You’re Hot, But Your Finances Are Not!

[Happy Valentine’s Day!! Please welcome our friend Lance to the blog today who reminds us how important it is to stay away from STDs…  Sexually Transmitted Debt ® ;) We first ran this piece about two years ago, but had to bring it back for anyone who’s slipped into dangerous territory again… Always gotta stay vigilant, friends! Can’t be too careful out there!]


There is nothing better than meeting “the one” and falling in love. They have everything going for them in life: great job, perfect hair, amazing personality, adventurous and outgoing, and don’t forget… loaded with debt!

Nothing ruined a relationship faster (other than an emerging case of psychosis) than learning the person I was dating was drowning in debt. Even worse was the lack of recognition when they didn’t think it was a big deal. Guess what, it is a big deal! If you can’t take your money seriously, how can I trust you to take our relationship seriously? I’ve worked my butt off to be where I am today; you’re not taking me down.

Debt is Not Attractive to Anyone

No matter how attractive you may be, the collection of debt is a red flag of a habit that may be impossible for you to break. It can be overcome, especially school debt (although it’s becoming much tougher these days with debts as large as mortgages), but you better think long and hard about mixing your life and someone else’s debt together.

  • Hot and debt free? Super-hot.
  • Hot and $18,000 credit card debt and growing? Hot, high maintenance mess.
  • Mediocre looking and no debt? Hotter than that hot mess above!

Personal Financial Classified Ads

Pretty sure I haven’t read these in the classifieds section, but unfortunately this is how many folks live if you really think about it:

“Looking for a serious relationship with someone who knows how to care and has a kind heart. No head games, no messing around, but willing to accept someone who is a financial dumpster fire living paycheck to paycheck.”

“30 year old single, hopeful to find soul mate! 5’7″ average build and college educated. Looking for person to love and cherish me until the end of my life. Seeking someone kind and loving who can’t control their spending and will bring strife and pain every single day until we can’t stand to be in the same room anymore.”

“Looking for long-term relationship with someone who is financially unstable and dedicated to endless amounts of credit card debt. Can’t wait for regular arguments at the dinner table in front of the kids as we end every night not speaking to each other.”

“Looking for Mr. Right: I’m single, never married, recent college grad with $115,000 in debt. I love long walks while holding hands and talking about our future as I financially cripple us from day one. If you have a good head on your shoulders and don’t mind an extra $650 monthly payment for the next 30 years, look me up!”

“Romantic and caring person who is looking for my best friend and soul mate. I have a stressful job and take my cares out to the lake on my brand new boat which is pulled by my brand new truck. I promise to love you almost as much as my toys!”

Too Much Debt – Swipe Left

Lots of people can overcome debt. Sometimes working on it together has brought people closer because they have worked hand in hand to overcome it.

HOWEVER, I have watched money take two terrific people and turn them into mortal enemies as well. You really need to take the time to consider what too much debt and poor spending habits will bring to your life and relationships.

My First Date With Too Much Debt

I remember asking out a girl from my high school, and when I went to her house to pick her up there was a brand new jeep in the driveway. She opened the door and said, “want to take a ride in my new jeep?!”

It was a lot of fun as we headed up the canyon and then later had lunch talking about how her new car put her in $16,000 of debt. Her parents co-signed on the loan (don’t do that) and she was so thrilled to have that new jeep. $16,000 to a high school student is a ton of money, especially when you work part-time at the mall.

I really liked this girl, and to be honest, it was the first time I probably thought a little more seriously about relationships besides what the person looked like. Between the debt and her blatant disregard for thinking it was a big deal… All of a sudden she became somewhat unattractive. She was still physically beautiful, but her choices made her less appealing as I started questioning her judgement (and not just because she was willing to go out with me, which is a risk in its own :))

Money and Relationships – So Beautiful and So Toxic

My wife and I consider ourselves CEOs. We are CEOs of our home and our money. There is nothing more important than those things, and we work on them together.

It isn’t one person’s responsibility to be smart about money in the home. Everyone in a relationship should know how much money is coming in and how much is going out, and where. If you are not doing that, you are not reaching your full capacity together as a team. There is no one more interested in your finances than you – so work on it together!

I have personally seen finances tear apart fantastic relationships. I have watched folks choose granite counter tops, bigger houses, bathroom renovations and other things that bring in fun for the moment, but devastation later when the bills come due.

I have watched as couples hide money from each other and buy things behind each others’ backs. Any type of infidelity whether sexually or financially is devastating when eventually discovered. I’ve never met anyone who later said, “hiding things from you was really the best for both of us!” It can put you in a place of tremendous despair and depression when you lose everything that truly matters in your life.

