Is Money a Relationship Deal Breaker for You?

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Today features a guest post from Living Almost Large. She has an interesting perspective on relationships and money – something we should all consider before we walk down the aisle.

Hi I’m LAL from LivingAlmostLarge and LAL Musings. I am a twenty-something DINK writing who writes about personal finance and everything else. I am searching for true financial freedom and the ability to one day “Live Large”. I recently hosted the Carnival of Personal FinanceFestival of Frugality, and Fabulous Festival, check them out. Also I’m looking for guest posts in December so please contact me at livingalmost at gmail dot com!

I wanted to write about relationships and finance. Personally I didn’t have to deal with the stress of finding someone financially compatible. I met my DH at 20, and all I was interested in was a cute body, fun to party with, and a sense of humor. If I had to do it now though?

Money – Deal breaker?

How big a deal breaker is money in a relationship? When does it become a deal breaker if it is? Does it matter more to women or men? I think money can be a deal breaker. I also believe that money itself shouldn’t be the deal breaker but rather a person’s relationship and values with money is the true deal breaker. But how do you decide if money’s a deal breaker?

First, while I believe being debt free I realize that’s not necessarily how some people live. Thus the most important thing in a relationship is whether you are on the same page financially? Do you agree about how to spend and save money? I relate it to being comfortable with a person’s religion. Do you respect their values or share them? Can you live with their values for the rest of their lives if they never change? How a couple compromises really is the deciding factor in how a marriage/relationship will work. If you cannot come to a compromise or have shared values then it’ll never work.

Second, if you are incompatible financially is one person willing to change? Does the person in debt and irresponsible with money want to change for themselves? Or are they doing it for you? Perhaps debt is a deal breaker to you, but will the person changing really not resent the change?

Third, does the type of debt help? Does a person who only has student loans seem more acceptable than someone in credit card debt, car loan hell, and collections? Or is it all the same? I believe that the type of debt can play a role in deciding if it’s a deal breaker. If you meet someone at 25, they are more likely to still have student loan debt. However at 35 or 45? Perhaps student loan debt might seem more unacceptable.

Fourth, are the spenders in a relationship changing? Perhaps someone is $100k in debt from student loans, cars, and credit card; but if they are working to pay it off and have reformed their spending habits does it matter? Is money and debt still a deal breaker or are their new values and habits enough? I don’t believe you can easily disregard the change in attitude and values.

Finally, I’ve only talked about debt, but what about income? Does it matter if a woman earns more than the man? Should it? Is it a deal breaker? I think that unfortunately this is one of the bigger and more biased deal breakers. Many women want the option of staying at home, thus they are looking for men able to “bring home the bacon”. Thus while it shouldn’t matter what a person earns, in many cases it can and does influence the relationship.

By the way this is only applicable if you are old enough to have a conversation about money and reason out these judgments. If you are 18, it’s likely money and values won’t be what drives a relationship!

Note from Aryn: I wholeheartedly agree. I was in my mid-twenties when I met my DH. By that point, I was looking for someone who had a decent head for money. He wasn’t yet completely stable, but I could see the potential. We’ve grown together over the years and now usually agree about the major money things, even if we’ll always have core differences in some of our financial views. We’ve learned to compromise and agree on the big goals, and that’s what matters.

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