Friday, February 15, 2008

Revealing your Finances?

When and how long into a relationship do you reveal your financial status? On MSN, this was a huge thread about a woman revealing to her boyfriend of 10 months her $50k of debt. She was turning it around, and he was very supportive. But the question was, when should you reveal your financial life?

I guess from talking with single friends, friends in relationships, married friends, friends about to get married, and divorced friends, the consensus was when you get serious. Meaning this is not a conversation you have on the first date or even second date.

You can investigate their values about money, their values about their future, but there seemed to be an agreement that you do not have to reveal your debt or savings until say 3-6 months into a relationship.

Now this number will vary depending on how quickly you proceed through dating. Are you immediately seeing one person and you never have the exclusive conversation? Or if you are dating a lot of different people, and you need to have the exclusive converatsion that changes the timeframe by a lot. For my all friends, until their have cemented their relationship as exclusive, they definitely don't think total disclosure is necessary. For some this can take awhile, and I agree.

I mean if you are dating someone ever week, but still looking, you aren't in an exclusive relationship. However if you have a standing date and expectation of not looking, then it could be construed as a permenant relationship. At that point, I would say is when the clock starts to tick on becoming open about your finances.

Mostly because you are trusting the person at a deeper level. You've taken the time to get to know the real person, and not the dating persona. Also you've had time to drop hints and observe their financial habits.

I'm surprised that some people would prefer to know on the first date or would reveal such information on the first date. I think of it as sort of revealing how many people you've slept with on the first date or mentioning all the "bad traits" of exs you've had. There's a time and place for a conversation and it can be a turn off if you immediately put it on the table. I mean do you really want to date someone who just talks about the bad things in their past and constantly complains?

But maybe I'm old fashioned. So what is it? Should finances be revealed immediately? Or does it wait till a relationship develops further? Is it only revealed once the couple talks marriage (I had a couple of votes for this)? Or when it's obvious the relationship is serious? Or on the first date?

The poll is going up...and everyone can weigh in.


minimum wage said...

If you're Living Small, you try to avoid talking about finances as long as possible.

MEG said...

I just ended a 3 year relationship, and we never discussed our finances. To be honest, I would have been happy to, but my BF was much more private. I was content to know that he didn't even have a credit card and that he prioritized his 401k plan. Plus I knew he had a very good income based on his education level and job.

We didn't discuss how much we made, what we had, or what we owed except in general terms. But we knew enough to know there wouldn't be any big surprises when/if we discussed it. Except he'd probably have been really surprised to know how much I have in the bank, given my age and lifestyle.

I've never been in the situation before that, because my last BF before him was in college. He was very open about the fact that he had student loans and obviously no income. But he was also in his early 20's.

My next BF? I don't know if I'd bring it up. And I don't divulge except to say I had "enough left in my college fund" to buy my condo and graduate without student loans. Now I own a rental property, so men are likely to either be impressed (and relieved I'm apparently not a gold digger) and/or intimidated. Can't wait.