Monday, March 14, 2011

3 Reasons A Man Is Not Your Financial Plan

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think reality shows like the Basketball Wives and even the Real Housewives franchises are getting a bad rap. . . Okay, well maybe not a bad rap, but far too much credit in creating what some may call "gold diggers."

I’ve heard several times recently that these shows are teaching young women that the only control they have over their financial destinies is keeping themselves attractive enough to trap, uh I mean, catch a baller. Yes, I’ve even been guilty of blaming 50 Cent for the hook, “Have a baby by me and be a millionaire,” when I speak to high school and college aged women across the country. But truthfully, way before rap artists and cable television, many women were taught in their homes first and foremost that their job, no matter how educated they became, was to find a suitable and stable man whom they could marry and live happily ever after with. Although times have changed, similar “advice” still runs rampant today.

Last year, after speaking at a university in Georgia, a college freshman e-mailed me to say, that although she understood my point, she is still faced with a mother and grandmother who tell her daily that a man is her golden ticket to a good life and financial independence. I feel safe in saying that granny didn’t get that type of advice from Nene Leakes! Instead of lawyers and doctors, young women today are being advised to scout out athletes and entertainers to be their retirement plans; assuming, of course, the men don’t squander their fortunes away.

To these young ladies I continue to offer the bumper sticker mantra, “A man is not a financial plan” and here are 3 reasons why:

1. A man won't always be around. We’ve all heard that divorce rates are high, so I don’t feel the need to go any further with that, but can we get some stats on just how high basic break up rates are? In my business, I coach women who have been left with thousands of dollars in debt by boyfriends! Yes, you read correctly, B-O-Y-F-R-I-E-N-D-S! And no matter, how mad folks get, I will stand firm on my belief that women must stop treating boyfriends like husbands! That in itself is one sure fire way to avoid financial ruin. From car notes to rental payments and mortgages they couldn’t afford, I’ve seen women who signed their name to the dotted line because their “man” told them he would take care of the payments if they just put it in their name. Oldest trick in the book, ladies. Did we learn nothing from Lisa Raye? Her former husband, the Prime Minister of Turks and Cacaos, supposedly worth $180 million at the time “gave” her a Rolls Royce Phantom as a gift while they were dating. Somehow though, it had a $6500 note on it which ended up in her name. Now inquiring minds would like to know, “Just how does that happen, Ms. Lisa?”. . .

Even if you’re in a fairytale relationship with the man of your dreams, the reality is that at some point your marriage/relationship could still end by death. Statistics continue to reveal that women live longer than men. If that ends up being the case for you, think about what could happen if your husband is the only one who knows anything about the financial footing of the family. At a time when widows should really be left to mourn, many are left scurrying about attempting to locate insurance policies that they aren’t even 100% certain exist. Nothing is worse than believing that everything is taken care of financially and then not realizing that quite the opposite is true after someones demise.

Whether or not a relationship ends in death or divorce, you should always have access to and an understanding of what's going on with your family's finances.

2. A man may not be good with money. It is fairly typical for me to meet a woman who jokingly declares that she is waiting to get married so that her future husband can take control of her finances.  But mama always said, "There's truth in ALL jokes!" To this I say, ladies, let’s make sure that YOU bring something to the table. And by that, I don’t just mean your own money, but your own healthy mindset towards money. Why should some poor unsuspecting soul inherit your bad credit, bad habits and bad financial package? You may be fine, but not that fine! You should come ready to make a contribution to the family’s success and also have your knowledge together in case you don’t get your financially fit dream guy. What if your Prince Charming is worse with money than you are? Do you not marry the guy at all OR do you strap up your stilettos and get down to business? The days of men traditionally and predominantly handling finances are over. It’s time to assign one of your family’s most important tasks to whoever is better suited to take care of it efficiently. Remember when the money is funny so is your honey. So, get involved and be aware at all times of what your assets, debts and household expenses are no matter who handles the money on a daily basis.

3. Your personal finance is your personal responsibility. To be very short and sweet, your personal finances are primarily your responsibility. If you’re grown, it’s not your parent’s obligation anymore nor is it merely on the partner you choose. At each stage in life, you must take ownership for your own money. The minute you depend exclusively on anyone else to handle your finances, you hand over the control of your financial destiny and your life goes wherever they want to take it. When you are not in control of your money, you are forever at the mercy of others; mechanically asking “How high?” every time they say, “Jump!”

There are far too many resources available to women to help them manage their money wisely.  There is no need to depend solely on a man to make and manage the money without your input. You must be ready, willing, and able to manage your finances at all times. When you are, you have equal power and are just as much in control as the man is. You call the shots together and you also have the ability to make decisions as a team.  There’s nothing worse than tolerating a person or a situation only because you have allowed yourself to become 100% dependent on them financially.

A man is a partner, a companion, someone to share your life with. He is not and should not be your financial plan.  Together, you can, however, build a beautiful life financially with honesty, transparency and equal participation.

Until Next Time,

Seek Wisdom, Find Wealth & Be Blessed!


ThatDeborahGirl said...

Can we get an article talking about how a "woman is not a financial plan." Because I've see far too many men out here looking for women to support them.

Patrice Cunningham Washington said...

We sure can, @ThatDeborahGirl! I like that idea.

Drew-Shane said...

I just think relationships should make the finance situation better. I know when I find myself in a relationship, I think I balance more because I have to be conscious of more than one person. I do think people should understand finances before they get into relationships.

@ThatDeborahGirl that song goes both ways. Both ways.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Amen, Amen...

If only more of my sista queens & princesses would read this and take it serious. I have been in a 20+ year relationship with one who I finally realize brings nothing to the table economically. Of course, she has tried for years to convince me that a good man has it all handled for her, him and the kids. Sadly, I bought that BS for a time. I was young and didn't know any better. But over time God (and I do mean God) showed me beyond all doubt that I was being duped. For one, I have looked around and noticed many of our friends and colleagues getting ahead because both people in the relationship contribute to their lifestyle. Yet whenever this subject comes up for us, she gets real argumentative and real nasty fast. It must be said, that she didn't step to me like a gold digger. In fact, that is probably why I didn't see what was going down. She has always played the fake housewife and stay at home mother role. But she has never done anything at home, EVER, the same in the stay home mom role. I did so much over the years at my kids’ school without her there that other women thought that I was the good single dad. I would get tons of play from the single moms. That is not a stay at home wife or mother. That is someone looking for a free ride. She has also always talked about how she is a career woman and was before she met me. But she hasn't worked in over 20 years and she ain't really looking. Is that a career woman? Plus our kids are now 19 and 16 and she is still seated. Long story short, I got now and I am headed for the door.

I never comment on these articles but this one struck a cord. My purpose in commenting here is to say that this article is true. I have not only seen it in my own relationship, but also in my profession, which is finance. The truth is that where there are two people equally working toward the economic well being of the relationship there is usually a measure of economic prosperity. That is what other races practice and that is why they excel us financially. But where there is one scheming off and living off the other, there will always be financial struggles. And, in the end, the woman who relies on others for her financial well being will always find herself not economically well in the end. Plus as a man, I can tell any woman that no real responsible man is looking for a new dependent; though nearly all men will talk that talk the get the panties. So face it ladies, as the writer rightly said, each of us has to labor for our own financial well being. You are your own responsibility.


A concerned Brotha…

mistaBP said...

Good article!
@ThatDeborahGirl - check out my blog to men (oh you fancy, huh?!)

@concerned Brotha - WOW!!

Anonymous said...

LOve this post

Anonymous said...

i agree with this too many woman live by this