9 Guys Share Their Biggest Financial Deal Breakers


men talk about relationships and moneyMoney is never a more sensitive subject than when it comes up in relationships. In fact, fighting about money is one of the biggest predictors of divorce.

But it doesn’t have to be: Here we explain how to have the money talk—and why it’s so important.

And—newsflash—not only can knowing how to talk about money make your relationship more peaceable, knowing that you know how to handle it makes you more attractive to your significant other.

Don’t believe us? We asked nine guys ages 28 to 40—some married, some about to be, some on the market, some straight, some gay—to reflect on the financial issues they take into account before getting serious with someone.

Hear how they really feel about everything from the “wallet reach” and cheap tippers to settling down with someone who has a lot of debt.

LearnVest: What do you think of ‘the reach’—when your date reaches for his or her wallet when the check comes?

“It’s appreciated and the polite thing to do. Within the first three dates, the guy should politely say ‘I got it,’ but the woman should offer. It shows she isn’t being a user.”
Kevin, Westfield, NJ

“ ‘The reach’ is a bit awkward—it’s like, ‘I’m going to make a very obvious, slow-motioned movement just to be considerate, but I’m expecting you to pay.’ The gesture is nice in a way, but honestly, I just want a woman to give a sincere ‘thank you’ afterward. I’d prefer she say something like, ‘Would you like me to help pay?’ It acknowledges the elephant in the room in a direct, but polite way.”
Greg, Houston, TX 

“Depends on when it happens in the relationship. A girl can’t go wrong doing the reach early. It’s the safe play. If there was no reach after date number two—or an offer to pay the tip or, ‘At least let me treat next time’ – then that’s a problem and would give me a little pause.”
Brian W., New York, NY

At what stage of the relationship should a significant other start picking up the tab?

“I’m very old-fashioned, and I still think the person who asks someone out should pick up the check. At least on the first date. I think it starts pretty naturally from the beginning of a relationship and gets easier over time.”
Pat, Pittsburgh, PA

“I think the bigger deal is kind of the opposite—I’d know I’m close to ‘something real’ if we stop thinking so much about who gets what and we started thinking more like we’re making decisions like a pair and less like two individuals.”
Dan, New York, NY

“I think after three or four dates, or once it has become an exclusive relationship, it is probably time to start sharing the cost.”
Brian W., New York, NY

How do you feel about dating an over-spender?

“Won’t do it. Not interested.”
Dave, Philadelphia, PA

“If a girl is an over-spender with a ton of credit card debt and a closet full of stuff she never wears or uses, I think it demonstrates an undisciplined ‘live for the day’ type of attitude. I would be fine dating someone like that but that is as far as it would go—dating.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/amelia.hayes.1422 Amelia Hayes

    While I don’t think it’s wrong to consider these things I think if you like someone you should take time to get to know them as a person before you decide whether their financial picture is a deal breaker. I once went out with a guy who glanced inside my clothes closet and was shocked by the amount of clothes I had at the time. We only went out one time. Little did he know that at that point in my life all my clothes came from the thrift store or I made them.

  • underemployed

    I think someone’s financial situation should be taken into account when it comes to paying for meals. If someone can’t afford to eat out, the other person should pay… or not ask them out to restaurants!

  • Deedee

    Chad is the only man I’d date of all these guys… It’s okay to be cautious but these deal breakers — let’s be real!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kpoythress Katherine Poythress

    Good post.

    Weird answers to the spendthrift question, though. Spendthrift: a person who spends improvidently or wastefully. It sounds like they assigned it an opposite meaning, based on their responses. Which also makes the question redundant, given the one just before it.

