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January 15, 2009

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Pamela

Sidebar: I love reading blogs like this where they focus on the non-romantic side of relationships. These are the issues that kill relationships.

For people that put a good foot rub ABOVE their financial future I tell them to please stop this. I am speaking thinking about my Mom. My Dad died March 11 after almost 59 years of marriage. My Dad retired from the military. Because of this both of them had one of the best medi-gap health plans out there. With all the medical bills Dad had it looks like Mom will hardly owe anything on them. She would not have that benefit if she had never married. My Dad and I spoke about what to do if he died first. At the time he was concerned that Mom would not be able to keep the house and that we would have to sell. I am glad to say that even with a drop in income Mom is able to keep her same standard of living with no help from anyone, some of it from spousal benefits from Dad's retirement. She CHOSE to stay in their home. I was glad that she had that choice.

I am TEMPORARILY unmarried. However I was raised to take care of my financial business. I had one financial setback because of a long layoff several years ago that I am in the process of taking care of. I have had people tell me that I should wait to get married before purchasing a home (not exclusive advice for bw). I have also heard, no man will want a woman that has more than you do. I thought they had lost their minds. I waited until 2001 to purchase my home, not because of that stupid advice. I am SO glad that I did this.

One of my girlfriends about 1 1/2 years ago married for the first time at 45-years-old. She is married to a bm that has some sense and loves her dearly. Her tale is amazing to me. I mention her because before she married she continually struggled with her finances. She had not completed college and her financial situation was really messed up. The first thing I noticed when she married that almost immediately her financial situation changed. She has always wanted her own home but that was not happening while she was single. They are working together to get their credit cleaned up and sometime this year they will be purchasing a home. She started working a job that she grew to hate while unmarried. Right before Christmas she decided to quit that job and look for a part time job that she liked. Had she been single she would have been stuck there. As we speak she is completing her college education, something she would have never been able to do beforehand.

I would tell any unmarried woman to take care of her financial business NOW. The marriage may happen tomorrow or it may take a few years. Do not bank on it happening soon and do nothing. That is the biggest mistake that can be made. I truly believe the less financial pressures that a couple has will do nothing but benefit the marriage. Some people may be turned off by a partner with a lot of unnecessary debt (excluding extenuating circumstances that arise). Do whatever you can do to better your financial situation WHILE HUNTING THAT MAN DOWN. LOL

lisa99

Thanks for these articles. I find that the BC is incredibly short-sighted about the benefits of marriage and the financial/social/mental/etc. benefits that it has.

On another board, there was yet another discussion about the decline of the BC and BW taking up the slack for men and not having time to be focused on their kids 24/7... and the question was, "What is the solution?"

A lot of people said that the solution comes down to marrying well, having kids AFTER the marriage and setting a foundation upon which you will build your legacy. Some folks said that sounded so simplistic... but the counterargument was that we can't think in terms of quick fixes, and that we need to think of generational solutions that will have a much larger impact than mentoring programs, volunteering and other goverment-oriented programs that attempt (and usually fail) to fill in the gap left behind by poor family structures.

The best answer is building stable communities through stable marriages and families. And again, MORE BW need to read these types of articles and recognize what they will truly be missing if they keep listening to terrible advice that tells them to "wait on God," or "embrace their singleness as a gift."

Evia

Thanks, Pamela for chiming in with your parents' situation. Yep, there's a lot of unromantic parts to a good relationship--LIKE MONEY. LOL!

AA women must aim to marry WELL--just like ALL groups of other women do or at least the sensible ones do in those groups. This is one reason why many parents want to move to better neighborhoods, so that their children can be around peers who aspire to financially more comfortable lives. The thing is that while other women are taught to look for a guy who has something to offer them financially and otherwise, AA women are too often being taught how they have to pick up the slack for a man and we know she's not being taught to pick up the slack for a wm!!

