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4 Financial Red Flags in a Relationship

Updated: Mar 27

Watch out for these financial behaviors that could be silent red flags in your relationship.

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Relationships and finances are difficult to manage, especially when you both aren't on the same page. Aligning and having similar financial goals keep you both on track to achieving the future you both want. When it doesn't happen, it not only puts financial pressure on the relationship, but it causes stress and tension as well. Money is currently the #2 reason why marriages end in a divorce (the first is infidelity). Read on to find 4 common financial red flags in a relationship and why they're bad for your relationship.

TL:DWTR? (Too long, don't want to read?) We made it into a TikTok video!

Financial Red Flag #1: "You don't have to worry about the finances. I'll take care of it all."

You might be thinking..."Why is this a red flag? I don't have to worry about anything! This is a dream!" when in fact this is the worst possible money mindset to have. I mentioned this in my other post about 5 Phrases Hurting You from Achieving Financial Success. You're in a relationship, not a dictatorship! You and your partner should both defining what your financial goals are as a couple, build a plan on how to achieve it and keep each other on track. When you have no visibility into your finances, you have no idea if your original goals are actually being met years later. You are putting your trust in another person completely and may not be informed when things go awry.

Financial Red Flag #2: Not wanting to talk about finances at all

This should be a HUGE red flag. If someone avoids a subject by walking away or changing the subject, there's a deeper issue at play. Maybe your significant other doesn't feel confident in how to manage their money or maybe money is just not a subject they're used to talking openly about. Either way, no communication means no goals and no roadmap for your financial future.

If you notice this behavior, check out our 3 tips on how to talk about finances with your partner. There are certain ways to get your partner to open up about money and finances without force or frustration.

Financial Red Flag #3: Having to put everything into a joint account

Naturally, when you're with someone or thinking of getting married, you want to have some accounts together. However, if someone is pushing for combining everything into one account, that is suspicious, especially if one person is bringing more to the table than the other.

For example, say you came into a marriage with an investment property that you own and are currently renting out (your partner did not exist when you bought this property, they did not contribute any money to it). Your significant other says that it's better to combine all checking and savings accounts into joint accounts and all expenses will be paid out from the joint account, including the mortgage payments on your investment property. If you ever get a divorce, your partner can potentially claim equity in your investment property because you've been making mortgage payments from a joint account you both manage (more on this in a separate blog post).

And I know you're probably thinking that you won't get divorced, but reality is that over 50% of marriages end in divorce in the United States. It's better to protect yourself, just in case, rather than hoping you fall in the other 50%. Check out the other finance topics you should align on before you're married.

Financial Red Flag #4: Sneaky, frivolous spending

About 1/3 of couples who argue about money hide purchases from their partner because they know their partner wouldn't approve. This tells you a lot:

1. The sneaky purchaser know their behavior is bad, but they continue to do it anyway

2. The sneaky purchaser avoids being confronted about their behavior

3. The sneaky purchaser and their partner are not on the same page about their spending habits and financial goals

The sneaky part is the key in the red flag because they are deliberately trying to hide their purchases. If you have your own personal checking account and you know how much money you can afford to spend on your wants without impacting your savings goals, then why hide it from your partner? Typically, people only start hiding things if they aren't hitting the goals they've set and they want to avoid talking about it. Instead, it's easier to pretend everything is normal.

Unsure of how to address some of these financial red flags with your partner? Schedule a 1 HR session with me where we will talk through step-by-step on how to discuss finance with your significant other.

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