Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

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carol-brennan
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Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by carol-brennan » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:16 pm

With the prevalence of online dating, I can't count the number of stories I've heard of people committing to a partnership, only later to learn (sometimes too late) of the past financial ruin or recklessness of the person on the other side of the kitchen table.

With all of the care that many of us take in some parts of our lives--financial planning, insurance, etc.--it never ceases to amaze me how we will plunge into a relationship with someone we know next to nothing about, thereby risking a huge part of our future livelihoods. Love is blind?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and it seems to me, as callous as it might sound, that it would be downright foolhardy these days not to have a private investigator look into the financial past (at a minimum) of anyone you're thinking of committing to.

Anyone have any thoughts about this or experience with it?

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by RickBoglehead » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:22 pm

Hire a private investigator?

Good luck on your relationships...

I never contemplated that. Yes, you have discussions, but if you have to investigate your partner then you're lacking trust in the relationship and commitment should not be happening. Just my opinion.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by MotoTrojan » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:24 pm

carol-brennan wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:16 pm
With the prevalence of online dating, I can't count the number of stories I've heard of people committing to a partnership, only later to learn (sometimes too late) of the past financial ruin or recklessness of the person on the other side of the kitchen table.

With all of the care that many of us take in some parts of our lives--financial planning, insurance, etc.--it never ceases to amaze me how we will plunge into a relationship with someone we know next to nothing about, thereby risking a huge part of our future livelihoods. Love is blind?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and it seems to me, as callous as it might sound, that it would be downright foolhardy these days not to have a private investigator look into the financial past (at a minimum) of anyone you're thinking of committing to.

Anyone have any thoughts about this or experience with it?
I was in total agreement until the private investigator; if you can’t tell yourself you have bigger issues in the relationship.

Does remind me of the Showtime series Billions; a subplot has a new wife’s hobby business turn out to be fraud to pay for her actual lover and hers new apartment.

runner3081
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by runner3081 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:30 pm

Yes, STD screening, criminal background and financial credit checks.

We did those things mutually, wasn't one way.

This is a life long commitment (well, 50% of them are), why wouldn't you?

RunnersLunge
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by RunnersLunge » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:31 pm

Reviewing your actual Experian, TU, and Equifax reports should be an annual practice for anyone. Therefore seems practical to share with a significant partner as a practical measure.

A PI isn’t going to give much better insights and as with previous replies there are too many red flags with entertaining the idea.


Aside from putting all financial holdings ie bank accounts, investments on the table- the CR will address all one needs to know. Aside from income verification, it’s what lenders primarily use in their vetting process.

alex_686
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by alex_686 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:34 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:30 pm
This is a life long commitment (well, 50% of them are), why wouldn't you?
While most marriages end in divorce, most people who marry do so for life. If you are scratching your head over this, realize that some people marry and divorce more than once.

123
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by 123 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:34 pm

For starters you could just get one of those on-line background reports for under $100. There's a lot you can do yourself since many counties and states have online court (civil and criminal) records to give you clues. If you don't know enough about the person to do your own background checking it's probably too early to make any commitment. Any background checking has to verify "good" factors as well. A background report that tells you only there's nothing under a particular name is useless and a red flag by itself. There are unobtrusive ways to verify employment history and academic history.

If a person presents a story that can't be easily verified it's probably fake.
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Nicolas
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by Nicolas » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:35 pm

No, we were both broke.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by smitcat » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:37 pm

"it never ceases to amaze me how we will plunge into a relationship with someone we know next to nothing about,"
Maybe in some cases but not in others.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by cherijoh » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:41 pm

carol-brennan wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:16 pm
With the prevalence of online dating, I can't count the number of stories I've heard of people committing to a partnership, only later to learn (sometimes too late) of the past financial ruin or recklessness of the person on the other side of the kitchen table.

With all of the care that many of us take in some parts of our lives--financial planning, insurance, etc.--it never ceases to amaze me how we will plunge into a relationship with someone we know next to nothing about, thereby risking a huge part of our future livelihoods. Love is blind?

I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and it seems to me, as callous as it might sound, that it would be downright foolhardy these days not to have a private investigator look into the financial past (at a minimum) of anyone you're thinking of committing to.

Anyone have any thoughts about this or experience with it?
I have several female friends who ended up regretting not doing so, or at least regretted jumping into the relationship so soon. I know at least two of them had trouble extracating themselves from husbands who weren't ready to get off the "gravy train". They both had issues that led to frequent unemployment, so a wife who could pay the bills was highly desireable.