    • charlotte

      interesting – you are right when looking up this definition, but most people think it is someone who is supercheap and won’t splurge on anything ever – weird! :)

  • http://twitter.com/Zabeth8 MEH

    Men say a lot of things, but what they do may be something wildly different…

  • http://www.50by25.com/ Laura

    I’m shocked at the responses to the savings account and debt questions. It would be a complete dealbreaker for me if someone didn’t have a five figure savings account by their late twenties, and also a dealbreaker if they had any kind of debt beyond student loans. Frank saying “aren’t we all in debt” makes me wonder what the heck kind of irresponsible decisions he and his friends are making, and Brian’s $50 minimum on a savings account is basically the same as not having one at all!

    • alika

      I’m not sure how old you are but as a 25 year old who graduated from college approx. 2 years ago I find your incredulity preposterous. Are you not aware of the economy? Even after student loans some of us are not fortunate enough to receive refund checks to pay for things like books, food, transportation, and emergencies. I once had to put $600 on a credit card just for ONE semester of books, and when you are in school it isnt easy to pay more than the minimum. Those fees add up. Five figures by your late 20s? Are you insane? I’m not saying its impossible;I believe there are some very fortunate people out there, perhaps with engineering degrees, who got jobs immediately after college and could save liberally. But personally your requirements are ridiculous. I work in the non-profit world which is notoriously underpaid and I will be lucky to have anything in the 4 figure range saved by the time I am 30. I also do not have a savings account. I used to but found it pure nonsense to be charged a fee every month for not having the “proper amount” of money. How is one ever to save if banks are deducting from your savings every month because you dont have enough saved? Id rather stash money in my home than pay a fee to store it digitally. I think you should really check your privilege before making such outlandish statements regarding peoples responses to who they might choose to love, not to mention the transparency of your assumptions regarding people with debt and their “irresponsible decisions”.

      • http://www.50by25.com/ Laura

        I’m 27, took out student loans to pay for my entire college education, but have been careful about my saving/spending since graduating. I was laid off when the economy tanked but found a new job (even though it wasn’t exactly what I wanted). There are plenty of no-fee savings accounts (check out HSBC, I know that’s no-fee since it’s one I use) and there isn’t any excuse not to be saving, no matter what you make.

        • alika

          I save just not in a bank. I have considered no fee accounts but I think Id rather just put that money into an IRA rather than hoping a savings account stays free (remember CHASE savings used to be free back when they were Washington Mutual). For me I think it is just more an issue of checking your perceptions and recognizing your position in life relative to others. I dont know what you make a year but I can tell you I have a BA from Berkeley and half a MA degree and I still qualify for food stamps with my job, just barely but I qualify nonetheless.

          • http://www.50by25.com/ Laura

            Agreed that it doesn’t matter about savings account vs just savings in general; I took it as the latter.

      • Sasha Renee

        just an FYI, a 5 figure salary would be $10,000….I also worked for a non-profit and I know they don’t pay well, but seriously if you aren’t making 10k a year, you aren’t even making minimum wage

        • alika

          The poster said 5 figures in savings. I know what 5 figures is. I make 5 figures a year. The federal poverty level is $17,500 for one person. SAVINGS not salary, you didnt read correctly.

  • mznatural

    I really love this article. I really appreciate Learnvest showing us a variety of men’s perspectives on money and relationships. I just started a new relationship and thanks to Learnvest, I’ve learned how to have the money talk in a digestible “How to Live your Richest Life” kind of way. I think he appreciates it and I know I do.

  • http://twitter.com/MoneySmartWomen Money-Smart Women

    Liked the input from a male point of view. My guy & I have been dating for 3 months now. He’s divorced and has two boys in college and pretty much pays for everything – they both live with him. Realizing this, we have an “incidentals fund” that we have so there is no issue on whose turn it is to cover the bill…it works. He holds onto the money and the “reaching” factor never becomes an issue.

  • charlotte

    why the hell were there only men interviewed here??? I make way more money than my boyfriend and would have a lot to say in response to these questions – I think this article is sexist and shouldn’t just be about men’s biggest financial deal breakers but women’s too – especially the ones with great credit, smart with finances and the ones who foot the bill quite a bit.