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Reality Check: Money Talks

Q. My mom wants to give me a significant sum of cash, but only if I keep it from my husband, who she thinks isn't good with money. Do I take it?

Heck, yeah, but only after you let your mom know that you fully intend to tell your husband about it. Yes, this goes against her wishes, but at least you will have been honest with your husband and your mom.

Of course, this flies directly in the face of what my mom taught me: Every woman, she said, ought to have some "walking money" -- a nice little stash of cash hidden away in case you need to leave in a hurry. It made sense in theory, but I never could wrap my head around the idea of keeping money hidden from my family, so I let my husband know that after bills and family savings, I'd be keeping a separate account just for me -- and that he was welcome to do the same. That money can be spent however we want -- no questions asked. Now I've got that walking money my mom was talking about, but no secrets from my husband -- which is really important to me.

Tell your mom you won't keep it a secret, and that it's up to her whether or not she wants to give you the money. And we all know that honesty and openness with your spouse makes you richer than any sum of money.

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