While we’re sitting there pretending no one can teach us anything about money, the sisters are flooding financial literacy seminars, reading books, devouring magazine articles and frequenting web sites on investing specifically tailored to their needs. (Meanwhile, too many of us wouldn’t be caught dead in a seminar unless we were teaching it—even if we can’t even balance our own checkbooks.) No wonder magazines like Black Enterprise love to do packages such as “A Woman’s Guide to Managing Money.” As the Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” Brothas, if we want real financial knowledge, we have to swallow our pride and admit that we don’t know money, and then seek that knowledge as aggressively as the ladies do.
2. Trying to “get rich quick” or “hit it big” with the latest fad, wealth-building “secret” or “hot” stock. Let’s face it: When it comes to investing, we love the long ball. We want to swing for the fences—forgetting that home run kings also tend to be strike out kings. Women, on the other hand, are much more likely focus on getting on base, relying on singles, doubles and the occasional triple to consistently bring in runs—that is, returns. I believe that this is another reason why the portfolios of all-female investment clubs have historically earned better returns than those of all-male clubs. I can’t think of one time a woman ever called or approached me with a “hot” stock tip or can’t-miss business idea—but I get such breathless pitches from brothas on the regular. I don’t know about you, but that tells me something.
3. Not exchanging credit reports before “putting a ring on it.” I’m not picking on you; I’ve failed to do this myself (and paid the price—don’t ask), and I give the same advice to the sisters. (Yes, that’s where your woman got that crazy idea from.) As soon as you decide that she might be “the one,” you need to pull your credit reports (from all three major credit reporting agencies) and share them with her, and she needs to pull hers to share with you. Don’t try to be shy now. Most of you have shared far more intimate things with your woman by this point; now’s not the time to play coy. If she refuses to show hers (or you won’t show yours), you probably don’t have the trust and openness necessary to sustain a long-term relationship, much less a marriage. (‘Til debt do you part.)