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!