Control your pants and your spending!

Don’t Get Caught Up in Fake Wealth

Sometimes we get enamored by flashy things in life. Just like we first notice someone’s amazing good looks, we can also get caught up in what they drive or what they wear and own. Just because someone has something new does not make them rich. Most people have a lot of “stuff” but not a lot of “wealth.”

Make sure when you are in a serious relationship that you have a true understanding of the other person and their financial situation.

Here are just a few questions to ask:

  • How much debt do you have?
  • How much do we make and spend?
  • Do you know what your credit score is? You have never heard of a credit score? That’s cool, did I tell you about my upcoming year long sabbatical to help panda bears in the Wolong China reserve? I can’t take a cell phone, so I guess this is it…
  • How much have you saved for retirement?
  • Should we pay off our house early?
  • Should we rent or own?
  • Are we going to combine our accounts?
  • Do you gamble?
  • Will you watch The Bachelor with me? (Editor’s note: I may or may not have added this in :))
  • What would you do if you inherited $10,000?
  • Are you happy with your job?
  • Have you ever walked out on a job without anything else planned?

If people put in as much time and effort in their finances as they do their looks and stuff they own, they can accomplish much more than imagined. Then we’d actually have a want ad to respond to!

“Smart, financially savvy and attractive person seeking soul mate to travel and take on the world together. Ready to build wealth so we can spend more time hanging out and enjoying life. Let’s do this!”

Lance is a former blogger who loves to talk about money, but hates running a blog. I told him he’s welcome to share his thoughts with us here anytime ;) He can be found on Twitter @Lance_Finance.

Other pieces by Lance:

UPDATE: Sexually Transmitted Debt® is actually a registered trademark! And even more wild than that, it’s owned by a friend of our community! –> Valerie Rind – hah!

[Photo cred by @jakeculp / Artwork by @amberella]

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  1. Smart Provisions February 10, 2017 at 5:33 AM

    Interesting take on the intermingling of love and finance, Lance.

    It’s interesting, but after I started pursuing financial independence, I do judge my date if they are in debt. It’s definitely much “hotter” and better if they are financially responsible and don’t have debt.

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 8:19 AM

      Less debt or no debt is the ideal. As long as there is a plan but if they are ambivalent about the seriousness of debt and the strain it can cause them there are some life lessons yet to be learned.

  2. Band of Savers February 10, 2017 at 7:33 AM

    Great points. Talking about money with someone your dating seems so foreword and scary but worth it. I’m glad that I lucked out and stumbled into a financially equal relationship without having to ask. When I first met my wife we were both in college and both of us entered the relationship with about $10,000 in our saving accounts. it was nice to come into the marriage on equal terms. I remember taking her best friend ring shopping with me and finding out later that she was shocked when I just wrote a check for a diamond ring because I had saved and had the money to do it, that earned me huge points from my wife when her roommate told her that.

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 8:26 AM

      I agree, money came up on my first date with my future wife just because I picked her up from her work. I asked her if she like working there and what she did and she smiled and said, “it’s a great job but I won’t tell you much about it because you’ll be embarrassed that I make way more than you.” Made me intrigued but glad that she thought about things. We had a terrible first date by the way, but we the only direction we had after that was up.

    2. J. Money February 10, 2017 at 2:10 PM

      Baller, Band of Savers!

  3. FullTimeFinance February 10, 2017 at 7:43 AM

    A friend of mine once had his engagement fall apart when he learned she had 50k in credit card debt at the last moment. I can’t help but think you need to have these type of talks much earlier to avoid such heartache. My wife brought in as much as I did to our relationship and we’re on the same page. I got lucky in that regard.

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 8:30 AM

      Once it gets serious it is time to have some serious conversations or you are setting yourself up for heartache. I have neighbors who had $240,000 in debt from medical school but had a plan. They both make six figures and have paid most of it off, but it was pretty stressful on them, but they were upfront about the lifestyle they needed to have early on to deal with their situation. They are doing well, but had a plan early on.

  4. Stacy February 10, 2017 at 8:05 AM

    I have to say that my husband and I were definitely NOT on equal footing when we got married 4 months ago. We went over many of your questions on our third date (Plus, do you ever want to have kids? That’s an important one!). He makes 3 times what I make and I was still paying off about $7000 total on student loans and my used car (down from $27000). When I asked him if he was afraid that I had debt, he said he wasn’t because when I told him about the debt, I also told him how much I had already paid off, what my plan was for the rest of it, and I knew what my credit score was.

    I guess my point here is that having a little debt isn’t necessarily what makes you undesirable. Being a hot mess is what makes you undesirable.

