Happy Valentine’s Day! Watch Out For That Sexually Transmitted Debt!!

I caught that on the radio this morning and almost swerved my car off the road, haha..

We’ve talked about financial STDs here in the past, but I always thought it was just a made up thing that someone more clever than me conjured up – but no, it’s apparently “a thing!”

I missed the full discussion on air because it cut to commercials like a big ol’ tease, but a quick Google search shortly thereafter cured the itch no problem (pardon the pun):

Sexually Transmitted Debt is where one person in a relationship becomes responsible for their partner’s financial debts usually after being convinced or misled into taking on debt in their own name, sharing the responsibility, or taking on more risk than they knew about.

Yikes… Gotta own up on that stuff and take care of your biz, come on now! Can’t be pawning off your problems to those who love you!

So that’s the first thing to watch out for tonight. If your Valentine tries sweet talking you into cosigning a car loan under the candlelight dinner, grab your food and run :)

If they behave and keep their loans to themselves, I’ve come up with a handful of other great questions to ask them tonight so you know exactly what you’re dealing with… No jumping into bed with each others’ finances until they’re fully petted vetted!

#1: “Do you budget?” If yes – 90% of the coast is clear, continue forward!

#2: “Do you want to split an appetizer, Lady and The Tramp-style?” If they’re up for it, good – they appreciate some easy savings. If not, keep a close eye on that wallet…

#3: “Do you know what FIRE means?” This is a trick question because only $$$ nerds will know what it is, but it’s a quick way to see how much work you’re going to have to put into this relationship if it continues forward ;)

#4: “What do you think about these following $$$ tips?” Whip out your note card and start rattling them off, but pause enough in between to make sure they have enough time to marinate on (yes, this requires bringing a note card to dinner, but I promise you it’s worth it because THIS IS YOUR FINANCIAL LIFE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT!!)

  • “Every time you make a dollar, save a dime”
  • “Round up all your bills so you pay off more each month”
  • “Open a savings account at a different bank to make it harder to take out money whenever you really “need” it”
  • “Stash away every $5 bill you receive”
  • “If you can’t buy two of it, you can’t buy it at all” (<– my favorite)
  • “Never buy a wallet that costs more than the money you have in it”

If they nod for 4 out of the 6, the coast is clear. If they don’t, blame it on BuzzFeed where I snatched these from, and then feign an “emergency” real quick and get the hell out of there.

And then of course, the great equalizer – #5: “Do you read Budgets Are Sexy?” If yes, marry them on the spot!! They are PERFECT! If not and/or they snort wine up their nose because they find the name hilarious (because it is), slowly pace backwards until you reach the back door and then Forrest Gump it on outta there… I don’t care how good they are with their money, snorting wine is not sexy.

forrest gump running gif

There are a lot of things to watch out for in a compatible partner, but we all know money ranks #1 ;) They pass this test tonight and you’re 100% in the clear – congratulations! If you never make it to dessert, well, load this blog back up when you get home and marathon binge on the archives until you drift off peacefully at the keyboard.

It may not be the best date you’ve ever had, but hey – at least we have each other! And most importantly, we’re STD free – woo!

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  1. Josh February 14, 2018 at 5:20 AM

    How does that last tip work if you just carry credit cards in your wallet and put all of your spending on them (and pay it off in full every month, of course)?

    Great reminders, J! I’ll definitely keep an eye out for for those STDs! :D

    1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 7:07 AM

      Hey, cashback is sexy too! You rock that card and impress the pants off your lady (literally!)

      1. Josh February 14, 2018 at 6:21 PM

        HAHAHAHAHA! Totally going for this next time! :D

  2. The Physician Philosopher February 14, 2018 at 5:43 AM

    I think another important point is to determine how mold-able that person is. Are they flexible enough in their view of money to change over time? Or are they going to be going on weekend shopping sprees each month? I think your post hints at this… But even if they say, “I am not really sure what I think about that… But it seems smart and worth the try” I think they get the A for effort!

    The reason I say this is because both my wife and I came from homes with parents who were not very good with money. Never got taught a thing. So, like you, I stumbled into this personal finance community after reading a book on a friend’s coffee table. Suddenly, the lights went on.

    If, however, you mention some of these topics and are met with a cold and calculated look of disagreement… Well, then you’ve received a different answer.

