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

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

Post by fposte » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:03 pm

I think the people who'd proactively consider a PI aren't the people who are at most danger in the first place. It's the starry-eyed, "I'm sure s/he totally was a Navy Seal/rich socialite" people who are at risk.

If you're going to do it, though, I think it has to be straight up and up front like STI testing. "Hey, let's both get this done so we're in the clear." Otherwise you become the secretive and invasive partner that the other has legitimate reason to be suspicious of.

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

Post by JDP » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:12 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 dated my wife for three years before getting married and there were numerous clues along the way, especially in our first few months of dating, that made me think she was responsible with her money. I don't see why it would take a private investigator to determine this. I think there would be subtle and some not-so-subtle warning signs along the way, otherwise. With that said, warning signs are often overlooked or downplayed.

Plunging into a relationship with someone we know next to nothing about doesn't sound like love to me. In my opinion, love is transparency and truly knowing your partner. As our relationship became more serious in the first few months, topics such as finances, politics, etc. naturally came up and were openly discussed. So, I didn't investigate her, we just talked about it.

I will say, my parents divorced a total of 8 times throughout my childhood, so I learned a lot about what not to do in relationships. I made sure to not rush into my marriage.
Last edited by JDP on Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by eldinerocheapo » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:23 pm

That's the beauty of meeting your future wife in your teens...………..you both know how broke the other one is! Instead of credit checks when we had no credit, we camped out and surfed a lot with our destitute friends. Man, we had a great time. If we ever got divorced, I'd have no problem giving her half of everything...……...she's earned it.

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

Post by ohai » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:26 pm

Hey guys. Forgive me, but I think all this talk about going through your partner's finances behind their back is really silly. If you are at the point where you are considering marriage or a similar commitment, you should be fully aware of your partner's financial situation as it arises naturally from the relationship. When I got married, my wife and I were almost fully financially integrated as a household. There was no point to do additional background checks or credit reports - we had seen each others finances many times already. There is value in consciously reviewing your partner's finances, especially if he or she is not particularly knowledgeable about money. However, if something is stopping you from doing this innocently, then there is something wrong with your relationship.

With that being said, both my wife and I were "blue chip" spouses. That is, we were both young, college educated, no prior divorces or kids, and came from upper middle class to wealthy parents. Things might be a bit more complicated in other relationships, but that just means you have to put more effort into trust building over time.

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

Post by Atilla » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:29 pm

We were open about our finances once things got serious.

I was coming off a divorce and $27K in credit card debt and I celebrated paying that down with her while we were dating. Did NOT propose until I was 100% debt free.

I knew she was good - owned a house, no debt other than mortgage and decent retirement savings for her age at the time.

It was all in the open. :moneybag
Last edited by Atilla on Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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SrGrumpy
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by SrGrumpy » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:29 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:30 pm
Yes, STD screening, criminal background and financial credit checks.
Did you have some wriggle room? More virtuous than Mother Teresa, but a drunk-and-disorderly bust in college? A vigorous 401(k) saver, but bounced a check or 2? Honorable, but a minor dose of chlamydia in high school?

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

Post by smitty1515 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:33 pm

Yes, my wife and I got “financially naked” before getting too serious. I couldn’t imagine not doing so as financial disagreements and beliefs can ruin a marriage.
Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful. -Warren Buffett

TheHouse7
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by TheHouse7 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:38 pm

I asked her about :moneybag 1 month into dating, after 10+ hours spent I thought she was honest.

She paid off 8k before we got hitched. True love. :wink:

No sense in PI, if you don't trust them, wth
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TierArtz
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by TierArtz » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:49 pm

No. I knew she had no financial background (no credit card), never lived anywhere but on her family’s farm or in the college dorm, and was value-oriented whenever we went shopping together. She owned nothing but a sewing machine, clothes, and a Bible. At the time, there basically was no web to search.

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

Post by likegarden » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:53 pm

In the good old times when I met my wife there were no Bogleheads and internet. We looked at each other, we had no debt, parents and state had paid for our education, so none of us even thought about investigation. We simply married, and all is great for the last 49 years.