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 8:34 AM

      Yep, got to ask about kids. Great points and I agree. As long as you are proactive about your situation and debt you should be fine. Anyone who is ambivalent about debt… My wife made much more than me when we were first married. I thought it was awesome, she saved most of her money which I thought was amazing. After a year of marriage I was promoted and we made the same and that was a fun financial time, set us up for life and for when the kids came later on. Great points, thanks for sharing.

  5. Heidi February 10, 2017 at 8:10 AM

    Before my ex-husband and I got married we talked about finances. He told me he had no debt and about $10,000 dollars in the bank which I found so exciting because that’s such a rarity these days. Turns out, he interpreted my excitement as a lusting after money. So he hid the bulk of his actual savings from me, and made up an elaborate lie about his mom giving us money for the down payment on our house. I was so mad. It just added to all his other lies, like not being gay and not cheating on me. I actually find the money lie worse than the others.

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 8:38 AM

      Sounds rough and sorry you went through that. My wife waited a long time to tell me her finances fully while we were dating, but I knew her philosophy. Once we shared everything it was great and empowering. All secrets eventually get discovered and are usually difficult to deal with.

    2. J. Money February 10, 2017 at 2:12 PM

      What! He turned out to be gay and cheating on you?? oh man…

      1. Heidi February 10, 2017 at 3:56 PM

        Yep. Obviously why he’s my ex-husband, but at least I got the two most beautiful daughters on the planet.

  6. Paul February 10, 2017 at 8:30 AM

    My wife brought in to the marriage 10K in Student Loans. Not terrible as far as those things are concerned. We worked like hell to get that paid off. Took us 5 years but our incomes were modest at that time. Was totally worth it though. Glad we did it and the amount was small enough it didn’t cause any fighting or resentment. We were more jointly angry at her parents who paid for her younger sister’s college in full…

    I could see these things especially at the higher end eating at the opposing spouse, its like hey you were responsible your whole life now pay up, every month, from now till you are 70…like out of nowhere someone just chops you right straight in the throat one time every month for most of your life. At least thats how I imagine such things

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 8:43 AM

      Some debt does lead to better things. School debt can lead to better jobs. Real estate investment usually starts with debt but has the higher potential. As long as there is a plan of action that is great. The massive growth of school debt these days does need to be a red flag compared to the past. Can’t just be accepting of all debt. Most folks don’t understand the real strain it is to have major payments for so long. Have a plan for debt. I work with engaged couples and teach a finance class and ask each couple if they are putting in more preparation for their weddding day or for their life. So often we plan for months for the wedding day but put little effort and plans in to the decades that are to follow; they both deserve attention.

      1. Alex February 10, 2017 at 9:10 AM

        IMHO, debt for school isn’t always a good thing. Yes, if you took out $10k in loans to get your bachelors from the local college while living at home then it’s a great idea. If you took out $50k in loans so that you could go to the private school instead of the in-state school then i’d have a problem (Syracuse vs. Binghamton, Villanova vs Penn State, Wake Forest vs. UNC). Or going into debt for degrees that won’t increase your earning potential.

        But thats just me.

        1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 10:18 AM

          Totally agree. The assumption that there is a guaranteed returned or that excessive school debt is okay needs to die. School debt can lead to better jobs, but it can also just leave your crippled with major payments. I have a neighbor who is an attorney for the local county making just $50k a year. He’s mentioned over and over again that he is stuck because of his debt and low paying job. No more assumptions!

  7. Mr Crazy Kicks February 10, 2017 at 8:46 AM

    Not sure whether to laugh or cry reading those dating ads!

    I was lucky to marry my best friend. Over nearly a decade of marriage I can’t think of a time when we argued over money. We are very different people, but have always agreed on what is fundamentally important when it comes to our hard earned cash. With teamwork, we quickly reached financial independence, and were able to quit our corporate jobs :)

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 10:21 AM

      I did as well. We work hard as a team. Its funny that even though we are financially set for life that we’ll still check with each other over a $5 purchase and then just laugh, but it’s just been ingrained in us from early on.

  8. Alex February 10, 2017 at 9:06 AM

    Great post. While there’s certainly more to compatibility than how you handle debt & savings, it certainly helps when you and your partner have similar views towards money.

    I’d have a tough time being with someone who constantly spent every penny we had if I was trying to save. Similarly i’d have a tough time being with someone who never wanted to go out, take a trip, do anything fun in the interest of not spending anything.

    Life is stressful, marriage can have it’s ups and downs, there’s enough things to worry about without adding money & debt into the mix.

    We just found out last week we’re having twins. While i’m nervous about the additional chaos it will bring, it’s nice to know we will be able to handle it financially. Sure, it will mean dipping into our savings for the next couple of years and restricting our budget a little further, but I sure am glad we have a nest egg we can tap into. Had we been spending everything we brought in over the years this would be much much harder to handle.

