Should you ask your online date how much money he makes? Even if you do, you may not get a truthful answer. Of the top 10 lies told by men online, 6 of them have to do with money or job status. Lying on online dating sites may partly explain why less than one percent of matches end up lasting.
Following are ways to find out more about your date's financial status without asking crass financial questions outright.
How much money do you make?
This question is fairly safe since many dating sites will ask daters to tick off a salary range when they create their profile. Nonetheless, it is best to play it safe. Alternatively, you could ask about his job position. GlassDoor can provide you with a salary level for not only a position but a specific position at a company, such as the chief financial officer at Microsoft or a sales director at GE.
How much do you have in retirement savings?
How much one has saved for retirement can be a good indication of how responsible he is at managing money. If you have saved at a rate equal to or beyond that expected for your age group, you will want a partner who has been equally prudent with money. Openly sharing your own retirement planning status may encourage your date to do the same.
How much do you have in assets?
This is the trickiest question on financial status. But the answer to this question may still not reveal his true net worth. He may make $100k a year but have $50k in student loan debts, or he may have no debt and $200k in investment and real estate assets. A subtle way to approach this question would be generalize it. Ask about his views on investing in stocks, bonds, gold, real estate, and so on.
Do you own or rent?
Real estate investments are part of his assets. Also, ask if he has real estate investments, for rental income, for example.
How much do you have in debt?
It is important to understand each other's attitudes towards debt. Arguing over bills is a major stress and reason for divorce in many marriages. If he does have a good retirement pension plan but is paying more in credit card debt interest rates than he is earning on his retirement savings, then he is not likely to retire with a golden egg. Nor is he good at managing money. Alternatively, if you run up high credit card debt, will he be able to live with the debt and related stress?
How much of your income do you give to charity versus save?
Questions on altruism are less sensitive as your motive is to know if your potential partner is charitable. Is he a social entrepreneur?
Do you have any dependents – a former spouse, children, aging parents?
You will want to know if he has alimony or child support payments to make.
How would you handle matrimonial assets upon divorce or death?
If the relationship becomes more serious, then your questions should concern matrimonial assets, spousal rights, and investment philosophies. If you were to marry, would he put your name as beneficiary on pensions, wills, insurance, and so on? What would happen to marital assets in the event of divorce versus death?
How will you combine your finances?
How would he treat assets that he brings into the marriage? Does he expect you to take out what you bring into the marriage, or will he want a percentage of your assets?
Who will manage the investments?
Will you co-manage the investments? Run separate retirement accounts?
Asking financial questions can be a landmine. Lead the discussion and share your own information first. Ideally, he will share in kind, and you will not have to ask directly.
When you are in love, these questions may not seem like a priority, but they can become an important part of your relationship dynamics. All lawsuits between partners, whether spouses or business partners, start with a premise of trust that is broken when the relationship breaks apart.
This article first appeared on The New Savvy.