Slim: What’s your approximate credit score?
Amber: Not to be rude, but that’s none of your business.
Slim: Damn, you got that much debt huh? Sallie Mae busting the windows out your car?
Amber: I didn’t say all that. It’s just something personal. Everybody don’t need to know my personal info.
Slim: Okay, well how do you typically budget money?
Amber: Really though? Why are we talking about this?
Slim: You’re right. My bad. What’s your favorite sex position?
Amber: From the back with my hands on the hotel room window on the 15th floor of the Ritz-Carlton.
Slim: Right. **Activates Droid teleport app and clicks Cole Haan heels**
Amber: Whatever. **Phones a broke negro to break her off while the night is still young and his account is still low.**
Some people guard their financial info as closely as they do their sex count. And as awkward as the conversation above may have been, it’s a shame that we don’t have them more often with people we’re interested in. I’m not saying you need to show up on date #1 with your W-2 and a copy of your Equifax, but somewhere along the way you need to be prepared to discuss financial habits and history. Oh yeah, if you don’t know what Equifax is then you should probably swallow some bleach and pop rocks.
In the grand scheme of sh*t that actually matters, financial history is a lot more important than sexual history (for the most part). No, I don’t wanna know how many men have worked your walls; but, I do wanna know how many times you’ve been sent to collections. I may be curious what that thang smell like, but I really wanna know what that spending looks like. Well, that’s if I’ve taken a liking to you and I’m trying to assess the likelihood of things working out in the long term. What’s the point of considering being in a relationship with someone if you don’t expect it to succeed? It’s a waste of time and mine is valuable.
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to live-tweet a panel discussion put on by Together Apart that focused on how finances affect relationships. It was a room full of about 100 people. Side note, panel discussions and forums are a great place to meet interesting and responsible people. To be in a room with 60+ women focused on non-golddiggerishly discussing finances and improving their own stability made my leg move. I have 3 legs. So yeah, if you’d really like to find like-minded folks then you need to hit up these events. And if you don’t meet someone of the opposite sex that you might like, at least you’ll walk out with a wealth of information and maybe some new connects who could introduce you to the type you seek. But getting back to the event, I was surprised at how many people were there to figure out how to have the money conversation. People stay moving in at 21 Front Street like it’s easy, but it’s not. A lot of attendees walked away with a new strategy and new mindset. It was great to see. Speaking of takeaways, I came away with a few platinum nuggets that I wanted to share with the SBM fam:
“Your Budget Truly Reflects Your Values” – Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche (@TheBudgetnista)
You ever see someone pulling a $500/month car payment but they live in an underwhelming under-furnished studio unit with an air mattress on the floor? How about someone who borrows money from you and then will do dumb shit like tint their windows, buy rims, cop cases of Four Loko, or buy an iPad before they pay you back? They’re probably the same way with creditors. And lastly, if you’ve been in a distance relationship or friendship (we all have these), how about the person that doesn’t have money to come see you or support your event but has money to hit the club and upload the pics to Facebook every weekend? There’s a reason some people are ashamed to print out their bank statements and work with a financial counselor. The prettiest person can get ugly real fast.
“If You’re Not Comfortable Talking Finances in Your Relationship, You’re Not Comfortable with the Person.” – I completely forgot who said this.
One of the things that really hampers our ability to have in-depth personal conversations is judgment and hypercriticism. Black folks tend to be some of the most judgmental out there. Actually, we’re the worst. If you’ve been with someone for months or years and still struggle to discuss money, someone doesn’t trust somebody. F*ck it, you don’t trust each other to handle giving or receiving the truth. The truth here is not an orgasm. And every day that you avoid the money conversation will be one more brick on the back of your relationship.
“Gentleness Is A Skill That All Women Need to Cultivate in Themselves. Some Don’t Have It.” -The Budgetnista
As much as some of you would like to throw this out as a bullsh*t excuse for why men don’t like to communicate certain feelings or thoughts, it’s true. See the previous quote, this right here has a lot to do with it whether it’s finances or other issues that may be running through his mind.
Men Need to Stop Balling Out on First Dates and Then Getting Economic Later.
Let’s just say that starting out at Exclusive Steakhouse for Date 1 and working back to Applebees on Date 3 is not what’s up. That’s like showing up in a Maserati looking like a shark on land for the first date then regressing to an Altima. I have an Altima. She will see that each and every time. Whoever I’m dating needs to be comfortable with my real lifestyle. Only thing I floss is my teeth.
“A Big Adjustment for This Generation Is the Fact That A Lot of Women Earn More Than Their Mates.” -Shawna Marie (@shawnamarieac)
I actually expect my girl, booski, significant otheresque piece to make more money than me. I have an undergrad degree, she’ll probably have a master’s or professional degree. I pressed the reset button on my career progression and went back to entry-level so I could get into the field I wanted to get into. If she didn’t do grad school, she’ll probably be further along in her career. This doesn’t bother me at all.
“Money issues are emotional, spiritual, and philosophical. You can’t separate them. You need to understand them.” -Shawna Marie
Basically, this sh*t is really important. Before trying to figure out when to play pokey, try figuring out when you plan to have that informal financial conversation. After all, if someone gets pregnant it’s gonna be an issue anyway. Talking about money doesn’t make you a gold digger. Getting dug out and not talking about it might make you a fool.
Yeah, the post is getting long. There are a lot of other tidbits I wanted to share from the event, but I just don’t got the space. If you’d like to see some additional thoughts from the panel, let me know in the comments and I’ll share them on Facebook or in a follow-up post.
For today, what do you think of what’s been shared? Do you agree or disagree with any particular points? When do you think is the right time to talk about financial habits and the monies? Do you think it’s okay to ask someone their credit score before getting into a relationship with them? Do you have any other advice you’ve gotten or lessons learned? Anything else?
If you need your back blown out nightly as a requirement then I need you to have at least a 750 credit score,
P.S. If you’re in DC, several members of the SBM team (self included) will be there this weekend meeting readers and such. More to come. Pause.