The Beatles had it right when they crooned “Money can’t buy me love.” For sure. It’s impossible to put a price tag on the important things in relationships. BUT … if opening his wallet to buy you a drink throws your date into an existential crisis, there’s a problem.
Now that I’m and “adult” and living on my own, I’m forced to come to grips with what it takes to be financially responsible for myself. Meaning, I prioritize my car payment and rent over the many cute new outfits that I would like to buy. And to be honest, I’m finding that it isn’t such a difficult concept to grasp. So what is it, then, with the guys I end up dating? Every man I’ve been out with lately has a dysfunctional relationship with his wallet: cheapskates, millionaires, and the down-and-out and broke. It’s getting to be annoying.
I think banks and creditors are onto something: healthy financial standing is a positive indicator of creditworthiness. And guess what? Good money habits are also a good indicator of a dude’s dateworthiness. Even if you are smitten with him, there are some unhealthy money habits that you absolutely should not ignore. Please feel free to reject his boyfriend application if any of the following dings are present on his financial record.
1. Can’t Make Rent, But Can Buy Video Games. There are a few basic things required to sustain life: food, shelter, and sleep. Video games (and cigarettes, booze, or protein powder) have never qualified as a necessity. Didn’t anybody ever talk to him about being a responsible adult? Someone needs to sit down with Mr. Irresponsible for a serious conversation about how his X-Box will be rendered useless without a wall to plug it into. Date this guy and be prepared to spend your precious Saturdays helping him move out once he gets evicted.
2. Zilch in Savings. Despite making a decent salary, he’s always short on cash. That’s because he blows it ordering useless crap online and eating out daily. Financial advisors recommend that Americans have at least six months of living expenses in the bank at all times. If he loses his job without warning or faces an unplanned crisis, all his gadgets and memories of money foolishly squandered won’t pay the rent. Oh, and if you’re considering the idea of a future with this dude, his financial instability will stress you both out when you’re start thinking about big-ticket purchases like a house or engagement ring. But he’s probably not thinking that far ahead …
3. Always Wants To Go Dutch. Splitting the check is OK, but anything on repeat gets old. Sometimes a girl just wants to be taken out without having to dig into her purse. It’s sexy when a guy occasionally picks up the tab without making a big fuss about it. When he becomes clinical to the point of sociopathy about going Dutch, that’s an issue. Just ask my last boyfriend, who can count his stubborn insistence on splitting all checks as one of the reasons for getting kicked to the curb. I just couldn’t stand the idea of a life spent pulling out a tip calculator at every meal.
4. Doesn’t Pay Child Support. He made a baby and is therefore expected to provide financially for its well-being, but he’s not. There is nothing more repugnant than a man who causes his own flesh and blood to suffer by going hungry or without the proper care required to grow up healthy and happy. Pray that his wages get garnished and get away from this jerk ASAP. And for God’s sake, keep your legs crossed lest he knock you up and leave you to foot the daycare bill on your single salary, too.
5. Doesn’t Pay His Phone Bill. Once, I got an email from a guy I’d just been texting with moments before telling me he couldn’t reply to my text because he forgot to pay his phone bill and his service had been disconnected. What gives? Doesn’t he realize that he needs to pay for services received? Date this guy and be constantly on alert for your power to go out because he forgot to pay the electric bill again.
6. Spends Like There’s No Tomorrow. Men love their gadgets and gizmos, but it’s annoying when they throw money around like it’s going out of style, even if they have it to throw around. It’s especially annoying if it’s just to collect respect from people who otherwise may be disinclined to give it if he were any less of a showoff. Being able to set financial boundaries shows that he can respect the balance between need and want. One of my girlfriends dated a man who was accustomed to buying whatever he wanted, when he wanted, regardless of cost, and guess what? His sense of entitlement didn’t end with physical objects. There was always a new Ferrari or Porsche in his driveway, and always a new girl at his house showing him her boobs. Date a guy who doesn’t know how to respect the value of anything and expect to be treated like his property: replaceable on a whim.
7. Asks You For Money. What are you, Bank of America? You work hard for your money! If your guy is too irresponsible to get by on his own by setting a realistic budget and sticking to it, why should you be expected to float him? You’re not expecting anyone to float you! Let him learn his lesson the hard way. I once dated a carpenter who asked for my credit card to buy some tools he needed to start a new job. By declining his request, I saved myself the hundreds of dollars (plus interest) that he most likely had no intention of ever paying back.
8. Pinches His Pennies. Extreme cheapskates are no fun. I was once asked to present my student ID to save my date a whopping $1 on a movie ticket even though he earned a decent living. It was embarrassing. Imagine a life with your tightwad boyfriend — shopping at Costco, snipping coupons, and cruising around town looking for the cheapest gas prices. Not fun.