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 10:26 AM

      Of course there is more to compatibility, but let’s face it, we’re simply not doing enough ahead of time and don’t take our finances seriously as a country. Are we okay with just $200 in savings, no retirement, $28,000 in student debt, $15,000 average in consumer debt and 50% divorce rates which are financially crippling? Maybe a little more financial preparation would lead to major changes in all these numbers. If we can’t find the happy balance ahead of marriage are we going to find it after? Not saying that one way is the only way, just throwing out ideas to think about simply because I’m not satisfied with how most folks are living their life, we could simply do better all the way around with finances and relationships.

    2. J. Money February 10, 2017 at 2:13 PM

      CONGRATS!!! How exciting and scary at the same time! :)

  9. Mrs. Picky Pincher February 10, 2017 at 10:15 AM

    This is a very good point. I know a lot of people don’t want to date/marry into debt. It’s such a challenge to know about someone’s finances on the first date though, since it’s such a taboo topic for many people.

    When we got married, Mr. Picky Pincher and I both had debt, although Mr. Picky Pincher’s was a higher amount and on a credit card (ugh), so that was a challenge. We’re in the process of paying off the debt under both of our names and it’s a journey we decided to take together.

    In my opinion, it’s okay if you fall in love with someone who has debt. The telling sign is how they handle the debt. Do they keep taking on new debt? Do they make efforts to get out of debt? Or do they believe debt is normal? I think your mindset about debt is much more telling than the amount of debt you have.

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 10:31 AM

      Those are all necessary questions to ask ahead of time. Let’s just be open and honest about money, life and debt. We spend much more time on planning the best wedding day ever than we do planning our futures together. 50% of these adventures together are failing, what could be done differently ahead of time to help have more success or is it just going to be that way no matter what? Just throwing out ideas to think about. Thanks for sharing about the things you discussed ahead of time.

  10. Joe February 10, 2017 at 10:30 AM

    Talking about money is so difficult when you’re young. I’m a bit more comfortable talking about finance now that I’m older and I definitely would avoid people with debt. It’s just not worth it.
    Luckily, I married someone with a similar money value and we get along very well. Whew!

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 11:04 AM

      Yeah, it’s a challenge, I think we have to provide our children an opportunity to be exposed to some of these situations. Being married at 30 gave me a different perspective because I had dealt with college, car payments and having a mortgage but also building up a nice bank account. I had a lot more riding on my future so I was less willing to take a chance with someone. Everything can be overcome, but there’s a lot of effort and challenge with it; makes some stronger and makes other collapse.

  11. Joseph Hogue February 10, 2017 at 10:39 AM

    Love the idea of ‘Fake Wealth’ and its a huge problem for a lot of people. Not only is most of it just useless stuff that doesn’t mean anything to people (as you point out) but it’s all bought with borrowed money which means you really don’t own it. I think if people thought of all their stuff in terms of what is actually theirs (owned w/o debt) and the stuff they have that is still costing them debt payments, they might think twice about using debt.

    Great post ahead of Valentine’s Day.

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 11:09 AM

      One reason I think I fell in love with my wife so quickly was her lack of fascination over flashy things. I was a TV reporter when we met and got a lot of attention because of that, but she was an attorney and so I remember one time she said, “so you got a degree in reading?” She was kind of joking, but she had worked hard to get where she was and “flash and stuff” didn’t impress her and neither did my job. I loved the honesty and drive she had and realized that is what I needed as a partner in life. Do we like what is on the outside or really take a hard look at who a person really is.

  12. Mrs. BITA February 10, 2017 at 10:51 AM

    My husband and I asked each other a total of exactly 0 of those questions before we got married (we met at work though, so at least we had an idea of how much the other person might be making and what their career prospects were). We both had car loans (but for sensible Hondas, and loans at less than 2%) at the time, but no other debt.

    We lucked out. We were so unaware about all things financial that we could have done much worse.

    The important thing though is that we share the same values and goals, and have a strong communication channel. So when I discovered and jumped on the FIRE bandwagon in 2016, he jumped right on with me.

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 11:14 AM

      My wife was the one who grilled me about many of these questions. I knew more about her than she did about me, plus when she told me she had paid cash for her car and how much she had saved away it told me a lot about her money personality. Just because you ask doesn’t mean you get a straight answer, sometimes observing people and seeing them at work or knowing their families tells you a lot more. Some of us get lucky and others of us need to see if we can take some of the chance out of our futures.

