For the Love of Money

Article excerpt

OKAY, tell me this: When did finance start ruling romance? I mean--on the critical who-we-will-and-will-not love, commit to or even date in any serious way question--when did income start determining our outlook? You think I'm kidding? I wish.

When I opened my newspaper this morning, there it was. A new study, reported to the American Psychological Association by UCLA psychologist Belinda Tucker, that found that today's singles--both men and women--want a mate with money. I can just hear what most of you are thinking: "Yeah, so what? What's so terrible about wanting a grown man or woman to be self-sufficient and self-supporting?" The answer of course its nothing. If the truth be known, all of the women and 99 percent of the men I know not only want a partner to be self-supporting, they expect him or her to be.

Not only do I understand that expectation, I share it. Completely and wholeheartedly. And for good reasons, I might add, not the least of which is the reality of the times in which we live. Whether we like it or not, making it in today's world often requires two incomes. And, if you are like most two-paycheck families I know, the second salary isn't about getting rich, it's about getting by.

Especially for us. Black folks. Financial experts don't see eye-to-eye on too many things, but there is at least one fact on which they all agree--African-Americans don't enjoy anything close to financial parity with the average White American. (Remember the groundbreaking report by the Business-Higher Education Forum released at the start of the decade? Ninety top executives from Fortune 500 firms and leading universities found that the median wealth of Black households is less than 10 percent of White households.)

For that reason and many others, I realize that wanting a person with whom you are seriously considering sharing your life to be both willing and able to pull his or her own weight isn't a greed thing, it's a good-sense thing. So the study's finding that, on the eve of the 21st century, both men and women want a mate with money isn't what has me so worked up. What has me so bewildered, so dumbstruck and disappointed, is the study's finding that people are starting to value a person's financial statement over just about everything else. …