Whether you like it or not, there are plenty of ways to gauge someone’s socioeconomic status before you ask them on a date.
You might remember Anne Helen Petersen’s viral analysis of how much social and financial information we can pick up from a single Tinder photo, for example:
Look closer at this image: Yasmin’s teeth are white and straight and her skin is clear. Her shirt is nondescript, but doesn’t read, at least from what we can see of it, as “cheap.” The contrast between the shirt colour and house in the background makes her look crisp and clean. Her overarching look is bourgeois, like a model in an issue of Real Simple.
However, just because someone looks “bourgeois” doesn’t mean they’re out of debt — or that they’re able to save for the future. It doesn’t tell you whether they’re a budgeter or a spendthrift, nor does it predict whether their financial priorities will align with yours.
And, as a new Bankrate survey reveals, more and more Millennials want to uncover that information as quickly as possible.
Like, on the first date.
Millennials are nearly twice as likely as their elders to say they’re comfortable sharing credit scores and swapping stories about debt with a potential love interest, according to Bankrate’s Love and Money Survey.
“They really are more open to having the money conversation with their partners early on, which is definitely a generational shift,” says Mara Liz Meinhofer, a certified money coach and founder of Love & Money Therapy. “It’s something that didn’t used to happen, and it’s very healthy that it’s starting to happen among them.”
According to Bankrate, 35 per cent of Millennials — and 36 per cent of Gen Z — would feel comfortable asking about money on the first date. But how, exactly, do you bring up the subject?
One expert Bankrate interviewed suggested approaching the topic by discussing retirement. (This will probably be more appropriate for Millennial daters, the oldest of whom are quickly approaching 40, than it will be for the younger Generation Z.)
Learning whether your date has a plan for their eventual retirement, whether they plan to wing it, or whether they plan to retire at all should give you a good sense of how they handle their finances.
If you don’t want to be that straightforward, Bankrate offers a few other options:
Asking your date where they bought their outfit can provide insight into where they shop. Asking about their occupation can help you find out whether they may have a lot of student debt. Even asking about your date’s childhood can be helpful.
The one option Bankrate doesn’t suggest is sharing your own financial information first. Instead of trying to sneakily suss out whether your date has a bunch of student loans, for example, you could mention where you are in your own loan repayment process. (This probably won’t work as well for people who are debt-free; it’ll come across as bragging.)
Talking honestly about your financial strengths and vulnerabilities, whether you bring them up on the first date or later in the process, will help you learn whether your prospective partner is open to talking about theirs.
Have you ever brought up finances on the first date? How did it go? Do you have any advice for people who want to learn whether their date shares their financial priorities? And — most importantly — have you ever stopped dating someone because their finances did not align with yours?
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