All Articles Tagged "finances"

Hey Madame: Are Low Funds An Excuse Not To Get Married?

September 10th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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Excuse Not To Get Married

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Hey Madame,

Is a man’s excuse for not marrying you yet — “because I don’t have money?” — a good excuse? And what about living together before marriage? Good idea or bad idea? What if we both have similar goals? We both want to get married but our finances aren’t exactly where we would like them to be.

Victoria: First question — In my opinion, not having money is a legit excuse. I don’t think we consider all that comes with popping the question and preparing for marriage. A man often has to buy a ring that’s not cheap, and you will have to share finances and prepare to put up money to have a wedding. If he doesn’t feel financially stable enough yet, at least he’s honest about it. But if you all have been together for quite some time and you feel like he’s just using it as an excuse to keep stringing you along, then yeah, it might be a problem. If you’ve been together very long and he still hasn’t considered even trying to save or get his money straight, he’s playing games.

Second question — For me, moving in together is just a no-no. I think when people are engaged, it’s not so bad of an idea, but when you are just dating, you could be setting yourself up for a trap. You could end up living with this man for years and years with no incentive to put a ring on your finger because you’re already living the married life. Folks get comfortable very easy. And I think if you guys decide to go your separate ways, you’re sharing bills and you’ve bought things together and so it’s not an easy exit. But if you’re not worried about those things, your relationship is stable (as in you’ve been together for a while), you really want to share rent and save money and you both have the same goals for the future as you say, why not?

Brande: I wouldn’t consider a lack of money an excuse unless your partner has been using that line for years. Money is a legitimate concern when it comes to a decision this big. Engagement rings, wedding ceremonies, and homes are all significant financial investments and often the monetary burden of these things weighs on men as heavily as, if not more than, the weight of a lifetime commitment. I’m not a fan of living together before marriage, but given what I just said, I wouldn’t move in with your guy unless it was strictly a financial move to save for a wedding. That means you two would have a discussion about why you’re moving in together (it’s the next step toward marriage) and establish a one- to three-year plan for saving in order to pay for a ring, ceremony, and possibly a new place together after you jump the broom. Financial issues are one of the top causes of divorce. You don’t want to go into a permanent union with these things unresolved; nor do you want to marry a man whose commitment you’re unsure of.

Jazmine: For your first question, I would say that financial stability is a major part of getting married. An engagement ring and wedding ceremony are only the beginning of the financial responsibilities that are ahead. In many cases, when a man takes a woman as his wife, he wants to be in the position to provide for her. Are there men who will use their lack of funds as an excuse to avoid marriage? Absolutely. But only you know whether or not your guy is the type to do that. Has he expressed a desire to marry you or is this a conversation that you are the only one initiating? Is he making steps towards bettering his financial situation or does he seem reluctant about the whole thing?

As for your second question, personally, I would avoid living together before marriage. It’s great that you all have similar goals, which means you two can put your heads together and figure out how you can get your finances in order for marriage. If the two of you can afford to continue living separately, I’d stick with that for now.

Veronica: This is a tricky one for me. Rings and weddings and honeymoons cost a ton of money. That’s true. But at the same time you can go to the justice of the peace and get married on a Tuesday. So, while it is a valid point I can’t say it’s a “good excuse.” But if a man wants to have a wedding done a certain way, that’s something that you should be able to respect. In the meantime though, have conversations about when the both of you want to be married–if he does at all– and what you’ll need, financially and emotionally, in order to make that happen when the both of you are comfortable with it.As for living together, that’s a question you’ll have to answer for yourself. Personally, it’s not something I would do because I think it’s harder to leave those relationships when necessary. But that’s my personal preference. If you’re already having issues wondering if this person genuinely wants to marry you, maybe you should hold off on moving in until you see where the whole marriage thing is going to go. We’ve all heard stories of women moving in or moving their man in and they never get married because there’s no incentive. I’m not saying that’s what will happen to you but there are some very vital answers you need first.

Lauren: If your significant other is not financially stable, it would be best for you both to financially plan how you will pay for your wedding and eventually, married life. If your partner isn’t willing to make a plan, you should take that as a sign he’s not ready for marriage or may not want to marry you. I think it’s perfectly fine to live together before you are married but if marriage is the ultimate goal you are striving for, have that conversation with him before you move in together. Living with your boyfriend gives insight on how he manages household duties and his level of cleanliness. These factors help you understand him better as a person and it also adds another layer of intimacy.

Un-Break Your Bank Account! How To Bounce Back After Bankruptcy

September 9th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be both a tough and devastating decision. Not only will it remain on your credit report up to a decade (depending on the type of bankruptcy you file), but can also place a scarlet letter on your chest, making loans and purchases more difficult to obtain.

