Going out on a first date and wondering about your financial compatibility? Michelle Singletary, The Washington Post’s personal finance columnist, believes it’s crucial to spot any financial red flags early on. She’s not suggesting you grill your date about their bank balance right away, but she does advise paying attention to their spending habits and attitudes towards money.
For example, during her dating days, Singletary quickly realized financial compatibility with her now-husband because he was honest about his financial limits and equally frugal. On the other hand, she once ditched a potential partner who seemed okay with drowning in debt for a dream car. For Singletary, living within one’s means is key, and someone who splurges on first-class flights or fancy dinners might be fun in the moment but troublesome in a long-term, serious relationship.
Singletary emphasizes the importance of early conversations about money when dating. If someone isn’t willing to have these talks, it might be a sign to rethink the relationship. Financial attitudes and values are best understood before things get too serious.
For her, a simple yet telling question she asked her husband in their 20s about envisioning retirement revealed they shared similar values about a stable, family-oriented future. Her take? Know your values, align them with your partner’s, and be ready to walk away if those red flags wave too high.