Category Archives: Lifestyle

Love & Financial Compatibility: 4 Questions You Should Ask BEFORE Becoming An HBCU Couple

“Whatever you into, your woman gotta be into, too, and vice versa… or the [thing] ain’t gonna work. lt ain’t gonna work. That’s right. lf you born-again, your woman gotta be born-again, too. lf you a crackhead, your woman gotta be a crackhead, too… or the [thing] won’t work. You can’t be like, ”l’m going to church, where you going?” ”Hit the pipe!” That relationship ain’t going nowhere, but two crackheads can stay together forever.” – Chris Rock

We all know the statistics. The number one cause of divorce is MONEY. And why it is money comes in all kinds of forms from a partner who does not help with the bills, disagreement about financial roles, spends too much, disinterested in their financial future, takes too much risk with the money they have earned (or too little), and the list goes on and on and on. For African Americans money is even more complicated when it comes to partnering. African Americans are dead last in median income, median wealth, and the only ethnic group where the women outnumber the men in employment. All of which leads to an already complicated issue of partnering with someone for the long-term even more so. Money brings about extremely strong emotions in people and African Americans are no exception. In fact, one could argue that because are financial situation is so dire that it adds even more stress and complexity than most. The majority of us are brought up with the stresses of money as the only conversations about money we have ever overheard – because we certainly were not allowed to participate in family conversations about money besides, “put that back, you know we can not afford that”. That along with a strong religious undertone of money being the root of all evil it is no wonder that the median net worth of African Americans has not moved in over four decades and is by some accounts trending downwards. So who you partner with and their attitudes towards money, as Chris Rock so eloquently put it, need to be aligned. We decided to put together four questions to help you determine whether the he, she, or they is right for you. A clarity you should try your best to establish before you even enter into a relationship.

If you had to pick a number, how much would you like to be financially worth? Do not let them be vague on this. They can not say rich, wealthy, or comfortable. There has to be a number. Rich, wealthy, or comfortable means very different things to different people. Two people can say they want to be rich, but one thinks that means being worth $5 million and the other may think that means $50 million. The further those numbers are apart or closer together will give you some valuable insight.

Why do you want to be worth that much? This is vital to give you insight on a person’s priorities. If they tell you they want to be able to buy whatever they want, acquire all the latest fashions, travel the world, they want to be able to send their children to the best schools, or they want to donate $25 million to their HBCU over their lifetime. This questions will all give you insight to their motivations and if those motivations align with yours.

Would you be willing to live with our parents, have roommates when we got married, or share a car for a few years? This is a question of sacrifice gauging a person’s sacrifice level. How badly do they want to get to that number to do that thing they said they want? The early years of financial sacrifice for a couple make all the difference in the world and while many say they want to achieve something, many are not willing to do the hard and uncomfortable things

What is your risk tolerance? Risk. Reward. They go hand in hand when it comes too investing and financial building. If one of you wants to start a business and the other just wants to save money in your savings account, then you are world’s apart when it comes to risk. There are obvious compromises to risk. Perhaps you agree to hit a certainly dollar amount in your savings account before pursuing business. Or perhaps you agree that owning a rental property portfolio is the middle ground. Whatever it is, your risk tolerance needs to be understand and agreed upon. This is particularly important because things can and often will go wrong, that is why it is called risk. When it does go wrong does it create a wedge between the two of you or does it cause you both to dig in and work together through it?

In the end, it is often hard for people to talk about money when they meet someone they like. It is even harder to realize that your financial views maybe so far apart that you simply do not make a good team and at the end of the day to be financially successful it requires teamwork. One of you can not be playing basketball and the other playing soccer. Financial goals being aligned will dictate so much of how you live your lives that to not have them aligned is a sure fire way to kill a relationship and yet many people do not think to discuss money until after they are together and sometimes not even then. They do not realize the detriment of differences until it rears its ugly head. In this new era of mental health, make sure you discuss what it will take to have financial health as well.

The Cookout of Cookouts: Teddy Riley vs. Babyface & The HBCU Takeaway

The cookout of cookouts finally happened. Teddy Riley and Babyface came together and gave us everything we wanted and more. Yes, there were still some old black man technical difficulties, but ultimately, over 500,000 Instagram accounts logged in to watch – MAGIC. These two legends have produced, written, and been at the helm of creating hundreds (if not thousands) of undeniable hit records. The financial value of their catalogs possibly exceeds $1 billion. The music, event, and the gentlemen themselves provided a world of observations to behold. We tapped a few of our favorite HBCU intellects on their take from the night and what if anything they believe HBCUs could take away from such an amazing night for the culture.

