Managing Money & Relationships – It Can Be Done


Carmen Wong Ulrich, a financial planning expert has been advising women for years on the importance of money in a relationship.   She calls it part of the trinity of topics -money, sex and family – that will exist forever as potential conflict zones in your relationship.   Women, she says need to  take ownership of their financial health and be confortable discussing it with their partner or spouse.
“You should have financial goals together,” she said in an article at “Integrate your money into your discussions. These are conversations you need to have before you get married.”
Wong Ulrich, who is president and co-founder of ALTA Wealth Management, an independent financial planning firm, is nationally recognized for her frank advice on money matters and can be seen as a regular on ABC’s The View, MSNBC and CNN. She is also the author of two best-selling personal finance books, the most recent, The Real Cost of Living.  Ulrich is a former editor at MONEY magazine and was host and co-creator of CNBC’s On the Money.
If you’re already married, this doesn’t mean you should run out and separate your money or accounts. Ulrich advises: “Ask: Is this right for me, for us?  Am I comfortable with this and do I have a say in where the money goes and is spent?  I’d advise every woman to have at least one credit card in her own name only. You don’t have to use it often, but have it just in case. And no matter how happy you are as a couple have a small checking or savings account on your own as well. Again, this is about autonomy and being grown ups. If you want your own separate money and your partner is very upset by this, seek counseling as it’s a sign of deeper concerns.”
Wong-Ulrich’s tips on managing money in relationships include keeping a  separate bank account and one household account. If your spouse or partner asks if you don’t trust them, that should be viewed a red flag because its about being your own person and keeping  some of your own money,
For women who are just starting a relationship, she advises you pay attention to how he handles money  –  the way they tip in a restaurant has a lot to do with their character and values or if they say, ‘Oh, I forgot to pay this bill!’ That is an opening to ask ‘Oh, are you always late?’
If he is working in tech support but he is driving an Audi A8—a $120,000 car—what does that say? That is dangerous because that is somebody who is showy with their money and may not be able to handle life’s setbacks or planning or thinking of the future.
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