    1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 7:14 AM

      I hear what you’re putting down, good sir. And I wholeheartedly agree. An open mind will take your relationship further in many areas of life, even outside of money. We’re constantly evolving as humans and our future selves could look completely different than they do now! So being open and fluid is most definitely important, and hopefully all the changes down the line are for *good* stuff and not *bad* haha…

  3. Lily | The Frugal Gene February 14, 2018 at 5:44 AM

    The saddest student loan stories I hear are from the one side who is afraid of getting into a relationship or opening up in a relationship because of their debt load. It happens a lot. It’s currently happening to a friend of mine (and Brodie from my suicide post).

    Plus they can’t even entertain the thought of marriage because of the financial implications. It’s even taking away their opportunity to love!!!! Now that’s SAD. Sorries :( had to say it.

    1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 7:19 AM

      Nooooo!!!! That is horrible, dang… and totally makes this post lame for trying to have fun with it all too, ugh… I really hope they can see the light and find someone that not only loves them for them, but can help them get through this hard period too!! As much as we joke around and love our $$$, Love trumps all and can do amazing things when you find the right partner.. I really REALLY hope they find theirs :(

      1. Lily | The Frugal Gene February 14, 2018 at 11:02 PM

        Not at all J! You brought awareness to it and people will feel less alone when they embark on this post one day :)

    2. Debbie February 15, 2018 at 4:48 AM

      This is so sad & a big reason young people must choose a decent paying occupation when they go to college. It’s a problem in my state. We have a shortage of teachers as pay is low. Low pay means they struggle to pay off student loans so fewer are going into the field. Better teachers have left the state for higher wages elsewhere. It’s a real catch 22. And as you said, hefty student loans prevent some from having relationships, buying a house/car, the list goes on & on. Wish they’d find a way to control college costs.

  4. Prudence Debtfree February 14, 2018 at 6:03 AM

    So this is why you don’t run a site offering romantic advice : ) How many people would sit through that date? But that’s the conundrum: How do you approach the least romantic topic out there with your love interest? Money management has so much impact on relationships, so it’s got to be done – for the sake of decreasing the divorce rate (and for lowering the incidence of sexually-transmitted debt). Have you ever written a post about how people can or have approached this topic in new relationships for real?

    1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 7:22 AM

      Haha, I probably have over the years yeah, and obviously know how important and serious it can be, but I was just in a playful mood this morning and wanted to have a little fun with it all :) I would be amazed if ANYONE talked about money like this on the first date, but boy would I be thrilled! You would be made for each other if you actually went down this list on you dates! Haha…

  5. Accidental FIRE February 14, 2018 at 6:22 AM

    Sexually Transmitted Debt is the best term I’ve heard in a while and my day, possibly my year, feels complete now. So genius!

    1. Mr. JumpStart February 14, 2018 at 7:13 AM

      Agreed. That is one good title.

      1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 7:22 AM

        Someone – go trademark it!!

        (Though fyi – sexuallytransmitteddebt.com is actually taken! Haha… Not that I was researching it or anything ;))

  6. Sean @ Frugal Money Man February 14, 2018 at 7:29 AM

    I may have to steal the “Every time you make a dollar, save a dime” line from you…

    This is one of the best lines I have actually ever heard in terms of paying yourself first. It goes hand in hand with a financial rule from one of my ALL TIME favorite personal finance books – The Richest Man in Babylon. The rule is to “keep 10% of whatever you make.” The line you used is a PERFECT way to illustrate to people on how to appropriately save, based off of a single dollar.

    Great stuff man!

    1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 9:34 AM

      Spread it long and far!! Then when everyone is following it, change it to “save two dimes” so they turbo charge it even more ;)

  7. Bryan February 14, 2018 at 7:30 AM

    So Funny!!

    I start each day by reading your blog, MMM, and ERE.


    1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 9:35 AM

      You like your blogs with a little side of flair ;)

      Although sadly only one of us is actually financially free! Haha…

  8. Brian February 14, 2018 at 7:42 AM

    I really think there is a reason that there is a song that starts off like this:

    “She take my money when I’m in need
    Yea she’s a trifling friend indeed
    Oh she’s a gold digger way over town
    That digs on me”

    1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 9:51 AM

      Back when he made a LOT more sense too :)

  9. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance February 14, 2018 at 7:47 AM

    Happy Valentine’s! I don’t want any STDs either hehe. Gotta watch out for that anywhere any day ;)

  10. jen13 February 14, 2018 at 7:55 AM

    I would have failed.

