You have worked too hard— getting your (numerous) degrees, navigating Cubicle America, and building your brand to be broke. “Being as broke as a joke”, though, seems to be a recurring theme among black women, who, for all intents and purposes, with the exception of their financial lives, embody intelligence, progressive thinking, resourcefulness, and discipline.
But in order to live a full life, you have to first gain insight into why you are still broke. Here are four reasons why a woman as fabulous as you, is still broke:
1.You are broke because you have yet to establish financial boundaries.
How do you feel when someone gets too close—all in your personal body space—when you are in a restaurant, store, or on public transportation? You probably feel like they need to back up because they are making you uncomfortable. Right? Well, the same thing applies to your money. When someone in your family or in your close circle of friends comes into your personal “financial” space, they are crossing financial boundaries.
Establish your financial boundaries by making your opinions and policies around borrowing clothes and money, cosigning loans, and extended visits, clear to your moocher friends and family members. If you want to be direct, say, “ No, I am not wasting my money on that.” If you want a little more finesse, try this: “ I wish I could, but my finances are not allowing me to do that right now.”
2. You are broke because you have not aligned your values to your spending.
A lot of us walk through life in a financial fog spending haphazardly because we are not paying attention to what we really care about, what we really love, or what we really need. Instead of customizing our lives and, by default, our budgets to reflect our priorities, we emulate the financial habits of friends or those on the media who are over-the-top in all things: clothes, entertainment, homes, dining, and travel.
To identify what you should be spending your money on, jot down what you love doing in your free time and the items on your “bucket list” and see how much of your money is currently funding those passions. If you find that you love “fine dining,” but do not care much for movies, clothes, or a fancy apartment, then you should focus most of your discretionary (guilt-free) money to that activity and eliminate spending in the other areas. On the other hand, if you are dying to travel, but are spending a whole heap of money on an apartment that you don’t really care about or paying a hefty car note, it is better to trade-in the costly rent and monthly car payment for a cheap place and sell the car so you will have money to explore the world.
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Read: Phony Philanthropy