I cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring you are in the right financial mindset before considering a romantic relationship and definitely before considering marriage. Financial soundness and stability are both necessary as an adult. Without some insight into the importance of this mindset, you will likely have a negative impact on the relationships you engage and maintain.
As much as this was the practice in the past, no one wants to marry while broke. If you are broke and economically distressed, marrying someone with the same mindset is not going to solve your problems. You may get together and pool your resources, but you both will still operate with the same mindset surrounding financial management.
In other words, you are two blind people leading each other into that metaphorical ditch. Once you are in a financial ditch, it is next to impossible to dig yourself out of it unless you get the knowledge coupled with action necessary to navigate the exit.
I wish we were much more aggressive with finances and accumulating a financial understanding, especially about how to live financially free and well. I have never experienced financial freedom. In fact, my life has been filled with living from paycheck to paycheck, losing a job and trying to make financial ends meet, failing to pay bills on time, struggling to create a solid financial life plan, and wishing for a better financial future.
I know financial heartache, some financial relief, and some financial understanding but never enough to pull myself fully out of a financially distressing situation. Just because I was able to get a job and return to work did not mean that I had reached financial freedom. It just meant that I got back on track and returned to living paycheck to paycheck. That is no way to live. The feelings that surround my desires to move financially forward and not continue living in the past serve as the bases for why I created my books and why I am building a brand.
But as I have noted in various articles, romantic hastiness does affect your finances. You cannot enter relationships with this idea that finances are not important and that when you get into a relationship, you will just make it do what it do. That kind of thinking never works, and it doesn’t work long-term. You and all of us need a solid financial plan to live financially well and subsequently to live financially free.
This article extends the financial conversation we need to have before we consider or enter romantic relationships. As much as we believe love is enough to sustain a relationship, it is truly not enough. People divorce all the time because of money, and they can still love each other. No one wants to live broke, and no one wants to die broke. If you can understand those two points, then I think it would serve you well.
Here are eight (8) scenarios I am thinking about concerning romantic hastiness, encouraging you with sincere urgency to get your financial house in order before engaging a relationship. There are a couple of scenarios that address current status in a romantic relationship.
SCENARIO #1: HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION
You just graduated from high school.
The time after graduating from high school is not the time that you should be considering a romantic relationship. It is the time where you must think to yourself, “Where do I want to take me?” This means that your knowledge base is everything you have learned from home up to and including high school graduation. Think about these following questions:
- Where do you want to take yourself?
- What do you want to do?
- Do you want to register and enroll in college?
- Do you want to start a business?
- Where do you now fit?
Even if you do not know the answers to these preliminary questions, regardless, you know you need a job before you can consider any other aspect of living. What job do you want? In other words, you have more to think about in terms of securing yourself financially than worrying about a relationship romantically.
In other words, you must secure yourself financially because you are an adult even if you don’t think you are, even if you are still living at home, and even if you are not certain what you want to do. If something happened to your parents or any other fallback situation, what would be your fallback? What would be your plan? These are important questions that deserve answers.
When you do not plan or create a life plan, you are likely to take anything just to fill the time. In addition, when you do not have a plan, people will plan your life for you. You will find yourself on paths that will take some time to exit. The time before and after high school graduation is the time you need to plan, not engage in a romantic relationship.
SCENARIO #2: YOUR FRIEND’S HOUSE
You’re sleeping in someone’s house.
Contrary to what people think and understand, sleeping in someone’s house or on their couch makes you homeless. Homelessness is the state of having no home. That person’s home is not your home. Unless you both entered the apartment and/or home with the intention of being roommates and signed a lease, you are living in “their house,” which means that the person can kick you out at will.
There are laws that prevent a tenant of record from kicking you out immediately. If you are receiving mail at the place, then you may have temporary rights. However, your name is not on the lease, so you do not have complete rights, and the tenant of record can pursue eviction proceedings.
The most important thing to remember is that homelessness can include living in a shelter, with family and friends, on the streets, and other types of structures that are not your own by definition and/or by record.
Therefore, this begs the following question: If you fall under the definition of homelessness, then why are you pursuing a romantic relationship?
The first thing you should be doing is securing your own place to live, not going on dates and meeting people in a bar and engaging in sexual activities as if the sex will solve the immediate problem of homelessness.
You may get someone to “take you in” after meeting them and a relationship forms, but the resolution to the problem of you not securing yourself is still down the road. It is a problem that you will need to solve. The person who lets you come live with him or her can still kick you out!
SCENARIO #3: JOB LOSS
You just lost your job.
Losing your job is the worst thing that can happen to an adult because you are always expected to take care of yourself financially. But when you do lose your job, it puts you in a vulnerable position because even if you do have savings in the bank and/or investments, it still may not be enough to sustain your existence long-term.
