Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise—dating nowadays can be quite complex. Delightful, many times. Disappointing, sometimes. But making sure that you are compatible in emotional, mental, physical, and even financial ways can be tricky waters that you need some skills to sail over.

Thankfully enough, today’s woman isn’t going to fall for the first guy—of just any guy—that she meets. Today’s modern woman thinks about the future, and how to protect herself from getting hurt in the long run. She’s gotten a lot more discerning.

I’ve said this already, but I’ll say it again. It’s the love month, and we are tackling love and money specifically. Money issues are the number one reason that partners split up.

As psychotherapist and author Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D., (aka “Dr. Romance”) says, “Money is one of the biggest generators of problems, arguments, and resentment in long-term relationships.”Therefore, it’s good to be aware of the top financial red flags in relationships and to steer clear of would-be partners who exhibit shady behavior.


Financial Red Flag Number 1

They don’t talk openly about money, instead, they’re rather secretive when it comes to money matters.

Okay, this is far and away the biggest issue. Now, we don’t expect any guy to show you his bank statements on the first date, which would be rather creepy, right?).

But men who are financially smart and secure have an openness concerning their finances in general. This includes their income, spending and saving habits, as well as their dreams and goals for the future.

Watch out for any furtiveness or secretiveness when it comes to money. For example, if the man you’ve been dating for a while suddenly makes a major purchase such as a new property, and is vague about how he did so, this could be a sign that he is not completely open with you concerning money.

If you find receipts for items he bought that he can’t seem to account for, watch out. If you feel like he’s hiding something financial from you—such as debts, a loan, a new investment, and so on. This can be one of the biggest sources of distrust in a relationship. And once trust is broken, serious trouble, and heartache, often follow.

Perhaps, behind the money issue, is an underlying honesty issue. And when two people cannot be fully honest and open in a relationship, it’s sure to be a rocky one.

If you want to have a money talk with your partner, and you’re feeling a little apprehensive, we have just the article for you. “How to Have the Money Talk with Your Partner”offers excellent tips for where to get started, as well as where you can go from there.

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Financial Red Flag Number 2

They don’t have a solid handle on their finances, i.e. financial irresponsibility.

This includes living constantly in debt, like using their credit card for all of their expenses and only paying off the minimum instead of the full amount. (If they use plastic every day but pay for everything in full, that’s a different story.)

Watch out if your partner is also always borrowing money from his parents, relatives, friends or even you. That’s a glaring red flag right there.

Another sign of financial irresponsibility is that they can’t seem to stick to a budget. Or, more like, they refuse to do so. They may occasionally feel regretful because their irresponsible ways catch up on them, and then vow to do better. They then set a budget, as everyone should, and then live within it for a period of time, but afterward, slip back into financial irresponsibility.

One thing to look out for in a person who is financially irresponsible is that they have no savings. Again, the amount in their savings account, or even if they have one, won’t come up in the first few dates at all. But sooner or later you and your partner will end up talking about what you want out of life, as well as how to achieve it. The bottom line is that you’ll find out whether his dreams are merely castles in the air, or if he actually put away enough money to finance the future he dreams of.

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Financial Red Flag Number 3

They try to dictate how you spend your money.

Okay, this is a tough one. We women are taught to be pleasant and kind, and especially when we’re used to following authoritative figures, it can feel easy to be the more pliable one in our relationships. We tend to be the ones to relinquish a little bit of control.

And yes, as the saying goes, a two-headed creature is a monster. In any healthy relationship, partners take turns leading and following. One should not have control over the other or take dominance in every area. Depending on each one’s strengths and skills, each partner gets to lead.

Therefore, when your partner begins to exercise control over your money, this is a red flag indeed. Especially if you’re not even married, and your partner begins to, directly or indirectly tell you what to do with your savings, budget, debt, or any other aspect of your finances, and then act strangely if you refuse to follow what they suggest.

At some point, it stops being a money issue and becomes indicative of a deeper issue of control. Relationship psychologist and dating expert Zoe Coetzee from Elite Singles says, “Your partner should never use money as a means of power. Controlling your access to finances or information about your joint finances is a danger sign in a relationship.”

Financial Red Flag Number 4

They switch from job to job for no good reason or are let go of by their employers easily.

While, millennials are said to buck against the norm of traditional career paths, a guy who can’t seem to stick to one job for more than six months may not be the best relationship choice.
If you’re skeptical about the guy you’re seeing because he seems to switch from job to job, ask him his reasons why. Some job losses are legitimate, let’s say the company he worked for was laying off people because of a poor economic client. Or maybe management changed and other people were brought in. So we can’t assume that everyone who lost their jobs did so because of their own actions.

Listen to his reasons why. If he is full of excuses and blame, this is not a good sign. If he says he’s in between jobs but hasn’t actually been employed for two years or so, it may be a good time to graceful bow out, before you get any further into the relationship.

But wait, what about if you’re serious about someone already? You’re thinking about marriage but you’ve never really discussed finances. Relax, we’ve got you. Take a look at “Have the TALK (About Money) Before You Walk Down the Aisle”and you’ll know it’s not too late.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is this. You are an amazing, savvy female who deserves the best in all aspects, including the finance side. You’re getting your money smarts on, educating yourself, and investing in your future. Don’t ever feel like you have to settle for anyone who doesn’t have their act together when it comes to money.

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Founder @ The New Savvy
Anna Haotanto is the Advisor (former CEO) of The New Savvy. She is currently the COO of ABZD Capital and the CMO of Gourmet Food Holdings, an investment firm focusing on opportunities in the global F&B industry. She is part of the founding committee of the Singapore FinTech Association and heads the Women In FinTech and Partnership Committee. Anna is the President of the Singapore Management University Women Alumni. Anna invests and sits on the board of a few startups. Anna is also part of the Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry Career Women’s Group executive committee. Anna’s story is featured on Millionaire Minds on Channel NewsAsia. She hosts TV shows and events, namely for Channel NewsAsia’s “The Millennial Investor” and “Challenge Tomorrow”, a FinTech documentary. Anna was awarded “Her Times Youth Award” at the Rising50 Women Empowerment Gala, organised by the Indonesian Embassy of Singapore. The award was presented by His Excellency Ngurah Swajaya. She was also awarded Founder of the Year for ASEAN Rice Bowl Startup Awards. She was also awarded the Women Empowerment Award by the Asian Business & Social Forum. Anna has been awarded LinkedIn Power Profiles for founders (2018, 2017), Tatler Gen T, The Peak’s Trailblazers under 40 and a nominee for the Women of The Future award by Aviva


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