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5 Women Share Their Deepest Financial Secrets

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    Photography by James Tolich; Prop Styling by Lucas Lefler.

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    We carry our lives in our wallets. They are filled with our most intimate information, and digging through someone’s can be almost more revealing than snooping in their medicine cabinet. Tucked among the credit cards and driver's licenses, there are bits of memorabilia, personal effects, and little details that share so much about who we are.

    That said, your wallet probably doesn’t reveal much about your actual financial health. Surely, there are millionaires who never carry cash, and then those struggling to stay above the poverty line who have half a dozen credit cards. But we were curious: Is there a correlation between your personal wealth and your wallet?

    Ahead, we asked five women to open up their wallets and spill the contents for the world to see. Then we took things a step further and asked them personal questions about their financial lives. The result is an illuminating look at the financial realities of five women, credit card debt and all.

    This month, we're asking you to toss out everything you thought you knew about spring cleaning and give every
    corner of your life a refresh. The inspiration for a happier, clutter-free you is right this way.


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    Marketing Director Who Makes $50,000 And Lives With Her Partner

    How much cash do you have in your wallet?
    $1

    How many credit cards? One credit card and one debit card.

    What’s the silliest thing you keep in your wallet? I’m lame, nothing silly.

    What in your wallet would you be most upset to lose? My driver's license because that would be a pain to replace!

    Do you have student loan debt?
    Yes

    How much?
    I graduated with $57K in student loans. Nine years later, at $328 a month, I'm at $10,000.

    Do you have credit card debt?
    Yes

    How much?
    $2,800

    Do you have a savings account?
    Yes

    How much have you saved?
    $2,600

    What big-ticket item (a house, vacation, emergency fund) are you saving for?
    My partner and I just moved in together, and we have no furniture or kitchen items. I really want a Vitamix.

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    What’s your biggest financial accomplishment? Paying down my student loan debt, even if it’s not all the way gone yet.

    What’s your biggest money fear?
    I used to have about $7K in credit card debt and I never want that to happen again. As long as I feel I have more money saved then I have in debt, I feel good.

    What would you do if you won the lottery?
    I would start a nonprofit that could employ me and every talented person I know. I like to think I wouldn't change my lifestyle so much, but would maybe find one or two smalls areas of life where I would quietly indulge.

    What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a purchase?
    Besides travel, I just bought the nicest mattress. I found the best one in the store, which was $2,600, and asked for one down from that. I got the "Shakespeare" for about $1,350 all in. I've had very romantic sleeps ever since.

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    Married Editor Who Lives In NYC With Her Husband And Kids

    How much cash do you have in your wallet?
    $172

    How many credit cards?
    Three credit cards and two debit cards.

    What’s the silliest thing you keep in your wallet?
    Nothing silly.

    What in your wallet would you be most upset to lose?
    I wouldn’t be upset to lose any of it, beyond the annoyance of replacing the cards and IDs.

    Do you have student loan debt?
    No

    Do you have credit card debt?
    No

    Do you have a savings account?
    Yes

    How much have you saved?
    $50,000 in savings; $100,000 in retirement funds.

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    What big-ticket item (a house, vacation, emergency fund) are you saving for? New windows and siding for my house.

    What’s your biggest financial accomplishment?
    Owning two homes.

    What’s your biggest money fear?
    Saving enough to retire.

    What would you do if you won the lottery?
    I’d pay off both my mortgages and buy a fixer-upper to flip.

    What’s the most you’ve ever spent on a purchase?
    Other than a house? Our car, which cost $3,200.

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    A Single Public Relations Exec Living In New York City

    How much cash do you have in your wallet?
    $150-ish (I hate being that person who doesn't have cash and is annoying about it, so I kind of hoard dollars and make a point to pay with cash when I can.)

    How many credit cards do you have?
    Four credit cards and one debit card.

    What’s the funniest thing you have in your wallet?
    A cute funny picture of my brother in like seventh grade. I'm not sure why I have it or when I got it but it makes me laugh!

    Is there anything in your wallet you’d be upset to lose?
    Everything is replaceable, although I'd be sad to lose the funny and random pictures of my friends and family that I've collected.

    Do you have student loan debt?
    No

    Do you have credit card debt?
    No

    Do you have a savings account?
    Yes

    How much have you saved?
    A decent amount, but I don’t feel comfortable disclosing.