5 Mistakes Single Women Make with Men and Money

by Shawanda Greene

It’s hard to watch fellow single women who are otherwise responsible with their money make stupid financial decisions as soon as a man enters the picture.

The same amount of effort that goes into earning money, should go in to keeping it and making it grow.

Unfortunately, people close to you can function as a never-ending leak to your bank account.

Here are five financial faux pas I’ve seen single women make with men and their money.

You give your guy unlimited access to your money

You’d think we’d know better, but I’ve come across more than one woman who’s made this mistake.

You’ve probably heard a lot of ol’ school women say don’t even let a man know how much money you make. My mother cautions against telling your husband your income. I disagree with my mother on that one. (Sorry, mama.)

However, your man needs to earn his own money. If you’re in a non-marital relationship, and your man stumbles on hard times then, by all means, help him if you’re in a position to do so.

Your strength and ability is part of what makes you a good woman. But, he should not get free reign over your debit cards, credit cards and checking accounts. If he’s short on money, then that’s what checks, money orders, and cash are for.

Years ago, my cousin’s wife told me about something that happened in her relationship that has always stayed with me. She won a law suit. All of the money from the law suit was put in a safe deposit box. Don’t ask me why this money wasn’t in a bank.

My cousin’s wife went on to say that she noticed my cousin buying a lot of clothes, jewelry, and little things for around the house. She didn’t think too much about where he was getting the money until she went to her safe deposit box and found only a few dollars left. He’d spent practically all her money without her permission. Even though she told me this story years after it happened, I could still see the hurt in her eyes. Don’t do it.

You don’t know your partner’s financial situation

Before you marry someone, you need to know how he handles his money. Money fights and money problems are one of the leading causes of divorce in the United States. That means you should be extremely reluctant to wed someone who isn’t forthcoming with his financial information.

Once things start getting serious, it’s not unreasonable to have the money talk. I’ve cut a man loose for being too secretive with his finances. How could we move forward when he was so resistant to sharing such a large part of himself? We couldn’t. I’ll take my chances on a new man.

You depend on a man to take care of you

Sometimes I wonder whether I should dedicate more time to my physical appearance in hopes of catching a rich man. Seems like that’d be easier than working for myself and making my own millions. Then I realize, depending on a man is downright frightening. There’s no security in that.

Even if you end up with a man of substantial means, you can’t let your guard down. Never stop taking care of you. If you insist on relying on a man financially, verify that he has both life and disability insurance. You need to be the beneficiary on his life insurance policy. And make sure the premiums are paid.

What happens if he pushes you to the side when you’re a crotchety old woman for an upgrade. That sort of stuff happens all the time. If you’ve put your best asset – your ability to generate income – in early retirement for a man, then ensure you’ll get your money if he’s gone.

You ignore reality when managing your money

Make purchase decisions based on the life you have instead of the life you want.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t execute a financial plan that’ll allow you to accomplish your dreams. It simply means you shouldn’t make financial decisions based on events that haven’t happened.

For instance, don’t buy an over sized house in hopes of filling it with a man and children. Did you forget your empty house needs to be heated in the winter and cooled in the summer? There aren’t many guarantees in life, but taxes are certain. You’d better believe, all things being equal, property taxes on a 2,500 square foot house are more than those on a 1,500 square footer.

Likewise, if you’re single and you want to own a home, buy it when you’re able. Don’t wait on a phantom man to come along and make you his wife. It’s great to have faith, but until you know the answer from God is “yes,” it’s wise to use your money according to what He’s already given you.

You become desperate

Don’t subscribe to the notion that you’re incomplete without a man.

When you’re desperate, any man will do. There are women who all but pay their man to be with them. It’s fascinating how a guy can find a new woman while he’s in jail. If a man isn’t free, what can he do for you?

Obviously, I don’t have a husband. Some day…perhaps. Happily single is far better than miserably married. A while back, I heard a quote that set me free:

It is better to be alone, than in bad company. – George Washington

So true.

Did I overlook any mistakes single women make with men and their money? 

Shawanda blogs about personal finance and financial freedom at You Have More Than You Think.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

callmewhatyouwantevencheap May 18, 2012 at 7:53 AM

I never understood people that get married and don't talk about money. A man that is secretive about money when the relationship is serious is a huge red flag. What else is he being secretive about?
My recent post 5 Dumb Money Mistakes!


Shawanda May 21, 2012 at 1:53 AM

It's scary to think about what else someone is hiding if they can't be open about their money. I don't want to talk about on the first date, but I find it hard to believe that a guy is serious about committing if he wants to keep you in the dark about a subject as big as personal finances.


addvodka May 18, 2012 at 9:48 AM

I'm not single, but all of these are my worst nightmare. I totally agree with never letting a man take care of you – even if you're in a relationship with kids, it's just not in anybody's best interest to be doing that. Nobody will care for your financial future and well being more than yourself, so make sure to keep it in check and not depend on anyone else!
My recent post How The ’90s Set Us Up to Fail Financially


Shawanda May 21, 2012 at 1:55 AM

I've heard some pretty scary stories about women who've made the mistake of relying too heavily on a man. They think the guy has everything under control. They don't realize what a mess their significant other made of his money until after he's gone.


bogofdebt May 18, 2012 at 12:23 PM

I made a lot of stupid mistakes regarding a (ex) signifiant other and learned the hard way. Before I got serious with my fiance, we had the talk regarding finances and continue to talk about them. We want to make sure that we are still on the same track.


