Million dollar question

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Sunday, March 16, 2014


Michelle: While surfi ng online, the title “Is Your Partner A Financial Frog?” leapt before my eyes. No offense to the frogs but a financial frog refers to a frog prince who is a dubious financial partner. Love is blind and as the article says, never more than when it comes to money. So in between the flowers and kilig moments, see if the person you love or are currently dating fits any of these signs of a financial frog.

Major Credit Card Debt (and Not Doing Anything About It). This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t date anyone with debt to his name. The red flag in this situation is someone who continues to accrue it—and doesn’t have a plan to undo it. If one accrues substantial debt, it puts a strain in a relationship.

DJ: I remember this story of this woman who proudly told her friend, “I’m responsible for making my husband a millionaire.” Her friend asked, “What was he before he married you?” She replied, “A billionaire!”

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Money matters matter in a relationship. Even if a couple decides to avoid this topic, money still remains a tangible part of a relationship. It’s material whether there’s too much, too little, whether someone gets it dirty or clean. However a couple wants to tackle this, I’d still suggest to introduce money talk in calm, relaxed discussions while there’s still no particular money issue at hand. They can start with deciding on a clip level where anything below it does not merit a discussion. It takes time for a couple to get the hang of it.

They have to be patient but persistent.

M: When he spends like a drunken sailor, whether it’s literally getting drunk and buying a round for the whole bar or just a serious taste for pricey gadgets, spending as though money is going out of style can be a warning sign. It is not a problem if one is rich and is spending within budget or has healthy financial habits. But if your heart rate goes up every time he opens his wallet or unveils a new “toy,” it’s time for a talk.

He’s Frequently Unemployed. Losing a job can happen to anyone but a serial pattern of unemployment, which has been shown to have serious impact on the future of relationships, is a red flag. Whether it’s a problem with authority or a lack of responsibility, it does not bode well for long-term happiness. The article says that if multiple employers don’t find him reliable, odds are you won’t either!

DJ: Wow, drunken sailor. The points raised seem to have a bias against men. Studies do show that men and women often have different views with money. For women, it’s a sign of stability and security. For men, it’s a component of our self-esteem mainly because of the social expectation for us as providers.

It helps to talk about money while consciously trying to understand one’s partner’s perspective. It’s possible to have some disagreements but they should not get in the way of their overall goal as a couple. Honesty definitely is still the best policy!

M: I agree. According to a new poll by CreditCards.com, 92 percent of Americans say they never hide the details of their financial lives from a significant other. But the seven percent that do means that six million Americans are hiding something. The most common things they conceal? A credit card account (67 percent), a secret savings account (45 percent), a hidden checking account (38 percent) or a plain old financial secret.

Whether he’s hiding how much he makes, how much he owes, or you caught him red-handed withdrawing money from your account, it can lead you to question: 1) why and 2) what else he’s concealing. The issue here is about trust, which underlies the foundation of every relationship.

DJ: As they say, a relationship without trust is like a cell phone with no service. And what do you do with it? You play games. Trust holds a relationship together. We honor those we love by acting with integrity. And the best way to know whether we can trust a loved one is by trusting him or her.

M: If one’s with or dating a mooch, one knows its drawbacks. This guy routinely forgets to repay you for that time you covered dinner. And lunch. And he’s no stranger to loans from friends and family. Not only does he sap your bottom line, he can also do sap your energy. That’s because, often, a financial mooch thinks the world owes him something—or sees himself as a victim who’s unable to pay (or make) his own way. And if he doesn’t know how to make his own way, I think your song should be My Way: And now the end is near...

DJ: By now I can surmise the author of this article you read is a woman! Seriously, if Steve Jobs said that we shouldn’t live someone else’s dreams, so too should we not live someone else’s income level. And if someone is dating a person who does not subscribe to this, talk it out. It’s no fun to be always in a life and debt situation!

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 16, 2014.

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