Christen Turner, Alumnae of Spelman College, Founder of Matchmaking for Millennials & Janelle T Designs, @isthatchristen

“The battle itself was amazing. Never thought I’d feel so connected to my people through a social media platform. With that being said, we have to figure out a way to create our own hugely successful platforms AND/OR get a cut from the platforms that we literally keep relevant.”

Brandon Bellamy, Alumnus of North Carolina A&T State University, Associate Director (Student Services) and Adjunct Professor at Howard Community College, @ProfBellamy

“Like HBCUs, the Teddy Riley vs Babyface battle faced adversity from within, but also from external threats. Both artists brought an exceptional background, respect and similar perspectives on the transcendent nature of music. They are competitors in their work, but contemporaries like DuBois and Washington, whose approaches to the purpose of education varied – but the goal was the same, the improvement of our people. HBCUs can learn from this battle that there is nothing wrong with competition, but we must also be able to work together and strive for the common goal of success for all through education.”

Dr. Keneshia Grant, Alumnae of Florida A&M University, Author & Assistant Professor of Political Science at Howard University, @keneshiagrant

“On Monday night, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds came to Instagram to slay prepared to remind the world of his distinction in music. When Babyface’s preparation was met by Teddy Riley with a lack thereof, he calmly stayed the course and encouraged Riley to rise to the occasion. HBCUs could learn two important lessons from last night’s battle (and by battle, I mean tutorial in genius, excellence, and professionalism—taught exclusively by Babyface). First, professionalism in the presentation and delivery of our work is as important as the work itself. Second—and critical to many HBCU missions—we must balance patience and maintenance of high standards in our interactions with others (people, organizations, other HBCUs, etc).”

William A. Foster, IV, Alumnus of Virginia State University & Prairie View A&M University, Economist/Financier & Founder of HBCU Money, @astroeconomist

“It was an extraordinary night. For those of us who grew up with these two men, having them together in these times – I am not sure we could have asked for much more, technical difficulties aside. I will say for a budding HBCUpreneur, especially in technology, these moments have provided a clear opportunity for a need to provide a platform for moments such as these given the numerous issues and limitations. If I was managing an HBCU’s endowment, I would be courting them (Teddy Riley & Babyface) to see if they would donate a percentage of their catalog. Even a small percentage of the royalties would bring in millions over the years from these living legends.”

Charlyn Anderson, Alumnae of Howard University, Founder of Starting With Today, @startingwtoday

“But what immediately came to mind is too often our institutions (HBCUs) are compared to the bells and whistles of PWIs when the actual core of our education is stronger even in its simplicity. The lack of the extraneous has often worked to the benefit of the HBCU community because they don’t rely on bells and whistles as props but actually prepare to execute consistently on a high level regardless of amenities. Clearly siding with BabyFace, and even with that knowing your value and who you are brings a certainty in all spaces that doesn’t require you to move outside of your lane for approval and validation.

Marcus King, Prairie View A&M University, Founder of Hardly Home, @marcuskxng

“I’d like to say it’s another example of the need to elevate and promote a younger and more technologically advanced workforce to meet the needs of today’s digital world… but I’m a dreamer…”

Ultimately, there will be a lot to take away from this pandemic. There will be a plethora of academic studies that will need to be done, entrepreneurial opportunities, and HBCUs should try their best to be at the vanguard of them for our community. Moments like this are case studies that can help us learn, prepare, navigate, and shape the post-Covid world that we will eventually find ourselves in. Teddy Riley and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds gave us an amazing evening from the chaos outside, lessons within, and as always music to fill our souls with.