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

Post by IMO » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:57 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?
Why would one plunge into a relationship with someone you know next to nothing about? Take your time, get the know the person (which takes time). If your in a relationship with someone seriously and you can't have an honest discussion about finances, you're in trouble.

I suppose one can go further, require medical records/history, have a background investigation done with interviews of of current/past friends and relationships, get a ancestry and DNA check because they might be at risk for certain health issues in the future. Also be sure to investigate any/all potential in-laws because you'll have to deal with them also. :D

Edit: There are landlord programs where for a small fee, you can get a credit check and criminal history check. You'd have to ask the person though cause you have to send them an email (or I guess make up a fake one for them). Worse case, you'll know if they would be a good rental candidate....

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

Post by Tdubs » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:18 pm

How could you get to the point of marriage and think you need a PI?

Show each other your finances. You will be merging them soon enough. Have long talks about money. While dating, watch how each of you spend money. Decide if you think the same way. If you think you need more than that, reconsider 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 7:33 pm

I thought the OP meant a PI with full knowledge of the spouse-to-be, kind of like "we'll each get PIs for the other." If this is a surreptitious thing, then that's grounds for breakup. Be transparent, open, and honest. Digging on your partner in secret won't end well.

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

Post by pasadena » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:35 pm

I wouldn't have any issue pulling my credit report and showing it. I would probably even think it's smart. I probably would look up the guy looong before it came to the point of commuting to him. I would also never get married to someone I haven't lived with for a while, and dated for much longer than that.

But a PI? Seriously? Nope. That would make me run.

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

Post by jhfenton » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:53 pm

No. We started dating at 17 and got married at 22 right after college. We were both broke. There was nothing to investigate. That was 26 years ago.

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

Post by GCD » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:59 pm

It's easy to be arrogant and talk down to people about trust if you have only been in one marriage and it's a good one. I have a great marriage and we are as fiscally compatible as we are in other ways. However, a lot of people think they can trust someone and then find out they were wrong in that trust. Many people are blinded by love and should take some objective measures to check out their potential spouse.

Several studies/surveys have shown that financial infidelity is more common than sexual infidelity.

When people ask "where's the trust?" when you suggest checking someone out, I answer that trust is earned. The way to build trust is through transparent disclosures. If a potential spouse were unwilling to have total and transparent disclosure about financial matters, how could we have rational discussions about planning for the future? If we don't have in depth discussions before we are married how can we be sure we are fit for each other? I wouldn't "investigate" someone before marrying them because if they wouldn't voluntarily give me everything I asked for that in itself is a no-go flag.

You could say I investigated my wife before marrying, but I didn't really do it myself. My wife and I both had jobs where we were investigated financially every year and we were privy to each other's disclosures. That made it easy and simple. We had a lot of disclosure in a nonaccusatory nondemanding way. If we hadn't been in that situation, I would have asked my wife to voluntarily disclose the same material. If she refused that would have been the end of it.

A lot of states have gotten away from the pre-marital blood test for syphillis. Now if you want your spouse to have a blood test you have to awkwardly ask for one. It would be nice if the states required a credit report disclosure. Wouldn't solve everything, but it's a start for the people who are soon to marry a spouse engaged in fiscal infidelity.

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

Post by seychellois_lib » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:10 pm

Once again Boggleheads have uncovered a superb business opportunity. Start a dating site which includes automatic and updated credit checks, police checks, medical background and routine but unscheduled urine testing.

To a great extent Google et al. already have most of this data (or their algorithms can make a well educated guess) so starting this up ought to be easy.

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F150HD
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by F150HD » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:22 pm

OPs questions are valid. The Private Investigator thing makes it sound like a murder mystery, so there's prob a better phrase for it but I get the point.

If you're getting involved w/ someone who is divorced w/ kids one wouldn't want to inherit some form of extreme child support payments (?), or if they had a failed business etc...One doesn't want to inherit some form of legal financial liability (?) for that.

