Dating and the budget

Written by Editor in Chief on . Posted in Finance

davernewDear Dave,

I've been following your plan, and I've finally gotten out of debt and feel I have control of my finances. I'm also single, and I was wondering if you have any tips for how to gracefully mention financial topics and budgeting when you're on a date.

Paula

Dear Paula,

Well, I don't recommend bringing it up on a first date. If I'm a guy on the initial date with a girl and the first thing out of her mouth is about finances and handling money, that's going to be pretty strange.

Now, if the first date turns into another and another and another, then you might start talking about the deeper things in life and where you both stand. As you start talking about more serious subjects, you'll begin to learn if there's enough of a basis for a real relationship.

But the first date is just sort of an introduction, right? You're both seeing if there's any initial, mutual compatibility. Asking someone how much they make, or where they are on their debt snowball in this scenario is officially weird—even by my standards. In other words, use manners and tact. They may be old fashioned words these days, but in most cases they work well.

Dave

More of a long-term spending thing

Dear Dave,

I've started my four-year-old on an allowance structure and a chore chart. I also have a mini-envelope system with spending and saving set up, but I'm having trouble helping him distinguish between the two. How can I solve this?

Monica

Dear Monica,

At that age, any type of saving is going to be more of a glorified, long-term spending plan. The point is to teach them to delay gratification when you're first starting out. And when you're only four, two weeks is long term.

The contents of the spending envelope should be kind of spontaneous. Let him take it on trips to the store, and if he wants a pack of gum or whatever, he can get it. The saving envelope, though, stays at home. Then, as he grows and his mind and reasoning develops a little more, you can really start teaching him about long-term goals and how to get there—including giving.

Don't try to force a four-year-old to think five or 10 years into the future. We're just trying to teach lessons here, and it doesn't have to be done perfectly. Just be intentional, and try to find teachable moments as you go along!

Dave
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