 

Howard v. Harvard: Financial Takeaways From The HBCU-Ivy League Game Of The Century (Or So We Hoped)

This game was building in hype from the moment it was announced. The premier academic higher education institutions that represented the best of European American and the best of African America. Schools known best for their academics who also happen to have strong athletic heritages. Harvard University, founded in 1636, calls Boston, Massachusetts home. Arguably, the “capital” of WASP America. Howard University, founded in 1867, calls Washington, D.C. home and up until a decade ago was affectionately known as “Chocolate City” due to the high concentration of African American population. Today, thanks to gentrification it is starting to look a bit more like “Pumpkin Spice Latte City”, but that is another story all together. The game itself ended up resembling unfortunately the economic state of the two groups they represent and how sometimes no matter the size of the heart of the dog in the fight, the size of the dog actually matters. The final score: Harvard 62 v. Howard 17. HBCU Money decided to do a quick take on the financial reality of these two institutions since there is talk that HBCU-Ivy League games could be a “thing” in the future.

ENDOWMENTS:

Harvard has a 231 year head start and one could make the case even longer if we want to count African America’s struggle to hold onto financial assets from coming under attack through a myriad of issues like stolen land, Jim Crow, violence and the like for 100 years AFTER Howard’s founding. However, the situation is as the situation is. According to NACUBO, Harvard’s endowment at the end of fiscal 2018 stood at $38.3 billion, while Howard’s endowment stands at $688.5 million. That gives Harvard about $55 for every $1 that Howard has.

ALUMNI GIVING RATE:

While there are a lot of factor that tie into alumni giving rates, the fact remains it is one of the more even playing fields that HBCUs and PWIs can compete in head to head. Why? A donation of ANY size counts towards the alumni giving rate. From $1 to $100 million, it counts the same in the alumni giving rate. Harvard ranks second in the Ivy League conference with a giving rate of 33.1 percent according to Yale Daily News. Howard, like many HBCUs alumni giving rate fails to even break double digits with a 7 percent giving rate according to the Washington Post. This area may be more problematic in closing the institutional gap more than almost any other. Harvard’s alumni just by their demographic have more wealth than Howard alumni so to have an alumni giving rate that is 500 percent higher just exacerbates the problem. European Americans have over 10 times the wealth that African Americans have, which means that Harvard alumni are likely giving higher dollar amount donations and clearly at a higher percentage. If Howard and HBCUs are going to close the ground, then they are going to have to have a higher giving rate. HBCUs are not getting major donors, but they can get a lot small donors to give a lot to make up the ground.

RESEARCH EXPENDITURES:

Just as scary as the endowments, the research expenditures that both schools touts an immense institutional gap. Although, a grain of sunshine, Howard does lead all HBCUs in research expenditure, while Harvard ranks ninth among PWIs. That being said, Harvard’s annual research expenditure is 24 times the size of Howard’s. Harvard, ranked ninth nationally in research expenditures, has a 2017 RE of $1.1 billion. Howard, ranked 203rd nationally in research expenditures, has a 2017 RE of $45.8 million. Unfortunately, Harvard’s research expenditures have been trending upward the past few years, while Howard’s have been trending downward.

ATHLETIC BUDGETS:

Both institutions compete in the FCS, formerly known as Division 1-AA, but there have been 41 FCS champions since the formation of the playoff in 1978 and only one HBCU has ever participated in the championship game. Florida A&M University won the FCS championship its inaugural season and no HBCU has been back since. The Ivy League on the other hand is one of three FCS conferences that simply opts out of the playoff all together. In the 1950s, the league itself simply considered sports not even a secondary priority some would say. That being said, Harvard’s athletic budget is still 70 percent larger than Howard’s and larger than virtually every HBCU. Harvard’s $17.6 million makes a world of difference on the football field compared to Howard’s $10.1 million. The Ivy League average on athletics is $27.1 million, while the average in the SWAC/MEAC is $9.7 million. This makes future contest not very exciting too look forward too if this is the margin by which our schools will be competing against.

BILLIONAIRES:

A potentially odd category to finish with, but one clearly relevant. Resources matter in higher education and when Harvard’s endowment is almost 20 times the size of all HBCUs combined, then you have to wonder just how the gap can be closed among HBCUs and PWIs. As of 2018, Harvard has 188 alumni who were billionaires. The most of any college in America. Howard University have none. HBCUs all told have two (Oprah Winfrey and Ann Kroenke).

Howard’s largest donation in school history was $6 million in 1987, which adjusted for inflation is $13.5 million. Harvard’s largest donation seems to be a moving target with billionaire after billionaire competing for the top spot. In comparison, Harvard received a $400 million gift in 2015 from one of its 188 billionaire alumni. No HBCU has ever received a donation of $100 million or more.

