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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.

 

African America’s April Jobs Report – 7.9%


Overall Unemployment: 4.4% (4.5%)

African America Unemployment: 7.9% (8.0%)

Latino America Unemployment: 5.2% (5.1%)

European America Unemployment: 3.8% (3.9%)

Asian America Unemployment: 3.2% (3.3%)

Previous month in parentheses.

Analysis: Overall unemployment dropped by 10 basis points. This is the lowest unemployment rate since May 2007. All groups had 10 basis point drops except for Latino America who experienced a 10 basis point increase.

African American Male Unemployment: 7.3% (8.2%)

African American Female Unemployment: 6.9% (6.6%)

African American Teenage Unemployment: 29.3% (24.3%)

African American Male Participation: 68.3% (68.1%)

African American Female Participation: 62.7% (62.7%)

African American Teenage Participation: 30.8% (27.7%)

Analysis: African American Males saw a 90 basis point decrease in unemployment rate and 20 basis point increase in their participation rate. African American Females had a 30 basis point increase in their unemployment rate, while the participation rate went unchanged. Lastly, African American Teenagers unemployment rose by 500 basis points, but also had 310 basis point increase in their participation rate which is the highest over the past five months.

African American Male-Female Job Gap: 974 000 jobs (1.113 million jobs)

CONCLUSION: The overall economy added 211 000 jobs in April. This is versus an expected 185 000 by surveyed economists. African America added a significant 105 000 jobs. The positive numbers across the board should help the Federal Reserve move to a rate hike in June. This is the highest employed number, labor force, and participation rate over the past five months for African America. What is driving this continued push up in jobs? Job growth has been largely concentrated in low-wage areas where African Americans make up a disproportionate amount of the labor force. It continues to be a hold your breath month to month with the economy so late in the economic cycle.

African America currently needs 713 000 jobs to match America’s unemployment rate. A decrease of 20 000 from March.

African America’s March Jobs Report – 8.0%


Overall Unemployment: 4.5% (4.7%)

African America Unemployment: 8.0% (8.1%)

Latino America Unemployment: 5.1% (5.6%)

European America Unemployment: 3.9% (4.1%)

Asian America Unemployment: 3.3% (3.4%)

Previous month in parentheses.

Analysis: Overall unemployment dropped 20 basis points. All groups saw a decline, led by Latino America with 50 basis points.

African American Male Unemployment: 8.2% (7.8%)

African American Female Unemployment: 6.6% (7.1%)

African American Teenage Unemployment: 24.3% (24.3%)

African American Male Participation: 68.1% (67.8%)

African American Female Participation: 62.7% (62.7%)

African American Teenage Participation: 27.7% (30.0%)

Analysis: African American males saw an increase of 40 basis points, while females saw a decrease of 50 basis points in unemployment rates. African American teenagers saw a decrease of 230 basis points in their participation rate, the lowest number in the past five months.

CONCLUSION:  The overall economy added 98 000 jobs in March. A grave disappointment from the 235 000 jobs added in February and approximately half of the 180 000 many economist expected. Many will point to two major stumbling blocks in the economy right now being lack of tax cuts and infrastructure build that would provide stimulus to the economy. It is worth noting that over the past month, ETF indexes that short each of the major indexes have been begun to trend upward. A sign that the air maybe coming out of one of the longest bull runs after a recession in history.

African America currently needs 693 000 jobs to match America’s unemployment rate. An decrease of 45 000 from February.

 

African America’s February Jobs Report – 8.1%


Overall Unemployment: 4.8% (4.7%)

African America Unemployment: 8.1% (7.7%)

Latino America Unemployment: 5.6% (5.9%)

European America Unemployment: 4.1% (4.3%)

Asian America Unemployment: 3.4% (3.7%)

Previous month in parentheses.

Analysis: Overall unemployment went unchanged. All groups saw a decline, except for African America, with a 40 basis point increase. Asian and Latino America tied with decreases of 30 basis points.

African American Male Unemployment: 7.8% (7.3%)

African American Female Unemployment: 7.1% (6.7%)

African American Teenage Unemployment: 24.3% (26.9%)

African American Male Participation: 67.8% (68.1%)

African American Female Participation: 62.7% (62.6%)

African American Teenage Participation: 30.0% (30.4%)

Analysis: African American teenagers saw a decline by 260 basis points in their unemployment rate, while men and women saw increases. Only African American women saw a rise in their participation rate by 10 basis points, with men and teenagers seeing significant pullbacks in the area.

CONCLUSION: The overall economy added 235 000 jobs in February. A small uptick from the 227 000 in January, but well above the 190 000 estimates. This is the first jobs report of the Trump presidency and if the goal was to restore European America’s faith that this is their country, then the jobs report definitely reflects it. European Americans added a jaw dropping 429 000 jobs in February, while African America lost 67 000 jobs. A looming rate hike for March could push the economy closer to a recession even though the market seems to be barreling ahead, there is definitely signs of steam coming out in the deeper economic data.

African America currently needs 738 000 jobs to match America’s unemployment rate. An increase of 76 000 from January.

 

African America’s January Jobs Report – 7.7%


jobs

Overall Unemployment: 4.8% (4.7%)

African America Unemployment: 7.7% (7.8%)

Latino America Unemployment: 5.9% (5.9%)

European America Unemployment: 4.3% (4.3%)

Asian America Unemployment: 3.7% (2.6%)

Previous month in parentheses.

Analysis: Overall unemployment rose 10 basis points. African America was the only decline in unemployment rate with a decrease of 10 basis points. Asian America saw the largest increase with a rise of 110 basis points European and Latino America both went unchanged.

African American Male Unemployment: 7.6% (7.3%)

African American Female Unemployment: 6.7% (6.8%)

African American Teenage Unemployment: 26.9% (25.7%)

African American Male Participation: 68.1% (67.7%)

African American Female Participation: 62.6% (62.3%)

African American Teenage Participation: 30.4% (27.6%)

Analysis: African American men saw a 30 basis point increase in their unemployment and 40 basis point increase in their participation rate. African American women saw a 10 basis point decrease in their unemployment rate and 30 basis point increase in their participation rate. African American teenagers saw a 120 basis point increase in their unemployment rate and a 280 basis point increase in their participation rate.

CONCLUSION: The overall economy added 227 000 jobs in January. A noticeable difference from the 156 000 in December. African America added a sizzling 153 000 jobs in January to begin the year. The official last jobs report for the Obama administration and the first jobs report of the Trump administration. For the Trump administration, this jobs report could largely signal how the business community feels about the incoming presidency and the momentum since the election. It appears that yes, even African America feels optimistic. A real surprise if you take the pulse of social media, but social media can often be a contradictory bubble highlighting people’s social values and not necessarily their economic needs or perceptions. In all fairness, the inertia in the fundamentals of the economy are driving much of this and regardless of who was going to be president there appears to be a bit more room to run in economic growth. A fact that could lead to a record breaking 20 million African Americans going into the labor force if the trend holds up in February.

African America currently needs 662 000 jobs to match America’s unemployment rate. An increase of 43 000 jobs from December.