February 21, 2010

I'm Not Saying She's a Golddigger....

So everyone and their mom sent me this video from the Tyra Banks show featuring women (a few black) who were telling their daughters to "marry a rich man".....

(Watch the Video: Little girl w/ the Afro Puff is alright with me.....)

As a girl, I did not grow up learning to "marry for money"....ALTHOUGH...I wish more emphasis had been placed on finding a man who had "fiscal responsibility" as opposed to money. My mother always focused on making sure a guy "had his head on straight"...loved me...and was an overall good guy. She never told me to marry rich or up in class.....but I sorta wish she had. My parents were not rich...we were not dirt poor. BUT..we could have had better..and strive for better.. My father, conversely, was/is a tightwad on all things that DIDN"T concern him. I've always felt either extreme....severe fiscal irresponsibility...OR being severely niggardly are detrimental. Like I said...I WISH she had placed more emphasis on money.

Now before you tear off into this post...hear me out. Black women are often told "just get a good man". We don't do any credit checks. We don't even talk about money. Our white counterparts, however, are groomed from birth to "marry well" and "marry smart". When we say "we want better" in a mate (esp when we are doing well), then we are labled "golddiggers" which is totally unfair. I never wanted to be filthy rich...I always wanted to be "comfortable in my wealth". Meaning..have very little debt...good investments...and an ample savings. I thought at the time of my marriage I had found someone with those very same goals. I was wrong....

Lack of fiscal responsibility (and subsequent infidelity) lead to the ultimate demise of my marriage. I hardly ever talk about that part of why we got divorced..but I feel compelled to share it now.

We got married in April..bought a new car the week we got married...(a car I never drove...but I digress)...we found a house 2 weeks after we got married and put up earnest money. With our two incomes, we would be quit comfortable with some to spare. It all seemed to be going well. That is until..about 2 months after we got married....my husband decided at the time that "this job wasn't for him" (truth was..he didn't want to drive the extra 20 minutes to his new job location) ..and up and quit. No rhyme..no reason..and no plan b. (Although at the time he faked it..and told me he was "feeling ill" i.e."the job was making him sick"). Leaving us in a serious financial bind. We were newlyweds...and had not amassed any savings of our own. It was too late to back out of our house..we were in escrow. We were forced to live on one income for almost 2 years while he worked almost none at all..or very little. I knew then this was not going to last somehow. I tried to encourage him best I could..but when I saw little to no effort being done..I became angry, hurt, and resentful. He said things like "I thought you made more money" and "since you make more money you can handle the majority of the bills". I felt this overwhelming pressure and guilt. I thought somehow I was a "bad wife" because surely I was SUPPOSED to do this alone....well..I wasn't. And about 28 months after our "I do's"....we called it quits...leaving me to sell our home...amass some serious debt...and start my life all over. No car. No house. Nothing. The weight of all that on my back was far too much to bear. I told myself "had he gotten laid off....or it was something he COULD NOT control... I could understand." But...these were circumstances that could have been prevented.

Looking back, there had been signs that he wasn't that good with money. He had changed jobs a few times. He withheld information about his credit..and saying "it was ok". He didn't contribute that much to the wedding itself. I should have delved deeper. He constantly was borrowing from someone. When I got my current job after a year of being unemployed myself, I lent him money often when we were dating. My mother helped him out. HIS mother helped US out....often paid our mortgage and his car note. Creditors were calling out of the blue..that I didn't recall us discussing.. Bank accounts were becoming repeatedly overdrafted. Yet I thought.."When we get married..we will have TWO incomes...and can help each other out". I was wrong. VERY wrong. 90% of it was all on me....

I say all this to say... I'm not really mad at the women telling their girls to "marry for money". HOWEVER, the focus should not be on "marrying a rich man". The focus should be more on "marrying a fiscally responsible man". I'm sure had I married a garbage man with GREAT money skills...I would probably still be married, barefoot, and pregnant. And although certain stations in life are important (I want to be in certain clubs...arenas...etc), I would sacrifice that all for my own personal happiness and financial stability. I will say that...the black girls are going to have a VERY hard time finding a black man...let alone a RICH black man with the way things are going. Teach our girls to be independent....yet..smart and aware. Teach them to love..and want to be love..to be soft and tender..yet not doormats in the name of the almighty dollar. Above all else, teach them to pick a partner not based on SOLELY on money OR love, but mutual compatibility of the two. The "twain" should meet in the middle. Marriage is not a business arrangement. It is about the "business of pleasure".

In my next marriage, the "money" wont be that important to me....it's what HE does with it. How do you use it? Do you pay your bills on time? Do you pay the FULL amount? Do you save? Do you tithe? What's your plan for retirement? Are your student loans in default? Are you in bankruptcy or debt management? Do you have life insurance or college savings for your kids? I guess in a lot of ways.... I'd ask all of the questions I failed to ask the first time.

..and I'd hope a guy would ask me the same thing.


  1. Great post! I'm glad that you decided to write about the video. ITA that there needs to be balance... you shouldn't marry solely for love or solely for money/financial responsibility.

  2. Money won't keep you warm at night. Money won't scratch your dandruff. Money won't love you back.

    Ooh, T, you took me back for a second.

    Good post.

  3. ITA with you. While love and romance are certainly nice, one must also be "practical" about finding a partner.... and good financial practices, good credit, fiscal responsibility - those qualities are all equally important to look at. Shoot, its no coincident that money is the #1 cause of divorce in US marriages. It's fine time we started looking at ALL of the qualities of a man, not just the traditional, romantic ones.

    And like my mother used to say, "It's just as easy to love a rich man as it is to love a poor one!"

  4. You know, this is a good one. I had the opposite experience. I had the great job, with a good salary, college degree ....and the debt. My husband is a saver, a cash only dude. Always has been. As a result, we bumped heads a lot on spending. Years later, we are still building, but definitely in a much better situation than before. So often women (and men) ignore red flags about fiscal irresponsibility. With his help, I had to learn how to be a bit 'miserly' (without sacrificing any of my personal comfort and luxuries), while paying all the bills on time and still saving some money. As a result, we are able to do things that I couldn't have done on my own. I'm telling you - dude taught me how to make a dime act like a dollar. And although I complained at first...I'm good. Still get my manis and pedis and hair done consistently. Still get my own personal blow money, while still having all the bills (including credit cards and student loans) paid off. I was smart enough to purchase our home using one income, instead of two. Essentially any additional income that we will gain in the future will go right to savings and retirement.

  5. T, let me say that you have posted the exact story as to my divorce. We have more in common that you'll ever know. I totally agree with you that there is nothing wrong with us looking for and wanting a man that has good financial stability and knows how to handle his affairs. That doesn't make us a gold digger. I love this post and i agree with the other comments there does need to be a balance.



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