There have been many celebs who filed in attempts to wipe their own slate clean. So what’s a person to do once they have undergone the necessary actions to become bankrupt? While it might seem like your life is over, there are some steps you can take to pick yourself up.

Check out the trailer for “When The Checks Stop Coming In,” the latest from Moguldom Studios here. Purchase your copy today!

8 Tips For Mothers Who Want Side Hustles

April 21st, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Latina Madre 

Every woman should have some type of income that is hers and hers alone. Sure you can share it with your family (who wouldn’t) but heaven forbid things take a turn for the worst. There should be a financial cushion to keep things going.

Whether you are working a 9 to 5 job or are a stay at home mother, there are tons of ways to make money on the side. 

Read more about financial tips at 

Straight From His Mouth: How Much Do A Woman’s Finances Affect Her Marriage Potential?

April 7th, 2014 - By Dr. J
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Woman's Finances

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When a man sits down and thinks about the woman he’s dating and if he wants to move on to marriage, there are several things that go through his mind. I wouldn’t say that a woman’s finances are one of the first things that come to mind but it can quickly become the elephant in the room if the matter is out of order. That being said, I also wouldn’t recommend a man get too into the details of her finances either because the process of marriage will do that on its own. I personally have never asked a woman for her credit score or an exact amount of her debt. I have noticed the way she handles her finances, though. Does she pay her bills on time? Does she avoid phone calls from certain numbers? Does she have a twitch in her eye when she hears the words Sallie Mae? Those are the things that I pay attention to early on in the relationship so that they don’t become the elephant in the room later.

Taking a step back, to the people who tend to think that it’s acceptable to dive into someone’s finances when they’re assessing if they can date them or not, that a bit off. People are more than welcome to approach dating however they see fit but they should know they will turn some people away with their behavior. It’s okay to ask someone you’re marrying about their finances but dating — that’s just invasive. And yet people feel like they have a right to know but to be honest, you just have a desire to know. It’s a desire that is personal in nature and really doesn’t have any indication on whether you will continue to date them or not. You can certainly date someone with bad credit or debt; it doesn’t affect you.

I encourage people to keep in mind that we’re currently in a financial crisis in this country. You’ll meet more people who have college loan debt than you will people without it. You’re going to meet people who have made bad financial decisions (we all have done it at some point in some regard) and you’re going to meet people who’ve struggled financially. I would go as far as saying that you’ll meet people who may have gone bankrupt or even foreclosed on a home. This is an indication of the times that we live in and I don’t think those people should have to walk around with a scarlet letter.

What really matters is what a person does when they face financial crises. Do they run away and avoid their problems or do they face them head on? Are they working to deal with their problems? If so, then you can likely deal with that and accept it. It also shows you the resilience that comes with working out a hardship. That’s a trait that goes a long way in a relationship because it shows you that when things aren’t easy, you’re with someone who can work through it with you.

That’s the real thing you want to address and find in a partner. It’s not necessarily about their financial position or the amount of debt they have but how they handle tough issues in their life. Nobody wants to be broke but you can live without being rich. Anyone who is dating on the basis of how much income they will have in their household is not going to find true happiness. The couples who do it well don’t make finances an issue; they make it something that they can work through together. What they’re doing is their working through life together. It can be anything in the form of hardship that comes into a relationship. A person could have a perfect credit score but they can’t figure out how to keep their past from ruining their present. That could be more of a deal breaker than a sub-500 credit score.

7 Games Men Love To Play In Relationships

March 28th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Single Black Male 

We all know that men love games, often to our detriment. For whatever reasons, men have been wired to play games and have killed many relationships as a result. Below are 7 board games that men have projected into their own lives and romantic relationships.

1.)    Candy Land: Men love sweet, delicious, “candy.” They will walk, run, and camp out on the road to get that sweet, delicious  “candy.” The greatest offense that men make in Candy Land is letting their imagination drift too far from reality.

2.)    Scrabble: Making women work through information (lack of information, mis-information, false information) to determine where they stand in your life. The greatest offense that men make in Scrabble is that think transparency is not a part of the game.

3.)    Jenga: Physically/mentally moving blocks from the bottom of the tower without making the tower fall. Men do this all the time in relationships, removing foundational pieces to the relationship (trust, honesty, communication) and believing that the tower (relationship) won’t fall. The greatest offense that men make in Jenga is that they don’t value those foundational blocks.

4.)    Monopoly: Forsaking everything, including relationships for financial advancement and power. The greatest offense that men make in Monopoly, they get consumed with more of the wrong things.

