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Funding Your Future

A Finance Expert Shares Her Money Management Tips for Women

Photo: Courtesy of Caroline Beffa Photography

Women need to take control of their finances, especially in their relationships. That’s the message from money expert Bola Sokunbi, certified financial education instructor and CEO and founder of Clever Girl Finance.

Her goal is to help women become accountable, get rid of debt, save money, and build real wealth.

Sokunbi encourages women to stay involved in finances. While it’s OK to let a partner manage the household income, women still need to know all financial details, including bank account log-ins and how much money is going in and out.

“Sit down and participate in the budgeting conversation. Ask questions about financial decisions being made,” Sokunbi says.


It’s important for women to advocate for themselves. Often when women go on maternity leave or temporarily leave work to raise their children, they lose a decade or more of earnings. In the event of a breakup or divorce, a woman needs to be able to take care of herself.

Sokunbi advises women to have their own money so that they can use it as they choose.

“This is not necessarily hiding money,” she explains. “This is just a bank account where you don’t have to explain yourself.”

She says women can decide to save or spend that money. It’s also a safety net if they need to leave the relationship.

Sokunbi and her husband have accounts together, as well as separate accounts. They have a rule that if either wants to spend over $1000, they’ll have a conversation about the purchase.

The author also encourages women to know estate planning basics, including life insurance policies and having power of attorney ahead of time, just in case it’s needed. She also encourages women and their partners to build a fully funded emergency account to cover expenses for three months or longer.


Even when just starting out, new couples should talk about money. For example, talk about who’s going to be paying for dates and what financial expectations each of you has in the relationship.

Sokunbi says money conversations can be casual but the discussions should be ongoing. She suggests easing into money conversations to make money less of a taboo topic. “If you are able to talk about it, it lowers the barrier for them to talk to you about it.”

When it comes to friendships, it’s getting easier to talk about money, which Sokunbi recommends as a way of learning from one another. Sokunbi often tells her friends about how she’s investing and then they ask her about it.

But she warns against lending money to a friend because it often causes conflict.

“If you’re going to loan somebody money, don’t expect to get it back,” says Sokunbi. She recommends learning to say “no,” so you don’t strain friendships or overspend your budget.

Be intentional

Stop judging yourself for money mistakes. Instead, learn lessons and move forward. Financial setbacks will happen including deaths and economic emergencies but it’s important to have a plan and stick with it.

“Set the intention that you’re going to succeed and you’re going to create a plan be intentional about it,” says Sokunbi.

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