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Looking To Take Control Of Your Financial Life? Here Are Empowerment Tips For Every Age

Cary Carbonaro, Take Control Of Your Financial Life

With Cary Carbonaro, CFP, Managing Director at United Capital, Author of The Money Queen’s Guide: For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear

Steve speaks with his friend and colleague, Cary Carbonaro, a CFP at United Capital and the author of The Money Queen’s Guide: For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear. In the book, Cary shares her 25-year experience in financial services in a format that encourages women to participate equally in financial planning.

Financial Infidelity

Cary was motivated to write the book after she went through a financially and emotionally devastating divorce that involved financial infidelity such as the hiding of money and assets by her husband, which significantly depleted her cash reserves.  She shares her learnings in The Money Queen’s Guide: For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear so other women do not suffer the same fate as hers.

The One Thing She’d Do Differently

In hindsight, aside from not marrying her ex-husband, Cary says she would’ve focused on full financial transparency and understanding her partner’s assets, liabilities, financial skeletons, and spending habits.  While her ex-husband insisted he had a lot of assets, she later found out that he had a terrible credit score, hadn’t paid off his student loans, and had other financial issues that cascaded into complications down the road.

Overcome Your Financial Inhibitions

Cary Carbonaro notes that her girlfriends are generally wary of digging into their partners’ financials for fear they’d scare them away.  Through her book, she wants women to gather up the courage to ask tough financial questions so they get into relationship commitments with eyes wide open.

As she puts it, you don’t want to marry somebody and then find out that they have $100,000 or more in debt that they didn’t tell you about because once you’re married and start commingling assets, each spouse becomes financially responsible for the other’s financial liabilities as well.

Other Topics In The Money Queen’s Guide

In The Money Queen’s Guide: For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear, Cary addresses money mistakes everyone makes, the value of an emergency fund, not letting emotions control your financial decisions, and “money minds”, one of United Capital’s mantras.

Finding A Mentor

Cary says investors should begin their search for a financial advisor at the CFP Board website, screen suitable candidates, and interview the final few, finally down to a person you’re most comfortable with.

Five Key Milestones To Financial Planning

Cary Carbonaro’s book, The Money Queen’s Guide: For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear, lists five key milestones in everyone’s life. Smart Financial Moves for Your Roaring 20s

Your roaring 20s is when you make financial decisions that impact the rest of your life.  She recommends establishing a budget and an emergency fund and investing early to get compounding to work for you.

Cary’s advice includes never carrying credit card balances, the dos and don’ts of college, why not to be afraid of the stock market, understanding and making the most of your employee benefits, and negotiating for yourself with an employer.

The Thrifty 30s And Fantastic 40s.

The 30s are when you likely are either married or going to get married, so The Money Queen’s Guide talks about merging money, assets, and liabilities, the economics behind buying your first home, and how to handle adversities such as a divorce or a layoff in your 40s.

The Fabulous 50s, The Smooth 60s

The 50s are about protecting your assets by avoiding landmines such as Ponzi or unscrupulous high-return schemes.

In closing, Cary addresses the financial aspects of caring for aging parents and being prudent about tax-efficient withdrawals and asset allocations in retirement.

Cary Carbonaro’s book, The Money Queen’s Guide: For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear, is a must-read for everyone.  The sooner you read it, the better off your finances will be for the years ahead.

Disclosure: The opinions expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily of the radio show. Interviewee is not a representative of the radio show. Investing involves risk and investors should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. Content provided is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered tax, legal, investment advice. Please contact your tax, legal, financial professional with questions about your specific needs and circumstances. The information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. All data are driven from publicly available information and has not been independently verified by the radio show.

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Steve Pomeranz: I wanna introduce my friend and colleague Cary Carbonaro. Cary is a CFP, and she’s with my company, United Capital. And she’s written an important book for women that I think should be shared and discussed. It’s called The Money Queen’s Guide For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear.

And I want you to find out all about it, there’s some important ideas here for everyone including men as well. Hey Cary, welcome back to the show.

Cary Carbonaro: Thank you Steve for having me.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.

Cary Carbonaro: It’s great here.

Steve Pomeranz: Great, so listen, Cary. Why have you written this book now?

What is it in your past and in your thinking that made you think this book was so important?

Cary Carbonaro: Well, a couple of things. First, it’s where I am in my life, because I’ve been through the highs and lows and I wanted to share my story. And then I also wanted to impart the knowledge that I have of 25 years of experience in financial services working with women.

And I felt like it’s the time in my life to write this book. And then the other reason is why is because I think there’s a lot of women, like my girlfriends for example, who would not pick up a financial planning book.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.

Cary Carbonaro: Who would not want to read a book.

