While rereading Hill Harper's book The Conversation, I recalled an event that changed my life. In the book Hill addressed how important financial awareness is and how a clear understanding of what to really do with your money and how to make it work for you isn't always common knowledge within the African American community. I found out how important my credit score was while on a date with an investor.
It was about a year ago and I was fresh out of a serious relationship and going back and forth with a potential boyfriend when I met the perfect resume man. He was a girls dream checklist in the flesh. Handsome, tall, well groomed, educated, articulate, popular and straight. He overheard me speaking at a conference about diversifying classroom curriculum's in order to combat drop out percentages within the Chicago Public Schools. I was his dream checklist girl and he wasn't afraid to ask me out immediately. He walked up and introduced himself. He made it clear he was interested so of course I played all shy but intrigued.
We went to the Grand Lux Cafe one evening shortly after meeting and he was full of questions. Our conversation flowed and everything seemed to be perfect. We both were excited and couldn't help but wonder... what if THIS is IT! Our conversation continued until we were politely disturbed by an associate that couldn't help but compliment me on a blog I wrote and complimented me on my shoes. Her statement "I wanted those shoes myself but they were a little too much for my budget" sent a red flag to my date.
When she left he couldn't help but to inquire about my shoes. I told him the specifics and he began to ask me about my financial situation. I told him I lived in a prestigious complex in the West Loop, worked as a blogger and a consultant for Chicago Public Schools and an intern/on-air personality for a local radio station. He was impressed but wanted to know more. He asked if I utilize any investment plans, savings programs or more. I had no clue what he was talking about and he became increasingly discouraged. Our conversation was no longer the same. It was like someone put up a mental block and we both checked out of the "This Could Be Love" hotel.
The date was ending and clearly went sour. I tried to brainstorm all of the reasons why he was no longer impressed by me. I wanted to find a way to show him that I wasn't super broke and that I am progressive with my actions. I figured if I offered to cover the tab he would know I'm a new age kind of girl. Lord, was I wrong. He paid the bill and said "I think we need to talk." This was our first official date and I am already being sent to the corner. What did I do wrong now? He asked me point blank what my credit score was and I told him I have no clue. His face was so distorted I thought he was having a heart attack.
He grabbed my hand and talked to me with a voice full of concern and asked me if my credit was good or bad, if I pay my bills on time, if I am in debt and if I have a financial plan in place month to month. I told him my credit score is probably on ACT levels and no, I am really bad with paying my bills. I pay my rent! He was appalled by my honesty and disappointed. I couldn't help but ask what the big deal was and he said he couldn't date me. I asked why not and he said "I am 30 years old and I know what I want out of life and in it. You're just my kind of girl but I am not in any position to raise you. Your parents should have done that and I am so sorry but I just can not date you. You're too irresponsible."
I was floored. He left out immediately and I felt like the scum of the earth. I have always been daddy's little girl and got everything I ever wanted via my parents. I didn't learn anything about saving or even asking for the price on something. I realized that very day that I could never have a family with that mindset and that I was totally dependant on my parents at such a late age in life. I understood what he meant but was so hurt that he REFUSED to give me a chance to change or better yet TEACH ME! (Oh, wait he did say he didn't have time for that, duah!) If I was so perfect for you and had this 1 flaw why wouldn't I be worth the risk? I had to know. I'm a Capricorn you can't tell me something is wrong and not expect me to fix it. I texted him my concerns and he texted me back and said he thought about our chemistry and did some research.
My credit was bad and he couldn't see a way to fix it outside of bankruptcy. (FYI, he checked my credit score without my approval!) Now in my defense my credit was not all of my fault. My identity was stolen and I had a few family members put some things in my name. In order to prevent sending them to jail I just dealt with it. I didn't tell him that because he clearly didn't care since he asked me not to communicate with him again. His last text read, I like you , you'd make a great wife but I just can't date your credit score too so I know I can't marry the two of you!"