“All the Single Ladies (All the Single Ladies)”. I know you are all “Independent Women” and not “Just a Girl” and you know how important it is to have your finances in order, especially after a break-up.
In fact, new research commissioned by State Custodian Home Loans shows that financial worries are a major concern for many women. So if you feel like there’s “Nothin’ Goin’ on But The Rent”, read on and “Run the World”.
OK, enough with the song titles and down to some serious money talk…
First, back to the aforementioned survey, which studied over 1,000 Australian women. Results discovered that almost 50% of single women and 60% of single mums were concerned about their lack of financial understanding. Single mums were also more intimidated by the big banks and other financial institutions, with many preferring to simply take advice from family and friends, rather than seek out professional guidance.
“I can understand if you’re a single woman, or a woman on your own with kids, how intimidating some institutions can feel,” says Joanna Pretty, State Custodians general manager. “But I’d advise women to talk to different institutions and experts, such as financial advisors or accountants, to see who they’re comfortable with and how they can help.
“Finding people who can give you the right information and products, and reassure you they’ll look after you is key. Trust is very important in dire situations and it is vital single women financially educate themselves.”
If you find yourself newly single, one of the key factors you may be facing in a breakup or divorce situation is the family home – not only is this your greatest asset, but emotionally it has been the heart of your family unit. However, putting concerns of the heart in front of the realities of your financial situation can put additional stress on your finances and your emotions. Yet, despite this fact, a third of all women interviewed said they would be reluctant to move and downsize.
“The home can hold great emotional attachment and is familiar for kids,” said Pretty. “When women lose their jobs or get divorced, often they want to hold onto a home so they’ll feel secure. However, you need to think about it in practical terms. If you can’t handle the mortgage and it’s going to financially wipe you out in two years’ time, get advice and consider your options.”
So, what should you be doing to ensure a brighter financial future?
Be prepared: Educate yourself about your finances and consider seeking some professional advice. There are some really good advisers out there who will help and guide you. Get ahead of the game with some up-front budget planning by drawing up a budget so you know exactly what is coming in and going out each month and make sure you have a contingency plan. Having a clear roadmap to follow should anything happen to the family breadwinners will reduce your stress and help avoid panic.
Start saving: If you do not have any savings, make a start, no matter how small. Don’t be tempted to avoid the issue because you don’t have much spare cash, and once you start saving you will be amazed how quickly it can build up, and you will find saving becomes addictive. You will want to skip a coffee, cancel your cable TV or cut down on the takeaways and put the money into your savings account. Every little helps and it is a great comfort to see your funds building into a safety net you can fall back on in an emergency.
Be realistic: It is easy to say keep your head and keep your emotions out of your decisions, but it really is the best advice. If you simply cannot afford to remain in the family home after a divorce, you will have to move. It is all about attitude and makes sure you think of all the positive aspects of moving and downsizing and make a fresh start. The capital you release will provide you with a financial buffer that will ease your move into a new home and avoid you falling into a pit of debt that will have a damaging impact on your family and your emotional state.
Talk to the professionals: Do not just rely on the advice of family and friends. Make an appointment with your mortgage broker and talk to a financial adviser. They are the experts in taking some of the stress out of your difficult situation and will help save you money. Professional advisers are there to help young will deal with the banks on your behalf, so you always have a buffer. And you will generally find brokers and advisers to be empathetic and supportive which will offer you the clear thinking you need to navigate your financial future.
“Man, I Feel Like a Woman”…
Louisa Sanghera is a Finance Broker for Residential Mortgages, Vehicle and Asset Finance, Commercial Lending and Budgeting and Cashflow Coaching with Zippy Financial.
She has gained more than 30 years in the Banking and Finance Industry, and since founding Zippy Financial, has become a multi award-nominated expert in the field of finance featuring regularly in industry press and speaking at finance and investment seminars across the country.