    2. J. Money February 10, 2017 at 2:15 PM

      I’m with you, Mrs. BITA – i had no idea what i was doing or getting into money-wise when we got married. And would have never guessed it would become part of my full-time job/life haha…

  13. Brian @ debt discipline February 10, 2017 at 10:54 AM

    Appearances can be deceptive, just because someone flashes nice things doesn’t mean they have their financial act together, or could be the complete opposite. Tough not to judge but we need to do our best not to until we have the complete picture. Open and honest communication about money and all things is the best way to approach any relationship.

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 11:16 AM

      Who is more “sexy?”

      Person with brand new $42,000 car and $750 monthly payment or person with 7 year old paid off car who saves $750 a month?

      One gets our attention right away, but the other might deserve our long-term attention. All about choices at the end of the day.

  14. PJ Smalley February 10, 2017 at 10:56 AM

    Can you please credit the image you’ve used at the top of your article? It’s by a street artist in Philly named Amberella. Her instagram is @amberellaxo

    1. J. Money February 23, 2017 at 3:04 PM

      Woah – sharp eye! It was off a free photo site and didn’t include the artist info, but just updated it now. She’s GOOD!!!

  15. Miss Mazuma February 10, 2017 at 11:17 AM

    Obviously “Will you watch the Bachelor with me” should be question number 1! ;)

    Beyond that, you make some great points! Finances are a huge part of anyone’s life but especially when combining them with anothers. I must say, it’s one thing to be in debt and working to get out of it than just to be in debt and completely oblivious to the fact debt isn’t normal. I’m not sure where the gears changed on this, but we have a large epidemic of people walking around blissfully unaware that taking 16k out on a car for a 16 year old who makes $150/week (if even) working PT at the mall is complete insanity!! Is there a pill for FIRE?? If not, someone best get on it!!

  16. Lance February 10, 2017 at 11:26 AM

    We should have put that at the top, have to get our priorities straight. I watched one season with my wife and told her I couldn’t handle it, so that is when I go for my nightly run.

    If we’re satisfied with our countries current financial situation with no savings, no retirement and lots of debt then let’s just continue on the path. If you want a change and hope for a better future, maybe we need to be asking harder questions ahead of time…..but that’s just me.

    1. J. Money February 23, 2017 at 3:06 PM

      I’m a sucker for reality tv cuz I love all the outrageous personalities (expect for real housewives – always want to take a shower after those?) so the wife and I watch pretty much every season of Bachelor/ette together :)

  17. Ken February 10, 2017 at 11:30 AM

    While some people will be stuck in their ways forever, people change all the time. When I met my future wife we both didn’t know anything about PF. This was mid-college for me and her first semester away from home. Like most people she’d spend most of her money on frivolous things. I started to save because I hated driving a piece of crap car that I spent tons of time always fixing. By the time she graduated I had her on the straight and narrow. Fast forward 10 years and neither of us are making lots of money, but we do well because we’re frugal. Our cars are 14 and 15 years old. Hers I’m doing a major repair on right now, and my motor may be shot. But either way I’ll probably either pull the motor and overhaul it or just buy another motor for roughly half the value of the car.

    I’ve been investing what little disposable income I have into dividend stocks since I’m self employed and don’t really have any traditional retirement accounts. I lost my state pension since I left before vesting which is something crazy like 20 years.

    So it can be done, but if the person you’re dating makes it seem like debt is no big deal that is a huge red flag. If they truly care about their debt and are aware of how crippling it can be there is hope.

    BTW, there is no way to subscribe to comment replies here?

    1. J. Money February 23, 2017 at 3:07 PM

      Sorry – we had some problems with other comment subscription widgets so had to nix them. Been meaning to add a new one on so will put back on the list!

  18. Lance February 10, 2017 at 11:46 AM

    People can change, it is much easier to do it earlier than later. It is also easier to be pro-active about it than to be forced to make the change. You are also more likely to stick with the plan when you came up with the idea than being forced to do it. The economy has been on an amazing 8 year run, if you haven’t been proactive about it then I’m not sure what you are waiting for. The amount of wealth created the last few years has been amazing. We’re either investors of wealth or investors of debt and both can grow at amazing rates over the years….which one are you? Thanks for sharing Ken.

  19. Sylvia @Professional Girl on the Go February 10, 2017 at 12:13 PM

    I literally laughed out loud when I read the “30 year old single” ad.

    My husband and I never had a serious talk about finances before we got married. I knew he had student debt but he isn’t much of a talker so I didn’t bombard him with questions. I only had a few thousand in consumer debt left to pay off and made sure most of it was gone before we said “I do” and the last bit was paid off when we returned from the honeymoon.

    I try to have conversations about what goals he might have or where he wants to be financially in 5 years, but like I said he is not much of a talker. So I will just wait for he to bring it up to me.