I'm not sure if a private investigator would be all that helpful on the financial front, although they would help weed out bigamists and ex-cons. I think I would ask my significant other if he was willing to pull his credit report and share it.

mrc
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by mrc » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:42 pm

Yes. We got to know each other and hung out together for a couple years. It was obvious we were a match.
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by dknightd » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:47 pm

mrc wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:42 pm
Yes. We got to know each other and hung out together for a couple years. It was obvious we were a match.
:)

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by RickBoglehead » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:50 pm

alex_686 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:34 pm
runner3081 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:30 pm
This is a life long commitment (well, 50% of them are), why wouldn't you?
While most marriages end in divorce, most people who marry do so for life. If you are scratching your head over this, realize that some people marry and divorce more than once.
The divorce rate has fallen for years, and is now around 40%, not 50%. So "most marriages end in divorce" is no longer true.

And yes, the percentage of those that divorce multiple times is very high.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by dknightd » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:51 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:41 pm
so a wife who could pay the bills was highly desirable.
Yep ;)

Edit: just like a husband who could pay the bills was highly desirable.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by cherijoh » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:08 pm

dknightd wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:51 pm
cherijoh wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:41 pm
so a wife who could pay the bills was highly desirable.
Yep ;)

Edit: just like a husband who could pay the bills is highly desirable.
I wasn't being sexist. :happy I just don't have any male friends who have confided to me about a girl friend or wife who was looking for a meal ticket.

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carol-brennan
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by carol-brennan » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:11 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:08 pm
I just don't have any male friends who have confided to me about a girl friend or wife who was looking for a meal ticket.
I suspect there are more of those than there are of the male persuasion. I would know. ;)

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by carol-brennan » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:13 pm

123 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:34 pm
If you don't know enough about the person to do your own background checking it's probably too early to make any commitment.
I've heard several variations of this among the responses.

People are very clever. "Knowing" is not the same as knowing.

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carol-brennan
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by carol-brennan » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:16 pm

cherijoh wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:41 pm
I think I would ask my significant other if he was willing to pull his credit report and share it.
Excellent advice.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by tim1999 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:19 pm

We disclosed all accounts/assets/liabilities (with statements as proof) and exchanged credit reports when my attorney drafted our pre-nup and my partners' attorney reviewed it. Before that, we had discussed our financial standings enough that we had general ideas about what we each owned and owed. If I suspected they were financially irresponsible early on, or had dim career prospects, the relationship would probably have never progressed beyond casual dating/messing around.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by Derby » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:24 pm

RickBoglehead wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:22 pm
Hire a private investigator?

Good luck on your relationships...

I never contemplated that. Yes, you have discussions, but if you have to investigate your partner then you're lacking trust in the relationship and commitment should not be happening. Just my opinion.
Absolutely right. Because in the history of all humankind, no one has ever been fooled or misled by a romantic partner. :oops:
Carpe Diem.

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Doom&Gloom
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by Doom&Gloom » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:26 pm

I don't recall it being that difficult to figure out that she had a bunch of debt. I also don't recall it being that hard to figure out that she was determined to resolve that on her own without expecting me to chip in financially. I do recall it being extremely difficult to "tell her" how to do it. But when she asked, she listened to my advice. She still occasionally and spontaneously thanks me for helping her to get her finances in order.

I find considering hiring a PI to be laughable. Maybe that's just me. I know I would be leaving skid marks if I discovered that someone had me investigated by a PI.

randomguy
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by randomguy » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:27 pm

carol-brennan wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:11 pm
cherijoh wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:08 pm
I just don't have any male friends who have confided to me about a girl friend or wife who was looking for a meal ticket.
I suspect there are more of those than there are of the male persuasion. I would know. ;)
I am sure it factors in both ways but I am not sure that it isnt pretty obvious (did those friends really think the other person was stably employed) or have anything todo with online dating (this stuff goes back forever. And no meeting someone at church doesnt have anything to do if they are a scammer or not).

Honestly I wonder how much difference it would make if you waited until after you meet the person and fell in love. How bad would the financial situation have to be for you to break up someone after 6 months?

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by Jimmie » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:56 pm

carol-brennan wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:16 pm
cherijoh wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:41 pm
I think I would ask my significant other if he was willing to pull his credit report and share it.
Excellent advice.
This can be done more casually at first. Say something like: "I ran my credit report and would you believe my FICO score is up to 790? What's yours?". Further financial discussions can happen here and there over the course of a typical courtship. It's not hard to find out without a PI.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by drk » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:59 pm

carol-brennan wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:16 pm
With the prevalence of online dating
Sorry, but this has nothing to do with online dating. You just hear about it more. Never underestimate availability bias.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by carol-brennan » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:04 pm

randomguy wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:27 pm
Honestly I wonder how much difference it would make if you waited until after you meet the person and fell in love. How bad would the financial situation have to be for you to break up someone after 6 months?
Honestly, the answer to that would depend upon one's history, financial position, and age, I would think. In other words, it would vary.