    Every time you make a dollar, save a dime”. No. Everytime I make a dollar I save .50

    “Round up all your bills so you pay off more each month”. Never. I never pay more than I owe. I don’t give free loans to people.

    “Open a savings account at a different bank to make it harder to take out money whenever you really “need” it”. No. I’m disciplined enough, don’t have to.

    “Stash away every $5 bill you receive”. No. I stash away $20s

    “If you can’t buy two of it, you can’t buy it at all” (<– my favorite). Disagree.

    “Never buy a wallet that costs more than the money you have in it” Disagree. I respect money. I keep it organized and know how much I have in my wallet at all times. It is a motivator or perhaps symbolic reminder for me to have a luxurious, wealthy looking wallet to hold my cash.

    My score 0%. I failed.

    1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 9:59 AM

      Perhaps, but in all the right places, haha…

      I’d def. be bringing a ring on that next date if I were lucky enough to make it that far with someone of your caliber ;)

  11. Leo T. Ly February 14, 2018 at 7:56 AM

    Most people who got the financial STD got them because they were thinking with their hearts and not their heads. We’ll all be Debt free if we use more logics to make decisions rather than emotions.

    Happy Valentine’s Day.

    1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 9:59 AM

      True true… hearts do have the trump card.

  12. jen13 February 14, 2018 at 7:57 AM

    2nd one I misread. I don’t pay extra on a bill by rounding up. I don’t have loans.

    Also, I don’t order appetizers. It spoils my delicious dinner and I not only save on money but on calories.

  13. Nicoleandmaggie February 14, 2018 at 8:01 AM

    Wouldn’t it be better to introduce them to BAS?

    1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 10:00 AM

      It’s always better to introduce them to BAS no matter how awesome or not they are! ;)

  14. Rocky February 14, 2018 at 8:39 AM

    Money shouldn’t be taboo for anyone but especially for someone who you’re intertwining life and legs with. Protect yourself at all times!

    1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 10:48 AM

      Hah! Well put.

  15. Chris @ Duke of Dollars February 14, 2018 at 8:41 AM


    Marry them asap because they read the blog and don’t snort wine – love it lmao

  16. Mr. SSC February 14, 2018 at 8:48 AM

    Mrs. SSC totally got a lot of sexually transmitted debt when she married me. Good thing she didn’t read this article 10 years ago, Yipe!!

    She had ~$40k in savings, no debt and good credit, I had about $1k in savings, ~$16k in credit card debt, $64k in student loans (at 1.75% interest), and horrid credit, a match made in financial hell. :) Seriously, it was so bad when we did a mortgage application, the guy ran her numbers and wa all smiles and ran mine and motioned her over, showed her the screen and they both look up at me with a stunned, disapproving look on their faces. Guess who didn’t get put on the mortgage for that house, this guy!

    Fortunately, she’s been one of the best influences in my life on way more levels than just financial, and we’re about 1-2 yrs from being FI in a short almost 10 years of marriage.

    1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 10:56 AM

      Yayy!!!! She is an ANGEL over there!!! And you must be doing something right to keep her too – well done :) We need more happen endings like this in our world…

  17. Martinus February 14, 2018 at 9:33 AM

    In the “Millionaire Next Door” Tom Stanley says the two most important decisions in life are choice of vocation and choice of spouse. There are few things more difficult in life than having a spouse whose attitudes about money are incongruent with yours. If you’re not married I’d certainly take J Money’s advice about vetting a potential spouse. People are who they are. You might get someone to change but I’d never rely on this. You can probably work with a semi profligate spouse if their tremendous “offence” (to use Tom Stanley’s words again) outweighs their terrible “defence” but these people are few and far between.

    Getting divorced over money is a terrible thing: best to avoid it in the first place.

  18. Ty Roberts February 14, 2018 at 9:56 AM

    That title is golden! Love a good headline. Fun post.

  19. Blake February 14, 2018 at 10:34 AM

    Awesome post J! Glad I don’t have to worry about these points with my SO!