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 12:41 PM

      Interesting, makes for a challenging situation. We talk about money all the time and how we want to use it. Every month we see where we are at and where we were one year ago and once a year check where we were 5 years ago and it’s amazing to see where you have been and how the initial sacrifice really adds up.

      I like the advice of the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland when Alice asks which path to take:

      Alice: “Which path shall I follow?”

      Cheshire Cat: “That depends where you want to go. If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.”

  20. Go Finance Yourself! February 10, 2017 at 12:35 PM

    HAHA! I love the classified ads. Hilarious but sad at the same time. Just goes to show most people take a short term outlook on all aspects of life. I would be curious to see how many online dating profiles list good financial sense as one of that person’s strengths. I doubt very many!

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 12:45 PM

      Maybe we need to set up a new app that just focuses on financial sense. It’s a financial tinder instead of just pictures to see what someone looks like. What do you think J? Next million dollar idea? Patent pending everyone :)

      When you only have a short term outlook, you’ll never end up with any long term accomplishments. At some point you have to break the cycle.

      1. J. Money February 23, 2017 at 3:08 PM

        I’m down :)

  21. Debbi February 10, 2017 at 4:29 PM

    Is it a bad thing to hide money for a good cause? Several years ago a friend of mine received a Xmas bonus & did not tell her husband about it. She spent it all on a flood insurance policy. He was against flood insurance as it was too expensive & they didn’t live in a flood zone, although the ocean was 1 mile away & their neighborhood had never experienced a hurricane that far away from the shore. You guessed it. That year a major storm surge buried their 1st floor in water. Her husband was shocked finding out they had insurance & never said a word about the “hidden” Xmas bonus money.

    1. Lance February 10, 2017 at 5:12 PM

      There may be other things to be working on besides money in this home. There is no one answer that fits everyone’s situation and even folks that totally get along are going to have differing opinions on money issues and investments. You just have to pick your battles at the end of the day and determine if winning the battle is more important than winning the war together.

    2. J. Money February 23, 2017 at 3:09 PM

      Oh man!!

  22. Deenz February 10, 2017 at 6:25 PM

    The last time I changed jobs, I overlapped about 2 weeks of PTO over the start of my new job, and I got paid for the other 3 weeks I had saved up. That was a really nice month and year with regards to finance, because I also got a sign-on bonus (equivalent of another 2 weeks pay). Maybe I should start looking around now…. ;)

  23. Jeff | VTX Capital February 10, 2017 at 7:26 PM

    This is so true. It’s hard to keep a straight face when someone unwittingly admits that they basically have no control or no desire to control their finances.

    1. Lance February 11, 2017 at 9:27 AM

      Acceptance and justification of debt can be mind boggling at times. Can be overcome if it’s recognized as an issue.

  24. ZJ Thorne February 10, 2017 at 11:25 PM

    My girlfriend knows about my debt (especially since I blog about it), and knows my plans to tackle it. She’s a great encouragement there. My focus on my money has encouraged her to focus on her money, even though her debt load is significantly different. We’ve got each other’s backs and it is beautiful.

    1. Lance February 11, 2017 at 9:24 AM

      It is beautiful. Once you conquer the debt and start building wealth life gets really fun.

  25. Donna Freedman February 11, 2017 at 1:30 AM

    My marriage was a mess, and not just because he was emotionally and psychologically abusive: He was also a “see-it-want-it-BUY-IT” kind of guy. I was scrimping and saving to make up for his excesses — and he had the nerve to make fun of my frugality. Gah.

    Now I’m in a partnership with the most wonderful man in the world: smart, kind, funny, sweet-natured, cheerful, musically talented, an amazing punster, a great cook and superb housekeeper, and — here’s the beauty part — as frugal as I am. We egg each other on with our stirring tales of thrift.

    Neither of us minds spending money on what’s important to us: a piano tuning, a trip to see family, charitable donations, season tickets to the symphony. But we see no reason to spend more than we must. Each of us has a retirement fund and an emergency fund as well. Now THAT’S hot.

    1. Lance February 11, 2017 at 9:22 AM

      Rock on!

    2. J. Money February 23, 2017 at 3:10 PM

      Yeah it is!! Y’all are on FIRE!

      (See what I did there??

  26. Kelly February 11, 2017 at 4:52 AM

    I completely agreed to that Lance. People want to look so good nowadays that they sacrifice their financial stability. I think looks is not that important, what matters is how much money or savings you have.

    1. Lance February 11, 2017 at 9:25 AM

      You can sacrifice to look good or sacrifice to build your finances and have true wealth and no regrets. Seems like an easy decision but we usually get it wrong.