Think about the individuals who never saved any money at all and who are forced to live with their parents and/or friends. It is doubly hard for them if they have kids and are married. It can be humiliating for a man to move his family in with another man and his wife. There is nothing worse to bruise the ego.
But in the case of a single person who has lost their job, entering the dating scene to find someone and to soothe your pain is not as important as re-securing yourself financially. A person you meet in a bar is a distraction from the immediate need of finding another job. The job is not going to find itself, and you do not have the financial resources to take off from working for at least a year. Therefore, the greatest priority is to get back on the metaphorical saddle and find another job.
Even if you had a boyfriend or girlfriend who let you come and stay with them, this does not absolve you of the responsibility of solving your immediate problem. It is still there for you to solve, and when we engage in distractions, this prevents us from developing the skill of solving problems. Managing life as adults is all about solving problems.
You cannot get away from solving problems. It is easy to get confused about solving problems as a kid because if you continue to mess up, mom or dad will fix the problem for you. However, when you are an adult, you are the one required to solve your own problems. That can be daunting if you have not practiced this as a skill.
SCENARIO #4: ROMANTIC ARRANGEMENTS
You moved him in.
Any man you move into your house is a sign that you are being financially irresponsible. For one, do you have the financial means to take care of another mouth? This is a grown person who needs to ensure that he has the finances to take care of himself should something happen to you.
You are giving him the wrong understanding about adulthood when you move him in without expectations, boundaries, and standards. In fact, you are ignoring your expectations, boundaries, and standards. I will go one step further, do you know what your expectations, boundaries, and standards are when it comes to romantic relationship-building, especially when determining if sufficient finances will play a role? This is, yet, another question deserving of an appropriate answer.
Many times, women move in men without a true plan. They give money to men without a true plan. They make themselves completely financially vulnerable without a true plan. They move primarily with their emotions, which further means that they are basing whatever solutions they dole out to a man as if they are mothers to their men. When you treat a man like a child, he will always act like a child, resist, and leave when it is financially convenient, even if he finds another woman to “take him in.” You lose financial balance and soundness entertaining a man that you move in.
He is a man. If a woman can pull herself up through education, working, and engaging in entrepreneurial pursuits, then a man can do the same. Whatever you see yourself doing, a man should be able to do that and more. When this does not happen, then that is not the relationship you should consider because you would be carrying the financial burden and load of him as a man. That is a costly enterprise.
SCENIARIO #5: PROJECTING PERSONAL VALUES
You need a husband.
Sometimes parents can push a man or woman on you too soon. Some parents operate with an understanding that the only way you can navigate life is with a husband or a wife. They still push this ideal that if you don’t get a good job, go to the military, or get some education, then marriage is your only option.
There is a problem with that logic because once you enter the arena of dating, it is hard to stop dating. People should stop dating once they get hurt and decide to take some time off, but this usually doesn’t happen because people are also gluttons for punishment. It is much more convenient to stay in the dating market than to exit it. Add love to the mix, and it makes it difficult to concentrate on the immediate task at hand, which is to get your financial house in order.
You spend money dating, but you do not spend money planning your life five years or 10 years ahead. Then you enter marriage with the mindset that money will fix any problems you have personally when you still have not addressed any of your individual problems. You basically keep going around in circles, and you’re not even 25 yet.
Planning those years from 18 to 25 are the most important because what you do in your 20s sets you up for success in your 40s. No one tells you this. If you are going to marry, do so with the frame of mind that finances are important and that financial management can break or sustain the relationship.
Don’t jump into a romantic relationship just because it might be convenient. It might work long-term because there are some relationships that form under different circumstances and they seem to work. However, if you are single and can take the time to set yourself up, then that would be a better option because once you marry, you must consider the marriage as priority and what is necessary for the marriage and not necessarily solely your individual priorities.
SCENARIO #6: CHEATING
You cheat on your romantic partner.
Cheating is a major problem when you adopt it as a belief system and subsequently as a lifestyle. Cheating is the epitome of romantic hastiness. You set a new financial goal when you cheat. People often think that they are not doing their partners harm with a little cheating here and there. Cheating is something that they believe they need for them. It is something that they do occasionally. They wouldn’t even call themselves cheaters.
Again, there is always a problem with logic that is convenient for one person and inconvenient for another person. One partner believes that cheating is a necessary evil while the other partner believes that the necessary evil creates physical, mental, spiritual, and financial harm. When you cheat, you take money out of the core relationship, out of the main house, and out of the future for the relationship. Your heart is divided between two homes.
If there are children involved, then not only is money allotted to funding the core home, but also it is allotted to funding the home of the affair partner.
