Listener Questions: Romance and Finance Does money get between you and your sweetheart? You're not alone. Host Madeleine Brand talks with Day to Day personal finance contributor Michelle Singletary about listener questions concerning money and relationships.
NPR logo

Listener Questions: Romance and Finance

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Listener Questions: Romance and Finance

Listener Questions: Romance and Finance

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


From NPR News it's DAY TO DAY.

We all know money can complicate a romantic relationship. To answer your questions on that topic and others, we turn now to our regular guest on Money Matters, Michelle Singletary. She writes the syndicated column, The Color of Money. I spoke with her earlier.

First Michelle, this listener writes, I am a single woman who is dating a man who works in my industry but at a different company. After about four dates, I noticed that the gentleman was making little notes on his receipts whenever we had dinner or went to a movie.

Turns out he's saving them for tax deduction purposes. Romeo says that because we work in the same business, anytime we discuss anything even remotely work related on a date, the whole affair is deductible. Should I be offended that my night in shining armor is writing off the romance? Or impressed by his fiscal responsibility?

Now Michelle you're expertise is not necessarily that of the heart, at least not professionally, but what about financially - can he do that?

Ms. MICHELLE SINGLETARY (Personal Finance Contributor): No, he cannot. You need to kick Mr. Wrong to the curb.

BRAND: (Laughs).

Or the IRS will do it for you.

Ms. SINGLETARY: That's exactly right. I would tell this woman to send this guy to a link on the IRS Web site, publication 463, which covers travel, entertainment, gift, and car expenses and the deductibility of them.

This is definitely not a business expense, and I would not go out with him another time. Because he's cheating. If they were directly talking about the business, yes. If she was a business client or something to that extent - but if the business discussion is only incidental to the entertainment, then the expense is not deductible.

BRAND: Are you saying Michelle that if he is cheating financially - cheating on his taxes - that indicates he might just cheat on her?

Ms. SINGLETARY: Or that he might be cheating on something else, financially. This goes to his character. Do you want to be with someone who's essentially a cheat. He knows this is not a business meeting and I would wonder about his character. And I personally would not go out with him again.

BRAND: Okay well here is question now about credit cards, and investing. This listener writes - I have zero credit card debt and several high limit credit cards. The companies keep sending me those promotional checks that offer a zero or 1.99 percent interest rate for a fixed term.

Would it be safe to write one of those checks to myself, invest the cash in a high interest - let's say five percent savings account - and then pay off the credit card company when the promotional rate ended. Is that a good idea financially?

Ms. SINGLETARY: Absolutely not. Do not do that. You should never invest with debt, which is what she or he would be doing. And here's the other thing people don't realize about those promotional cards, the credit card companies can change the terms at any time.

So let's say they were late on another bill, just by accident, went on vacation forgot to pay the bill. The rate on the card could jump to 20, 22 percent, or more. Than she'd have this investment that wasn't paying nearly enough to cover what she's going to be charged on that credit card - you should not do this. Only borrow what you need, and certainly don't borrow to invest.

BRAND: Michelle Singletary joins us regularly for discussions about personal finance. Her latest book is, Your Money and Your Man: How You and Prince Charming Can Spend Well, and Live Rich.

Thank you Michelle.

Ms. SINGLETARY: You're welcome.

BRAND: And if you would like to get Michelle's answers to your money questions, please send them to us. Do that by going to our Web site Then click on the contact us link, that's only the top of every page, be sure to include Michelle in your subject line.

Stay with us DAY TO DAY returns in a moment.

(Soundbite of Music)

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.