In a perfect world, all of us are financially stable, debt-free and even becoming wealthy by the time we hit our 30s. In the real world, however, things aren’t so simple–and many of us are thrashing around in a sea of our own financial mistakes, grasping frantically for some kind of lifeline to save us from drowning.
Want to make things worse? Start dating, too–and see how quickly that sea of stress turns into a perfect storm of anxiety, disappointment, and heartache.
You might think that finding love or a long term girlfriend would be last on the list of priorities for single people with money problems. But as a dating coach in San Francisco, one of the country’s most expensive cities to live in, I’ve learned that it’s quite often just the opposite.
In fact, people with terrible finances are often the ones that are searching the hardest for luck in love. Problematic? You bet.
And now, here’s a piece of advice: Fix your finances before you start searching for someone to get serious with. Sooner or later, the love of your life is going to walk in the door, and you’re going to want to be your best self when that happens. No one is their best self when they’re stressed out about their finances.
Here are five great reasons to start thinking “money first, love next” as your new motto for 2018.
1. Women Crave Safety and Security First
In this day and age, people are getting married later and later–often putting their professional success ahead of their love lives. This extra time is useful, as it gives us time to get to know ourselves and what we want in a relationship. It also give us time to establish a career and become financially independent before marriage.
Women love a man who’s financially savvy, ambitious, and responsible about debt. As independent as today’s women are, the need we have to find a partner that can promise safety and stability in a relationship runs deep within our subconscious. We want someone with a steady job, who prefers to invest rather than spend his money, and has a realistic view on things like retirement plans and savings for the future.
If you want to make yourself more appealing to the opposite sex, work on fixing your finances. You’ll feel more successful, confident, and powerful–which will enhance the quality and quantity of the dates you go on.
Sadly, money issues ruin great relationships everyday–and are one of the leading causes of divorce. Therefore, if you want to save yourself from a lot of disappointment and crippling stress, make sure you’ve fixed your finances before searching for a long-term relationship.
2. Getting Your Finances In Order First Helps You Focus on Your Dating Strategy
It’s very rare that someone finds their soulmate on a first date. Dating can be hard and difficult, and without a real commitment and strategy to structure your attempts to find the one, it can seem impossible.
If you want to reach your dating goals like finding a girlfriend, wife, or long term partner, you need to focus on your dating strategy, not worry about your past due mortgage.
In 2011 and 2012, I found myself frustrated with traditional dating. I wasn’t finding anyone special, and things were moving too slowly for me to make any progress. I’ve never been one to settle for anything, much less my soulmate, so I made it my goal to go on 100 dates with as many people as possible within a year’s time.
Through this social research experiment, I met a lot of people and went on a lot of dates–101 dates with 52 men in twelve months, to be exact. I learned a lot about myself through the experience, gaining tons of research and data to analyze for a successful career as a dating coach. I also realized how important it was to be fully committed to the whole dating process, and how valuable it was to have a strategy.
That said, my venture into MegaDating was a carefully calculated plan that took a lot of time, energy, and commitment. I am 100% convinced that I succeeded because I gave it my all–something I always emphasize with my clients. I can’t imagine going through it while worrying about my finances, too.
If you’re really ready to find someone, that’s great! Just keep in mind that financial stability will make a giant difference in the quality of your search. If you’re seeking out the love of your life while being anything but your absolute best self, you’re limiting yourself in more ways than one.
3. Having A Solid Financial Foundation Places You Above Your Competition
Even the most successful and attractive women crave safety and security. It’s natural to all women. If you can’t provide safety and security because you are in between jobs, wouldn’t it make sense to put your search for love on hold until you’re able to get your career in back in order?
I was aware of the importance of financial stability in a partner before I went on my 100-date experiment, but I had no idea how often the issue would come up during first-date conversations. Whether it was them asking me a subtle question about credit history or car payments, or my own roundabout questions designed to shine a light on their financial situations, the topic kept coming up in some way or another–over and over again.
Here’s the truth: not many people are going to admit to being buried in debt and money problems on a first date. And no one should, either. Why share that kind of information with someone you just met?
Even so, it almost always came up somehow, on both sides of the table. If I hadn’t been taking rigorous notes on my encounters, I might have never noticed this phenomenon at all! I can only surmise that it’s human to want to know that the person we’re meeting is financially responsible. As unfair as it may be, money matters.
When women are in dating mode, they’ll accept dates from multiple men. Why would you want to be dumped into the “unemployed” or “financially unstable” bucket of options she’s choosing from?
4. Being Financially Secure Is One Less Insecurity to Worry About
I coach men every week, and every so often I’ll jot down another insecurity they face. From family losses, to weight gain, testosterone reduction, hair recession, and more. Money problems are usually the most powerful stressors that men face, and for good reason. Financial instability really, really sucks.
No one is saying that you have to be rich. That’s far from the point. What I’m talking about here is just financial stability. Don’t spend more than you make, don’t lose yourself in debt. Live where you can afford it, and keep your spending habits in check.
It may not be glamorous, but neither is sitting up at night worrying about how you’re going to keep the lights on. If you’re stressing about how you’re going to afford a night out with a great girl, she’s going to pick up on that. If not on the first date, then on the second or the third. And believe me, it’s not a good look for you–which brings me to my last reason why you should fix your finances before searching for love.
5. Financial Security Helps You Cover the First 3 Date Bills
Yes, it’s 2018, and women and men are equal–but the fact of the matter is that we’re still living in a patriarchal society in so many ways. As unfair as it might seem, the first three dates should always be covered by the man. But don’t freak out, I teach a financial dating strategy that will help you save money and keep your leverage at the same time. I’ll list some pointers below, but check out my other article for more first date tips for men for further detail.
First dates should cost you no more than $10-$15. Go to a Starbucks or your favorite local cafe, and buy her a cup of whatever she wants. If you take her to a fancy dinner on a first date, you’re setting the bar way too high–and chances are, she’s going to feel pretty let down when you take her somewhere much less impressive on your next date.
Second dates should be free. Go hiking, take a walk across a pier, go bicycling through a park (here’s a list of 18 physical second date ideas plus 13 other second date ideas that’ll knock her socks off). Not only is it fun and exciting to do something active together, but being outdoors can inspire a great bonding experience. It also really sets a great tone for the third date, when relationships start getting more serious.
As I was saying, third dates are when you pull out all the stops, take out your wallet and treat her for a nice dinner. By this time, you won’t feel taken advantage of, and she’s earned it.
See how important it is to have a strategy? Without a dating strategy, you’ll end up settling for someone out of desperation, which is probably the worst outcome ever.
I could go on and on about the ins and outs of dating, the importance of being financially solvent when putting yourself out there, and the payoff that comes with putting a real effort into the whole experience. Through careful coaching, I’ve helped countless men find the relationships they really want, and kept them from settling for someone that really wasn’t right for them in so many ways.
I’ve got to be brutally honest here. Sometimes, some of the men I went out with reeked of financial stress and worry. Whether it was a subtle remark about being late on a car payment or a joke about making it through the month, I got huge red flags from men that didn’t seem to have it together financially. It matters, it really does.