 

Jay-Z’s Billionaire Ascension Highlights The Black-White Billionaire Wealth Gap In America

“I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say “Because of you I didn’t give up.” – Reginald F. Lewis

Forbes Magazine recently declared that Shawn Carter AKA Jay-Z AKA Hova officially has the net worth to enter billionaire status. We wonder if there will be a follow-up to 50 Cent’s I Get Money song that was remixed and called the Billionaire Remix or Forbes 1-2-3 where Jay-Z, Diddy, and 50 Cent who at the time were worth a combined $1 billion between the three of them. Now, Jay-Z can do the song all by himself. Unfortunately, while social media celebrated Mr. Carter’s new found billionaire status, it does open up an additional layer to the conversation on the racial wealth gap in America. Of course, no one who is a billionaire is going to garner sympathy from Main Street America, but the lack of African American billionaires certainly can be argued as a point of why there is continued institutional weakness among Main Street African America.

African Americans make up 15 percent of the American population, but of the Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans there are only three who make the cut – Mr. Carter is not one of those three. This amounts to less than 1 percent representation. According to the website, “The minimum net worth to join this exclusive club hit an all-time high of $2.1 billion while the average net worth for a Forbes 400 member rose half a billion to a record $7.2 billion.” The only three African Americans present on the Forbes 400 are Robert Smith, who recently made headlines by promising to pay off all of Morehouse’s 2019 class student loan debt. Then there is David Steward, a man who could walk into almost every room in African America and would not be recognized, but has made his $3 billion fortune through co-founding an information technology firm that is integrated in the highest levels of corporate and government. Lastly, Oprah Winfrey, who ironically is not even the wealthiest HBCU graduate but is the wealthiest African American HBCU graduate. It would take 60 African American billionaires with a net worth exceeding $2.1 billion to be representative according to our population’s percentage. Overall, there were 680 billionaires in the United States in 2018 and only four of those at the time were African American, Michael Jordan being the fourth who is also a recently minted billionaire and also is a case study in himself of just how astonishing the wealth gap is among African American and European American billionaires, but more on that later. The irony of representation for African Americans is that the United States in 2018 comprised almost 25 percent of the world’s billionaires despite being less than 5 percent of the global population according to Wealth-X.

In 2014, the median wealth for African America stood at $9,590 versus $130,800 for European Americans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This means that for every $1 that African Americans have European Americans have approximately $14. This in itself is an astonishing number until you examine the gap among the billionaire class. The five wealthiest European Americans (Bezos, Gates, Buffett, Zuckerberg, & Ellison) have a combined net worth of $427.7 billion versus $13.4 billion for our billionaire five of Smith, Steward, Winfrey, Jordan, and Carter. It is a ratio of the aforementioned having $31 to every $1 of the latter, which is almost 2.5 times greater than the overall gap. For the gap to be progressively worse as the wealth goes higher is in some ways astonishing and in a lot of ways expected because of how the wealth is being created. Re-enter, Michael Jordan.

There is the man who built Nike and the man who owns Nike and they are not the same. Very few will argue that had Michael Jeffrey Jordan not signed with Nike in 1984 the company, founded and majority owned by Phil Knight, probably never becomes more than a two-bit player behind the likes of Adidas, Reebok, and New Balance. Jordan was a paradigm shift. The financial gods aligned the stars in 1984 for Phil Knight with the signing of the man who would become arguably the greatest NBA player of all-time, the NBA’s continued meteoric rise in popularity, cable television, and ESPN. All of these ingredients came together to take Nike from a company that in 1984 was doing $867 million in revenue to the behemoth that it is 35 years later with revenues of $36.4 billion. An increase of 4200 percent over the time period. Jordan’s brand accounts for almost 10 percent of the company’s revenues today despite Jordan himself not having played in the NBA for almost 20 years. No other brand comes close to the singular importance that Jordan still holds for Nike, and therefore Phil Knight. Yet, Knight’s net worth is almost $34 billion, while Jordan’s is only $1.9 billion. Ultimately, Jordan who earns around $100 million annually from Nike or 3.2 percent of the Jordan brand revenues is simply well compensated labor, while Knight, the owner, truly reaps the fruits of His Airness.