Do some reading on dating profiles and listing your salary in your profile. Interesting stuff, the financial side of 'dating' does have merit.

Forbes - Should You Keep Your Salary Secret When Online Dating?

Well, in one study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, which crunched data from a popular Chinese online-dating website, male profiles with the highest income levels got 10 times more visits than the lowest.

Another study, co-authored by famed behavioral economist Dan Ariely, uncovered similar online-dating preferences.

“Men and women prefer a high-income partners over low-income partners,” the authors wrote in the journal Quantitative Marketing and Economics. “This income preference is more pronounced for women.”


The Hidden Economics of Online Dating

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

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

Why not just talk about it?

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

Post by nolesrule » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:32 pm

jhfenton wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:53 pm
No. We started dating at 17 and got married at 22 right after college. We were both broke. There was nothing to investigate. That was 26 years ago.
Same story here. Married 20 years.

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

Post by Rus In Urbe » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:06 pm

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.
But then, I knew my husband for years before we got together. We had mutual friends who introduced us. We dated/lived together for four years before getting hitched. By then we knew each other's finances and financial habits inside out. I highly recommend taking it super slow, and being suspicious if someone wants to rush things. This is much better than hiring a PI!
I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money. ~Pablo Picasso

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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 9:25 pm

Rus In Urbe wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:06 pm
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.
But then, I knew my husband for years before we got together. We had mutual friends who introduced us. We dated/lived together for four years before getting hitched. By then we knew each other's finances and financial habits inside out. I highly recommend taking it super slow, and being suspicious if someone wants to rush things. This is much better than hiring a PI!
Exactly!

DW once commented that a friend of hers started picking out china patterns after first dates with men she liked. Not the type of person who is likely to be screening successfully for financial well-being in a spouse.

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

Post by RudyS » Sun Feb 10, 2019 9:54 pm

likegarden wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:53 pm
In the good old times when I met my wife there were no Bogleheads and internet. We looked at each other, we had no debt, parents and state had paid for our education, so none of us even thought about investigation. We simply married, and all is great for the last 49 years.
Congratulations! Pretty much same for DW and me. Married 57 years. Heck, I didn't even ask if she could cook! She didn't ask me either. I suspect OP wasn't asking about young folks like we were.

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

Post by quantAndHold » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:03 pm

Nothing says “I love you” like a private investigator digging into your affairs.

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

Post by runner3081 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:20 pm

SrGrumpy wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:29 pm
runner3081 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:30 pm
Yes, STD screening, criminal background and financial credit checks.
Did you have some wriggle room? More virtuous than Mother Teresa, but a drunk-and-disorderly bust in college? A vigorous 401(k) saver, but bounced a check or 2? Honorable, but a minor dose of chlamydia in high school?
It all came back 100% clean with no issues on both of us.

You pose a good question though, what would have been the threshold to re-think or completely end it? I don't know.

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

Post by willthrill81 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:32 pm

I was just 19 and my wife was 18 when we were married. She actually brought more cash to the table than I did. But we were both extremely mature for our age. I was poring over personal finance books at age 17 and trading stocks online when I was 18.

We've both been on nearly identical pages financially for our entire married life. It's been a huge blessing.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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

Post by Jimmie » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:42 pm

After reading many of the replies to the OP, I realized something. How far can a PI go to investigate your partner's finances anyway? You can hire them to do surveillance in public, but what else?

Certain issues may be public record. Otherwise, what right does a PI have to delve in to the finances of someone else? He has no right to access credit bureau information, banking information, etc. That's all confidential.

Am I missing something here? :?

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

Post by Starfish » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:12 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 though these questions were solved tens of years ago. Are you trying to marry a stranger?

When I got married, 20 years ago:
1. I knew my wife since I was 14 and we were in high-school (probably does not apply to most people)
2. We dated for a while
3. We lived together for a while (3 years in our case), like pretty much everybody I knew.

