6 ways romance can ruin your finances
In the pursuit of love, passion can overrule prudence
By Erica Sandberg
Love is free, but sealing the deal with
the right person may cost you. While most financial advisers preach prudence
over passion, some relationship gurus give license to spend or even borrow to
achieve coupledom. Take note of how the pursuit can affect your bottom-line --
and when you might be better off by backing off.
1. A long distance affair. Beware the GUs -- geographically undesirables -- who are
everything you desire but close. Travel expenses can punch holes in even big
budgets. Short Hills, N.J.-based Noah Rosenfarb, a certified public accountant
and personal finance specialist who works mainly with wealthy women, says
even the ultra-affluent can go under when trying to maintain personal contact
with a distant lover.
a client two years ago who was dating a man from London and she was from New
Jersey," says Rosenfarb. "She flew out there all the time. Her budget was
$35,000 a month, but she started spending $85,000 per month. In the end, the
relationship didn't work out and she overdid it by half a million dollars."
the physical gap eventually close? If so, the excursions may be worthwhile. But
be realistic -- if neither of you will move, it's time to move on.
2. Catering to chichi tastes. Your darling adores fine dining and spontaneous trips to the
Hamptons. Should you cough up the cash for such extravagances, even if you have
to pull out the plastic? Kimberly Friedmutter, a
life management expert out of Las Vegas with a strong celebrity clientele, says
that if you want to pull a prize, stretching your resources to the limit can be
"We place so much importance on save and invest that we've lost
the importance of spending," says Friedmutter.
"I have no problem with spending. Even debt. If
you have something that creates a sensation of love, utilize it. That means you
might have to spend money to get that from the other person. Love is a chemical
experience in the brain. So use whatever it is that triggers that feeling in
the other person."
If you're used to getting your hair done once a week, keep doing that. But people who attempt to totally change themselves for another tend to have buyer's remorse.
CPA, personal finance specialist
over austerity opinion is controversial. You could be setting a dangerous precedent if you're not careful. Bills incurred in the initial wooing stages may be manageable at first, but
consumer debt can build fast.
When that happens, you may find yourself with empty pockets
and an empty heart.
3. Your need to impress. Small in stature? Afraid you're boring? Your own
insecurities can lead to overdoing gifts and other extras when trying to
capture someone's attention. That person may not need or even care about those
things. When motivated by doubt instead of keying into what he or she truly
values, excess spending is just plain wasteful.
According to Rosenfarb, men and women
alike overcompensate with flashy presents and even cash. "I've had clients give
money or loans in an attempt to impress their boyfriends or girlfriends and to
keep them. They never get it back, though. Never do this!"
Nor will you attain real love, says Dr. Sally
Pallian, author of "Spent: Break the Buying Obsession and Discovering Your
True Worth." "It will take more and more money to keep the whole thing
going," says Pallian. "How can you be in an intimate, vulnerable relationship
if you're not being your authentic self?" She suggests reassuring yourself with
soothing statements like, "I'm not my money, I'm not my stuff. I'm likable no
matter what I have."
4. Getting gorgeous. Look like a schlepp when dating? Not you! To the mall and
salon you go, ready to charge.
the bank for beauty could be in your best interest, says Friedmutter.
"It's nature's game. You
feel better, you want to be out and about. Pay for the spray tan, acrylics,
hair extensions. You better get your pretty on because that's your commodity!"
Lest you think its sexist advice, Friedmutter believes that men in the dating
arena ought to open their wallet to enhance their physical appearance, too.
however, stresses that it's more important to be yourself and not attempt to
modify too much when trying to attract someone. "If you're used to getting your
hair done once a week, keep doing that. But people who attempt to totally
change themselves for another tend to have buyer's remorse."
5. Working less to adore more. Once you've found the person who knocks your socks off, your
previous interest in work or money management can wane.
Love can be a powerful drug. It can distract people from important aspects of
their lives because
they're using their new relationships to ignore deeper problems and issues.
co-founder, The Art of Charm
"Love can be a powerful drug,"
warns Jordan Harbinger, co-founder of The Art of Charm, a Los Angeles-based company that teaches men to meet
and connect with women. "It can distract people from important aspects of
their lives because
they're using their new relationships to ignore deeper problems and issues."
Never allow a crush that could be temporary to crush your more permanent income stream.
can be devastating to your credit, too, since a neglected budget can lead to
unintended debt and collection accounts. Force yourself to face it, especially
if marriage is on the agenda. Otherwise, you'll have to explain why your credit score has bottomed out and that those urgent calls are from collectors, not
crazy exes. Both can make you appear, well, unattractive.
6. Falling for a financial abuser. And finally, there's the dream date who's really the
disastrous mate. Opportunists abound, so be on high alert.
Mares (who asked that his real name not be used to protect his privacy), CEO of
a San Diego software company, says he became enamored by a woman who was just
seeking one thing: a man to bankroll her life. "She was a high-paid prostitute
who got men to fall in love with her," says Mares. He began paying for swanky
dinners and jewelry, but was soon covering her other bills, such as medical
insurance. After dropping more than $70,000, he woke up and broke up. Later, he
discovered that his friend was also sucked in by the same woman -- and he spent
over $150,000 on her before it was over.
To avoid these financial violators,
Pallian recommends serious self-analyses when dating. "Be on the lookout for
your own need to rescue someone," she says. It's a bad sign if you're spending
more on the other person or buying nicer things for them than you would for
Honor your principles, says Pallian.
"If your rule is to always pay your credit cards off every month, but the other
person is asking you to spend for more than you can afford and you say, 'yes,'
you're on the wrong path."
See related: 5 dumbest money moves lovers make, Infographic: The high cost of love
Published: September 25, 2012
Three most recent Credit account management stories: