Financial Red Flags
Now this concept of financial red flags, I do wanna keep reiterating that I do not consider debt a deal breaker, so I'm not saying that all of a sudden you have this open, honest conversation, you realize like, oh, they have student loans, we're done, that's not what I am saying but how a partner has handled past screw-ups and is maybe getting on a better financial path today, maybe it's been two or three years since any of those behaviors happened, that really should be more of an indicator for you about whether or not that's a red flag. However, there are some warning signs that I do want you to look out for when you either have these conversations or just generally in your relationship. One is they always dismiss your request to talk about finance. It depends on how they dismiss it, so if you do tend to talk about money and then they're like, "ugh, can we stop? "We're talking about this all the time" that's a little bit different than saying, I don't think it's your business, I don'...
t want to talk about it, you've never once gotten financially naked, you have no idea of their overall financial situation. It could also be an indicator that you might be thinking more seriously about the relationship than another person and that's also a separate conversation you may need to have. Won't consider joint bank accounts. I hesitate to put this one on here sometimes because it's totally okay if couples decide to bank separately, I'm not saying that that's the only way to bank as a couple, but I am saying, what's the reason? So make sure that you understand why your partner wants to have completely separate bank accounts and then if you do, there should definitely still be an element of a routine check-in if you're living your lives together so that there is some level of transparency and you see how you two are progressing towards goals together, but if there's this very big push back about never wanting to merge or join together, or work together as a team, that could be a bit of a red flag of something being up. Refuses to share a credit score or report. Now this can be very natural in the beginning, especially if there's some bad, negative history on there, and that is one of those times where it's important to say like, hey if there's been a slip-up but, you know, you're working really hard to rehabilitate it, that's okay, let's talk about it, let's work together, let's be accountable for one another, but if they keep refusing to share it, it's probably because there's negative information on there that could be worrisome. The other thing is, you might even be in a committed relationship, are married to the other person and they may be refusing to share because there's some financial abuse or infidelity going on, they might be applying for things that you're unaware of, they might own something or have some debt that they'd never have disclosed and that's a reason I do put that on there as a warning sign. They get calls from collections agencies, this is usually a big flag that something is up, if they're keeping collection agency calls, so you want to be able to have a conversation about it and disclose and talk about why that's there, how can we handle it? Uses payday loans or title loans for short-term money needs, this is of course indicating what the overall financial situation is, you also wanna make sure that your partner is able to break out of and you as a couple are not relying on predatory lending for your short-term financial needs. Uses cash advances on credit cards, very similar really to going towards a payday lender, it technically usually is little bit cheaper 'cause it is an annualized interest rate, but it's another way to have a short-term financial situation covered, so if they keep turning to a cash advance, it's an indication that money's not being handled very well or that there is a persistent problem that the two of you need to address together. Has a lot of department store credit cards. This is not necessarily a red flag, maybe they're a gamer of the system and that's why that's there, but you might have remembered back in the credit scoring section, I mentioned that sometimes if you're having trouble getting approved for a regular credit card, department stores might approve you, because they tend to have lower metrics for what is eligible in terms of credit history. So for example if the bank might require a 650, a department store maybe is gonna require a 600, also because a lot of times they are secretly hoping you are creating debt and therefore are owing them a lot of money and interest, and department store credit cards tend to have very high interest rates we're talking 24% or higher in a lot of situations, so if your partner has a lot of department store credit cards and they don't seem to be a gamer of the system, it could be because that's the only product in which they can get access to and therefore that's where they are creating credit card debt. And finally, currently paying a wage garnishment or a tax lien, this is obviously an indicator of a past financial situation and again not saying you have to cut and run, but this needs to be a conversation, and understand why it happened, why it's there.