Making it Rain: 8 Signs You’re a Victim of the Hip-Hop Effect

September 15, 2011  |  
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Hip-hop moguls continue to infect pop culture and set the pace for what is perceived as wealth; and while the likes of Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West are, in fact, among the super-rich, the vast majority of their fans are not. But, it doesn’t stop them from making music that boasts of Hermes shopping sprees and overweight egos. Listen to Rick Ross long enough and most people start feeling a little bossy.

The “if you ain’t doin’ it big, then you ain’t doin’ nothin’” mentality behind hip-hop music and the culture it has created is directly related to hyper-consumerism and a false sense of wealth. Paycheck-to-paycheck living is neither rich nor wealthy. And, during recessions and depressions, the people still standing comfortably are those who are wealthy.

Think you may have fallen victim to a song or two? Here are a few signs the hip-hop effect has a hold on you:

1. You don’t have a budget.

Budgets allot for what you can afford and it should be a goal to always spend less than what you have. Wealthy people budget their money; they know when, where and how every penny is spent. Sacrifice in the short-run for long-term financial freedom.

2. You pay bills at leisure.

Bills exist because people deserve payment for their services. And, they should get their money on time. Late and non-existent payments negatively affect your credit score, which makes it difficult to get the large loans you may need in the future and can also affect your chances at buying cars and owning a home.

3. You don’t have any savings accounts.

Nothing is guaranteed and your financial situation can change drastically overnight. Just look at the former executives now waiting in unemployment lines. It’s important to save for rainy days, invest and stash for retirement. Social security isn’t what it used to be and you don’t want to be 75 years old struggling to make ends meet.

4. You drive a car you can’t maintain.

Luxury cars are expensive to maintain, from pricey insurance to gas to tags. If you get into a fender-bender and cannot afford repairs, you can’t afford the car. If an oil change means no groceries, give it back. Better to drive a healthy Ford Focus than an Audi A5 gasping for air.

5. You make $40,000/year and spend $10K on weaves.

Celebrity hair takes celebrity money. Cut your losses until your disposable income reaches that level and make the best of what you have.

6. Your apartment closet is filled with Jimmy Choos.

Chances are you don’t own your apartment, so it would be wiser to put your money toward purchasing assets rather than items that depreciate.

7. You wait at the bus stop, Coach bag in hand.

$400 handbag and no car? Not only are you asking for someone to rob you, it’s just not smart.

8. You have a smartphone and unlimited data plan but no health insurance.

Smartphones are not necessities and neither are unlimited data plans. You don’t need apps or the ability to surf the Web. If you can’t pay $200 per month for decent health coverage, surely you can’t afford a $200 phone bill. Prioritize. Health is more important than style.

LaShaun Williams is a Madame Noire contributor and columnist whose work has appeared in the New York Times. For more information, visit her blog Politically Unapologetic or follow her on Twitter @itsmelashaun.


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