Sasha Answers: When do I ask the financial question?
Hi Sasha, I'm relatively new to the dating scene after being in a long-term relationship. I've completed Grad school and earn a good living, above the average household income for my region. Is there an appropriate time to ask someone how much they earn? Of course, earning a high income doesn't equal responsibility or financial IQ, nor is this first date conversation, but it’s important and I'd ideally like the person I eventually end up in a serious relationship to not earn significantly less than me.
In my opinion, the appropriate time is … never.
Now, before you all start freaking out, I'm talking about during the dating process. Of course, if you’re headed into relationship lockdown mode then that stuff should be all out in the open, but S, if you’re casually dating, then no, I really don’t think there’s any kosher way of bringing that up.
Having said that though, it’s not like you can’t easily deduce how broke a dude is. For example, if he’s still living with roommates he’s probably broke. If by picking you up for a date he means you're both walking there, then he’s probably broke. If he always wants to stay in and rent a movie all the time then, heads up, yes, he's probably broke.
Look S, financial stability obviously plays a big part in relationships, but I think right now you should be concentrating on trying to find a kind, thoughtful, respectful guy before even thinking about his 401(K). Otherwise, measuring someone by their money is just, well, tacky.
However, if you do end up with someone who makes less money than you in the end, well that doesn’t mean you “beat” him or that he loses to you or that he’s less accomplished. You don’t owe an apology or a concession, and neither does he. You see that, right? Ultimately what will matter is the kind of lifestyle you both gravitate toward, not who makes more.
Thanks for writing in and keep your questions coming to me at email@example.com.