7 Financial Warning Signs To Watch Out For in a Relationship

a couple talking while arguing

Statistics have shown that disagreements over money are one of the top factors that breaks up a lot of relationships, with sex coming after. Unfortunately, many people turn a blind eye to prominent financial warning signs during dating and courtship.

It is easy to get carried away with the lovey-dovey stage of a relationship in that you ignore the warning signs and fail to have money conversations.

Failure to address these financial warnings may lead to marriage turmoil and divorce.
These 7 financial warning signs are ones you should look out for before saying and even after saying “I do.”

1. Borrows a lot of money from others

Being with someone who borrows money a lot from other people is a financial warning sign. It may be a financial red flag if they have to borrow money for one emergency or the other every month.

If you are not carried away with romance, love, and your feelings, you will know if they owe a lot of people.

Once you discover they are in multiple debts, a conversation needs to be had. Borrowing too often may mean that they have not been budgeting, saving, or managing their finances.

Borrowing a lot may also mean they do not have emergency funds and are resorting to borrowing to balance their income. You need to check if this is whom you want to be with and if yes, ensure you have that conversation and, if possible, get them financial coaching.

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2. Borrowing Without Repaying

If they keep borrowing from you and others without paying back, that is a red flag that you should address before saying, “I DO.”

It may mean they do not respect other people’s finances and probably do not keep their word. 

So when someone says they will pay back in two months and they do not, their integrity needs to be questioned.

If they borrow money without plans to pay it back, they will likely default if they have a credit card or a loan. And this would impact their future credit rating and ability to access credit for mortgages.

Some people earn £120,000 annually, and they borrow £200,000 with plans to pay it back in six months. The question is, how feasible is this?

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3. A Flashy Lifestyle

If your partner prioritizes how others see them by keeping up with the joneses, this is a red flag. These kinds of partners are all about the latest designer items, bags, shoes, cars, and expensive holidays in a bid to live up to the expectations of others.

This habit is not going to stop when you get married to them. That is who they are, and it would take a lot to change them. So you have to converse with them about how this would impact your finances as a couple.

If they are unwilling to change, it may mean you do not have the same outlook and goals, and calling it quit may be your best option.

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4. Extravagant Gift Giving

One of the beautiful things about Valentine, birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmas is gift-giving. Giving your loved ones a gift and receiving it from them during special occasions is a beautiful gesture.

The dating period is when the relationship is young, romantic, and sizzling hot. So you want to show your lover how much you love them by buying them a mind-blowing gift.

However, your partner buying you an expensive gift way beyond their means is a red flag. Having to do this to prove their love for you may mean they need a better understanding of how to manage money. 

Also, it is a red flag if they have to borrow money to buy you gifts. While this gesture may seem lovely, romantic, and feet-sweeping, going overboard could also sweep you into tears in the future. 

A conversation needs to be had, especially if they don’t see anything wrong in going into debt to show love. Otherwise, they may run into debt, which would also affect you in the long run.

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5. No Asset After Many Years of Working

After working for more than 10-15 years, your partner should have been able to put aside either savings, investment, property, shares, gold, or anything as an asset to show for the years of work.

If your partner has worked for so long but has nothing to show, it may be a financial warning sign.

It may mean they are living beyond their means instead of living below their means and need to be more disciplined when budgeting and managing their finances. 

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6. Late Credit Payment

Someone who makes late payments on credit is a red flag. For example, if you observe that your partner has a credit card, but you always see them with reminder letters and late payment letters, it is a red flag.

When you make a late credit payment, it reflects on your credit history. So, for example, lots of late payments on your partner’s credit history will affect you in the future if you decide you buy something together.

They may not recognize the importance of making credit payment on time and therefore needs financial coaching.

Refusing financial help even after you both had a conversation would likely cause them to spiral into a bad debt which would affect you in the future.

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7. Dictate or Control Your Finances

This is bad on so many levels. While I advocate joint money management for couples, it is a red flag if your partner tries to control your spending. It could mean they do not trust your financial ability to manage money or want to be in charge of your money. 

You are an adult earning your income, and somebody else should not control your spending. Finances must be discussed, agreed upon, and managed together, but not controlled.

If your partner tries to decide what you buy, whom you give money and how you spend, it is a financial red flag you need to watch out for.

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It would be best to be sure you are spending the rest of your life with somebody on the same financial page as you. 

Till next time,


Ronke O.

Published by ronkeodewumi

I am a Chartered Accountant (ACMA, CGMA) and seasoned Management Consultant with about 16 years of experience driving the delivery of strategic solutions to complex problems of global firms. Through my blog, youtube channel, social media, tailored courses and downloadable material, I share information, resources and tips to help you manage your money better, grow your business, progress in your career, thrive in difficult times and create a life that is safe from failure, while being the best version of yourself. You will also find here links to my youtube videos where I share more nuggets to help you achieve and live your dream life. I am based in London, United Kingdom and always happy to connect with you via email (ronkeodewumi@gmail.com), social media or my contact page here.

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