Living with somebody for years gives you all the information you need.
If there is something you don't know about you partner (SSN, credit score, email and FB passwords. phone PIN etc, but also the other stuff like spending habits etc) and not through investigation but naturally because you don't have secrets from each other, you have no business marrying that person. You should not have to formally ask for anything either.
Last edited by Starfish on Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:23 am, edited 3 times in total.

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

Post by Starfish » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:14 pm

willthrill81 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:32 pm
I was just 19 and my wife was 18 when we were married. She actually brought more cash to the table than I did. But we were both extremely mature for our age. I was poring over personal finance books at age 17 and trading stocks online when I was 18.

We've both been on nearly identical pages financially for our entire married life. It's been a huge blessing.
Marrying young helps a lot in educating and molding each other.
My wife and me are a lot closer in financial philosophy today than when we got married.
Last edited by Starfish on Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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willthrill81
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by willthrill81 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:21 pm

Starfish wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:14 pm
willthrill81 wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:32 pm
I was just 19 and my wife was 18 when we were married. She actually brought more cash to the table than I did. But we were both extremely mature for our age. I was poring over personal finance books at age 17 and trading stocks online when I was 18.

We've both been on nearly identical pages financially for our entire married life. It's been a huge blessing.
Marrying young helps a lot in educating and molding each other.
Indeed. We literally grew into adulthood together.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

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

Post by NMBob » Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:19 am

Do some online dating and learn how much fraud is out there. Also, watch something like "dirty john" that was telecast last month, or almost any tv show on after 10pm these days it seems, not just the one entirely on tragic internet romances, and then the question will not seem so out there.

You can research people pretty well right off the internet if you think a need to do so. I would definitely at some point ask about ..do you have debt..college loans..and let that lead into financial history. PI likely a bad idea, but you could search much of that yourself right off the internet tonight. If you are with this person for a long time first, you will see the mail piles and the phone calls to have somewhat of an idea if there is likely something there, but bad stuff has happened to some folks. I am sure my sister had no idea what her husbands debts were when they got married, and if she asked, I would bet he understated.

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

Post by NotYourAverageJones » Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:16 am

Personally, I think being honest and upfront from the get-go, discussing with your potential partner ALL your expectations and non-negotiable's, leaving very little room for error and/or bad judgement calls is the best plan of action. I am not one to sugar coat the details and I have a pretty good BS barometer. I am an old fashion gal and I just like to take my time and date, no rush because if its right, they won’t go anywhere. Besides, dating allows plenty of time for you to get to know each other and talk through ALL life's stuff: Kids or no kids, financial expectation on each other, job goals, life goals, health issues or concerns, charities, social situations, type of hobbies, friends, politics, religion, etc. That's sort of what you do when you get to know someone, right? If the answers they give you don't pass the smell test or you get any hair raising, red flag moments, then ask them to elaborate. If they won’t then “Houston, you have a problem!” :shock: You can't go into a relationship both dumb in love AND blind. You don't take a job with a company you don't vet, do you? You hopefully do all your due diligence on all your investments. So to me, it makes sense to do these things and more with someone you potentially could marry or be in a relationship with for hopefully, your lifetime.

When my husband and I met online 19 years ago, we actually talked via “AOL instant messenger” for 4 months before we even met or saw what each other looked like. None of this swipe left or right to dismiss or accept people crap of dating! We both had just come off really ugly divorces, and we were both acutely aware of not getting back into another situation like before. So we spent as much time during those 4 months, being very open and getting to know each other. He was a bit more of a mess than I was. His ex-wife wasn't even close to the civil sweetheart I chose to be with my ex. :wink: (my ex was my high school sweetheart) But the reality was, we both were pretty much broke(n) and would be starting from ground zero! But we made the choice to work through it all together, build the life we both knew each other wanted, together. We basically had nothing to lose, but everything to gain if we just kept focused on being open and honest. We married 3 years after meeting. :D

Today after 19 years, we went from having less than $50k combined, to well over $3MIL in investments and are on track to fully retire in 2.5 years with another $1MIL saved, at ages 58 and 50. However, the most valuable thing we have is each other, no kidding. A relationship like the one we build is priceless. We have a level of respect for one another and open communication that goes without saying. But maybe if either one of us had more to lose back then, maybe things would have been different? I just can't say. But in my opinion, the best PI work you can do is the work you do yourself, one-on-one. And open communication and sharing of info has to go both ways.

