Smart SpendingSmart Spending

10 signs you're dating a deadbeat

Is your sweetheart truly financially responsible and not living paycheck to paycheck or drowning in debt? There are indicators to look for.

By MSN Money Partner Feb 8, 2013 11:47AM

Updated Feb. 27, 2013, at 10:55 a.m. ET.


This post comes from Len Penzo at partner blog Len Penzo dot Com.


Len Penzo dot Com logoI'm very fortunate that the Honeybee and I rarely have a disagreement regarding money. In fact, I can only remember it happening once in more than 16 years of marriage -- and it was all due to a silly misunderstanding.


A recent study discussed in The Wall Street Journal affirms the conventional wisdom that money is the most likely point of conflict in a marriage. When a married couple have different philosophies regarding the importance of financial responsibility, big problems are likely somewhere down the road. Many times, the solution ends up being a messy and expensive divorce.

Businessman gesturing © Constantini Michele, PhotoAlto Agency RF, Getty ImagesOf course, that's why it's important to know if your partner is financially compatible with you before you tie the knot.


So, does your current steady have his or her financial act together?


If you don't know, you had better find out. Just because your flame is spoiling you doesn't mean that he (or she) can afford it.


True, your lover may seem to be financially well-off, but will he be able to maintain his lifestyle after you get married? And if not, does he possess the discipline required to throttle back on the spending pedal?


Unfortunately, folks who fail to ask those simple questions often end up being led into a financial quagmire.


Thankfully, there are warning signs for those who choose to pay attention.


In "Get Financially Naked: How to Talk Money with Your Honey," co-authors Manisha Thakor and Sharon Kedar offer five indicators that may signal you're dating a deadbeat. I've listed them here, along with a few additional ones of my own.


How many of these apply to your current sweetie?

  1. He or she always insists on picking up the check at a big dinner or throwing down a credit card without looking at the bill. This may be the sign of a big spender living beyond his or her means in an attempt to impress you.
  2. He lives in a large but sparsely furnished home. According to Thakor and Kedar, this can indicate your partner has, as they say in Texas, "a big hat, but no cattle."
  3. She avoids answering calls on her cellphone. This is a potential sign that your steady is avoiding bill collectors.
  4. He leases a car. Yeah, this seems like a bit of a stretch to me too. However, leasing is often a sign of living beyond one's means.
  5. She asks you to buy things for her or to co-sign loans. But, Len, she always promises to pay me back. OK. Let me know how that works out for you.
  6. He has a lot of bills marked "urgent" or "past due." This is another big financial red flag.
  7. She gets bills in somebody else's name. It could be an ex-sweetheart's bill, or indicate that your current lover couldn't get an account on her own. Then again, it could also mean that the postman simply delivered the bill to the wrong person -- so make sure you verify that address before you make any accusations.
  8. He admits that his credit cards are maxed out. This, too, is a great indicator of somebody having trouble living within his means.
  9. She has a payday loan company magnet on the refrigerator door. Ah, yes. "Joe's Payday Loans: When nobody else will loan you money. Not even your relatives." Don't laugh. Short of a loan shark, the payday loan company is typically the lender of last resort.
  10. He has a live-in maid named "Mom." Psst. Come closer. If you said "yes" to this one, and you happen to be in your lover's house right now, listen to me very carefully. Put down the mouse. Then calmly walk out the door and get away. As fast as you possibly can.

More from Len Penzo dot Com and MSN Money:

Feb 8, 2013 5:29PM
#4 is a joke....leasing a car? really? they must have missed the part where you must be a 700 score or above to lease nowadays. a strong 700.
Feb 8, 2013 5:16PM
I lease my car - I'm not a deadbeat. I pay all my bills, even have some money in my savings account, but I'd rather lease my car since I have bad luck picking a good car and rarely have them longer than a couple years.
Feb 8, 2013 4:48PM
If you haven't identified that your fiance is dodging bill collectors by your wedding day, you're rushing things.
Feb 8, 2013 4:40PM
So now I need to buy a shi7 ton of furniture I don't need so people won't think I'm a deadbeat?  Sure I live alone, but I gotta have 3 beds, 7 dressers, a china hutch, 6 night stands, 4 end tables, 3 TVs, patio furniture, 4 sets of towels, a dozen lamps, kitchen table, dinning room table...   Makes sense.
Feb 8, 2013 3:54PM

Look...I just a wanna go out and get her liquored up, a few snacks, then give her a good 'bend over and plow' session the likes she has never seen then home in time for ESPN and a six pack!


Now thats a date!

Feb 8, 2013 3:54PM

i read these just to see if i am a dead beat, or a cheater.

i usually fit the cheater criterium, although i am not.

kinda happy to see i am not a deadbeat (i hope my mom does my laundry today)

Feb 8, 2013 3:43PM
11.  He or she has so much free time on their hands they sit at home all day and read horribly written articles on MSN which causes them to begin judging you based on a thoughtless "10 signs you're dating a deadbeat" article.

Feb 8, 2013 3:43PM
This discussion is going to change everything!  Be what the heck you want to be.  It's only survival.
Feb 8, 2013 3:36PM
So, when a guy doesn't have job he's called a 'deadbeat', but when a woman doesn't have a job she's called a 'housewife'.

Seems fair....
MSN's relationship and money news clips are amazingly funny and poorly written. It shows how vain this nation has become.
Feb 8, 2013 2:11PM

Number 11: If we get married I'll lose my welfare, food stamps and Section 8 housing. That of course assumes he's not also a deadbeat.

Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.