Michelle Singletary, columnist at The Washington Post used to have a personal finance intervention show on TVOne back in 2006 called Singletary Says. I used to wake up early Sunday mornings so I wouldn’t miss the show. I did not even care when they showed the reruns. It was that good.
One of my favorite episodes was when Michelle shared how she chose her husband from another guy that was courting her. Two years after graduating from college, Michelle bought her first home—a two-bedroom condo in Baltimore. I, she was having some plumbing problems in her bathroom. She called them both for help.
One told her to pay for a plumber. The other said that he would come over and fix it for her.
She dumped the former and married the latter.
She felt the bathroom incident provided her with deep insight into the financial responsibility of each man, on the one hand, and how financially compatible they each would be with her, on the other. When I reached out to Michelle and asked her about choice, she said,
“…my husband said at the time, his father taught him how to fix things around the house. He came over and fixed the toilet and I was hooked. He’s been fixing things every since. And honestly, I married him because he was frugal too. But also because he was generous and because he also believed in living within your means. As a result, we seldom fight about any financial issues.”
Michelle had strong financial radar and viewed her husband’s willingness to help and conserve her resources as a sign that he valued money, she could predict that her husband-to-be valued money and would not lead her down any road to financial foolishness.
Hearing her speak about that plumbing incident as a definite moment when it came to dating and money stayed with me. In fact, it stuck.
Even though all of us might not have interpreted the plumbing incident in the same way that Michelle did, I believe the larger takeaway from her story, and which we could all agree on, was that, as women, we need to be in-tune with, on the look-out for, and be able to interpret the money moves of the men that we date… if happy, healthy, and financial sound marriage is our ultimate goal.
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Frugal Feministas—Do you agree with Michelle? Could you tell if the man that you are dating is your financial match?