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When Is It Okay To Talk Money?

What do you make of someone revealing their financial problems after only a couple of dates?

In general, talking finances that early on in a relationship is unwise. The reason is that most people (incorrectly) equate financial instability with irresponsibility. It's great that your debt is low and your credit is high. It's fantastic, in fact. However, if you're single with no dependents, no divorce, and no health problems, your situation is not comparative to someone who has or currently is struggling with those issues. It's very easy to have low to no debt is you didn't go to law or medical school, don't have child support to pay, get laid off from your job, etc.

The first thing I want to stress is that the debt or financial woes themselves are not necessarily indicative of future problems. What's troubling is that someone would openly discuss their money problems with a relative stranger. It's the lack of boundaries I would be concerned about, not the debt or money problems themselves. Either they think they need to warn you of their financial woes, they're working through shame they feel for being behind the eight ball financially, or they're priming to hit you up for a loan. While misguided, someone trying to be transparent should not be condemned for that decision.

Because of COVID-19, many people are going to be struggling financially for the foreseeable future, Expecting everyone you date to have their finances in order after this pandemic is - at best - unrealistic. At worst, it's wildly uninformed and elitist. People's credit is going to be destroyed. There's going to be years needed to rebuild. If you were lucky enough to hold on to your job during this time, count yourself blessed. Many were not.

Anyone who thinks they are owed full financial disclosure of someone they've just begun dating or have only been dating a short time is showing their lack of sophistication. If you do decide to press someone for their credit score or similar information, understand the difference between good debt and bad debt. School loans and mortgages are good debt. Credit card balances are bad debt. There's a vast difference between sinking thousands into an education versus living off credit cards for six months. And even in those cases, further exploring is required. Maybe they became seriously ill. Maybe they had to quit work to take care of an ailing family member. Take the time to hear someone's story- and we all have one - before making a judgment call.

Nobody should be talking money until there's a real possibility you and your partner will be merging assets i.e. moving in together or getting married. Up to that point, your credit score or other money-related issues is nobody's business.

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