Nice car, nice condo - no money
A reader wants to know when he must confess his true financial situation to his dates.
NEW YORK (Money) -- Question: I live in a nice condo, drive a luxury car, and have a good job. But when I was in my 30's, I lost my shirt starting a business that ultimately failed.
Hence my condo is rented, my car leased, I owe my parents $50,000, and my IRA's worth 20 bucks.
I do, however, have a good salary and so can afford the meals, concert tickets and weekend getaways that dating involves. Given that I'm dating with marriage in mind, at what point should I reveal that I'm nowhere near as prosperous as I appear?
Answer: You certainly don't need to make the balance in your IRA the centerpiece of your eHarmony profile. But when you do meet someone in whom your interest is more than casual, you should tell her as soon as possible where you stand.
Not only is it unethical to allow the person you're dating to develop a false impression of you, it's also counter-productive.
After all, if you wait until after a romance has blossomed to reveal your true situation, the woman of your dreams may stop thinking of you as Prince Charming and start thinking of you as a manipulative little frog who pulled a bait-and-switch.
To be sure courtship always involves some bait-and-switching. But projecting the rosy glow of prosperity when you're so far in the hole is a much more serious deception than, say, faking an interest in chick flicks.
On another front: How about devoting some of that handsome salary to funding your IRA and repaying your parents? The good life you say you can afford shouldn't be coming at their expense.
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