NewOldGuy
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by NewOldGuy » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:07 pm

No. Our combined assets when we married was less than most. We committed in High School and married 7 years later.

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wander
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by wander » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:11 pm

No. We have shared checking ,saving, brokerage accounts. Financial life is clear on the first day of marriage.

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8foot7
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by 8foot7 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:25 pm

I knew she had debt. She willingly shared about it. She knew I was divorced. I willingly shared about it. We went through the motions of buying a house before marriage and that took care of the details.

I think a private investigator is a step too far. I can't quite put my finger on why, at least for me because I have nothing to hide and so a report would come back clean, so I don't know logically why that feels wrong, but it just does.

What if you're 36 and doing well and all is fine and you're dating someone who's also doing fine and well and employed and such, but your PI says, "I found this old misdemeanor from age 19." What do you do with that information?

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by ChowYunPhat » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:38 pm

DW and I have had family members who have been duped, or frankly have terrible habits which put a strain on relationships.

There are 2 risks in my mind:
1. Risk of being with someone who has ill intentions. Typically, these fraudsters are not patient and will move quickly, with passion and pressure. The key to mitigating this risk is taking your time in the relationship. They will reveal themselves or ditch you first. Don't succumb to their pressure to help financially and guilt you into sharing your money...a loving person would not do this.
2. Risk of being with someone who just stinks at handling money. This person may try to hide money matters out of embarrassment and might not have ill intentions. Honest conversations, sharing info on money and credit (you can download Experian App to your phone and see each others' scores in minutes), and just observing behavior is very important.

Bottom line...don't be in a hurry! Wasn't sure if the question was a curiousity or for practical purposes. Good luck either way.
A wise man and his money are friends forever...

bck63
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by bck63 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:45 pm

NewOldGuy wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:07 pm
No. Our combined assets when we married was less than most. We committed in High School and married 7 years later.
That's awesome. :happy

remomnyc
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by remomnyc » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:55 pm

It shouldn't be necessary. My friend is not committing to her boyfriend because his credit cards are maxed out, and he spends until he runs out of money/credit. She didn't have to hire an investigator or ask him for a credit report to figure this out. If you're with your partner long enough, you should be able to figure it out. Don't rush. Make sure you're on the same page financially.

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dm200
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by dm200 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:58 pm

Just watch episodes of "Forensic Files" for the often fatal errors of some folks not knowing the spouse's background and history.

J295
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by J295 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:02 pm

Yep. Before we got married as 22 year olds in 1982 I discovered that her only car was a Chevette with no air conditioning, and she had $15,000 in student loans, to go along with my $10,000 in student loans, no car, and two more years of law school. Thirty seven years later its working out quite well. 😃

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by All Star » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:06 pm

I knew her financial situation better than she did prior to committing. I found myself a fixer-upper. :) In the grand scheme of things some credit card charge-offs, $10k of student loan delinquincies, and a negative bank account were trivial things and very easily fixable. Literally had her deposit her paychecks into my bank account to make sure everything was paid combined with me putting cash up to get her in a good place once we moved in together (married couples need to understand her debt = OUR debt even if it doesn't always seem fair!). Well worth the investment when it came time to buy a house, etc. Thanking the good lord she dropped out of college before she ended up with six figures of debt!

Think it's extremely important to be open and honest about this stuff, but at the same time if you find a financial disaster that you fall in love with...it should not a dealbreaker if you both commit to fixing it.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by Kenkat » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:18 pm

mrc wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:42 pm
Yes. We got to know each other and hung out together for a couple years. It was obvious we were a match.
This is how my wife and I did it back in the day, 30+ years ago. Dated for two years, engaged for another, met each other’s families, etc. Got to really know one another and past the infatuation stage. I think the problem is that people rush in, not that they don’t investigate someone’s background.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by Gnirk » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:23 pm

Well, we dated for 11 years before we got married, so there were no ugly surprises. I think it’s extremely important to know as much as possible about your SO, including financial information.

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ClevrChico
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by ClevrChico » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:25 pm

Take your time and it will be obvious. You could also talk about it too. Court records are easily accessible online, and it's obvious if someone is getting sued by collectors. Also get a prenup.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by Gnirk » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:28 pm

:thumbsup
runner3081 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:30 pm
Yes, STD screening, criminal background and financial credit checks.

We did those things mutually, wasn't one way.

This is a life long commitment (well, 50% of them are), why wouldn't you?
:thumbsup

Calico
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by Calico » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:30 pm

I knew about my ex husand's money problem before we married. I worked on getting him out of debt (except the student loans) before we married. It was hard to do too because he was always deployed and we weren't married yet, so creditors wouldn't talk to me. After we married I learned more about him that I didn't know, so I regret not learning more ahead of time. My problem was I was young, foolish, and in love. Not a good combination.