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

Post by Valuethinker » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:34 am

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 read a number of years ago that in New York women were using Private Investigators to check men out.

The problem in NYC (and presumably in Washington DC) was a surplus of single professional women relative to the number of single professional men. Knowing how the world works (many men chase women 10+ years younger than they are) I doubt that is a problem for women in their 20s, but 30s & later ...

So many of the "eligible" men turned out to be frauds - they were not single, or they were not in the jobs and professional status they claimed. Some of them it was quite amazing the deceptions.

What you are proposing is a little different. I think it's intrusive, and a relationship will not survive that level of paranoia & distrust at the start.

HOWEVER

It's a major red flag if someone is not upfront with you regarding financial problems. Especially before getting married. If they are running that level of deception, the marriage has problems before it starts.

I have seen too many gambling addicts - with online gambling etc. it's just too easy.

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

Post by Tamarind » Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:50 am

A long engagement is a good idea. Beyond the benefits of getting to know each other, I think most folks who would be financially "on the take" would have a hard time sustaining interest or the appearance of solvency for more than a year or two.

I would also see hiring a PI or doing a background check without the partner's knowledge as a deal breaker. That lack of trust might be justified, but it needs to be out in the open. If you ask them if you can do the check, and they balk, then you've learned what you need to without the expense of the PI.

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

Post by Call_Me_Op » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:11 am

I would date the person long enough and ask enough questions (carefully observing responses) to have a very good idea who I am dealing with before contemplating marriage. If I need to hire a PI - then I do not know the person well enough and should not even think about marriage.

I once had a woman (I dated for only a short time) hire or ask someone to look into my assets. She knew the exact balance of my bank account. I was not happy, especially because she lived paycheck-to-paycheck and I had a 6-figure bank account at the time.
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by lostdog » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:15 am

My wife and I bought a house together three years before we were married. We met in college and just hung out with each other ever since. We never really brought up the past or anything. She is frugal and taught me how to be frugal and the rest is history.
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by harvestbook » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:42 am

My takeaway is I would never want to date a Boglehead
I'm not smart enough to know, and I can't afford to guess.

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

Post by dm200 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:12 am

Call_Me_Op wrote:
Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:11 am
I would date the person long enough and ask enough questions (carefully observing responses) to have a very good idea who I am dealing with before contemplating marriage. If I need to hire a PI - then I do not know the person well enough and should not even think about marriage.

I once had a woman (I dated for only a short time) hire or ask someone to look into my assets. She knew the exact balance of my bank account. I was not happy, especially because she lived paycheck-to-paycheck and I had a 6-figure bank account at the time.
If you do such an inquiry or investigation, always do so in a way that you are not detected.

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

Post by Chief_Engineer » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:17 am

My wife and I met online our last semester of college. We were long distance for 5 months which lead to many late evening phone calls. We met each other's families, moved in together, and I proposed. During our engagement we went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. Everything was laid bare as we planned for our future. Both of us had a lot of student debt, but we already knew that.

I don't remember if we ever showed each other our credit reports, but I know we had both logged into our student loan accounts! I think it would be reasonable to each log into Credit Karma along with getting screened for STIs.

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

Post by Miguelito » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:34 am

We were young and had little financial history. But yes, we had a clear picture of each other's financial situation and history. One of us was still in college (with college debt) when we met, the other applying to grad school (about to get into debt).

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

Post by cheezit » Mon Feb 11, 2019 9:55 am

My wife and I met during our last semester of undergrad. We went over how indebted we each were in general terms while dating, and in detail when we got engaged. Our attitudes towards finances were similar enough that it didn't pose a problem. The harder thing during our engagement was distance, as she went on to grad school while I went to work in cities that were about five hours apart.

