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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 12, 2013 6:42PM

reverse mortgage is a rip off. you have to maintain the place so somebody can move in when you die. in return you earn a pittance while you live


Feb 12, 2013 6:40PM
people dont get married simple fact couse they get to live off welfare ..get married and they would have to get a job
Feb 12, 2013 6:33PM

I am currently involved with someone who has about 40% of the red flags listed above.  Thanks msn!! 

Feb 12, 2013 6:32PM
Lol @ the dumba$$ writer who thinks making a smart financial decision to lease a new vehicle is a sign of a deadbeat
Feb 12, 2013 6:21PM
Find someone to love, and stop looking in their wallet.
Feb 12, 2013 6:16PM
"Dating Deadbeat" Taylor Swift!! LMAO
Feb 12, 2013 6:11PM
So supposing a guy is taking care of his mom who is experiencing the early stages of dementia, he moves her in with him, put some furniture in storage so she has more room to move around things (people with dementia have difficulty with their spatial reasoning), gets several hospital bills addressed to his mom, many are marked urgent or past due which he is paying off as best he can which maxed out his credit cards and lead him to take a payday loan. Yeah, this guy sounds like a real nightmare, woe be to she who falls for him. Stupid article.
Feb 11, 2013 8:37AM
its kinda a moot point period.if your disabled like myself,and someone does find you interesting it goes away fast anyway,men or women.rarely will you meet someone who wants to be responsable at the end.evan those disabled date sites have there own kind of wannabes vs real mccoys about it.advice if you can.take sex out of it,buy the car an lease a helper,nowadays about same compassion,hit or miss.
Feb 11, 2013 8:10AM
Ladies Beware!  Jeffrey Jury of Colorado Springs, CO / Fountain, CO = Dead Beat.  Forgery, Fraud, Identity Theft, Domestic Violence, $60,000.00+ in Credit Card Debt that he lies about, multiple cash advances from his pay checks, car repossessed, living off good ol' mom and dad's apron strings, addictions to drugs, alcohol, and porn as young as the students he teaches right up to porn as old as and looks like his mom. This entire article could have been written directly about him.  Currently listed as User Name "jeffreyfrog" at Christian  This man is NO CHRISTIAN, but is a pathological liar, and a user!  Ladies check out  You will find a lot of Dead Beats like Jeffrey Jury there.  Protect yourselves from financial ruin!
Feb 11, 2013 5:33AM
having been married and divorced mainly because of money i can truly say in this day and age why buy when the milk is free or very cheap, I also own my own home have 2 cars paid off carry no debt including no mortgage and care for my mom why in goog gods name would i want to take on most of these women out there who have nothing bring nothing to the table and live in a drama filled world with their exs and kids all i need is to take them out play the game get them some liquid panty remover and see ya am on my way to the next one!
Feb 11, 2013 3:04AM
Calm down, people...picking any ONE of these and complaining, "I do that, and I'm not a deadbeat!" is like going on WebMD and thinking you're going to die because you have a cough. 
Feb 10, 2013 9:29AM
One more comment.  My friend's daughter married this big spender -- 3 dozen roses delivered every week, blah, blah....huge diamond engagement.ring...and it was all debt, nothing but debt, which the poor girl got on her bad credit and life when she married him.  Two kids later, she sits in her Mom's house with the kids, financially ruined, and no roses in sight.  Not her fault -- but her punishment.  Look for the guy or girl  who's a bit of a penny pincher and saves the first 10% in salary.   You'll never be sorry.
Feb 10, 2013 9:25AM

why is #10, a live in maid called Mom, such a bad thing?  I'm puzzled.  Does it mean he lives off his Mom, so he's not a good bet financially?

Or does it mean he's using his Mom as a maid, and that's inconsiderate and shows he's a male chauvinist pig?

Feb 8, 2013 11:56PM
I live with my mother because at this time in her life I am her caregiver and the only child that is still single and living at home. I am completing my education, listen quite regularly to the Dave Ramsey philosophy and have a savings account. etc. 
Feb 8, 2013 10:23PM

best advice for men: stay single.


if you don't your bride will spend you into the poorhouse ("oh honey, we have to get new furniture...cabinets...carpeting...a new car...)


who do yoiu think drives the american economy anyway? it's certainly not guys.

Feb 8, 2013 9:29PM
I guess we can't judge a book by it's cover however my mother's favorite expression when it came to people was "changing their habits is like changing the spots on a leopard".
Feb 8, 2013 7:40PM
I've known a few.   Back in the 70s when I met my husband and we were teenagers, he told me he never had any money because his parents were separated and he was supporting his mother.  He even said that tho he was in high school, he still held a full-time job.  Obviously, I lived far from him so I couldn't check up on any of this.  I thought he was so admirable for being so good to his mother.  I remember specifically him telling me he just paid his mom's car insurance.  What I didn't know was she didn't drive!!!!  Well, I married this gem and he immediately quit his job.  Why work when your wife does?  It didn't take long to discover he was nothing but a lying sack of sh*t.  He finally cleaned up his act, but by then I lost my trust in him as well as my feelings.  I finally filed for divorce and you wouldn't believe the vindictive, nasty things he did to me at that time.  I was angry for a long time, but now I just feel sorry for him.  
Feb 8, 2013 7:26PM
People can call it whateven they want,but i like to call it having no money.What do you call a banker who runs there business(banks) into the ground,and still takes a bonus from government taxpayers to pay for his yacht and lavish vacations with his mistress.I guess thats just a smart business man,right.So when i run up my credit cards and dont pay,and just get another one and also dont pay.I like to call it getting money money back,with a little interest,and my own hidden fee's.
Feb 8, 2013 6:48PM
These are good signs, but only a sign.  Like diagnosing a car or medical problem , the signs may not add up to anything at all...grain of salt, I'd say.
Feb 8, 2013 6:40PM
if you are a smoker and he is to. if you ask if he will stop and get a pack you of course will pay him for them and when he brings them there open and missing one. from that point on he thinks its ok to smoke them for the time your with him.                                                                                                time to get away he will borrow till there is none.
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