Read more about love and games at 


Liz Weston’s ‘The 10 Commandments Of Money’ Teaches The Rules Of The New Economy

March 26th, 2014 - By Michelle Alerte
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10-commandxLooking for a way to get your head above financial waters? In The 10 Commandments of Money: Survive & Thrive In The New Economy by Liz Wetson, readers get 10 comprehensive chapters detailing 10 clear and simple strategies for surviving and thriving in the current economic climate. Each commandment starts with three rules: The Old-School Rules, The Bubble Economy Rules and The New Rules. Each rule demonstrates how the financial world continues to evolve.

The first commandment — “Create a Budget That Works in the Real World” — sets the stage for the type of advice you can expect throughout. Weston breaks up the financial advice with the definitions of Insider Terms like 401(k), Enrolled agent, and Personal Savings Rate. And she ends each chapter with action steps to guide readers. Sections are blocked off to answer frequently asked questions or give valuable tidbits of information.

Although for most of us, myself included, wrapping our heads around financial terms and action steps can seem daunting, Weston makes The 10 Commandments of Money comprehensible, filling it with practical advice that anyone can use to get started with making important changes today. “Aim for a spending plan where your ‘must-have’ expenses don’t exceed 50 percent of your after tax-income. Wants are corralled to 30 percent and you’re saving or repaying debt with the remaining 20 percent,” she writes.

With commandments like, “Pay Off Debt the Smart Way,” “Treat Your Marriage like a Business,” and “Defend Yourself in the War on Consumers” everyone will find answers to the questions they’ve always had. Many readers may find the Insider Terms to be most valuable since understanding difficult financial terms makes approaching finances a whole lot less intimidating.

Besides the practical issues, Weston turns her attention to special cases in order to help people who aren’t living within life’s usual circumstances. “How to Budget if Your Income Isn’t Regular” will be particularly helpful for the millions of self-employed people working in today’s business landscape. And Weston offers advice on creating multiple income streams, which includes work from administrative assistant to pet service provider. Each job outlines creative tips on where and how to get in the door. Even on the topic of remodeling your home, Weston takes the time to explain how to discover which remodels make sense and how to pay for them.

The 10 Commandments of Money may not answer all financial questions or solve all financial mishaps, but readers will definitely get a major head-start in a multitude of directions. Weston’s advice in the book touches on as much as any single book can and offers a “Resources” section of additional books to further provide readers with invaluable sources.

According to Nielsen NetRatings, Weston is the number-one most-read personal finance columnist on the internet. She writes for MSN Money, AARP The Magazine, and has a syndicated newspaper column called “Money Talk.” Weston is also a regular contributor for Marketplace Money, Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered on public radio. She has also written a bestselling book titled, Your Credit Score.

Why Code-Switching Is Important For Your Career

January 15th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Black Enterprise

Through the years, the African-American community has been struggling with the ability to brand success and intelligence as being cool. Particularly with black male teens and adults, oftentimes we don’t fully utilize our potential because we fear the risk of being labeled as “acting white.”

However, I’m starting to realize a powerful movement that’s centered on career “swagger” (or swag). In recent years the term swag has landed a prominent place of endearment in the urban lexicon. From President Barack Obama to celebrity actor Idris Elba, there has been an emergence of professional men who carry themselves and conduct their business with a swagger that cannot go unnoticed.

Another highly regarded man on the come-up who has embodied this is 31-year-old Enitan O. Bereola, II (@bereolaesque). As a bestselling author and popular speaker, Bereola has gained the respect of entertainment industry leaders, including actors Hill Harper and Meagan Good, through collaborative projects. Advice from Bereola’s first book How To Be a Gentleman – Bereolaesque: The Contemporary Gentleman & Etiquette Book For The Urban Sophisticate has been discussed on BET and the nationally syndicated “Russ Parr Morning Show.”

“I am not suggesting that men should be corny, walking around in suspenders and bow ties daily,” Bereola writes. “However, some basic good manners will go a long way in helping you during your ascent to the top. This book introduces new ideas and opens up the mind to a lifestyle that will ensure achievement in every walk of life”

During an interview with Bereola offered the following principles to help elevate their professional swaggar as an urban sophisticate:

Look like—and be—a smart, hard-working professional. 
All too often some men believe they have to compromise their identity to advance or accelerate their careers, Bereola says. The essence of being an Urban Sophisticate is being wise enough to adhere to corporate norms while being true to who you are. Bereola contends that men must wear appropriate suits, lose the earrings, and eliminate sagging and baggy clothes from their professional wardrobe. This is vital because in Bereola’s words “true gentlemen know how to maneuver in all facets of life—particularly in his business affairs.”