I was always determined to be financially comfortable, so when I look back, a lot of my decisions were made with that in mind.
So let's talk about the money side of a relationship/marriage.

I would have been okay if I had remained single with no children, but the minute a man started looking at me expecting me to have children, I started looking at him expecting him to bring money because in order to have children, you have to have money or there'll be suffering for the woman and the children and I wasn't about to allow that to happen to me. So the second a man started looking at me--even thinking about having sex with me, I started looking at his pocketbook--because I know that any time you have sex with a man, there is the possibility that the woman can get pregnant. She is also risking other things too. She is JEOPARDIZING herself, so the man has to be financially prepared to offset some of what could happen. I wasn't going to come up holding the short end of the stick.

Felicia

Thank you for posting this information Evia.

It is SO important for BW to think LONG TERM instead of just today.

And what kills me is ALL of this information is easily accessible and available to the public at large.

Yet, I fear a certain percentage of BW still get their news primarily from black publications and/or word of mouth.

Talking about the blind leading the blind...

Ladies, you MUST care about your life and what comes of it. It is YOUR responsibility and no one else's.

As adults you must have a questioning and inquisitive mind. Not be on "automatic robot".

IMO MOST BW these days certainly appear to be on "automatic robot" and it's to their detriment. And if they live long enough, they will see EXACTLY where this magical thinking leads.

To the poor house - and these days - NO HOUSE.

It's true that things are MUCH WORSE economically speaking than the talking heads are leading us to believe.

It's going to be CHAOS in the near future for those BW (the majority) left behind...

Ladies, all YOU have to do is make sure YOU'RE not one of them.

Start taking care of your finances NOW and start dating, mating, and procreating WISELY.

EVERYTHING depends on it.

Pamela

I recently started using Facebook. I have reconnected with a good number of my friends from college. THIS MORNING I found out that two of my married friends, both of them with one child, have divorced or separated. One removed her hyphenated name and is going by her maiden name. I know she is divorced. The other one still has her married name on her profile so she is at least separated but maybe not yet divorced.

One of them just left her husband and moved to another city close to me. If I remember correctly the daughter is probably 7-8 years old. She did not marry until she was 40. I was not around her so I do not know if she was in the number of 'only a bm will do' or not. She is 49 now.

The other one I would see every now and then but had no real contact with her. She has a 16-year-old daughter.

My first thought was wondering how much their income had dropped. Being a daughter that had both parents in the home I thought about what will happen to male influences in their daughter's lives. My Dad was not perfect BUT worked hard to make sure that I did NOT mess with fools. I truly believe that if I dared to bring some fool to Mom and said that I was in love that Dad would be tempted to come back from the dead and scare the crap out of me screaming 'HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND???' The FIRST question that BOTH OF THEM would ask me is 'Does he has a good job?' or 'Is he a good provider?' My mom has no worries about what type of man I will bring home. He better have it on the ball in the area of finances.

I could care less if a fool refers to me as a gold-digger for wanting a man to be a good provider. That person just revealed to me that he is NOT FOR ME!!!!

Lorraine

Both good articles Felicia. Thanks.

"It's really CRIMINAL AND EVIL that the information in the above reports is not blasting from black radio stations and leaping off the pages of black-owned print media."


They either can't or won't face the obvious.


Oshun

Lord have mercy. I read this article and ended up having a long talk about this with my mother.

I had no idea. I agree that BW maybe don't think long term or big picture when thinking of the benefits of marriage.


I am one of them. I had not even considered this at all.

Thanks for the post Evia and Felicia.

lisa99

Oshun, things were never expressed to me in this way either.

Because marriage is not emphasized today in the BC, we're not taught to think of marriage in terms of building a community and a legacy through our families. We're so busy talking about "getting by," and glamorizing the "struggle," that we miss out on government-sponsored programs that are actually designed to benefit us and contribute to our economic welfare.

