Finding a partner in the exact same financial position as you is impossible. You’re not gonna have the same spending habits, the same degree, the same salary, AND the same debt history all at the same time. Considering your parents and upbringing will also have had a huge influence on your attitudes to money, your individual financial situation becomes even more complex.
Since our finances are the result of so many variables, it’s perfectly natural and healthy for you and bae to come from completely different financial backgrounds. But despite your many differences, it’s vital that you share some common ground.
Although your pasts may differ, if you want your relationship to stand the test of time, you need to have similar dreams for the future, similar morals and similar priorities. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a relationship with someone who stunts your growth and prevents you from following your dreams and achieving your full potential. Here are 5 signs your partner’s holding you back financially.
1. You often have to lend them money towards the end of the month
If your partner consistently has to borrow money from you in the days (or even weeks) leading up to pay day, it’s crucial that you address the situation before you get taken advantage of.
It shouldn’t be your responsibility to bail them out, so put your foot down and make it clear you’re no longer willing to act as their safety net.
You never know, by being tough on them, they may get their act together and start being more careful with their cash. If you know a thing or two about budgeting, offer to help them create their own.
2. You’re working overtime while they put their feet up
You have big dreams for the future and you work hard to save money for your goals. But while you’re slaving away to increase your income, your partner is chilling out in front of the telly or popping bottles in the club.
If your partner doesn’t want to hustle outside of their day job, that’s fine. No one is in the wrong here. After all, they shouldn’t have to change for you; you have to let them be who they want to be. But if they have no plans to make more money and you’re breaking your back to increase your income, this could be a sign you’re incompatible. The last thing you want is to become overcome with anger and resentment.
3. They encourage you to spend money on things you usually wouldn’t buy
Does your partner constantly encourage you to buy things you don’t particularly want or need? Whether they’re pestering you to dine with them at restaurants you can’t afford or they’re nagging you to go halves with them on an unnecessarily big telly, don’t let your partner pressure you into spending money on things you don’t consider to be a priority.
4. They won’t talk about money
Personally, I think it’s a good idea to talk about money fairly early on in a relationship. You don’t have to reveal how much student debt you’re in on the first date or shout out your salary the first time you have sex, but by giving each other a glimpse into your financial attitudes and goals early on, you’ll get an insight into your compatibility.
If you’ve been with your partner for a few months or longer and they completely shut down every time you try to discuss money, make it clear how important financial discussions are to you.
5. They’re in a lot of debt (and aren’t doing anything to get out of it)
Considering debt has become such a widely accepted (and in some cases unavoidable) part of modern life, I think it would be unfair to make it a financial deal breaker. Don’t kick your partner to the curb simply because they’re in debt and you’re not. However, alarm bells should ring if the person you’re dating is debt-ridden and not doing anything about it.
Even if they’re unable to pay off their debt right now, they should have a plan of action in place to improve their circumstances and resolve the issue eventually. If you’re working hard to get your own finances in good shape but your partner has no intention of improving theirs, they’ll only end up slowing you down.
If you’re in love with your partner, it’s easy to bury your head in the sand and overlook financial differences. But since money affects almost every aspect of our lives and is perhaps one of the most important factors when it comes to achieving our dreams, differing attitudes to money can really make or break a relationship.
If you can identify with the points I’ve mentioned in this post, I’m certainly not suggesting you break up with your boo. Instead, talk to your partner about your differences and see if you can work together in a way that allows you both to achieve your dreams and aspirations. If you can’t come to a solution that benefits you both, it may be time to go your separate ways.
I’ll leave you with this brilliant quote from Tonya Rapley of My Fab Finance.
Your long term romantic relationship is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make.
— Tonya Rapley, CFEI (@MyFabFinance) September 5, 2016