April 29, 2009

Love and Money

I admit I love cnn.com for their living section; it never fails to entertain me. These articles are written for wives and parents (or the soon to be) about how to be happier, wealthier, better at parenting, yadda yadda. Today I found an article advising the engaged about finances. It would have been awesome if it were written for the unfortunate 60 or 70 year olds who suddenly find themselves back on the market in a new age of technology, but it was written for young twenty-somethings who've apparently been dating only six months.

  • Do you carry around a lot of cash? Who carries around a lot of cash? The old, the loaded, or the trying to appear loaded at a bar with hot chicks. The article suggests getting "into the habit of keeping an ATM card handy." Today, if a person prefers carrying cash to plastic he's either old and shunning technology, an illegal immigrant, or too young to have an individual account. 
  • Do you have a checking/savings account? If you do not have a checking account you should not be getting married. If you do not know if your fiancĂ© has a checking/savings account you should not be getting married. Seriously, this article was written for high school kids or old people.
  • Do you use credit cards for everyday expenses? Apparently this is a no-no because it implies you cannot pay off your everyday expenses (namely lunch) every month. Buying lunch on credit suggests you don't have the money to pay for lunch that day and are betting you'll have the money at the end of the month. I pay everything with my credit card and (until I was laid off) I paid it off in full every month. The problem with credit cards is people treat them like credit cards; if you only buy what you can afford it doesn't matter how you pay for it.
  • Have you ever maxed out your credit cards? If you honestly don't know your fiancĂ© has that much debt you're in more trouble that this article has advice for. It's like that freecreditreport.com commercial where the guy sang about his dream girl defaulting on some old credit card before they tied the knot and he wishes he could trade her in for a dog. (I would.) 
  • Do you own any mutual funds or stocks? I imagine a trophy wife in this situation: she marries the old dude because he's loaded, but has no idea in what condition his finances are in or where his wealth comes from or how it's stored. It's also a "leave the finances to the man" deal... 
Seeing as how money is the #1 problem in relationships and one of the biggest causes for divorce, isn't it one of those automatic conversations you have around the time you're choosing a date? Or better yet, isn't that something you learn about the person you want to marry before you get engaged? Common sense is endangered.

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