Being in a relationship can come with its share of ups and downs. Add in finances and money issues and you could have the perfect recipe for a disaster. Should a woman give her man money? And if she does, how could that impact the relationship? I talked with financial expert Sabrina Lamb, CEO of WorldofMoney.org and author of Do I Look Like An ATM?, about if and when Single ladies should lend money when dating and why living together is a bad idea.
S&LF: You say you women should not lend/give money to men they are dating. Why?
SL: The transfer of money can complicate relationships and the lending/giving intent that women have when it comes to men that they love often backfires. For example, some women will sacrifice her financial security by trying to buy a man’s love. That never works primarily because men are socialized to provide and protect. If a woman is treating him like a child or that he does not have the power to financially empower himself, he may accept the money; but secretly resent or disrespect the woman who gives money to him. This type of man will prefer to spend his life with the woman who made him believe that he could overcome any financial obstacle, no matter how long it takes.
S&LF: Does the amount of money matter? Say he wants to borrow gas money vs. he wants money for his rent?
SL: Of course, emergencies may occur, but if a woman (or a man for that matter) feels that their partner is always living a financial nightmare, then make sure that you are not perceived as a walking ATM machine.
S&LF: What’s the difference between giving your husband money and your boyfriend money?
SL: A major difference. I caution men and women who are not legally married against co-mingling their finances without the benefit of a contract. With a married couple, they are building a financial foundation together: for better or worse. When a woman is dating Mr. Right Now, that money is better invested in a mutual fund or a ROTH IRA or a down payment in real estate.
S&LF: What if you are living together?
SL: Don’t! Unless you want Judge Mathis to sort out your financial affairs if your relationship does not work out. When a couple lives together, neither man nor woman have any rights to an estate or bank accounts and usually result in a financial mess. I caution against it because both men and women are legally unprotected and financially vulnerable.
S&LF: What if the woman is the breadwinner? Is it ok for her to buy him expensive gifts, take him on trips, etc?
SL: Again, her intent must be examined. Why? And is her and that of her children, financial lives in order? Is her retirement funded?
S&LF: What would you say to people who say this is a double standard?
SL: I disagree. Actually, men should examine their intent to lavish expensive items on women, while sacrificing their well-being in order to impress or control a woman. When their lives are closely examined, one will remember how emotionally supportive a man or woman has been as opposed to an item, which as probably depreciated in value.
S&LF: If a man asks you for money, what is the best way to explain to him that you don’t want to give him money?
SL: Just say “no”. No is a complete sentence. Grown women do not need to explain themselves. You may however, remind him of his ability to change his circumstances and refer him or her to your local financial adviser.
S&LF: If a man asks a woman he’s dating for money, and she says no, is there any hope the relationship can survive?
SL: That depends on her expectations. If they are low, then the man believes that he does not need to honor her request; and the woman believes that, to her own peril, it is her duty to support, rather than encourage a man. Mature women do not admire men who beg them for money. And men want to be admired and seen as providers and protectors. Many women report that they find these requests a turn off and a signal that this man cannot provide for himself. Unfortunately, some women do not feel that they have the right to say “no” and fear losing a man that they never had…and don’t recognize that the only currency that connects them is money.
S&LF: Women are often accused of being gold diggers if they are mindful of how financially successful a man is before she dates him. Are those types of women gold diggers or are they smart?
SL: These women are misguided. Some women go through life counting a man’s income but not his expenses. Unless there is financial transparency on both sides, no one knows exactly how much money anyone earns. For example, a man could earn $10 million annually; and be $20 million in debt. My point is that the amount of money a man may earn has zero relationship to his ability to provide, be emotionally supportive, generous of heart and a great father and community servant.
S&LF: How often should a woman contribute financially to the cost of dating a man?
SL: Balance is the key. Offer to treat him to dinner or, better yet, cook him dinner but not when it puts her financial life and that of her children, in jeopardy.
S&LF: Should parents do a better job teaching their sons about the rules of finance when it comes to dating? (because a lot of men just don’t know).
SL: As the founding CEO of the WorldofMoney.org, a NYC non-profit organization dedicated to the financial education of children and the author of the this year’s NAACP Image Awards nominated book: “Do I Look Like An ATM? A Parent’s Guide To Raising Financially Responsible Children”, parents cannot teach what they do not know. Thus, I strongly recommend that parents decide that financial education become a family affair. Living by the motto: Learn. Earn. Save. Invest. Donate. Women and men must be taught that the amount that they earn, and what they own or labels that they wear does not equate to their value as human beings. And to believe otherwise is tragic and sends toxic beliefs to our children.
What do you think? Is it ever ok to give your man money?