Category: Money

The Wedding Day Is Her Day, So Is The Proposal His Day?

Everyone knows that the wedding day was designed for the woman. The groom doesn’t get much of the spotlight on that day since all he has to do is just show up & say “I Do.” The woman usually plans everything right down to the very last detail, and has every right to bask in her day.

The engagement is a time for both the future bride & groom to enjoy their last few months of “freedom” and prepare for their big day (which again, is really HER day). I think the engagement period is where the rubber meets the road – you get to see how each person really deals with finances, stress, and even meddling family members.

But the proposal is another story. That day is 100% on the groom-to-be. The proposal is such a big day, but do men really understand how huge it is? Well if not, let me break it down for you:

  • You should definitely get parental blessings first –  It is so important to start your engagement off on the right foot. Receiving the O.K. from your future in-laws is the best way to do that. You need to make sure that her immediate family is on one accord before you walk down the aisle. Out of respect you should seek the parent’s blessings (because you would want your daughter’s future fiancé to do it too) – particularly from her father – it’s just the manly thing to do. Most daughters hold their father in high esteem so don’t skip this step.
  • Check your timing – Men this is a big deal, believe it or not. You see, most women have an ideal time of year of when they want to get married. Some of us may want a winter wedding, but if you don’t propose until October, that will just push back the wedding to the following year since we certainly can’t plan a wedding on 1-2 months’ notice. What if I wanted a nice summer backyard wedding, but you don’t propose until April? Again, this doesn’t give me enough time to plan so the wedding won’t be until the following summer. I can do away with my dream summer wedding, but why should I? This is something that should come up in conversation while we’re dating. Please propose during the right time of year so that I have enough time to plan the wedding that I’ve always dreamt of.
  • Pick out the right ring – This goes without saying. Every woman wants to LOVE her engagement ring. So if you don‘t know what kind of ring she wants, ask her friends. Find out before you invest in something so significant so she doesn’t end up disappointed. One other thing, don’t get a ring that looks good to you right now. Remember, this ring has to last for decades to come so it’s usually best to go with something either very unique, or very classic. Either way, it should be something special to her.
  • Private vs. Public – Some women want all their friends & family to witness their engagement, whereas some prefer it to be a more private moment. Take me for example: I am an outgoing person & love to be around people (for the most part) but whenever my significant other proposes to me I prefer it to be just the 2 of us in an intimate setting. However, based on my personality one might not have guessed that. Don’t make assumptions based on her personality; it’s important to know which type of proposal your woman prefers.
  • Make it a repeatable story – Men, make the proposal a story to remember! I am under the impression sometimes that men forget we women have to tell our proposal story over & over & over. All of our girlfriends, family members and even some wedding vendors are going to ask how we got engaged. This is a story that could even be told to our future children & grandchildren. We want a good story to tell these people so please make the proposal either very exciting or very romantic! Be creative! Plus, it just makes you look bad if the proposal isn’t memorable.

So, good luck men! Our wedding day depends on you getting the proposal right!!

Gray proposal

{Please click on this photo & see the best engagement ever recorded!   I still weep every time I see this video}

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Why Major In A Field That Has No Jobs Available?

So I came across an article about how there were too many K-5 teachers & not enough teaching positions and the question arose in my mind: Why study something that you know will not pay off?

I remember when I was applying to college (many moons ago) my father always warned me to not major in underwater basket weaving. Yes, because it’s not a real major but also because it’s a profession that isn’t highly valued in this society. So in the same respect if you know that philosophy isn’t a highly valued field why major in it?

Yes, there are plenty of majors that were popular 20-30 years ago that may not be as relevant now (think archaeology, library science, etc.) but back then people knew that there would a job waiting for them. Right now the unemployment/under-employment rate for fresh college graduates is over 50%. I mean, let’s face it – the economy has been in the toilet since at least 2008. And everyone knows that bad economies don’t just turn around overnight. So those who are just now graduating (who entered college around 2008) must have known that when they graduate they might not have a job waiting for them in their field. And those who entered college after 2008 have had time to change majors to something more relevant. Of course no can tell the future or when the job market will pick up. But until it does, wouldn’t it be fair to say you should secure your future by majoring in something more mainstream instead?

Sure, it’s great to follow your passion but if your passion can’t pay the bills when you graduate, then maybe you should consider pursuing something that will instead.

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How Much Is Still Not Enough?

So my girlfriend called me crying because the man she was dating doesn’t make enough money. I know what you’re thinking – who complains about how much money a man brings to the table unless they’re superficial? Well, when you have aspirations of being a stay at home wife & mother and you’re with someone whose finances can’t support that you’re not being superficial at all. You’re being realistic.

So how much money did this man make? I asked my friend exactly how low this man’s salary was and she told me that he only made $150,000 a year. Yes, only $150,000. At first I laughed (at my friend) for being so ridiculous. But then I really thought about it. To a lot of people, that may seem like a lot of money. And considering that the median household income in this country is around $50,000, a $150,000 salary is a lot. But is it enough?

You see my friend is a highly educated, attractive, down-to-earth woman with a career of her own. Her dream has always been to build her career but slow things down after getting married. She has wants to trade her briefcase for an apron after settling down. She has also maintained that she does not want a life where she has to “settle” or sacrifice just to be a stay-at-home mother. With that said, it is very important that she find someone who can support her current lifestyle and still have enough income to raise a family.  Not to mention that she lives in Los Angeles where the cost of living is extraordinarily high (the average house costs over $400,000 – and that is just for an small to average size home). And while $150,000 may seem like a hefty salary, once they purchase a home & have a few children, it’s really not that much money after all.

