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Ask Carmen: Becoming partners in sickness and in health ... and in money, too

Wedding cake

Marketplace Money is about you and the choices you make everyday. How to not only get more money out of those choices, but more value. 

This week in how we live money: How to save when you're your own boss or changing jobs, how to get your hard-earned savings out of limbo, and how to say, 'I do,' -- when it comes to finances, at least.

Marketplace Money listener Mark lives in Great Falls, Montana, is 66 years old and retired. And he's ready to make a change in his life. His wife of almost 40 years died three years ago. A little note here, Mark's wife handled all the finances, since she was good at that. "She was a saver, more than I am," Mark says.

He was part of the military as an aircraft mechanic. Mark retired early, at age 47, so his pension is not funded at the full amount. But he currently takes home about $44,000 a year.

Mark's starting to date again. And he hopes he might find luck twice, another wonderful woman to spend his life with. Mark's wondering what he should think in terms of talking money with the future Mrs. Mark.

"One lady was upset when I insisted on paying for dinner, because she wanted to go dutch," Mark says. "A lot of women today are feeling more independent."

Carmen says, "For a lot of couples ... to consider the fact that you both will probably earn money. And you want some sense of autonomy, especially when you're older, you're just used to having your own money. That's why it's a really good idea to have an account for shared expenses. So having that checking account which is your household account. And, then you can also have a household savings account, [if] you want to take a vacation every year."

To hear more advice for Mark, click the play button above.

About the author

Carmen Wong Ulrich is the former host of Marketplace Money, APM’s weekend personal finance program.
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