Money is also allotted to funding all children involved. It is like the man who has multiple children who is also placed on child support and the majority of his paycheck goes towards meeting that court-ordered requirement. In other words, there is no money to save, plan, build wealth, and leverage as an asset because all financial resources are immediately expended before consideration.
Thus, cheating has its greatest consequences on a romantic relationship because the consequences are not just emotional and psychological and spiritual; the consequences are always financial. You throw money out of the house when you cheat. In the same way that you throw away the relationship, i.e., throw over your partner for another, you throw away the money you earn. If you are repeatedly cheating, it is likely out of spite. It is not worth the trouble.
Cheating is one of those areas you need to consider before entering a romantic relationship or maintaining one if you have already started the relationship. If your man cheats at the beginning of the relationship, then rest assured he will cheat during the relationship. If you stay with him, you run the risk of dealing with a man who may possibly father a child outside of your relationship with him. If you marry him, there are consequences that may affect you.
For example, if there is an issue with child support, the court might attach a lien to your finances if he cannot pay “his child support.” It is called a lien placed on jointly owned property, which includes bank accounts and any non-exempt property. Exempt property is considered clothing or an automobile you use for work whereas non-exempt property is considered assets you can leverage and which can be garnished such as work pay, valuable items, and second homes.
This means that if you marry someone who has an ex with children and you have a joint account with your partner, the ex can attach a lien to any joint property you have with your partner to collect unpaid child support. This article provides an overview of the concept.
Keep in mind that the greatest preventative medicine to romantic hastiness is to call the relationship what it truly is. It is the Maya Angelou popular statement that is often repeated: “If a person shows you who they are, believe them.” Don’t run the risk of getting financially stuck with a romantic partner who is financially obligated to another person and their child together. This is information you should know and ask early.
SCENARIO #7: GIVING A MAN MONEY
You give him money.
One of the toughest decisions to make for a woman when she is in a romantic relationship is to determine whether she wants to give her man money when he needs it. This is a hard decision because if we love someone, we do not want to see the person suffer. Heck, it’s our man! Why can’t we be there for our man?
The answer should be “Yes, help your man out.” However, real men of substance will tell you to never give to a man. Most men who care about how their women perceive them will not take money from their women. They will find another way to get it done, i.e., solve the problem.
There may be some exceptions to the rule. I highly doubt it, however. Any man who asks money from their woman is not financially responsible. Some men will say that they asked their women for money as a test to see if she would give him the money. But women don’t need tests to determine if they will give money to their men. Their nurturing qualities make it possible for women to give based on emotions alone. They assume a motherly role and begin treating their men like a child when confronted with a financial issue. It is not right, but it is hard for a woman to hear that her man needs help and she not help him. Women don’t need such tests.
Therefore, if a man is asking a woman for money, whether to test her or not, it is because he is likely trying to determine how much of her money he can get. He is essentially trying to separate her from her money by creating investment projects or anything that requires her to give him money. A financially responsible man does not need a woman’s money for anything. He will get what he wants on his own, and he would never ask her for the money to get it.
Therefore, never give a man money. You are not in a relationship with a man to fund him or his lifestyle. A woman will prostitute herself, strip, work multiple jobs, and manage her kids, and do whatever to provide for herself and her kids.
A man should do the same. This is why determining if your future partner or husband has his financial house in order is important because there is nothing worse for a man needing money from a woman. You will become his perpetual mother, which will lead to him emotionally distancing from you, emotionally evicting you out of his heart and the relationship, and then when he gets his financial life together, i.e., he finds another woman with greater financial resources, he will simply leave.
Set boundaries around finances if you choose to date. Make sure you keep your finances intact because then it will make it easier to discern when your man is not financially sound. Do not give men money. You will always regret it, and it is irresponsible of you to assume that finances are the solution to your man’s problem with failure to work or keep a job or save money.
SCENARIO #8: CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS
Sleeping in someone’s house falls under the category of homelessness, but being homeless includes multiple sub-categories: emergency, episodic, and chronic. There are various government-based resources that help you understand the concept and provisions in the law to guide people from homelessness to permanent housing. It is a subject that I have some personal familiarity with and that I also had to overcome. It took some time and planning, and there is still some residue from those experiences, but I am now on the right track.
The thing about being homeless and suffering through it at possibly different times in your life is that it can be distracting. That’s a strange statement to write, but homelessness can be distracting because you do not realize that you are homeless. You think to yourself that you have just hit a life snag or a road block and that you will get yourself back on track. It is not as serious as you think.
But when you realize that it is hard to pull yourself up financially and that you are now forced to shelter hop or live with parents or friends, then you realize that being homeless is your reality. This means that you must begin taking it seriously. Otherwise, you can remain homeless for years, and you can die in your homelessness.
