Back in the heady noughties, before the financial crash and mass youth unemployment, Shania Twain sang that wealth, looks, and brains were not fool-proof ways of gaining access to a woman’s heart. What exactly was, wasn’t clear. Today, post-crash, he with the dough may well be greeted with less scepticism and more interest than Shania’s, all right, so you gotta car …
Last September saw the launch of Tinder, one of the hottest start-ups to come out of the States in the last few years. How it works is very simple: when the app is downloaded you are sent pictures of people Tinder thinks you may be interested in dating based on your Facebook profile. When you receive these pictures – and the picture is all you receive – the potential date can be ‘yay’ed or ‘nay’ed with a swish of the finger. Only when there is mutual interest, will Tinder disclose contact details. Though described as cynical, with 450 million pictures being viewed each day, and 150 marriages reportedly clocked already, Tinder is proving remarkably popular.
Shallow but successful, one might wonder what the reaction would be if Tinder sent out the person’s income alongside their picture and whether this would lead to more happy matches. Indeed, how averse would people be to the proposal that searching on Tinder and browsing financial sites such as Quotenet shouldn’t be viewed as so different. And what would people say to the advice that when contemplating your financial future, as much as you may study stock-prices, you should keep your eye on the person opposite, nonchalantly ordering Tiramisu and another Rob Roy.
Personal finance is rarely coupled with romance, and is an unlikely topic to be breached on a first date. However, with over 70% of divorces occurring due to financial disagreements, the spending habits of a potential partner should always be taken into account when considering your future financial independence. Recent studies suggest that we are attracted to those that don’t share our spending habits; tight-wads seek spendthrifts and vice-versa. This quirk of nature is unfortunate for what may be exciting at first may soon become fatal to a relationship. The angst that can emerge in arguments over coffees bought at Starbucks and ‘another meal out’, may a few years down the line manifest itself in disagreements over putting money down for a house and the children’s education.
What is clear, is that it is not someone’s bank balance that matters so much as their attitude to money: a flashy car in the hands of someone reckless may well be lost in Vegas by next weekend. Of course such characteristics in a person are not always easy to detect; they are rarely posted on Facebook, and certainly cannot be scrawled in a few words across the screen of an iPhone. Yet, such characteristics are important as any meaningful relationship is likely to influence your steps towards financial freedom.
Alongside flowers and chocolate, perhaps it is time to place ‘credit-rating’ under the umbrella of romance. Who knows, perhaps it was that which was keeping Shania warm at night.