Consequences of these gaps is not unnoticed institutionally within communities. Billionaires tend to be major donors to institutions like education, healthcare, and more philanthropically. These are areas of institutional infrastructure for African America that are severely under built and underfunded.  Never mind the investments they make in the order of private equity or venture capital that spawns new generations of wealth and influence, which tends to lead into immense political influence in the form of political contributions that shapes policies for hundreds of millions. Phil Knight has contributed well over $2 billion to his former alma maters, the University of Oregon and Stanford Graduate School of Business,  an amount equal to the value of all 100 plus HBCU endowments combined. He has so much influence that the state of Oregon has changed laws just to accommodate his giving to the University of Oregon.

Unfortunately, coming back to one of Jay-Z’s most prolific lyrics tells a lot of the issues facing African American wealth accumulation where he says “I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man.” For many this line is interpreted as Mr. Carter braggadocios that he is bigger than just being Phil Knight, he is Nike – and he is right and that is where he is also wrong. Instead of controlling the company and brand, he is the company and brand. In other words, if he does not work, then he does not eat in a sense. Many of Mr. Carter’s businesses are built on their relationship to him. They are what is considered a lifestyle brand and he is the lifestyle brand you aspire to be. You drink his liquor or wear his clothes because this allows you to share in his coolness. For his business to continue to produce, then he himself must remain relevant. Three of the five African American billionaires have made their money via sports/entertainment and mainly off their own image, while four of the five European American billionaires have built their companies via technology and scaled those businesses to something that the entire world wants and needs. Even Mr. Buffett, who has largely made his money through investments and lords over companies like Geico, Wells Fargo, and many other companies is so integrated into people’s lives, often in ways they do not even realize on a day-to-day basis. Their companies and brands are far more well known to the world than the founders themselves. Governments buy Microsoft software. In fact, Microsoft Windows still accounts for use on almost 80 percent of the computers worldwide. They have created systemic companies, while our billionaires have created mostly popularity brands and as we know popularity eventually fades as new generations arise. The fact that Mr. Carter has remained relevant this long is a testament to him for sure (and his wife), but not something anyone should assume can last a lifetime. There is also the reality that even if it does, he can not pass his social capital along to his children, but Jeff Bezos’ children can and will most likely inherit Amazon even if they choose to not run it.

The situation is also not isolated to African America. Worldwide, the sons and daughters of Africa are battling the same fate. Asia is experiencing a meteoric rise in their billionaire class and now trails only Europe/US with the Diaspora with the most billionaires. Africa, one of the world’s fastest growing economies, has less than 2 percent of the world’s billionaires but contains over 15 percent of the world’s population – mainly, due to Asian and European interest continuing to siphon the continent of resources and burden it with predatory debt to their own interest and benefit. Simply put, we are not going to sing, dance, or chase balls in closing the wealth or power gap overall or the gap in the pantheons of the two. We are going to have to build institutions that wield wealth and power on a mass scale not just in small silos. Mr. Carter and Jamie Dimon are financially worth roughly the same, but Mr. Dimon is the CEO/Chairman of J.P. Morgan bank that controls almost $3 trillion in assets. An amount that is 600 times all African American owned banks combined. Mr. Dimon is not a business, man. He is “just” a businessman.

A multilayered cake is what the wealth gap entails like so many other issues that African America is looking for solutions to as a community. This data ultimately just gives us another layer to examine to help level the playing field. Mr. Carter’s billionaire status while admirable also should raise pertinent strategic questions for the community in its economic development. How is African American wealth being created? Is it scalable? Is it replicable? Are we seeing the wealth circulated back within the our community’s institutions? The reality of what it means that the gap at the apex of wealth is so pronounced must be examined and what it can tell us is still to be determined, but we do know that while men lie, women lie, numbers do not.

6 Financial Things HBCU Men Must Do Before Getting In A Serious Relationship

Teach self-denial and make its practice pleasure, and you can create for the world a destiny more sublime that ever issued from the brain of the wildest dreamer. – Sir Walter Scott

So you are a man now you say? You have graduated from your HBCU with degree in hand and maybe you have your dream job, maybe you are still looking, and maybe you are contemplating going to graduate school. Regardless of where you are in life, there is a strong chance that you have a desire to be in love. Before you give someone the world, make sure you have taken care of a few things before you embrace the responsibility that comes with a serious relationship.