So with the whole thought of money and financial planning is like boring and not interested and some down and something that they would not be interested in. So I wanted to make it for sort of for my friends, a book that they would read, that they would like or the cover would grab them, or something about it would be interesting to them.

Even if it is just my story of my ups, and downs, and highs and [LAUGH] lows.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.

Cary Carbonaro: So I think it’s a combination of that, and then also, I wanted to write it for people who necessarily couldn’t afford to come to a certified financial planner. Who can’t afford the advice, but still want the knowledge, and that’s a lot of people.

Steve Pomeranz: Well, it’s been my experience that women have no trouble sitting around the table and talking, and talking, and talking about all kinds of things. But I think-

Cary Carbonaro: Except mine.

Steve Pomeranz: You’re saying [LAUGH]. I was just gonna say, you’re saying in your book the one thing that they don’t wanna talk about is money, right?

Cary Carbonaro: Right, I mean we talk about everything. I mean everything, everything, everything. But we do not talk about what we make, we do not talk about what we save, we do not talk about what’s in our 401k. We don’t talk about our asset allocations. [LAUGH]

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.

Cary Carbonaro: We didn’t talk about any of that stuff.

Steve Pomeranz: And you know what, men talk about money and they talk about nothing else. [LAUGH]

Cary Carbonaro: [LAUGH]

Steve Pomeranz: We don’t want to get into any serious issues. But Cary, what was it you mentioned that it was related to your particular story? What is your story that compelled you to write this?

Cary Carbonaro: Well, I went through a devastating financially and emotionally divorce. I was married to a man who was just not a good man and financial and fidelity and hiding money and hiding assets and it was a very, very difficult period of my life. And I went through it and I was bleeding cash and I had to pay for everything, and I used by emergency fund to get through it, which, with the over six figure cost just for the divorce itself.

Steve Pomeranz: Wow.

Cary Carbonaro: So I have been through some very highs and very lows. So I think that that gives me even more credibility that I haven’t always being wealthy and that I don’t struggle as well.

Steve Pomeranz: So looking back, what would be one thing that you would have changed that you know now that you wished you had known then?

Cary Carbonaro: Other then not marrying him?

Steve Pomeranz: [LAUGH] But you never, all kidding aside, that kind of stuff you really never know until you’re kind of in it. I guess you can kind of look at it and ask questions before you get involved, and I’m sure that’s another story but I’m talking about when you are in the marriage in particular.

What would you do differently now?

Cary Carbonaro: Well it’s interesting. One of the things I say is part of my thing that I feel really strongly about is never lie and full financial transparency. So to me that means, before you even get married to the person knowing what their assets, what their liabilities are, how they spend.

What’s their skeletons in the closet financially, which is even more important than personally. If you’re gonna be merging your life with that. And I didn’t have those answers because he was never forthcoming because he kept saying, don’t worry, he had so much more than me that it didn’t matter.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.

Cary Carbonaro: And then after the fact I find out he has a terrible credit score and he never paid off his student loans from undergraduate and from law school and all these other things that just cascaded into complications down the road.

Steve Pomeranz: So it takes courage to ask those questions especially early in the relationship?

Cary Carbonaro: Yes, and it’s funny, I remember talking with one of my girlfriends and she was saying, we were asking her, so what do you know about this, and what do you know about this and have you had this conversation, and asking all these questions. And she’s like, I’m not asking those question.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.

Cary Carbonaro: She goes, I’m gonna scare him away.

Steve Pomeranz: Mm-hm, exactly. Well, what do you say to that?

Cary Carbonaro: I say, you can’t afford to not to ask those questions.

Steve Pomeranz: And I guess that if they get scared away then that’s a symptom of a problem, perhaps.

Cary Carbonaro: Exactly, it’s very uncomfortable when you have to sit down and go through it especially if you have debt. You decide, the woman lied about the debt just as much as the man does. I mean, it’s equal opportunity here. The point is you don’t wanna marry somebody and then find out that they have $100,000 in debt that they didn’t tell you about.

Steve Pomeranz: Right, and also the idea that once you’re married and you start commingling your debt and your bank accounts, then you become financially responsible for the other person’s actions as well.

Cary Carbonaro: Right.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, now in this book you also talk about other things not just those questions of marriage.

But also, how to negotiate a salary and other things. Take us on a little bit of a trip on some of the topics that you cover in this book.

Cary Carbonaro: Sure, so the way I broke it down is I talk about my story is how I started out and I kept chapter one on you material girls, my omage to Madonna.

And that everybody makes mistakes and its how you recover matters and I talk about emergency funds and how I use mine and not letting emotions control your financial decisions. And I also talk about finding your money mines actually in chapter one, which is our firm’s, I guess it’s our trademark, right?

