We all have probably done some dumb things with our money at some point.
Men and women relate to money differently, so we don't always handle it in the same way.
Women are more likely than men to let their emotions influence how they handle money. That emotional spending can even result in women letting their feelings for a man (or attemps to snag a man) get in the way of making smart financial choices.
Here are 10 mistakes women make with money when dating:
- Not taking control of your finances because you keep dreaming about a man coming along to rescue you financially. This is the Cinderella syndrome: "Someday my prince will come...." Hoping to find your prince is natural, but it's not realistic to pin all your hopes on finding a guy to sweep you off your feet and take care of all your financial worries. A recent Cosmopolitan magazine poll found that 59% of women say that if they were unsure about dating a man, they would be more likely to go out with him if he made a lot of money. Don't wait until a guy shows up to put together a budget, pay off debt, or start a retirement or investment account. Having your financial act together will actually make you more appealing to men who are taking care of their own financial business.
- Buying presents to keep a man interested when you know he's seeing other women. As the old saying goes, "Once a cheater, always a cheater." Why waste time and money on a guy who has perfected the art of using women to get what he wants without having to commit to any of them? Buying him stuff isn't going to make your relationship more solid, and you'll probably get hurt in the end.
- Thinking you can change a man who has no ambition and really doesn't want to work. A lot of women think that if they love a man enough and support him that they can force him to get with the program and become successful. But the fact is that unless a guy has enough drive and initiative to make something of himself, the effort to improve him is likely to be a losing battle. This type of guy is often willing to get married if he's found a meal ticket that will allow him to continue his pursuits of watching TV and hanging with the boys instead of having to get a job.
- Setting up joint bank accounts with boyfriends who aren't serious about them. If he can't even commit to going to the movies on Friday night, he has absolutely no business in your financial matters. Enough said.
- Co-signing for loans and credit cards with a man you barely know or who you know isn't responsible with money. Co-signing is often a bad idea even when you do it for close friends and family members. But when it comes to co-signing for a guy you haven't known very long, well...you do the math. Not only won't opening a joint credit card make a man commit, but if your guy stops paying on the bill, his creditors will come looking for you.
- Getting engaged and not checking your fiance's credit report or sharing your own. Marriage is a serious commitment meant to last a lifetime. So joining two households means you also join your debts and other financial obligations. Not only will your intended's credit report show whether he has a history of being delinquent on bills, but it will give you the lowdown on whether or not he's responsible for any child support payments, filed for bankruptcy or has his wages garnished. If you're uncomfortable asking for a copy of his credit report and discussing finances, then you shouldn't be getting married.
- Getting breast implants because a guy told you to do it. Having plastic surgery of any sort is a highly personal decision that should not be forced on anyone. If you're dating a guy who is pressuring you to get breast implants or alter your appearance in some other way, drop him like a hot potato. He's obviously trying to make you over into some fantasy image he has of what a woman should be. Find a man who appreciates you the way you are.
- Buying cars, cell phones, TVs or other expensive purchases for men you've dated for a short time. Check out any of the TV court shows and you're bound to see the fallout from this type of arrangement. These courtroom dramas often result from a woman buying a man something like a cell phone with a two-year contract before the "love of her life" dumps her for another woman. When the ex-boyfriend refuses to pay the bill, legal papers get filed, harsh words are exchanged, new girlfriends are paraded through the court and the TV judge usually ends up rolling his or her eyes in disgust while dissecting exactly how serious the relationship was before the phone/car/plasma TV was purchased.
- Spending a lot of money to make over a guy with a new wardrobe, only to have him leave for another woman. This is what I call the my-fair-lady-for-dudes syndrome. You clean him up, dress him up and make him more genteel (all at your expense), only to have him dump you for another woman who is thrilled to get such a polished guy.
- Avoid asking a man you're dating if he has a job and where. Ladies, if the man you're dating is reluctant to say where he works, he's either in the CIA (yeah, right) or a drug dealer. If he never seems to go to a job, carries huge wads of cash, constantly says "fuhgeddaboudit" and gives you expensive gifts he "got from some guy down the street," think mafia. And run. Fast.
There are plenty of good guys out there who are hard working, handle their finances well and are looking for a woman with whom they can build a strong financial future. Aim high for one of these men when dating to spare yourself some heartache and pain -- and ruined credit.