under Single Life
More statistics from the survey by Market Tools, Inc (who interviewed more than 5,000 singles over the age of 21) had to do with if singles are perceived as date-able when they are impacted by today’s economics. This being the “boomerang” generation (meaning many singles, couples, and families are moving back in with their parents after college, between jobs, or as they are starting new careers) means many 20 and 30-somethings refer to their parents as “roommates,” and may also have accrued debt along the way.
So, do these things still mean you’re date-able? Survey says… “Yes!” (with caveats of course).
- 65% of singles would date someone with debt up to $5,000 — although less so with someone who has high student loan debts to pay off
- 49% of singles would date someone who lived at home with their parents
Overall, singles want to date someone who has ambition. If you live at home and have some debt, but have a clear plan to get your life moving forward, then those things can be overlooked and accepted. If you’re in the process of buying your own home for instance, or if you moved home and have some debt at 32-years-old because you decided to pursue your dreams of going to culinary school after studying and working in another field, than that would be another good reason.
Laziness and irresponsibility is not attractive.
I met a wonderful woman on JDate. We got along wonderfully at dinner, but something came up in conversation that really makes me think there could be a serious problem down the road. We are both nearing retirement and began discussing our ”Bucket List.” As it turns out, she, a widow, aside from having a successful career of her own, was married to a very wealthy man. This man left her a huge estate. Her “List” included the kinds of things one would expect to see on it: vacations, cruises, etc. As for me, I am a middle-management guy for a major company and am planning to retire on a pension, Social Security and a modest 401k. Get the picture? See the problem? There is no way I can afford to live in her world.
Again, we really hit it off, and I would like to pursue this relationship, but can this ever go anywhere? What’s your advice?
Dear Financially Fraught,
Don’t make any assumptions. Your date may have been trying to impress you or she may want to indulge you by taking you with her on these trips. The best thing to do would be to be honest — tell her basically what you told me: you feel a connection and want to see where the relationship can go but you’re concerned that your idea of retirement is not aligned with hers. Let her know that you want to enjoy retirement with a partner but don’t want to put pressure on either of you to not enjoy life the way you had expected. All in all, the person you spend that time with is what counts, not what you’re doing, so hopefully you’ll get the answer from her that you’re hoping for.
Advice that people always give engaged and newly married couples is that they have to be transparent about finances. Money is often cited as the reason for a marriage’s demise. I do not think people should post what they make on their JDate profiles for many reasons (you are still a stranger at this point, you don’t want to be pre-judged, it’s no one’s business) but there are conversations you can have while dating. You need to know how your date views and values certain jobs. Teachers work hard but don’t make a lot of money – what does your date think of that? Does he or she value teachers? What about people who are born into a lucrative family business where a generous salary is imminent – does your date resent you for that? Does he or she feel it was unearned? These are serious questions that need to be asked. Again, a number doesn’t necessarily need to be divulged as no one needs to see your bank account statements yet, but knowing whether or not your date respects your line of work is important.
Once you are in a serious relationship that is headed for the chuppah, you need to have the talk including income. Are you going to combine bank accounts or keep separate accounts with a joint family account? Who is going to pay for what? Will you divide it based on percentage of income earned or will you pool everything and not think about it? When you have children, is someone going to stay home and will the other person respect that decision, including the lack of income (not to mention appreciating the unpaid job of being a stay-at-home parent)?
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to talking about money, but don’t avoid the conversation otherwise it will come back to bite you.
How do you know when you’ve found The One? So often we get caught up in the hot and heavy of a new relationship – everything is hearts and flowers, you can’t keep your hands off of each other, you both want 3 kids and a dog – and we forget to have the serious nitty-gritty conversations. Often, you’ve never gotten close enough to marriage to even know what one of those conversations looks and sounds like and are then blind-sided when you are faced with one of life’s challenges. Sex and chemistry can only take you so far. At a certain point you will need to talk about what kind of income you want to live on and what happens if that income decreases when, for instance, you have kids and one of you wants to stay home, or, another good example, you decide to pursue your dream and suddenly your income plummets? How will your mate react to you changing your mind about what you want to do with your life? These are what married couples (with and without kids) deal with. This is not a conversation to be had on a first date. This is the talk you have when you feel close to getting engaged. You need to know how your partner adjusts to change. Will he or she hold over your head what you said five years earlier (ie. “I don’t want to be a stay at home mom” when you realize you do once the kid comes or “I like practicing law because I get paid big bucks to argue” when you decide to go back to school for your MBA to become an entrepreneur) or will they support you and encourage you to do what makes you happy even if it means a short-term dent in the wallet? Food for thought…