By MARSHA BARNES
(Certified Financial Education Instructor)

There are many couples that debate over money or financial differences. For several people currency is only a tangible item that serves one purpose-to spend.

Would you give your date the boot if you found out they had $50,000 in credit card debt? What if it was student loan debt? How interested would you continue to be if you believed this person was throwing away their money on frivolous items instead of squirreling it away for their future?

Those are very simple questions, which often require not so comfortable conversations. Money is a tool that is used to supply us with our basic needs, and our hearts desires. Without enough of it, our daily reality could be harsh and cold, depending on one’s personal beliefs about money. In today’s society, cash means different things to each of us, while some view it as a method to attain what they want, others view it more symbolically as a means of self-care and liberation.

As such, getting to the root of who we are dating, understanding their money mindset, and the why’s behind a mound of debt, or a sensible savings account, will help you to better understand if the two of you are compatible, based upon your non-negotiable items relative to finance. There are many questions that can be asked while you are dating that can keep you away from being labeled as controlling, a gold-digger, or looking for a love based on financial security. Surprisingly, there are also simple observations that can be made to pick up on someone’s spending habits.

Time Capsule Clyde
As you begin to venture back in time by discussing when you were a kid, conversations have a way of shifting to moments that we wish we had when we were younger, such as: “When I was a kid my parents worked a lot; therefore I didn’t get to see much of them.” or “We didn’t have a lot of money when I was a kid.” These very profound statements will help you to understand if a person spends on a regular basis to fill a void. While this is not always a factual conclusion, it’s definitely a pathway to open financial dialogue.

Spending Habits Henry
If you have paid a visit to your date’s humble abode, chances are you are privy to gaining a peek into their style and spending habits. Is your guy dressed in the latest fashions, gleaming in top notch designer wear? Take that observation and pair it with the furniture or lack of in their home. This moment is a great transition into light weight discussions on priority. The conversation could go a little like this: “Wow! This is nice where did you purchase it from? Do you shop there often?”

Forward Thinking Tom
Where do you see yourself in three to five years is indeed one of the most popular questions used throughout our entire nation. It is most often used in interviews or probed out of us by a mentor. You get a sense of how that person views success and what his goals are. This open-ended query is ideal for a first date or even a fifth. If you believe that today is the day to begin taking charge of your finances, the response from your beau is another red flag on the compatibility meter.

Prince Charming Chad
I think it’s fair to say that as you begin to date someone, light bulb moments or thoughts begin to surface around how this person fits into the grand plan of your life. Is this your Prince Charming? How long will your relationship last? Your dates begin to become more frequent, you may be greeted with flowers on a steady basis, or even lavished with the finest gifts. As flattering as these gestures may appear, a great question to inquire on is: “How can you afford all of these nice things?” Again this question is not intended to ruin a romantic moment or for you to feel like Debbie Downer; it is however, meant for you to tap into the Money Mindset of the individual you are dating.

Grateful Greg
Obviously being grateful for all that you have is very important. Therefore, being content in that place of thankfulness says a lot about the person we are dating. Are they after the next big thing? Disregards a penny on the street? Too embarrassed to use coupons? How focused are they on serving others? Take a step out of the box and request that your date be spent at a homeless shelter or any volunteer focused event. Bridging passions together are a great way to incorporate both pleasure and purpose.

What are some methods that you use to measure finance compatibility?