Steve Pomeranz: A trademark or mantra.

Cary Carbonaro: Yeah, exactly [LAUGH].

Steve Pomeranz: [LAUGH]

Cary Carbonaro: And then I talk about the five keys to financial planning in chapter two, and I say know your net worth. Assets minus liabilities equals net worth. And I love to tell the story that I had some man come to me once and he told me net worth is 25 million.
And I said okay, and then we went through the numbers and I said, when I explained to him I said what are the liabilities. And we added up the liabilities and they were 24 million, and I said your net worth is 1 million. And then he never came back to me again.

Steve Pomeranz: [LAUGH]

Cary Carbonaro: He didn’t like what I had to say [LAUGH].

Steve Pomeranz: Right.

Cary Carbonaro: But it’s assets minus liabilities equals net worth.

Steve Pomeranz: Sure.

Cary Carbonaro: Know how you’re doing, how you’re doing versus your peers. That’s kind of a nice thing to know kind of how you’re doing versus what your goals are.

Keep on target to meet your goals, but you have to know what your goals are first. Have an advocate or coach to help you.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, that’s an interesting question, finding a mentor, finding a coach, that’s not easy to do. How does one go about doing that?

Cary Carbonaro: Well, it’s interesting.

I mean I believe that a good place to start would be the 35 Financial Planner Board site and then from there they can interview a couple of people in their area that they feel comfortable with.

Steve Pomeranz: Okay.

Cary Carbonaro: And I think it’s really a personal decision.

Steve Pomeranz: You’re talking about trying to find a professional as this coach and mentor.

Cary Carbonaro: Yes, now of course you don’t have to hire a professional. You could find somebody that you trust who’s good and smart with money like a family member, like your father or your mother if they’re still alive or something like that. But usually they would have already probably been doing it for you.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, and if they’ve been doing it enough, you’re probably not listening anymore anyway so,

Cary Carbonaro: Right.

Steve Pomeranz: [LAUGH]

Cary Carbonaro: That’s true.

Steve Pomeranz: In your book you talk about the five keys to financial planning. I’m just gonna read through them real quick.

Cary Carbonaro: Sure.

Steve Pomeranz: And then you can go back and explain.

The first one, your roaring 20stwenties, the journey begins. Then your thrifty 30s becoming established, your fantastic 40s, what’s next, your fabulous 50s, avoiding landmines, and your smooth 60s and beyond, time to celebrate. Your roaring 20s, the journey begins, take us there.

Cary Carbonaro: Sure, so this is where it all starts.

This is where you get to make the decisions that affect your financial future for the rest of your life. And because you’re young, you have time on your side, so it’s the best time to start making the right decision. So I talk about investing and no matter what in your early 20s, establishing a budget and emergency fund.

Never carrying credit card balances. Dos and don’ts of college. Don’t be afraid of the stock market. Understanding your employee benefits. And negotiating for yourself with an employer.

Steve Pomeranz: All right, let’s move on to the thrifty 30s.

Cary Carbonaro: Sure, so thrifty 30s and mind you, I actually was myself a thrifty 30 so that’s why I put it in there.

I talk about getting married and what that means when you get married and merge your money. I talk about buying your first home and how you qualify for it and what the ratios are for qualifying for a mortgage. The estates ratio, if you get divorced what happens there and if you lose your job or quit your job.

Steve Pomeranz: Do you advocate the idea of merging your accounts together?

Cary Carbonaro: Well I actually think that three accounts work, yours, mine and ours.

Steve Pomeranz: Okay.

Cary Carbonaro: I like so that everybody has their own accounts and then you have one joint account that pays bills.

Steve Pomeranz: Okay, all right, let’s move on to the fabulous 50s, avoiding landmines.
What do you mean by that?

Cary Carbonaro: Okay, so avoiding landmines, let’s say you now have your money, because you’ve followed all the steps. What to do not to get swindled, because I’ve had a couple of people fall for ponzis in their 50s.

Steve Pomeranz: Okay.

Cary Carbonaro: That’s really scary.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.

Cary Carbonaro: And then you have the empty nest. And you have caring for aging parents.

Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, the book is The Money Queen’s Guide For Women Who Want to Build Wealth and Banish Fear. The author is Cary Carbonaro, she is my guest. And when is the book actually hitting the market Cary?

Cary Carbonaro: It is hitting the market October 13th.

Steve Pomeranz: And I endorsed this book. I’ve actually written an endorsement on the book itself, and I do recommend that all women and men pick up this book and read it. Cary, sorry that we’re out of time, but that’s kind of the nature of radio.

Thank you so much for joining us today.

Cary Carbonaro: Thank you so much for having me Steve.