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Is debt getting in the way of your love life?

by Tim St Vincent

Back in May of 2017, I wrote an article for the Pilipino Express called “Couples and Money.” The idea behind that article was that money could be causing you difficulties in your current relationship. Maybe we should take a step back and ask the question of whether debt is causing more difficulties than you thought; perhaps it’s even getting in the way of you simply dating!

Let’s start with the more obvious point; dating costs money. If you’re carrying a heavy debt load and are just barely getting by, it’s hard to date. Beyond a certain age, taking a bus to a movie or to grab a bite to eat just isn’t going to work. If you’re having problems making rent or staying on top of your bills, where are you going to come up with the money to go on a date? Using credit cards isn’t an option, especially when you have already maxed them out. If you find yourself in any of these situations, you may want to read some of my previous articles on budgeting and debt management.

Now let’s take another step back, before the date is even set up, and look at how a potential partner may perceive you if you are carrying a heavy debt load. According to a recent survey over 67 per cent of Canadians say they would reconsider getting into a relationship based on debt. Men and women dislike debt equally, so whatever your preference, gender won’t help you with this one. The only thing that may help you is that Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) dislike debt more than Millennials (those born between 1983 and 2000) with 70.6 per cent of the Baby Boomers saying it’s a strong negative. The Gen X people (those born between 1965 and 1979), well, not surprisingly, they tend to be between the other two generations with respect to their thoughts on debt. It seems the older we get, the less tolerant of debt we become. (Or from my perspective, the older we get, the smarter we get! Yes, I am a Baby Boomer but at the younger end!)

Geography may help you a bit here because 71.4 per cent of those in central Canada (those financially conservative prairie people!) are the most likely to stay away from you if you are carrying a lot of debt, while only 60.8 per cent of west coast (tree hugging?) Canadians would consider it a strong negative. All three generations and all geographic locations agree on one thing though, with almost 60 per cent saying that payday loans are a deal breaker. This if followed closely by high credit card debt with almost 50 per cent saying that it would get in the way of dating.

Now this isn’t to say that all debt is bad! Mortgage debt, business loans and student loans are all okay if they aren’t excessive and are manageable.

It’s important to remember that when you are dating, you are looking for a potential life partner. The movies may say that “love conquers all,” but we know (hopefully!) that this only applies to movies. We have to deal with the real world implications of life, and one of those implications is that life costs money. We have to plan for homes and children and all the other things that go on in our financial lives on a daily basis and at the same time recognize that there are two things that will impact this: your job and your debt.

What do new people meeting for the first time typically ask in the first 60 seconds? The answer is: “What do you do?” They ask this either consciously or subconsciously as they are assessing your financial potential as a partner. The other part of this financial assessment is how much debt are you carrying. Talking about debt is a bit of a taboo topic in our culture, but through conversation and observation this question is also answered, it just takes a bit more time to get there. Now I don’t want you to think that dating is all about the numbers! There is a lot more to it than that. Love is a powerful factor but you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t think debt was a strong factor as well.

If you are having problems in your dating life, don’t call me. That’s not the type of counselling we do! If you are having problems in this part of your life, you may want to look at your finances and see what impact they are having. Now, if you need help figuring out your finances, balancing your budget, getting debt under control or anything along those lines, please contact us and let’s see what we can do!

Tim St Vincent is a retired CFP and is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance with the Credit Counselling Society, a Non-Profit organization. If you wish to contact Tim for a workshop or webinar, have a question or would like to submit an article idea please contact Tim at 1-888-527-8999 ext 1330. You can also contact the Credit Counselling Society for further information or assistance at 1-888-527-8999 or visit www.nomoredebts.org or www.mymoneycoach.ca.

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