Dating and debt: 8 red flags you need to look out for


When a professional meeting planner in Melville, N.Y. began dating the man who would eventually leave her $100,000 in debt, there were some clear warnings signs that he was having trouble with his finances. A part-time comedian, he used to joke about how he was only with her because of her secure job and good corporate benefits. "He used to make so many of these jokes," she recalls.

When they started getting serious, there were enough red flags about his financial health that she even postponed the wedding for a year until she felt that he'd become more fiscally responsible. When they finally got married, the honeymoon was short-lived. A mere six months after the wedding, he dissolved the family business and blew his portion of the proceeds on a brand-new motorcycle. "I was the one working 50-plus hours a week and paying all the bills, but he felt entitled concerning money that it was mutual property," she says.

Like many relationships in which money and debt become a sticking point, there are usually some early warning signs that go unnoticed or overlooked in the first, endorphin-filled rush of a new relationship. But experts, as well as people who've been in those troubled relationships, warn that if you ignore these red flags, you do so at your own peril. Read on for a list of the biggest fiscal red flags that you should keep watch for when entering into a new romantic relationship.