Shawanda May 21, 2012 at 1:58 AM

I think that's very wise. A while back I loaned a boyfriend (now ex) a decent sum of cash. When he was able to repay me, I gently, and repeatedly, reminded him to pay me my money back. He did. Afterwards, a friend of mine told me that since I was in a serious relationship, I shouldn't have asked for my money back. To that I said, "Hell nah! We ain't married." I wants my money.


Anthony Thompson May 18, 2012 at 5:46 PM

I'm sure that there are a lot of very intelligent (and even highly educated)single women who make these types of mistakes. How could such women, who have made such smart financial decisions for so many years before a man arrived, reduce themselves to making such bad decisions when one finally comes into the picture? Could it be a self-esteem issue? Could it be that they are so blinded by love that they stop taking care of themselves. In any case, single ladies have to very careful and avoid making financial mistakes that could cost them dearly in the long run.
My recent post Self Manager – More Human Attributes that Will Get People to Like You


Shawanda May 21, 2012 at 2:01 AM

It's probably self esteem. The unfortunate thing is that if someone is taking advantage of you, I just can't see how they're making you feel better about yourself. But then again, when it comes to love, people aren't rational.


URFinanceSimple May 19, 2012 at 5:42 AM

Great tips..

I think #6 should be focus on the acquisition of liabilities instead of assets. Most single women and men are comfortable with themselves! They think buying fancy cars, shoes, boats or whatever is a way of showing they made it, but it's not. Single people, hell married people, need to focus on things that bring long last value rather than immediate happiness. This advice is financial and relationship based.
My recent post The Truth About Budgeting and Why People Fail at it!


Shawanda May 21, 2012 at 2:06 AM

Interesting. When I was in college I dated a guy who always brought me back a small gift whenever he traveled. The gifts were really, really inexpensive. But to this day, I can't express just how grateful I was for the thought. Although none of these items will ever be worth more than what he paid for them, it goes to show you don't have to go into debt or spend a ton of money to make someone feel special.


One Cent At A Time May 19, 2012 at 10:52 AM

young women, better don't get married :) The sense of togetherness is not found anywhere in this post, sorry..sometime love is lost in money money money.
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Shawanda May 21, 2012 at 2:10 AM

If this were a relationship blog, I'd mention togetherness and all that jazz. But as it stands, I talk about money. It just so happens, I strongly believe women (as well as men) should look out for themselves and their money. You can still have a healthy relationship if you don't give a man all your money or lose the ability to provide for yourself or know that your mate is deeply in debt….. And if you can't, then s/he's probably not the right person for you.


Aloysa May 20, 2012 at 8:22 PM

I think you nailed it right on! I have to add though that desperation might lead to all of the above and be the main cause of all these mistakes.


Shawanda May 21, 2012 at 2:11 AM

You're right about that. Desperation is a strong motivator for all kinds of bad decisions.


MyMoneyDesign.com May 21, 2012 at 5:10 PM

I can’t understand why people play ignorant to money when they get into a relationship. Let most things, you’ve got to know what you’re getting yourself into before you get serious.
My recent post How Much Do Things Cost in England?


Romeo May 22, 2012 at 8:03 PM

Touché, Shawanda. I love the title, but I think that you missed out on inserting a very necessary parenthetical statement: "5 Mistakes Single Women (Men) make with Men (Women)…"

My recent post Maybe I Should Automate My Finances–Do You?


Financial Independence May 24, 2012 at 5:05 AM

I think you nailed all the criteria for couple financial independence. Nothing wrong with depending on someone, who will take care of you. Not everybody likes it but it could be win-win situation.

Just be open minded, honest and in love. The rest will come along nicely.


Financial Planner May 29, 2012 at 7:08 AM

That is so true and nicely said Shawanda.
The problem is people try ignoring finances when it comes to relationships. But later on those finances become an important concern and reasons for divorcees and break-ups. So why not take care of it from beginning.
As you said the effort to save money should be equal to earning it.
Nice. Thanks!!


Carly June 6, 2012 at 9:36 AM

I love your website! I remember having a conversation with my dad about 5 years ago. It went something like:
Dad – why is your mother so hellbent on getting you married?
Me – I dont' know, I think she wants me to have the security
Dad – security isn't a husband, security is money in the bank

I have never forgotten that. Thanks Dad!!
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Kim May 13, 2013 at 4:36 PM

I loaned this guy money and he till this day will not pay me back. I have asked him to make payment arrangements and he said he doesn’t have it. I recently found out he is giving other women money and won’t even pay me back my money. I am so mad at this guy because of how he has treated me and I always tried to help him! I think he has always had a motive from the beginning with me. I am so hurt and I cry everyday. I just don’t know what to do at this point. I feel like he is getting away with treating me like this!


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