As a recently single person who discovered the “fully funded lifestyle change” crowd during my last relationship, I knew entering the dating pool this go-round would be a bit different. For one, I’m finally financially stable and in my early 30’s, I own a home and have two fur kids to look after.
It’s a vastly different experience from the late ’20s of myself–with just one dog and a six-month lease to my name. My ideas of the future have changed and so have my spending patterns. It turns out, the dating world has changed significantly too–have you heard of this “swipe right” thing? It’s a different world out there!
Try Your Hand At Dating Sites
Okay, that was a “swipe right” pun, did you get it? Your thumbs will be getting a lot of work in the new era of online dating. Free apps like Tindr and Bumble allow you to quickly set up a dating profile, for free.
Though I’ve used paid sites like Eharmony in the past, I was often frustrated at the unresponsive profiles and unavailable people (turns out you can cancel your account but they keep your profile up to fluff numbers). Oh yes, and the expensive contracts that you can’t get out of if you do find your match.
Today, you can give dating sites a swipe (dating puns are hard) and see how you like it. Be sure to be upfront about what you want with a well filled out profile and include recent photos that are well done. Don’t be shy, ask a friend who is good with a camera to take a photo of you doing what you love, in your element.
If you’re a hiker, showcase that. If you are good with power tools or recently ran a 5k, post a photo of you in action. Upward angles and nice backgrounds are key. Avoid double chins and piles of laundry in the background (there will be plenty of time for that later!).
Also, Don’t Just Try Dating Sites, Have A Life
If you find that you’re not finding potential first dates or the types of people you’d want to date long term–spend some time doing the things you’d want your ideal partner to also love. Live your life. Put yourself in social situations where you will meet other single people. Make finding a date feel less like work. Programs like Events and Adventures make this a bit easier.
Showing up to do Cross Fit, trivia nights, volunteering at an animal shelter, or run club not only keeps your social life active but puts you in the right spot to find someone with common interests. Besides, it alleviates the pressure of speed dating or hours spent languishing at a bar waiting to meet people.
In your element, if you meet someone–it will feel more authentic than spending hours mindlessly swiping on a dating app. Plus, even if you don’t find Mr. or Mrs. Right, you’ll be doing activities you love and ensuring you’re not hinging your entire social calendar on finding dates. Balance is key to sanity!
Secure FI-Friendly Date Activities
It’s easy to fall in the trap that every date needs to be over dinner and drinks. It gets expensive, quickly. And besides, all those cocktails and appetizers aren’t the healthiest. You can cut costs and keep things exciting by offering to meet up at a free community garden to tour or catch a movie in the park.
As a good rule of thumb, keep the first date both casual and cheap. Ditching expensive cocktails and opting for a local microbrewery instead can also cut costs, and they often have free board games to play. Opt for something fast, casual and timely; for example, a happy hour limits you to about 1 or 2 drinks after work and puts a time-frame on things so if the date isn’t going well. You can kindly end early.
If he/she is second date material, you can opt for dinner. Come armed with thought-provoking questions that are fun and keep the conversation moving along and help to see if they’re congruent with your goals and aspirations.
If you’ve wondered if someone could be potentially open to FI, there are ways to spark a conversation about it that are engaging without feeling intrusive:
- If you were given 1 million dollars today, what would you do with it?
- If you had to choose between working a job you hated at $400,000 a year and a job you loved at $40,000 a year, what would you choose?
- What was one of your biggest bucket list items? What are you short-term goals?
- What is one expensive food you really love? What’s a cheap guilty pleasure?
- If you could be famous or secretly wealthy but totally discreet what would you choose?
So, Should Your Potential Dates Be FI-Aligned?
In polling the ChooseFI Facebook groups, the response was a mixed bag as to whether someone should or shouldn’t be super frugal/money minded when you first date someone. Some report their significant others were in debt when they dated but came around, others used dating as a subtle vetting tool to find like-minded potential partners in the long term from the onset.
Whatever you decide to do–even if your new love interest doesn’t come debt free or with a fully funded 401k, it can be helpful to see over time if your long-term goals and spending patterns can eventually parallel without causing too much friction.
You don’t have to write someone off completely if they come with some debt or haven’t ever thought about their finances–but do you think they’d come around? You can give it some time before you ask the deepest and most direct questions about money and goals. Some of the heavier talks about the non-negotiables can be discussed when things get more serious. But first, keep the conversations light and fun. And keep your getting-to-know-you probing open with a fair amount of back and forth.
Dating can be challenging enough, much less when you’re general lifestyle goes against the mainstream to get off the hamster wheel! But, if you make it fun and a part of your normal social life, FI style dating will feel like the other parts of your life–with a little bit of frugality or creativity and fun to boot.
If you have any dating advice as a single in pursuit of FI, please share your thoughts and advice with us below!