When You Buy Love, You Get Trouble
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There’s nothing some people won’t do for love. Unfortunately, that too often includes horrendous money decisions, the kinds that can destroy both your financial health and your relationships. (Those who think love and money have nothing to do with each other have probably never been through a divorce.) The sad truth is relationships are harmed when one person is over-invested financially (and thus, emotionally) while the other has little or nothing invested. Here are some examples:
You’ve conditioned the object of your affection to expect you to pay for everything—in fact, he or she has come to believe that your money is their money. Of course, their money is still theirs, not yours.
You’re so eager to get a marriage proposal that you are willing to finance the rings, the wedding and the honeymoon, without requiring your fiancee to share any of the effort or expense.
You are down to make your new “boo” an authorized user on your credit card. Even though you just removed your last boo as an authorized user.
If you are doing these and similar things, you are overinvested in your relationships. This is unhealthy—thus, not Grown—and potentially devastating for your finances. If you feel you have to buy love, loyalty and respect, you’ll never be able to afford it. This is why we constantly remind you that your money—in addition to your body, heart and home—are among the last things you should grant access to in a new relationship, before you have taken time to allow a romantic interest to show you who they truly are.
To be Grown is to recognize that when you try to buy love, you end up getting nothing but trouble. Here are some guidelines for healthy, self-loving financial decision-making in the Grown Zone:
Grown people don’t spend more than they can afford. Being overly generous when money is tight does nothing good for the giver or the receiver. More important, don’t get caught up in trying to impress your love interest, or your respective friends and relatives, with your spending. Honesty, including financially honesty, is key to healthy, Grown relationships. So, don’t pretend to have money you don’t have by playing the big spender.
Grown people don’t use love as a justification for emotional spending. Healthy love is never about trading your brains for a box of rocks, especially when making financial decisions. Even though emotional spending can give a temporary high, it can also lead to guilt, buyer’s remorse, and even resentment between partners. Many a relationship has been destroyed by this cycle.
Grown people appreciate that giving as an expression of love is not about price tags, but about meaning. The most meaningful gift does not have to cost an arm and a leg. And an expensive gift without meaning will be soon forgotten, on top of being a waste of money.
Grown people don’t lend money to romantic interests. Or more to the point, they do not lend money casually, without a written agreement laying out repayment terms signed by both parties. Otherwise, you have no way to prove the money you gave was a loan, not a gift, and you have virtually no way to get it back. If he or she is reluctant to sign a loan agreement, consider it a warning sign for your relationship.
Grown people don’t cosign. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there is a three out of four chance that the cosigner on a loan, not the borrower, will end up repaying the obligation. Can you really afford to do that? Even if you could, why do it for a stranger—no matter how cute, charming or sexy?
Grown people don’t share their PIN, bank account numbers, ATM passwords or other personal financial information with love interests.
The bottom line: Spending irresponsibly is not Grown. Furthermore, it is no way to say “I love you.” And no one who really honors, esteems and respects you would want you to do it. If you insist on overspending or providing easy access to your money despite the protests of the object of your affection, that’s a major sign that you are lacking in self-love, and trying to buy love to fill the void.
In the Grown Zone, it is your responsibility to protect yourself in relationships—always. That includes your finances. Never give, spend or lend money to get—or prove—your love.
Live in the Grown Zone.
For a FREE copy of 9 Keys To Living In The Grown Zone, click here.
Zara Green and Alfred Edmond Jr., named to Black Love Forum’s “14 Most Inspiring Black Couples” list for 2014, are co-principals of A2Z Personal Growth Enterprises, producer of The Grown Zone. Zara is a speaker/trainer & author. Alfred is an award-winning journalist and expert on business and personal finance. The couple, both “Do-Better Fanatics”, lead sessions on personal growth, self-love and resiliency, healthy relationships and “grown” decision-making at live events across the country.
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