  20. J at Their Money Goals February 14, 2018 at 10:39 AM

    Yesss to this title! I wish I had that checklist back in the day…although if I had, I probably wouldn’t be married today. :) Fun post!

    1. J. Money February 14, 2018 at 10:58 AM

      Feel free to share this around and see if we can get it viral!!! (VIRAL!!! SEE WHAT I DID THERE???)

  21. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life February 14, 2018 at 1:06 PM

    You know this is how I hooked the perfect partner! :) He wasn’t great with money when we first dated but he opened up those ears and learned and learned. And he learned the term “FIRE” this week! :D

    I do wish I’d had this post ten years ago about other kinds of relationships, though. This is so applicable across all relationships.

    1. J. Money February 15, 2018 at 6:49 AM

      Once you go FIRE you never go back ;)

  22. Lisa O February 14, 2018 at 1:09 PM

    Now that is a TITLE to an article that can NOT be overlooked. As a mother of 2…I make sure my kids are heading on the right track with the right partner. So far I am okay with 1 out of 2.

    It is so important that your first marriage is your last! It is so costly to have that relationship fail and if there are kids from the relationship…it is even harder!

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    1. J. Money February 15, 2018 at 6:50 AM

      Indeed! Happy VD! ;)

  23. Unfuck My Money February 14, 2018 at 1:39 PM

    Ugh. I caught an STD once. My ex convinced me to pay off his $700 credit card debt that had gone to collections and I did like the fool I was. I should have known something was up that early into the relationship. Doing that for him just led into a spiral of stupid money decisions on my part. Oh well, hindsight is 20/20. Glad I got out of that toxic relationship and am with someone with the same money views as me.

    1. J. Money February 15, 2018 at 6:57 AM

      YES!! And you can never be too hard on yourself for being a NICE PERSON too. It may get you in trouble here and there, but shame on the rest of the world for being lame – not you.

  24. FullTimeFinance February 14, 2018 at 1:46 PM

    Very fun post…. overheard today by the water cooler at work. My new car only cost 42k. I only owed 25k on my trade in….
    Might be another check there for you.

    1. J. Money February 15, 2018 at 7:08 AM


  25. Cody @ Dollar Habits February 14, 2018 at 1:54 PM

    Come on, Man! How could I not click on that title?! Haha. Love it. Happy Love Day, J!

  26. Laurie@ThreeYear February 14, 2018 at 2:59 PM

    My husband and I managed to marry each other with no debt–we added that on later!! I’m so glad we wised up together! :)

    1. J. Money February 15, 2018 at 7:10 AM

      I’m so glad :)

  27. Ms ZiYou February 15, 2018 at 4:38 AM

    Sexually Transmitted Debt is hilarious, but actually can be a serious issue.

    As a single person, I always wonder why my line is – would I date someone in debt, if so where the line?

    1. J. Money February 15, 2018 at 7:16 AM

      Maybe if they’re an AWESOME person? Some people just suck w/ money and need a good partner to help them see the light ;) And of course some debts are way different than others too (student loans/medical vs credit cards!)

  28. Debbie February 15, 2018 at 4:42 AM

    And when you ask he/she what is FIRE & the answer is:: it’s what happens to my wallet when I step into a store….RUN BAMBI RUN!!! Thanx for a fun post!

    1. J. Money February 15, 2018 at 7:17 AM

      Yup, pretty much haha…

      You’re good at this game :)

  29. Krystal @ Simple Finance Mom February 15, 2018 at 12:00 PM

    haha I love your humorous take on this. I’m a firm believer that how well you manage your money (or not!) says a lot about a person. That’s not to say there aren’t great people who were just never taught well. Because there are! But taking advantage of those who love you is no bueno.

  30. ZJ Thorne February 24, 2018 at 10:59 AM

    Figuring out financial compatibility is very important. A trend I’ve noticied in my dating adventures is that I like fancy things every now and then but not as much as my girlfriends did. Clearly, I need to seek out better answers at the beginning and save my cash.

  31. Joe July 24, 2018 at 2:03 PM

    Ah yes, now i can put a name to that debt I unfortunately became a victim to with one of my exes :( :/

    1. J. Money July 24, 2018 at 2:50 PM

      Haha yup… at least this one’s curable though! ;)