  27. OthalaFehu February 11, 2017 at 8:55 AM

    My wife came with a REVERSE DOWRY of over $100k in debt (law school) but her income potential balanced out this risk. I think the argument is more complicated then we should shy away from too much debt.

    1. J. Money February 23, 2017 at 3:11 PM

      Hah! Reverse dowry.

  28. Jacq February 12, 2017 at 10:15 PM

    Every time I post a story about my ex being not great with money, I shake my head that I stayed as long as I did. I know there is never a good time to break up, and I thought he wouldn’t make it without me, from all I did to help him out, which was partly my need to be needed.
    In the end, anyone with a similar financial situation to his is a red flag for me. Or the gent who couldn’t meet half way for a date, but could go out for comic (yes comic books) Wednesday that week. I’m doing just fine without those guys, thanks very much!

    1. J. Money February 23, 2017 at 3:11 PM

      Guys are dummies sometimes.

  29. Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes February 13, 2017 at 4:06 AM

    Boy am I lucky to end with as good a wife as I did. When we first met, my finances were in a terrible mess. I had $50k in student loans, and $10k in a car loan.

    My wife had zero debt and everything paid for in cash. Did she turn her back on me because of a little debt. I like to think she saw through all the noise and could see that I would eventually dig my way out of it…and I did.

    Now we have a multi-million dollar net worth (and growing). So it can be done. Look past the numbers and consider the person. They might just be going somewhere besides debt city.

    1. J. Money February 23, 2017 at 3:12 PM

      BOOM! Beautiful!

  30. Ten Factorial Rocks February 17, 2017 at 9:17 PM

    Boy. those were some really terrible questions to ask while looking for a prospective mate. I never did and my wife didn’t either. I was driving a used Honda Accord and my wife a modest Toyota Corolla when we met, both cars being way below our respective income affordability. That visible, sensible decision was enough for me to not ask any finance questions. Long after we were engaged, I found out she had very little savings but no debt (phew!) while I had sizable assets already. There are indirect ways to find this out without being so outwardly blunt on finances – even I would stay away from a person who asks me about personal finances (would make me suspicious about the motive of that person)

  31. Megan February 14, 2019 at 6:44 AM

    I had a much longer comment and the spam filter didn’t like it.

    I’m so thankful my debt didn’t prevent my husband from marrying me. In the 6 months we’ve been married we’ve been able to kill over seven thousand in debt together.

    1. J. Money February 14, 2019 at 7:53 AM

      NICE!!! Sounds like you found a great partner to work on things together :)

      1. Megan February 14, 2019 at 9:22 AM

        Definitely. The spam filter hates me so I can’t give numbers or explain anymore, apparently, but I am so grateful to have someone by my side who supports me.

  32. Paul February 14, 2019 at 8:52 AM

    So glad I met my wife in college, we didnt have time to make a lot of bad financial choices outside of each other. She brought with her a $10k student loan. Which from what I am hearing about the price of college now is like books for one semester… I don’t even remember what the payment were, I think we paid it off with 2 years of tax returns. I brought $0 debt into our marriage. I did finance her ring but made the conscious effort to have it paid off before we actually got married. I guess even before I became addicted to Personal Finance I was still subconsciously doing mostly the right things. I attribute this way of thinking to my single mother who was left a mountain of debt by my dad and was forced by life to learn to be good with money (meanwhile passing on those lessons to me). Frame of reference: my college graduation gift was that she opened and funded an IRA for me with like $1000 dollars.

    Any Debt we incurred was for the most part during our marriage. Normal stuff like house, and cars. Only lately has it ballooned because I had great ideas of playing with interest rates and floating debt purposefully to use our money elsewhere… I reached my threshold though, got uncomfortable with it and stopped, I’m not in repayment mode and looking to get this personal loan off my back and away from my precious cash flow. Should occur next month, then its on to the 0% credit card, have 10 months to pay off like $15K (stupid brand new energy star HVAC unit) , I’ll make my money back on this but it will be like a 15 year break even… what are you gonna do, kids need heat and AC I guess…

    1. paul February 14, 2019 at 8:59 AM

      * I am in repayment mode* not sure why I put NOT

      1. J. Money February 14, 2019 at 4:57 PM

        I think there’s a good difference here between loads of *student loan debt* and loads of *credit card debt* when first starting to date too. I wouldn’t be too turned off by the student debt even though it sucks, but a massive c/c bill that wasn’t medical/other unfortunate circumstance-related? That would throw up a red flag.

  33. Michael February 14, 2019 at 10:26 AM

    Interesting post! Being financially responsible is definitely an attractive trait!

