Sunday, February 22, 2015

The Money Factor

How much does money matter in dating? It isn’t as black and white as religion, or even body size, except for the first date. Men who refuse to spring for the first date cup of coffee or wine get sidelined fast. The interpretation comes across as not interested. Women, who continued dating No Pay Charlie, discovered just that. With this in mind, men can meet for drinks only on a first date, but make sure you pay for it.

Not every man gets that far since his salary or lack of one keeps him out of the dating game. On online dating sites for women described their perfect man differently depending on the country. American women wanted an attractive, wealthy man who was both romantic and could make her laugh. The British females preferred a man with a nice house, good car, and a salary around 100,000 or better (not sure if that was dollars or pounds.) The women who answered the survey wanted men with money. Why is that?

Advertising infers if we’re not driving expensive cars, taking exotic vacations every other month, or live in luxury communities, then we’re failures.  A wealthy boyfriend or husband is the yardstick women use to demonstrate their desirability. Dave Ramsey, financial speaker, takes a kinder approach that women are nesters and want to be sure there’s enough money to keep the nest intact.

I’ve read several online articles and advice columns about lovelorn men suspicious of women trying to part a man from his money. At some point, you need to know the relationship your potential date has with money. Trust me; I once was married to a wild spender. If I’d known about it during the start of the relationship, it would have ended there. The money talk doesn’t have to be the first thing out of your mouth and should never be discussed on the first two dates. If you never make it to date three, it never really mattered anyhow. A date gives hints without you asking.

People measure someone’s success by the model of car or neighborhood they live. Often people can be one-step from foreclosure in an expensive neighborhood while someone else residing in a modest neighborhood has money in the bank. In the end, you’re not dating the car or house.

A high earning individual does not guarantee romantic happiness. Keep in mind, unless your potential sweetie is a trust fund baby, he or she worked hard to get where they are. This means long hours, business calls at night and weekends, and a driven personality. It’s hard to have the witty lover who takes leisurely hikes across the countryside and the millionaire. Notice I didn’t say never.

Financial stability is more important than wads of cash. Most wealthy men aren’t looking to find some down on her luck female in order to raise her up to equal financial status. Keep reminding yourself that Pretty Woman was just a movie.  The moneyed set socializes with the other wealthy families. There are rare cases, but they usually sign an unbreakable pre-nup.

The best advice is to get your own house in financial order. By doing this you’ll attract a like-minded person. Most women don’t want to marry a man with a truckload of debts. Not too surprising, men find this off-putting too. A woman is avidly listening for clues such as home ownership, job titles, and income during casual chitchat. The man is equally on guard for remarks about impulsive spending, overdue bills, and school loans.

Never make the mistake thinking that money will solve your problems. It will disguise them for a bit, but they’ll resurrect like a zombie in a horror movie. Only they’ll bring more problems with them. Often money-strapped individuals will marry or move in with the affluent partner expecting a happy ending. What they receive instead is an uncomfortable union that pleases neither party plus a fear of leaving which manifests itself as resentment.

Before I married the first time, I went through premarital counseling with my ex. What we didn’t do was have financial counseling or even a discussion of money-related goals. This would have been more illuminating than discussing whose parents we’d visit at Christmas. Know who you are financially because it matters.

Impulsive spenders shouldn’t expect happiness with tight-fisted financial conservatives. Each party will view the other as wrong. Most adults don’t want to learn money management. They made it this far and see no real reason to change. Many people in a relationship think their partner’s salary is their money. Not all partners feel the same.

Go out and enjoy your first couple of dates. Look for the red flags that could indicate financial issues on the horizon. It’s much easier to move on before you invest too much time in an individual. There are hundreds of people out there who aren’t a good fit, financial or otherwise. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can change them.

Should money factor into a relationship? Yes. The way you handle your own expenses count. Unrealistic expectations of your future date squiring you to various expensive venues matter too. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your beau had no other use for his or her discretionary income than to spend it on you. As the relationship progresses, expect to contribute to it financially by sharing date expenses. In the end, poor money management should be just as scary as the man who announces he lives with his parents.

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