Is my friend wrong for complaining about his salary? Is she wrong for wanting to maintain the lifestyle that she has already developed for herself? Is she wrong for relying on his salary to support their future family? Or is she just wrong for questioning when that salary just isn’t enough?

After all, sometimes even a lot just isn’t enough.

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Balancing Motherhood & Your Career – Is Working Part Time The Best Move To Make In This Economy?

A woman I know recently decided to go from working full time to part time so that she could stay home & spend more time with her family. Not wanting to completely be a stay-at-home mom, she decided that the only way to sustain her career would be to keep one foot in the working world and one foot at home. I’m sure her husband is glad to have her around the house more & her children will benefit from increased attention, but where does that leave her career?

Currently, the unemployment rate is hovering right around 8%. Depending on what part of the country you live in that percentage may be significantly higher. After working long & hard to build a solid career and then starting a family, you are now willing to possibly through that away? It’s one thing to start working part-time after not working at all, because of a company mandate, or if you have special circumstances (disability, spouse is deployed to another country, etc.). But to purposely cut back your working hours and your household income right when you might need it the most? Some of the women who do this are the same women who complain about not moving up in their careers. Of course, returning to full time employment is always an option but they should be glad to even have a job, given that so many people (with families) are still looking for work.

Family should always come first, but is it worth sacrificing your career as a woman? Especially in such an unstable economy? People are being laid off left & right and pink slips are becoming more popular than pay slips, so why risk providing less for your family, or at the very least why risk not being able to provide at all?

It’s so ironic to me that decades & decades after women fighting to work outside the home and earn equal pay (although we’re still not quite there), we now have women who are fighting to stay at home and NOT work at all. I can’t say that I agree with this woman’s decision. I think that she should continue to work full time and raise her family at the same time.

I’m not saying it will be easy but if she doesn’t really want her job someone else will.

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Do Men Sign Prenups? Rich Woman, Poor Man – What Happens When The Woman Has All The Money?

It seems like almost every celebrity couple signs prenuptial agreements before getting married. But those are usually situations where the bulk of the money is coming from the man or both parties have individual wealth (think Michael Douglas & Catherine Zeta Jones or Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick). But I wonder what happens when the woman is the breadwinner in the relationship. Does she make the man sign a prenup before marrying him?

I started to think about all of the female celebrities that have married “regular” men (or have gotten close to marriage). Here’s the list of some of the couples that came to mind and their net worth, according to www.celebritynetworth.com:

  • Michelle Obama & President Barack Obama – As a VP of Community Affairs, Mrs. Obama was pulling in close to $300,000 / The then-Senator about $160,000 per year
  • Teresa Heinz & John Kerry – Our Secretary of State only makes about $187K, and he’s married to an heiress of Heinz ketchup thought to be worth close to 1 billion dollars
  • Oprah Winfrey & Stedman Graham – Okay, Oprah makes like a gazillion dollars a year
  • Reality TV star Bethenny Frankel & Jason Hoppy – Last year Bethenny made 8 figures; I’m guessing Jason made about 6
  • Jennifer Lopez & Mark Anthony – Jlo is worth about $250 million, whereas her soon to be ex-husband is “only” worth about $40 million (largely due in part to being married to her)
  • Songstress Mariah Carey & Nick Cannon – Mariah’s net worth over $500 million, compared to a “paltry” $15 million for Nick

 

Surely, some men are willing to sign a prenup to be with the woman they love. They recognize that bringing less money into the marriage doesn’t make them any less of a man, and that money isn’t everything. But don’t men hold all the cards? For example, on the television show Real Housewives of Atlanta, Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Kandi Burruss has stated repeatedly that she believes in prenups. However, this was before she got engaged. Now if Kandi’s fiancé (Todd) doesn’t want to sign a prenup, then she may lose him altogether. There are plenty of women who would love to be with Todd and wouldn’t make him sign a prenup (grant it, most of these women aren’t millionaires but still, you get my point).

So if you are a rich woman, do you take the risk of losing a good man by making him sign a prenuptial agreement just so you can save some money? Or, do you follow your heart and marry the man of your dreams knowing that having money can’t replace a having a husband?

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If You’re Rich, Then Stop Working

Yesterday, I was having my normal daydream of becoming rich & retiring young. There was a time when I thought that I would always work even if I was rich, ensuring that my education & expertise wouldn’t go to waste. A lot of my friends thought that was a stupid notion, telling me that the whole purpose of working is to get rich (or make lots of money, at the very least). But I have always defended my position because I think that working to make lots of money is only part of the equation.

As an underrepresented minority working in Corporate America, I want to make sure that I continue to set an example for other young African American women that may want to enter the rankings of Corporate America. As it stands, currently less than 20% of the Fortune 500 companies are led by a woman and only 1% by an African American. So, to me, there is a great need to increase visibility of African Americans in the workforce, whether they were rich or not.

However, as I continued to think about the current employment rate (resting at 8% nationally, 7% for females, 14% for African Americans) I believe it is in the best interest of those that need to work for those with money to stop working. Okay, let me repeat that: If you have money and don’t need to work then you shouldn’t be working. Save the job & salary for someone that really needs it. If your husband makes enough to support your family then don’t be greedy by getting a job. Let another woman have your spot in the workforce. There’s nothing wrong with loving your craft & wanting to work in your field but understanding the current economy, it makes no sense to “steal” an income from someone else when you don’t really have to.

Women like Vanessa, Melinda & Jane (the wives of Kobe Bryant, Bill Gates & Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford Motor Company) have got the right idea.  Don’t work if you don’t have to.

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