  34. The Real Cie February 14, 2019 at 10:29 AM

    Trust me, I’m not hot. Fortunately, I have absolutely no interest in trying to impress anybody. Eventually eliminating debt does interest me, however.

    1. J. Money February 14, 2019 at 5:01 PM

      Haha – as it should!

  35. DA February 14, 2019 at 11:36 AM

    I guess I’ll be a voice of dissent on this one. I get the whole “you’re a mess because you’re in debt and I don’t want to deal with it” mentality, but I think it’s a bit simplistic. There are many cases where someone is in debt because they have a plan. School or other debt can lead to wonderful things, career and income mobility where they otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity as an example.

    Sure, someone in five figure credit card debt and growing is a sure red flag, but painting the picture that debt is equal to a mess just doesn’t resonate with me. A person’s current status with debt is a static snapshot and isn’t necessarily representative of where one is trending.

    1. J. Money February 14, 2019 at 5:02 PM

      Yup – agree 100%. It’s the *type* of debt that matters most, besides the fact if they’re consciously working towards things or not… Should have been pointed out somewhere in the article for sure.

  36. Samantha February 14, 2019 at 1:25 PM

    Hi Lance, I did like your article but not sure that I agree with it fully.

    My husband and I have now been together 12 years, and are doing quite well, financially and otherwise. However, when we first met and were dating, I had about $30k in debt and he had none. If he had made money/debt a “make or break” facet of our relationship, we wouldn’t be where we are now. Totally committed to each other, working on financial independence together and well on our way!

    But we were very young – I was 23 and hadn’t yet learned about better ways to live or how best to save. I wasn’t thinking long-term. So maybe it’s different if you are both young and naive? We’ve grown together and learned about money together, and developed our goals and dreams together. We’ve paid off $180k in debt and saved twice that much – and that journey really has brought us closer together. I’m so glad he didn’t run away because of my debt.

    1. J. Money February 14, 2019 at 5:03 PM

      WOWWWW well done!!!

      And yup – there are always exceptions to the rule! :) Love works in all kinds of circumstance, haha…

  37. Steven February 14, 2019 at 2:32 PM

    This article is a bad take, enough so that I felt the need to leave a comment. I took on six figures in school debt when I married my wife and didn’t think twice about her financial situation. At the time, she felt it was the best decision and I respect and am attracted to that self drive, the alternative being that our relationship hinged upon the byproduct (student loans) of a broken education system. My wife has little interest in our finances, trusts me to handle the minutiae and come to her for the big decisions, and that is what works for us. In a true relationship you can look beyond, and even embrace, the imperfections in your partner. On this day more than any other I hope everyone reading finds that special someone!

    1. J. Money February 14, 2019 at 5:08 PM

      Yup – I’d agree! Student debt is way different than c/c and other consumer debt which I think Lance implied here (all his examples lean that way, anyway), but prob better if it was pointed out somewhere. Student loans show drive and a PLAN for the future! That’s 100% sexy!!

  38. Scott February 14, 2019 at 3:22 PM

    Going into our marriage, we knew what each other made more or less but never got into any real deep financial talk. Once we bought a house and especially once we had our first kid, my wife was using here credit cards more and wasn’t able to pay them off in full. Adding the student loan and car loan on top of this made for a bit of a situation. The worst part is, I had no idea. A couple of years ago, she happened to pick up Total Money Makeover which then prompted me to ask questions and led me to see where the finances stood. While encouraging that she realized there was a problem needing fixing, I’m disappointed that we weren’t connected on that level. Things have been a lot better financially and we’re slowly whittling down the debt, but we haven’t taken on any more debt aside from moving which increased the mortgage amount.

    I really wish we had discussed the hows and whys of finance much earlier on in our relationship, but at least we’re talking now.

    1. J. Money February 14, 2019 at 5:09 PM

      That’s right man – you can only deal with stuff in the present, can’t go back in time! Especially when you didn’t even know what was UP back in time! Haha… Good for you guys working on it now, and for her admitting it’s a problem – which of course is the hardest part of all of it :)

  39. Elise February 15, 2019 at 9:38 AM

    Neither my husband nor I had student loans or credit card debt when we started dating, but most of that was due to financial education (always pay off credit cards in full every month!) and financial support (to cover what scholarships didn’t, loans to cover used cars, etc.) from our parents. Our lack of debts wasn’t necessarily an indication of greater character than someone who has a significant amount of debt–even bad debt–but who is trying or is willing to try to tackle it.

  40. Elvis September 21, 2019 at 4:32 PM

    Many people spend a lot of time trying to look “fly” but in reality, they are broke. Timeless story.

    1. J. Money January 2, 2020 at 7:01 AM