5 Questions for Carmen Wong Ulrich – Women and Finance

Carmen Wong Ulrich is President and Co-Founder of ALTA Wealth Management and Assistant Industry Professor in the department of Finance and Risk Engineering at NYU Polytech. She is the former co-creator and host of the only national, daily personal finance television show, “On the Money,” on CNBC.

5 questions for Carmen Wong Ulrich on Women and Finance

CEE: Working women are surpassing men as the primary decision makers of a family. How can financial literacy education for women keep up with the pace of this trend?

CWU: It’s a tough pace to keep up with and getting tougher, but, that doesn’t mean it can’t be done!  It’s wise to not only know the in’s and out’s of the financial products you use and have (such as credit cards, student loans, insurance, etc.) but to know how they work, how to maximize their benefits (i.e., reducing fees), and how they fit into your life.  We’ve been handed down a lot of ‘advice’ regarding money management by generations that lived in a very different time, financially.  Pensions existed, homes seemed to only increase in value and mortgage rates were in the teens.  That’s not our world.  Keep pace by making it a habit to have financial education in your life, regularly.  For example, follow one or two blogs that offer information and education.  Look up any new terms.  Read the personal finance sections of your favorite papers.  Never stop learning and asking questions.

CEE: Women have a longer life expectancy than men (81 to 73). How can women prepare to be financially independent in their later years?

CWU: By staying involved in their finances.  I see too many women handing financial planning and even budgeting to spouses and partners.  Yes, we may not all like dealing with money or math, but this isn’t just about money–it’s your life!  Always stay involved in financial decisions.  Know where your money is and have a say with where it goes.  Maintain and keep your own credit and have your own bank account as well.  We don’t like to think of or be reminded that life happens, but it does.  What would you do if you were on your own tomorrow?  Always keep that in mind.  It’s a gift to you and your family.

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