Til Debt Do Us Part: Signs of Financial Trouble in a Relationship

by James Hendrickson
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marriage-2239035_640The marital bond states, “til death do us part” but what about financial ruin? Those who undergo a divorce experience situations unforeseen before tying the knot. Financial trouble is a major cause of relationship woes. Here’s how to identify red flags and recognize those who show signs of financial inconsistency.

High Credit Card Debt

In some cases, a high credit card debt is due to an emergency. For example, an astronomical car repair bill may be uncovered by one’s insurance and savings account. Therefore, a credit purchase ensures one can drive away along with the ability to earn money moving forward. Many cases, however, feature people who dig gradual holes yet could otherwise stay above ground or not get in so deep. Those who have high credit debt should have a good reason. If it’s due to a buying and earning mismatch, this person is in for regular financial issues.

Spending Moods

Some spend irrationally or on impulse. A person may see a pair of designer shoes, for example, and feel as if they cannot leave the mall without them regardless of what’s in the bank. Throughout a year’s span, most people can get away with making the occasional impulse purchase but commit to such every weekend and experience financial distress. If you’re dating a person who can’t help but buy something on a regular basis, have a conversation about needing and wanting and how such influences savings.

Different Strokes

Even those who are financially conservative have different views about saving and spending. Perhaps you’re dating a person who would rather save for ten years and then take off for two entire years versus one who opts for one or two annual vacations. You don’t have to experience financial ruin for money to affect a relationship. Maybe you have different views, experiences, and feelings toward money, which influences small and large purchases.

Unstable Job History

A person with an unstable job history does not make an unsuccessful mate, yet there are things to watch out for including zero savings and an irrational view of the future. You need money for food, clothing, and shelter in the least. Those who are unemployed don’t have money coming in, so if they don’t have any savings, that equals big problems for their spouse or significant other. There is a difference between those battling a recession and those who are lazy and can‘t maintain a part-time job.

Money History

Those who date for some time may decide to move in together or buy a home. The money and credit history of both parties will influence mortgage rates and the kindness of lenders. Those with poor credit hinder the financial possibilities of the couple. Otherwise, a couple with an excellent combined credit score has more opportunity in buying the home they want. Likewise, those with poor financial habits and tendencies get a spouse in trouble regarding a joint business venture. If you think bankruptcy may be for you, seek the South Tulsa Bankruptcy Lawyers Law Firm.

Borrowed Time

Some are good about staying away from traditional debt agencies yet borrow from friends and family members. Just because a mate does not spell-out financial ruin on paper, it doesn’t mean they have not disappointed or downright swindled friends and family. If you hear debt-related anecdotes, consider that the same behavior soon will apply to you. Even those who are financially secure, feel emotionally unsettled about a spouse or partner who won’t ‘pull their weight’ or who unequally contributes toward a joint account.

Reckless Behavior

Financial hardship can be a symptom of a larger issue. Those who have specific personality disorders, for example, can display reckless behavior, taking the form of unprotected sex, impulsive purchases, and irrational interactions with close friends and mates. Whether you’re aware of a related mental disorder or confused about a number of a mate’s decisions, be aware that financial distress could be a result of something else. In some cases, it could be a way for a spouse to ‘punish’ or ‘get back at’ a neglectful or cheating lover.

Poor Role Models

Some are more likely to get in bad financial situations due to learned behavior and poor role models. Those who grow up with parents who lean on credit cards take notice and imitate the financial exercise. In other cases, a lack of awareness or limited time in being financially independent hinders one’s decisions. Seek financial literature online or consider taking a free or paid class in your town. Rather than causing distress in the relationship, make your finances something that makes you stronger as a couple. Take classes and research together.

Evie Franklin is a relationship therapist who helps couples to stop fighting about finances, as well as all the other triggers that cause upset. Her articles appear on a range of websites from finance blogs to relationship and lifestyle sites.

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