Like other's said, the best thing to do is date a long time and really get to know the person. My mistake was that I didn't know my ex as well as I should have before we married because he was always away (deployed with the military). I only got to see him on his best behavior. Even the first few years of marriage I didn't see him much. I averaged it out once and it was we were together for three months out of a year. It was only after he stopped deploying a couple of years into our marriage that I really started to get to know the "real" him. And I am not just talking money here either. The money I figured out quickly, it was personal things that I blinded myself to (to be blunt, he's gay so we were incompatible. He hid it from me when we married and I can only speculate as to why). And yes, we are divorced now.

So be slow, take your time, and really get to know the person (the good and bad... because we all have both) and have good standards. You don't need to hire a PI if you do those things.

As for me, I never plan on marrying again. The man I am dating is also divorced and never wants to marry again too. So I don't really think about it too much anymore and I don't worry about his finances aside from how/if in effects his mental well being (you know, how worrying about money can stress you out or make you feel comfortable). He's doing just fine.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by Fallible » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:41 pm

carol-brennan wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:16 pm
...
I've been thinking a lot about this lately, and it seems to me, as callous as it might sound, that it would be downright foolhardy these days not to have a private investigator look into the financial past (at a minimum) of anyone you're thinking of committing to. ...
At any time, would you let the partner know about the investigation?
John Bogle on his early road to low-cost indexing: "When a door closes, if you look long enough and hard enough, if you're strong enough, you'll find a window that opens."

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by bluquark » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:43 pm

What magic powers does a PI have in the Internet age anyway? They’re just going to run a credit check and a criminal records check, and trawl through their social media presence, same as you could do yourself online for free.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by IPS&IPA » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:52 pm

the love is in the eyes
the devil is in the details
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by mptfan » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:53 pm

8foot7 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:25 pm
I think a private investigator is a step too far. I can't quite put my finger on why, at least for me because I have nothing to hide and so a report would come back clean, so I don't know logically why that feels wrong, but it just does.
Because if your partner wanted to know information about you, he or she should just ask, there should be no need to hire someone to investigate. The mere hiring of an investigator implies either that they are not comfortable asking, or that they would not trust your answers, and in either case there are bigger issues.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by rebellovw » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:54 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:30 pm
Yes, STD screening, criminal background and financial credit checks.

We did those things mutually, wasn't one way.

This is a life long commitment (well, 50% of them are), why wouldn't you?
Passion - that is why.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by mptfan » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:57 pm

ClevrChico wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:25 pm
Court records are easily accessible online...
Yes, but if he or she lived in a different state at one point in their lives and did not tell you, you would not know to search the records in that particular state or county and would never find out about a criminal record in that jurisdiction unless they tell you.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by RetiredAL » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:13 pm

No investigation.

We were college students scraping by who both worked part time while in college supporting ourselves. We knew neither had any significant debt and that our families were not well-to-do. We were a pair for 2 years before our marriage. That was 45 years ago and we are still married.

Upon marriage, our finances were combined to the fullest extent allowed by law. Although technically most of our retirement money is in my tIRA's, the term "our money" is key. We both have full POA's access to each others IRA's - Trad and Roth. Taxifornia is a community property state.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by bds3 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:16 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:30 pm
Yes, STD screening, criminal background and financial credit checks.

We did those things mutually, wasn't one way.

This is a life long commitment (well, 50% of them are), why wouldn't you?
Agreed. I actually do this with all my friends. You can never be too careful.

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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by Mike Scott » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:46 pm

We were too young and dumb to even think of such things 30+ years ago but we had about three years to become aquainted with each other, families and friends. My younger self would have taken offense at the suggestion that trust was not enough ut as it turns out, we are pretty compatible financially. Ironically, due to some volunteer work, we both have complete background checks every year. So far so good! :) I know many people get into relationships in which they wish they had known much more about the other person much sooner. I don't know about hiring a PI, but there are some things I would want to know about someone before getting too entangled.

Wricha
Posts: 486
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:33 am

Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by Wricha » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:51 pm

I think OP is correct on wanting to know the financial health of her partner(s). Online dating makes folks much more vulnerable to people willing to manipulate a situation. PI maybe the route to go but I would start out with observing how they handle themselves/money while dating. Ask what are you personal goals, how do you save money (savings, brokerage, 401k) and where, who are your personal heroes and why stuff like that. Eventually they will paint a picture of themselves that will be consistent or not. People who are manipulative or trying to scam you will generally paint a picture that has gaps/inconsistencies. Then access the need of a PI.

NotWhoYouThink
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Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:55 pm

Reading each other's credit report sounds like a great idea.

No, we didn't do it, but that was many years ago and information was not as readily available, or maybe we were too trusting. We both had recent security clearances, so that took care of a lot of potential issues.

Locked