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

Post by GCD » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:14 am

IMO, there is a lot of unnecessary antagonism here toward people who would hire a PI.

I am firmly in the camp that people need to be checked out first. As others have mentioned, there are numerous examples of fraud in the dating world. And many of the people who were lied to trusted and loved the fraudster. Many people don't have the skills to check someone out. Being an investigator is an actual career path. I wouldn't expect everyone to be able to do it on their own.

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

Post by THY4373 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:35 am

I got nothing against hiring a PI or doing a similar background investigation though I do agree with those that say this should be done transparently. I also do agree that taking your time in the relationship will likely address many of these concerns. In addition to allowing more time to get to know your perspective partner it allows you to get past the new relationship effect which lasts about two years and studies have show has a similar effect on your brain as an addiction. In other words the early phase of a relationship is probably a poor time to be making big decisions about your future partner. While I don't anticipate another romantic relationship (I like my solo life too much) if something were to happen I certainly would not make any major decisions like living together or getting married until I was past the the two year window of the relationship.

I should add that I knew my ex-wife for three years before we were married (we got engaged after two) and there were no surprises. The reason we ended up divorced after 16 years had more to do with each of us not really understanding ourselves and our needs.

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

Post by SQRT » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:49 am

We are both CPA’s and have always been very forthcoming with each other with our finances. When we first got together she helped support me as I was going through a difficult and expensive divorce at the time. That was 25 years ago and everything worked out really well.

If I were to do it over again I would be much more careful after hearing all the “horror stories”. But surely a PI is not necessary. Simple observation and discussion should suffice unless you suspect there is some deception going on? And if that’s the case I would “walk”.
Last edited by SQRT on Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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

Post by staythecourse » Mon Feb 11, 2019 10:55 am

Doesn't make it a great subplot in a rom com, but yes I would check there financial history. Most of the folks on here who are poo pooing it are older and the financial issues seen in many younger folks is MUCH different then when they were dating.

Folks have much higher rates of student debt AND/ OR credit history. Also, discussions of prenups are very common as folks are getting married later in life.

No matter what side of the argument you fall in having discussions on financial wants/ needs/ goals is maybe only second to children or not as big talking points that are ABSOLUTELY needed before getting committed.

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

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:03 am

I would consider someone hiring a PI to investigate me to be a relationship ending red flag. Part of getting to know someone before committing is indeed learning the answers to questions about their past, their finances, and so on. But asking and answering those questions with each other is how we develop the trust and communication skills needed to make the relationship last. If someone feels the need to outsource that to a professional, the relationship already has trust issues that are going to be hard to overcome.

Young people always think their problems are unique. I can assure you that older folks have been getting married and divorced and married, in and out of debt, bankruptcy and tax problems, since forever. A successful relationship still requires communication and trust, which is developed by communicating with each other, not through a 3rd party.

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

Post by FlyAF » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:44 am

bds3 wrote:
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.
LOL, You pull all of your friend's credit reports and criminal background? Exactly how do you test your friends for STD's without letting them know?

I think I've finally seen it all now on this board.

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

Post by GoldStar » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:46 am

Not I. It seems if you believe in doing this you should take this PI step for more than just finances (criminal background, drug/alcohol history, etc.).
Philosophically it seems like the exact wrong-way to start to relationship to me. I believe in trust. I guess you could call this "trust but verify" but if you really trust - the verify step isn't necessary.

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

Post by Rus In Urbe » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:15 pm

bds3 wrote: ↑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.
You might want to do this with your doctor and lawyer. Family too. And your kids. And grandkids! You can never be too careful. :oops:
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Re: Did you investigate your partner's financial background before committing?

Post by LadyGeek » Mon Feb 11, 2019 4:21 pm

I removed a few off-topic posts. This thread has run its course and is locked (topic exhausted). See: Locked Topics
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