“While formal education is key, you will be surprised how far a hard work ethic can take you,” Bereola adds. There are plenty of thriving businessmen and professionals who are not college graduates. Despite their lack of formal education, they rolled up their sleeves and outworked their competition.

Read more at 

“We Need To Stop Buying Into The Myth:” Beyonce Writes Essay On Gender Inequality For The Shriver Report

January 13th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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We can officially say Beyonce is where she wants to be financially now that she’s ready to speak her mind. After releasing her fifth album with no marketing, the Queen has made another surprise move that could make corporations even more uncomfortable. In The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink, Beyonce writes a very frank gender and development piece on income equality. In the first sentence of her prose, the singer states:

“We need to stop buying into the myth about gender equality. It isn’t a reality yet.”

She continued:

“Today, women make up half of the U.S. workforce, but the average working woman earns only 77 percent of what the average working man makes. But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change. Men have to demand that their wives, daughters, mothers, and sisters earn more—commensurate with their qualifications and not their gender. Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect. old attitudes are drilled into us from the very beginning. We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect, so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.”

The purpose of The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink is to ask citizens of the United States serious questions such as:

“Why are millions of women financially vulnerable when others have made such great progress? Why are millions of women struggling to make ends meet even though they are hard at work? What is it about our nation—government, business, family, and even women themselves—that drives women to the financial brink? And what is at stake?”

The examination of these questions will delve into the detailed cultural programming Americans accept. For example, more women work outside the home but earn less than their male counterparts. Despite the patriarchal notion of a man leading the household unit, women usually lead the operations of their household and more women are earning higher education so they may become a part of the middle class.

Entertainers, athletes , fashion designers and politicians  who have also offered their thoughts to The Shiver Report, include Jada Pinkett Smith , Eva Longoria, Lebron James, Tory Burch, Maria Shriverand Hilary Rodham Clinton. To read more of Beyonce’s essay, download The Shriver Report here. It will be free until January 15.

What do you think of Bey’s essay?

4 Reasons To Not Sign Up For Department Store Cards

January 9th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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From Black Enterprise 

Unless you’re a college kid establishing credit for the first time or someone looking to reestablish credit after a major financial setback such as bankruptcy, there’s really no reason to carry department store credit cards. The scenarios above usually make them a great last resort, but if you already have established credit and are looking to dump debt for good, then check out three reasons to ditch those department store cards once and for all.

1. They are useless when you have a real emergency.

Look in your wallet right now. Ask yourself what good that Victoria’s Secret card would do if you had a flat tire tomorrow. Or, how would that Macy’s card help out in the emergency room? Not looking good, eh? In the face of an actual emergency, department store credit cards are simply worthless. And oftentimes the money you can’t find in your budget to save is going towards the interest on department store stuff you didn’t need and likely couldn’t afford in the first place.

2. The interest rates are too high.

Forget about those fake introductory rates the nice lady at the counter offers you. As genuine as she appears, she’s trying to meet her daily enrollment goal and keep her boss off her back. It’s your job to read the fine print and understand the APR.

The APR is the actual yearly cost of using the credit card and includes the additional fees or costs associated with your transactions. An important point to remember with many department store credit cards is that rewards, perks, and discounts shouldn’t come at a price of high interest rates or overwhelming fees. Interest rates on some department store cards may range from 16 percent to as high as 22 percent, despite the low APR pitch that you were probably given for the first three to six months.

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Monday’s Madame: Dana Stanford Thomas, Founder Of Mye-Dash

December 30th, 2013 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Monday’s Madame: Dana Stanford Thomas

Age: 40MM

Why she inspires us:

Dana Stanford Thomas is a financial expert in the areas of marketing, business positioning, lending and management. She earned her Marketing and Management Degree from the University of North Florida, as well as an MBA from Jacksonville University.

While working as a Business Banker, Dana Thomas heard a speaker give a message that questioned and challenged her life’s legacy. It prompted her to take her love for youth to the next level.

Therefore, her non-for-profit Mye-Dash was born to encourage youths to begin working on ‘their’ dash. ​Located in Orlando, Florida Mye-Dash will equip students with tools and strategies that will broaden their perspective and shift paradigms.  The information they gain will position them to transform their lifestyle and transition their communities into viable havens for entrepreneurship and education. The mission of Mye-Dash has been designed to empower youth (at-risk of becoming financially dependent) between the ages of 11-19, in the areas of financial literacy, community activism, leadership and entrepreneurship.



Twitter: @Mye_dash

Monday’s Madame is a new column on MadameNoire that highlights inspirational women who are doing great things in black communities around the world. If you would like to submit an inspirational woman for consideration, please send her name, age, location, photo, and a blurb about the work she’s doing to