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While talking about your finances isn’t the most romantic conversation you’ll have with your partner, it is a necessary one in order to have a healthy relationship.
More than 5,000 American adults were polled in a recent survey conducted by GoBankingRates.com which posed the question: “Which of the following are the most significant financial deal breakers for you in a relationship?”
Participants were instructed to select all that applied from the following list:
- Doesn’t make enough money
- Poor credit score
- Secretive about finances
- Too cheap
- Too much debt
The number one turn-off? , which received nearly 38 percent of the votes. Secretive about finances came in second (35.9 percent), followed by too much debt (32.6 percent), too cheap (19.8 percent), poor credit (18.2 percent) and doesn’t make enough money (13.9 percent).
“These findings validate my experience and discussions with people in my private practice,” Stacy Kaiser, a licensed psychotherapist, relationship expert and author of How to Be a Grown Up, tells Yahoo Health.
And at the heart of these money issues—untrustworthy behavior. “Whether you’re worrying that a person might get themselves in financial ruin because they do not know how to balance their finances or you’re concerned that someone might hide financial problems, these concerns are rooted in a lack of trust.”
Kaiser adds that these bad habits can lead someone to believe their other half isn’t the most responsible individual. And in the case of someone who’s being secretive about their finances, their partner may also feel he/she is being “dishonest about other things within the relationship.”
“Yes, overspending is the biggest deal breaker because that goes to a person’s character,” Lissa Coffey, lifestyle and relationship expert and author of The Perfect Balance Diet: 4 Weeks to a Lighter Body, Mind, Spirit & Space, tells Yahoo Health.
However, she explains that all hope is not lost since this particular money issue can be fixed. For example, if someone is temporarily unemployed, they can find a job, pay their bills on time and begin to pay off their debt. “Yet if they’re simply overspending (in the traditional sense), this shows they have other priorities that may not match their partner’s.”
Kaiser agrees that it’s important to understand why your significant other is spending more than he/she earns. “If your partner is making these mistakes due to lack of education or naiveté, you can make an effort to help them better understand these mistakes,” she states. “But if a person is making these mistakes due to lack of regard, impulsivity or overly irresponsible behavior, you’re dealing with a deeper issue that may require counseling.”
If you’re in a new relationship and have noticed this bright red (or perhaps green in this case) flag, Kaiser recommends considering whether or not you want to continue moving forward with this person. “If you are married to someone with these issues, consider communicating about them and seeking outside help from a financial consultant or counselor.”
Coffey concurs. “My advice is to know who you are living with or married to,” she says. “Finances should be an open book. So many people share a bed, but they are reluctant to share a checkbook. Keep it all out in the open.”