The real deal breaker would be huge amounts of debt with no appreciation for the consequences and no real desire to change. No interest in savingfor the future would also be tough. For me, money isn't about buying things; it's about security for my family, education and experiences for my kids, and enough money to not fear old age or health crises. I can't imagine being with someone who didn't understand that. Even if she didn't mind the smell of pickles.We all gotta grow up sometime If my 23-year-old self were able to read this post written by my 43-year-old self, I think the young me would have been quite surprised, and perhaps a bit disappointed - at least until I had the chance to talk about my kids, my wife, and my job as an actual, bona fide writer (for a company with the wacky name “The Motley Fool,” no less). I just wouldn't have anticipated becoming so practical and having a job related to money; it might have felt like selling out or something. But if my 43-year-old self could talk to my 23-year-old self, I'd try to explain that being financially responsible is the foundation for everything else, especially once you have kids. I'm not sure I would have understood, but nowadays, I couldn't have it any other way.