Are you ready to take dating seriously? Perhaps it’s time: you’ve finished school, have a job and all your friends are pairing off and tying the knot. Before you sign up for eHarmony, take a good hard look at your personal financial situation. People with self-induced shabby finances are far less attractive than those with their financial house in order.
Someday, your financial situation will impact the future of your life partner. Times have changed and so has the economy. These days, no one wants to date a financial doo-doo head – with no common sense and discipline. Sure, personal compatibility is important, but so is financial compatibility.
Bad financial habits, such as debt and poor spending patterns, reflect a person’s values and indicate whether they care about their financial future. Irresponsible money management is a huge irritant for people who are dating: one person might feel pressured into paying for everything or they may sense that their partner isn’t committed to a long-term financial plan. Once financial resentment strikes, say “ta-ta” to the relationship.
Stop towing around monetary baggage and improve your money situation.
Debt is incredibly unattractive because it’s a ball and chain that cramps your dating style. Plus it restricts you from pursuing your dreams, like travelling or owning a home. Grab hold of your debt and develop a plan to get rid of it.
Get organized by listing who you owe money to and how much. Negotiate interest rates and consolidate expensive credit card balances. If you’re severely overextended with your house or car, downsize both. Trade in your Beemer for a less expensive Ford and move from Pleasantville to a more reasonably priced neighbourhood. Trade in your $5 tea for a free glass of water so you can pay a little extra on the highest interest rate debt. If you can’t keep up with the payments, see a credit counsellor.
If overspending is your problem, fix it fast. First, remove temptations to spend. Cut up all but one credit card, then freeze it in a Ziplock bag filled with water. Unsubscribe from shopping websites and online coupons. Avoid malls, plazas and other shopping venues. Embrace the big bad b-word: BUDGET. Draw one up and stick to it. Most banks have online budgeting and tracking tools that are free and easy to use.
If you haven’t started saving, get on it! Planning for retirement shows that you care about creating a bright future for yourself and your eventual family. Hands down, the easiest way to save is through your company’s retirement savings plan. Contributions are taken directly from your paycheque and your employer will often give you free money towards your savings plan. Free money rocks, so sign up for the plan ASAP! If your employer doesn’t have a plan, open a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) through any bank. Another great savings tool is the Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), in which your money grows tax free until retirement.
Unemployment can knock you off course, but once you’ve secured a new job, you can pick up where you left off.
I don’t recommend avoiding dating while you’re cleaning up your finances because you could miss out on meeting a great person. Instead, let your responsible money management habits speak for themselves, which shows that you care about your future. You’ll feel much better about yourself and have less stress – that way, you can be more yourself when you’re dating.