These are the top financial red flags to watch out for when dating


No one wants to talk about money on the first date (Picture: Metro)

Money is a topic that is simultaneously important and awkward.

No one really likes talking about money but everybody wants to know how much everybody else is earning – especially when it comes to dating.

But even then, you don’t need to be so blatant about it.

According to new research by MoneySuperMarket, discussions about, and flaunting of, money can bring up some interesting (read: negative) emotions in the dating arena, with nearly half (46%) of Brits saying that flaunting wealth or expensive items is a major red flag on a first date.

Similarly, 37% said ordering the most expensive item off the menu while out on a first date is a financial red flag.

The survey of 3,000 people also found that refusing to admit financial privilege is up there (30%) as a warning sign – especially for millennials – as are gender expectations around who pays the bill (28%) and paying with a credit card (27%), with Gen Z-ers more likely to be wary of credit cards than their older counterparts. 



Top 5 financial red flags on a first date

  1. Flaunting wealth or expensive items – 46%
  2. Ordering the most expensive item off the menu – 37%
  3. Refusing to admit financial privilege – 40%
  4. Gender rules/expectations about who pays the bill – 28%
  5. Paying for items with a credit card – 27%

Even beyond the first date and into the beginnings of a new relationship, money red flags are abundant – although they’re more likely to reflect not just someone’s character, but their financial reliability.

Over half of those surveyed (52%) said that someone attempting to look wealthier than they are is a major financial red flag in a new relationship, and 40% wouldn’t be happy if someone was secretive about their income. 

Job instability was a concern for 43% of participants while others worried about consistent use of buy now pay later schemes (35%) and credit card payments (33%). 



Top 5 financial red flags in a new relationship

  • Attempting to look wealthier than they are – 52%
  • Job instability – 43%
  • Secretive about income – 40%
  • Uses buy now pay later schemes – 35%
  • Regularly uses their credit card – 33%

Commenting on the findings, Jessica Alderson, co-founder and relationship expert at So Syncd, says: ‘It’s definitely not a surprise that people flaunting expensive items is the number one financial red flag when dating. 

‘It’s because it stems from insecurity. 

‘When someone shows money in an obvious way, it often means that they lack confidence in other areas of their life. It can also imply that they lack depth. 

‘There are some people who are attracted to overt displays of wealth, in the case of the Tinder Swindler, but for a lot of people, it’s a turn off.’

She adds that, while it can be difficult to know from just one date how someone really is, especially with money, extreme and blatant red flags can be very telling.

‘It’s good to make a decision on a first date if the red flag is glaringly obvious,’ she says. 

‘It’s much better to cut things off quickly rather than ending up in a toxic relationship which can be very damaging long-term. 

‘However, sometimes things do get lost in translation on a first date so if you’re unsure about whether something really is a red flag, you should go on another date and carefully observe to see if there are more behaviours that help clarify your doubts.’

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