Therefore, when you are homeless, you need more than the mission of getting yourself back on track. You need a vision. You need to envision yourself not only exiting homelessness, but also never returning to homelessness. It is like once you start something, you have to keep it up. In other words, this is why people often return to homelessness because it is like something they started that they have to keep going. It is hard for them to see outside of that financial ditch.
Think about the concept of recidivism, which is defined as the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend. The person understands the habit of committing crimes and not the habit of living life with financial and economic stability. People might initially commit crimes because they have a money issue, and they believe the crime will solve that issue.
Whether they want a little money or try to live like a baller, the initial intent for pursuing crime is based on an immediate financial issue or at least it is their perception that they have a money issue that they believe requires a criminal objective to solve the problem. However, when they continue to pursue this option without considering any other option, it becomes the habit they adopt, the pattern they develop, and the belief system they perpetuate.
Now they are a criminal, and they will continue in their criminality until they are caught and corrected. But people rarely receive and apply correction when they know they have the option to reoffend. Only a select few adopt a vision for a better life and then begin the process of moving forward on a productive path.
The homeless person with a set belief system is no different than the criminal in perpetuating a state of mind that needs challenging. For example, this is why instead of planning, homeless people will spend whatever they get. Instead of taking the money they get from a disability check, they would rather live outside and occasionally get a room for rent. They don’t see living in a room until they can do better as beneficial. Living in a motel or extended stay is still considered homeless, but if it is the only shelter option you have until you can do better, it would be better to choose it than to live solely on the streets.
It is important to consider multiple arguments. People who have been homeless for multiple years either do not want to exit their homelessness or they struggle to adopt a consistent life plan. Maybe they do not have a plan at all. Regardless, there is nothing on the inside of them that is tired of their current condition to make the necessary change(s).
There is an interesting article I stumbled onto years ago during my preparation for homeless advocacy. The article explores the different causes and/or personal contributing factors of chronic homelessness and the impact it has had on a person struggling with it for 25 years. The individual notes that being homeless was like being invisible and feeling like an outcast.
For many years, he took on that mantra, which kept him homeless. It wasn’t until his physical and mental health started declining that he realized he needed to make a change. He moved out of invisibility into vulnerability, which made it possible for him to be seen and accept the help of people who wanted to help.
Change always begins with seeing the reality of the situation and not just the fantasy. If you are still homeless at the 25th-year mark, then that is living with the fantasy of homelessness, riding out the challenges as if you are on a camping trip, and then sustaining your existence because you believe you have no other options.
If you have some finances coming in, even while you are homeless, there is possibility for change. However, engaging in a romantic relationship while homeless will only exacerbate your current problem because you will be too busy trying to sustain that relationship than trying to exit homelessness.
Always understand that if you are suffering through a financial crisis in the present it is because you did not plan financially in your past. Whatever you are going through now, as in losing your job without an emergency savings and/or becoming homeless because you cannot pay your rent, this happens when you do not financially plan.
Not everyone has to be rich to have an emergency fund. Not everyone struggled during the recent financial crisis and/or the pandemic. Some people have savings, investments, and other types of financial assets to sustain themselves during financial loss. This means that they had the foresight to assume that loss is possible even when you plan. Essentially, they cared enough to plan.
Get your financial house in order before you engage in any type of romantic relationship. There are a series of steps you must take before you consider any romance alternative. Those steps always include understanding your needs:
- What are your immediate financial needs?
- What are your mid-range financial needs?
- What are your long-term financial needs?
To answer these questions, you should always consider conducting a SWOT and adding financial planning as your target:
- What are your financial planning strengths?
- What are your financial planning weaknesses?
- What are your financial planning opportunities?
- What are your financial planning threats?
These are questions that need answers. If you are great at not spending your last dollar, then this could be a financial planning strength. If you struggle with setting boundaries with your finances when it comes to giving to family members, then this is definitely a financial planning weakness.
The financial planning opportunity is any area that needs consistent learning. There is always an opportunity to learn differently. Of course, financial planning threats include not financially planning at all. Not envisioning your financial future is the greatest threat. Jumping from one financial situation to another is also a financial planning threat. Not resolving your belief system about financial planning threats is the ultimate threat of all.
You can never not plan enough. The most important takeaway is that you are 100% responsible for yourself financially, even if you may have help in different forms. There is never a guarantee that the help you do get from someone will be forever. This means that you are always responsible for planning.
Engaging in romance at a time when you should be planning financially is a distraction that can create multiple setbacks and make it difficult for you to get back on track financially or establish a financial life track.
Thank you for reading.
Regina Y. Favors, Owner/Operator
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