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Does Money Matter When Choosing a Spouse?

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There’s a reason that the number one cause of marital problems is money: you just can’t get away from it. Whether you’re trying to buy a house or simply paying the bills, being in a relationship means that you have to keep your bank accounts happy too.

While there are always emergency solutions like payday loans from services like Wonga.com, the stress and frustration of a late bill or a shortage of cash will almost inevitably cause a rift between loved ones. So if you’ve found someone you’re thinking about sharing the rest of your life with, watch out for these red flags before applying for a joint checking:

  1. They’re in debt or collections and don’t seem to care – It’s understandable if they’ve slipped up somewhere along the lines. Perhaps it was when they were younger and less wise and ran up a bill on their credit card before they knew what was happening. But if they’re making no motion of solving the problem, you might want to be wary. Mistakes happen, but if they don’t see it as a mistake that needs to be fixed, it’s likely it will happen again.
  2. They’re often between jobs – With the economy in a pit, it’s not rare to find someone who’s unemployed. But if they’ve been unemployed for an extended period of time and can’t seem to find something that works for them, start to question their motives. Are they always being laid off and then demanding it was their employers’ fault? Are they taking their sweet time in finding something new? This isn’t a person you should want to spend a great deal of time with seeing as you’ll end up picking up the slack time and time again.
  3. When they do have money, it’s not for long – Do paychecks seem to fly out the window before you even realized they were there? Some people are addicted to the spending; if it’s in their grasp, they’ll do what they want with it, paying little attention to their balance until the credit card is rejected. Be careful shacking up with someone who has no sense of saving. You may have dreams for your future but if they’re not willing to get on board, don’t let them reap all the benefits. Do you want to be the only one making mortgage payments? Probably not.
  4. They’ve started to lie about their spending habits – “How much was that television?” “Oh…not much.” A white lie every now and again can be forgiven, but if it starts to become a habit, take a step back and assess the relationship. Not only do you not want someone who’s untruthful about where they’re spending their money, but you don’t want someone who’s untruthful, period. If they’re lying to you about a little thing like that, who knows what else they could be hiding. And even if there’s nothing else under the rug, you’ll never be able to trust them completely.

So before you commit to the big ‘I do,’ think about how your future will play out with the person you’ve chosen, finances and all. After all, you’re taking them for better or worse, whether you want the worse or not.