This idea of building a legacy and generational wealth is also why BW can't afford to marry someone who's barely employed and cannot support his family, and particularly noticeable is the fact that the BC is losing ground economically and household incomes are declining for blacks for the first time since slavery. I'm sure that's because of the growing number of single-parent households, and the fact that it's darn near impossible to build a strong foundation for you and your children when you are doing EVERYTHING on your own.

We need to realize that marriage is not just about being in "luv," (although that's a great thing) and that selecting a financially stable partner is of the utmost importance.

And equally as important, as you see, is the fact that we need to stop acting like it's just as good to stay single all your life as long as you have friends, family, God, the church, blah blah blah... there are serious costs to going through your entire life unmarried, and too many black women are going to find this out the hard way.

Beverly

Evia,

Your articles got me thinking and I did an internet search. I hope it's okay for me to post this info here. But here's a list of the financial benefits of marriage I found online at:http://www.nolo.com/article.cfm/ObjectID/E0366844-7992-4018-B581C6AE9BF8B045/catID/F896EE61-B80C-4FE1-B1687AC0F07903BA/118/304/ART/


Marriage Rights and Benefits

Learn some of the legal and practical ways that getting married changes your life.

Whether or not you favor marriage as a social institution, there's no denying that it confers many rights, protections, and benefits -- both legal and practical. Some of these vary from state to state, but the list typically includes:
Tax Benefits

* Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
* Creating a "family partnership" under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

Estate Planning Benefits

* Inheriting a share of your spouse's estate.
* Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
* Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.
* Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse -- that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse’s behalf.

Government Benefits

* Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.
* Receiving veterans' and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
* Receiving public assistance benefits.
Employment Benefits

* Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse's employer.
* Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
* Receiving wages, workers' compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
* Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse’s close relatives dies.

Medical Benefits

* Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
* Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

Death Benefits

* Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
* Making burial or other final arrangements.

Family Benefits

* Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
* Applying for joint foster care rights.
* Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
* Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

Housing Benefits

* Living in neighborhoods zoned for "families only."
* Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

Consumer Benefits

* Receiving family rates for health, homeowners', auto, and other types of insurance.
* Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
* Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
Other Legal Benefits and Protections

* Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).
* Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
* Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can’t force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
* Receiving crime victims' recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
* Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
* Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

Evia

Beverly, thank you SO MUCH for researching the benefits of marriage AND sending them. I've posted them here, but I'm going to put them on the front page of the Ezine in my next essay. THANK YOU!! This is what bw need to focus on-- where they want to go and NEED to go in order to survive and thrive, instead of focusing on NV and LV people in their lives.

And these are only the financial and legal benefits of marriage. There are so many EMOTIONAL and Social benefits too. Maybe, someone could find those already written out. I'd love to simply focus on this topic for my next two essays, at least.

Beverly

Evia,

You're welcome. Thank you for your in-depth and honest articles.

sistrunkqueen

YES marriage is very important for bw and it is a matter of life and death too. Here in the ATL there was an article in the AJC about educated black women losing their homes to foreclosures. We are the highest demographic in the foreclosure market in Atlanta(single black women). These women are single moms too and they have to make some very hard decisions and guess what they are doing to make ends meet. Filling out job applications at STRIP CLUBS. Atlanta has a very vibrant adult entertainment industry and these educated black women with their MBAs, PHD's and Master's are shaking their asses at the strip club to pay the mortgages and keep food on the table for their little ones. What if they were married to real men? If they had a husband with some income they would not have to make such a dire decision. Also on a black radio station they were advertising for women to audtion at one of the most popular clubs in Atlanta Magic City. The promoters were bragging that sister with law degrees were dancers. Aint that something. It is the sign of the times. The black community is exploiting black women and we are so gullible that it is tolerated.

Gloryus

Thanks to Evia for posting both articles and thanks to Beverly for posting all the benefits. I'm not a married woman yet (I'm 24) but information like that is very important to know. Man! To think that a lot of black women are missing out on benefits like this because they're waiting...... SMH

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