is not divorce either!! Communicate and become GREAT problem solvers. There may be times within the marriage where you lose a job and the other person may have to support the household. There's a BIG difference between losing a job and becoming employed again and someone that remains unemployed, don't have any desire to go and look for a job because they are depressed and in denial about the financial state.
5) Poor or little financial planning. We've all heard the song by Paula Abdul Opposites Attract. That is true even within money and marriage. What starts out as cute and even intriguing can be the same thing later on that make you say, why are you this way. How does this person handle money and what do they foresee for the future? Brides and grooms need to have a plan for their finances – savings, retirement, family planning, retirement, vacations and even college education. You don't wait until you are in those situations you plan ahead. Money is not the area that you want to just let things happen.
Yes love may be blind, however your checkbook or bank account being in the red will not make for Happily Ever After.