Do you know the first rule of building a strong, healthy relationship with your partner? Never ignore red flags.
Enjoying each other’s company is not enough to sustain a relationship. It is also important to ask tough questions and have deep conversations to make sure you and your partner are on the same page in key areas.
One of the most important conversations to have is the money conversation.
You need to talk about money with your partner to identify and address any financial red flags that might affect your relationship in the future.
To help you understand what to look out for, we have compiled a list of 10 important financial red flags you should never ignore in a relationship:
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1. Paying bills late
Imagine your partner forgets to pay the light bill on time and the light gets cut off in the house. Annoying right?
He/she can probably afford to pay the light bill, but constantly forgets to pay. They may have just made it a habit to disregard that task.
Even when you bring it up, they don’t take responsibility for their actions and don’t think it’s a big deal.
But what happens when they keep forgetting to pay other things like rent, flight tickets or if you’re married with kids, the children’s school fees?
If your efforts to remind them to get these things done are usually in vain, it might become a big source of frustration to you in the future.
They prefer to live life on the edge and you don’t. This is a major red flag that can affect your relationship. Whether you’re married or just dating, it can turn out to be a problem, so it should be addressed on time.
2. Avoids talking about money
A lot of people shy away from conversations about money but it’s an important conversation to have.
Based on other relationship red flags, it’s more worrisome when your partner doesn’t want to discuss their current financial status.
Both sides need to be aware of how they relate to money, their spending habits, and how much they earn.
Sometimes, it might take a while for one or both parties to open up about their financial situation but you should want to know where your partner stands financially. Are they in debt? Are they good or terrible with money?
The answers to these questions can be a direct reflection of how they handle money and talking about it can help both of you know your weaknesses and strengths.
Being open about your finances builds a stronger relationship because you are always able to handle the ups and downs when they come up.
3. Your partner doesn’t know how to stick to a budget
Budgeting is key, but being able to stick to it is a huge bonus for anyone. Is your partner an impulsive spender who never seems to be able to stay on budget? Then this is something you and your partner need to talk about.
If your partner goes shopping for food with a 20,000 naira budget but comes back home having spent 30,000 naira more on other inessential items, it might be a problem.
It might be difficult to meet eye to eye on certain topics in a relationship, but when it comes to money, you and your partner should want what’s best for your future.
If you want to build your wealth together, then a budget is important to hit those financial goals.
4. Wants to control how you spend
Some partners enjoy being in charge of how you spend your money. They want to know how much you spend, what you are saving for, and basically monitor what you do with your finances.
While being accountable to your partner can be healthy for any relationship, it can also easily become a red flag.
Whether or not you have a money problem like overspending or giving out too much, your partner should be able to help you become a better spender, not use it against you.
It’s a problem when they always want you to ask for permission before spending money on yourself, or they provide you a monthly allowance.
If you can relate to this, then you need to speak up and tell your partner how you feel, so that they understand and do better.
You don’t want to be stuck in a relationship where you don’t have any control over your own finances.
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5. They expect you to pay for everything
You have become your partner’s personal ATM and they ultimately expect you to pay for all their needs.
In a relationship, it’s normal for one person to be an over-giver, but they can easily be taken advantage of.
Maybe he wants you to buy him the PlayStation 5 or she wants you to buy her that expensive designer bag you can’t afford. Or they expect you to pay when their car needs to get fixed or the generator needs to be serviced.
This person never wants to spend their own money to pay for anything because they expect that you have them covered always.
This is a definite red flag in relationships, especially when it’s from a place of selfishness
It’s okay to want to do nice things for your partner, but just make sure you’re receiving as much as you’re giving. Communicate your needs (and how you feel) to your partner and also get to know and practice each other’s love language.
6. They don’t tell you when they are in debt
You’re in a serious relationship and your partner won’t discuss or ask for help when they are in debt.
So your partner got into a lot of debt so you could have your dream wedding. Or maybe a business deal didn’t work out so they have to pay off the debt.
They kept this debt from you for the longest time and now it’s affecting your finances in the relationship. Hiding debt is as good as lying.
You don’t want to end up in a situation that leads to your family being kicked out of the house because your partner had to figure a way out of the debt.
You should talk about debt as early as possible to avoid painful situations and if there’s any existing debt, draw up a plan to sort it out.
7. Being secretive about how they spend money
Having a joint account means you both need to be accountable for how you spend money.
It can put a strain on your finances if your partner is always dipping into the savings account for personal needs. It’s even more annoying if they won’t say what they spent the money on.
Unnecessary spending can take you further away from your goal when you have both been saving towards rent, a trip, or buying a car.
If this is something your partner constantly does, then you both need to address it or maybe seek counseling before it gets out of hand.
8. Zero interest in saving or investing
Does your partner have zero plans of saving money for their future? or they don’t even bother to understand how investing can help them build wealth?
This can be a sign that your partner has no plans or isn’t taking their future seriously. They aren’t worried about where they stand financially and don’t mind living life paycheck to paycheck.
When you think about your future together, this behavior can be considered a red flag as you should aim for financial stability as a couple.
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9. Borrows money from family and friends
It’s not wrong to ask for favors when you’re financially stranded. However, making it a habit doesn’t do you any good, especially when you keep borrowing without any means to pay it back.
It’s better to improve your financial situation by getting a job, asking for better pay, or getting a side gig that can afford you certain needs.
Borrowing easily becomes a red flag in a relationship when you constantly depend on others as opposed to managing your finances better.
10. Your financial values differ
You and your partner will not always agree when it comes to money.
However, if you’re constantly arguing/fighting about how money should be spent or saved, that can be considered one of the red flags in your relationship.
Your money personality and some of your financial values don’t have to be similar for you to be together. Our background, experiences, and values often influence how we are with money.
You and your partner should get down to the details of how your past is playing a role in your relationship with money and causing unnecessary fights before it’s too late.
Get your partner to read this article too and discuss what financial red flags are in your relationship. This is a step to working on yourselves and being better in your finances and relationship.
If you enjoyed this article, then read what these 4 couples had to say about coping with financial stress in their relationship.