Societal norms put the financial burden of courtship on men in heterosexual relationships. Historically, this makes sense because it has only been in very recent decades that women have earned the right to their own financial independence within many societies and in more than a few still have limited financial rights. However, this presents a bit complicated in the United States for African America where the women have surpassed men by leaps and bounds in almost every major category. It also does not help that African American men have the highest unemployment rate among all groups in the country, which creates a courtship complexity of sorts within the community. African American men who are 20-24 years old as of December 2018 had a 11.8 percent unemployment rate, while their European American men peers were at 5.9 percent and African American women peers were 7.5 percent. That being said, for African American men who are part of the LGBTQ community, the instability can be even more pronounced since both parties are part of the most vulnerable economic population and will be facing additional discrimination.

A relationship can be an expensive endeavor, according to a USA Today study the average date cost $102.32 and if you assume one date a week in a relationship that comes out to a total of $5,320.64 per year. This of course is not including special dates or holidays where the purchase of gifts, etc. can drive that cost even higher. The problem of course is that African American median income, last among all ethnic groups, is at $40,258 according to the 2017 Census. In other words, over 13 percent of African American income can be used up in dating, while no other groups even spend 10 percent.

To say the calculus is complicated would be an understatement. Do African Americans simply not date? This of course would be problematic since one of the fundamental ways of building wealth is through the scalability of marriage. Instead, get a strong financial foundation under you by adhering to these six principles and objectives:

BE HONEST. BE HONEST. BE HONEST.

This honestly could be the whole article, but it is certainly worth leaning into. Being honest about your finances up front with the person you are dating can take a lot of pressure off them and yourselves. This does not mean you have to tell them everything right away, but if you can not afford to do something tell them and do not feel ashamed of it. If you want to share with them that you have certain financial goals you want to meet, then do so and let them be part of what you are trying to accomplish not an adversary to it.

HAVE AN EMERGENCY FUND – NO, SERIOUSLY.

African American men are the most vulnerable population as it relates to employment as the numbers bear out. As such, if you are a recent graduate and happen to have employment you can not save fast enough. Most personal finance experts will say as a general rule 3-6 months of expenses is a healthy emergency fund, but for African American men 9-12 months is much more imperative. An emergency fund can take the edge off of dating because you know that you and your date are not spending your potential car note or rent payment. Do NOT touch it except for an emergency. Also, do not base your emergency fund off expenses, but instead use gross income. You want to have 9-12months of gross incomes saved. Saving based on  your income instead of expenses will allow you to maintain some semblance of a normal life should an emergency arise.

SET EXPECTATIONS AND A BUDGET.

Once you decide to send someone flowers every Monday, fine dining every Friday, and a trip every other month you have set an expectation. Now, this is not to say you can not do those things, but they need to be within the confines of your budget. You should have an amount that you are going to spend every month on dating activities. If you want to save for something a bit more costly, spend a bit less each month and set it aside until you can afford that moment. Should your finances change and you need to alter the budget and expectations, remember – be honest.

BE CREATIVE.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to spend a lot on someone to let them know you care about them. The internet is full of helpful resources that can help you create low to no cost dates. Feel free to also use your social media networks for ideas.

DO NOT CONFUSE INCOME WITH WEALTH.

Income is not wealth. Again, income is NOT wealth. Assets build wealth and you have to use your income to acquire assets. Beyond your emergency fund, you should be thinking about saving to invest in stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. Find a financial/investment adviser as soon as you have a job. You do not have to wait until you have “money” to start investing. The earlier you start, the greater chance you will have of creating wealth over the long-term. Passive income, money earned from not having to work, should be a central focus of what you use your income for. Do no squander away the opportunity to set up yourself and future family while you have the opportunity.

LEAVE THE MATERIALISM FOR SOMEONE ELSE.

We have all seen that friend or friends who gets a job after college and decides to go on a spending spree for the nice car, clothes, and showing off for Instagram. This is not the man you want to be. Becoming a slave to material possessions and forsaking your financial future while being part of a labor population that is the most vulnerable is not only not smart, but dangerous. Material things lose value and defer from your ability to invest among other things.

Ultimately, if you are a man and are not financially safe or stable, then you are not ready for a serious relationship with anyone. Do not confuse stable for rich. Most of the time financially stability can be achieved in a relatively short period with the proper sacrifices (like having a roommate or two or three) after graduating. Becoming financially literate is vital to helping remove the stresses of finances in African American relationships. A stress that is often noted as being the greatest area of conflict within relationships. After all, love does not cost a thing, but bad financial habits do.