First dates are hard. You’re trying to be a funny, witty, and present the best version of yourself. You don’t want to ruin it by talking about money. But then again, finances are such an important part of what makes relationships work.
Instead of breaking out your bank balance or quizzing them about their credit card balance, here are some tactics to make talking about personal finance a little easier.
Forgo the expensive stuff
See what happens when you suggest a low-cost (but still fun and romantic) first date. Suggest a picnic, a scenic walk, or the best ice cream cone in your town or city.
A date with expensive tastes might balk at these ideas, but it’s a quick way to find out how your romantic interest feels about spending money-and if their values match with yours.
Ask about dreams and ambitions
It’s not likely you’re going to find someone who wants to discuss planning for retirement on the first date. But that doesn’t mean you should swipe left on them forever.
Many dating experts suggest asking about dreams and ambitions on the first date. It’s not just financially smart; it’s also romantic. Plus you’re learn so much about each other.
Consider looking for a partner who shares your frugal values but hasn’t figured out how to implement them. If you find a date interested in your long-term plans to live within your means and avoid debt, you’re off to a great start.
Use open-ended questions that get your date talking about their long-term lifestyle plans. Letting your date do most of the talking shows you’re a good listener, which is a great trait in any relationship.
Talk about vacation plans
Ask your date about their idea of a dream vacation. If your date starts describing a first-class trip to Paris complete with five-star hotels and Michelin restaurants, that’s a good clue they aren’t exactly frugal, especially if they don’t have any plans on how to pay for it.
It’s great to have wild ideas for adventures in far off and wonderful places. But if your date is planning to that in the future (rather than charging it all on credit cards today), it shows a willingness to wait and save for something special.
Discuss career plans
You can learn a lot about a person’s hopes, dreams and ambitions by asking about their work. Ask what job they’d do if money was no object or where they see themselves in five years. The answers may be eye-opening for you both.
If he or she is looking to quit a high-paying job and pursue a passion, that’s a good thing to know about before entering into a relationship. If your goal is to retire at 40 and she’d rather live with her parents than abandon her singing career you may hit some money bumps if you pursue the relationship.
Talk about the home you want to live in someday
Asking your date questions about their dream home is a sneaky way to learn about their financial maturity. Do they want to live in the suburbs and commute an hour each day into the city? A mansion by the sea? A loft apartment or a two-family house?
You can find out how far they are along to getting to these dreams (a decent job, plans to move to an affordable city) or if they’re just pie in the sky.
No one has to have a down payment at the ready, but a plan on how to get there shows an eye toward the future.
Love or money?
Money isn’t more important than love but money problems can cause a lot of friction. It’s best to be honest with what you want from yourself and a partner at the start.
Finding someone who shares your financial views is hard work, but a strong relationship will be your greatest long-term asset.
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