5 Real Money Lessons from ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’
Most of us tune into The Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA) primarily to witness drama, foolishness, and a lot of bad behavior. I know I do.
But now that I’ve been watching RHOA for seven years, I’ve found myself taking notes on how these women operate when it comes to money.
Here are five of the smartest money lessons that I’ve learned from The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
1. Protect Your Personal Wealth With a Prenuptial Agreement
Before joining the Real Housewives of Atlanta cast, Kandi Burruss had already made her millions as a songwriter, a member of the singing group Xscape, and a serial business owner.
She met her husband, Todd Tucker, on the sets of RHOA. Todd was a member of the production team and had considerably less wealth.
When their talk of marriage became serious, Kandi insisted that Todd sign a prenuptial agreement. He avoided doing this until the day of the wedding. In fact, he threatened to call off the wedding if she insisted that he sign.
But Kandi persisted. Although she loved Todd, she also needed to protect her life’s work and wealth in the event that their marriage failed.
Even though they appear silly in their personal lives, these “real housewives” are quite savvy with their finances.
2. Communicate With Your Spouse Before Opening a Business
We watched Cynthia Bailey and her husband, Peter Thomas, get a divorce in season nine of RHOA. Cynthia wanted out of the marriage because of rumors of Peter’s infidelity, in addition to the fact that, despite her misgivings, he had opened a sports bar and lounge, Sports One, in Charlotte, North Carolina. This was after the couple’s difficult experience with their previous restaurant in Atlanta, which lost money and eventually had to be closed.
Additionally, their marriage struggled because they hardly saw each other. Peter stayed in Charlotte for weeks on end to manage Sports One, leaving Cynthia by herself in Atlanta, feeling lonely and neglected.
It’s a perfect example of how communication, especially as it relates to major money decisions, should be discussed at length with your partner.
“A successful, happy marriage requires that both partners act like grown-ups,” says psychotherapist and author Tina Tessina, Ph.D., who goes by Dr. Romance profesionally.
“It’s not surprising if you have disagreements about how much to save, when and what to spend, and who makes financial decisions, because such differences are normal between people,” adds Tessina. “If you take them seriously, and sit down to solve them together with mutual goodwill, your different points of view will become assets, not problems.”
In the end, the cost of unilateral decision-making, both to your bank account and your relationship, just isn’t worth it.
3. Build Generational Wealth by Including Your Children and Family in Business Operations
Cynthia Bailey is a former supermodel and the creator of several accessory lines, one of which is Cargo, a line of luxury leather goods. To groom her daughter, Noelle, for the family business, Cynthia decided to make her the face of the brand.
Similarly, in 2017, Kandi Burruss opened the first branch of a soul-food restaurant called OLG — short for Old Lady Gang — which showcases classic recipes from her mother and aunts. Since then, two more locations have opened up. Both these family members and her husband played a large part in developing the restaurants’ design and menu.
Through these business practices, Bailey and Burruss demonstrate ways of keeping equity and assets within the family, as well as preparing to pass on their success to the next generation.
4. Pick the Best Person for the Job — Not Your Best Friend
Kenya Moore, known on RHOA for being a bit of an entitled drama queen, was very close to Cynthia Bailey. At one time, Cynthia wanted to hire someone to produce and shoot a commercial for her line of sunglasses, Cynthia Bailey Eyewear. In the spirit of sisterhood, Cynthia gave Kenya a chance to showcase her ideas.
Instead of showing up prepared with her concepts and deliverables, Kenya didn’t make the meeting at all.
She never even bothered calling to let Cynthia know that she wouldn’t be there. Cynthia naturally gave her business to Kim Fields, a fellow cast member who arrived at the meeting on time and prepared. In the end, your business should not be dictated by friendship.
5. Become a Serial Entrepreneur
In addition to receiving payment for being members of RHOA brands, the veteran housewives have leveraged their reality TV stardom to create additional streams of income. Here are a few that each housewife has created:
- Kandi Burruss is the owner of OLG restaurant; Bedroom Kandi, a brand that promotes healthy sexuality and fun for singles and couples; Raising Ace, a unisex baby products brand; TAGS Boutique, a franchised women’s clothing store; and Kandi Koated Cosmetics, a beauty and makeup line.
- Cynthia Bailey is part-owner of Bar One and full-owner of Cargo (the leather goods company), Cynthia Bailey Eyewear, and Orgavic candles. She also recently opened a wine bar, appropriately called Bailey Room Wine Cellar, in Atlanta’s Grant Park neighborhood.
- Porsha Williams keeps herself busy running her hair extension company, Go Naked, and as a radio host on Dish Nation.
- Phaedra Parks, in addition to working as an attorney in her own firm, runs the Phaedra Foundation, a nonprofit that focuses on educating kids and teens about social justice. She also is a licensed mortician.
- Sheree Whitfield is the author of Wives, Fiancées, and Sidechicks of Hotlanta.
- Kenya Moore owns Moore Haircare, a line of beauty products.
The Next Time You Watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta …
The Real Housewives of Atlantano longer has to be a guilty pleasure. While you watch to satisfy your love of conflict and outrageous behavior, you’ll also pick up a number of solid money lessons. In some cases, you may even find yourself inspired by these women and their tactful strategies for long-term financial success.
Additional reporting by Connor Beckett McInerney.