Money Don’t Matter Tonight, But It Will Tomorrow

I had a brief twitchat the other week with someone about why debt matters in dating. If I were single, debt would be one of those things on my list of “can’t do’s” in dating. Though it might seem shallow, what I do understand as a married person is how much debt can affect a couple’s ability to move forward. Student loans aside (they are so huge, so many people have them, and as such they affect one’s credit a bit differently) the amount of debt a person racks up says one thing about their ability to consume – how they manage their debt says entirely another.

Large amounts of debt essentially cripple one’s buying power and if I am looking to partner with someone and build a life, our ability to make certain purchases are without question. Too much debt means we can’t qualify for a home loan and have limited options in choosing the roof over our heads. Too much debt will affect how high our Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is on items we might choose to finance, such as cars, furniture, or even family vacations. Also, large amounts of debt means lots of bills, which cuts into our ability to save, invest, and eventually retire. Longstanding debt = longstanding work.

I don’t think I’m shallow in this regard – and I’m not alone. Singles in their 30’s and beyond tend to streamline the list of acceptable challenges in a relationship, and rarely do I hear of money not being an issue. I’ve been told if people didn’t approach dating like it was a search for marriage partner then debt wouldn’t carry so much weight. But dating by definition is an assessment of seeing whether or not another person is suited for you as an intimate partner or spouse. So why waste time?