What do the people in these two scenarios have in common? They have both fallen victim to a lack of priorities. Instead of focusing on long-term financial goals, they focus on depreciable material things, so they can look like they have money when they really do not. I'm sure most, if not all, of the women reading this have been approached by that guy -- living with his momma, but trying to impress you with material things. Just like I'm sure the men reading this have met women who appear to have it all together -- always dressed to a T -- until you find out their finances are a mess. Unfortunately, this epidemic infects many, many, many folks in the black community. And although some people like to characterize this behavior as irresponsible, I think it runs deeper than most people think.
We all know that systemic racism has historically inhibited the earning potential of black folks in this country, which results in many black folks growing up poor, or without much money. They are never taught what it means to save or invest money, or to use credit wisely, because their parents never did any of those things. Schools, especially those in urban areas, typically don't provide education on these types of things because they are too busy teaching their students to take standardized tests (especially now, courtesy of Bush's "No Child Left Behind Act"). Thus, naturally, when these same people get a little money in their pockets, they want to indulge themselves with the material things they were deprived of as children, rather than invest or save their money.
So where are our children supposed to learn how to be fiscally responsible, if their parents and their schools fail them in that regard? The answer to that is they don't learn it, which results in the guy with the "phat ride" parked at his momma's house. I guess the question really should be: how do we break that cycle? Honestly, I don't know the answer to that, so I'm hoping someone out there in blogger-land can share their thoughts on this topic with the rest us.
In the meantime, I'll say this to both the men and women who are victims of this epidemic: it is not attractive for you to act like you have something you don't. Get your finances together, and invest in some appreciable assets before you go spending all your money on rims and accessories.