Good money habits contribute to good relationships

By Helen Fowler

At this time of year, many of us turn our focus to love and relationships. If you are dating someone but itching to settle down, you may be wondering: Is this The One? While there is, of course, no way to predict how your relationship will play out, you may be able to glean clues about what kind of person your partner is, based on his financial habits. money-habits-and-personality

That's not to say that you should judge potential partners by how much money they have. Even Anna Nicole Smith (who married an oil mogul 62 years her senior) said, "Marrying into money was not a good thing for me." But attitudes toward money may be telling.

For instance, many believe that people who focus obsessively on gathering money do so because of a lack of love in their lives, says life coach Matthew Pruen.  People who grow up with adequate amounts of love, however, are more likely to be generous with whatever resources they own, he says.

"Money, after all, is just energy, a resource. Giving and receiving are essential in a mature, sustainable relationship," Pruen notes. "We're looking for a sense of ease that might -- if we're lucky -- foretell a promising exchange of loving kindness and passionate friendship in the future."

The definition of ideal money habits obviously differs from person to person. While you may think it's best to find someone who is frugal, someone else may think it's best to be with a partner who gives freely. In general, though, good financial signs include:

  • She keeps her chequebook and bank statements safe, but does not hide them from you. If your partner keeps her spending hidden, it might be a sign that she is harbouring secrets.
  • He is financially prudent. Not mean, just responsible. He lives within his means, and can stick to a budget. If he is reliable and stable in financial matters, there's a better chance he'll do the same as a partner and lover.
  • She tips people who do her a service. Giving gratuities can often suggest your partner thinks of other people, not just herself.
  • He respects your career and doesn't view it as just another source of income. The ultra-rich banker who sees everything in terms of money may not take his partner's actual work seriously. But someone thinking long-term will want to see his partner prosper in her work and do well at something she loves.
  • When the time is right, she is willing to share bank accounts. This should be self-explanatory: She trusts you to make good decisions when it comes to finances.
  • He owns a home, or is saving up for it. Home ownership is not for everyone, especially in this day and age. But it can denote stability, a key ingredient to relationship happiness.

But watch out if:

  • He gives money instead of time to get back in your good books. No matter how expensive, material gifts are superficial solutions. Gestures of contrition should cost time and emotion -- otherwise, they're empty.
  • She measures people by how much money they inherit or earn. If your partner is with you because you earn a big paycheque, she may not stick around if that paycheque is ever gone. Make sure your partner is willing to take "for richer or for poorer" to heart.
  • He has no money management skills at all. It's one thing to be generous with your money, but another to give more than you can afford. If your partner doesn't have a savings account or doesn't know how to pay off his balances, he may not be mature enough to maintain a relationship, either.

See related: 3 signs your relationship is headed for financial trouble, 5 common love and money mistakes

Published: 5 February 2014