Given her fame and fortune, it’s pretty easy for Beyoncé to sing about being “up in the club, just broke up” – however for the majority of newly single ladies, life is more like an Adele heartbreak song. And on top of all the emotional turmoil involved with a break-up, new research commissioned by State Custodian Home Loans, shows that financial worries are also a major concern for many women.
The survey studied over 1,000 Australian women and 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.”
One of the key factors in any divorce is the family home – not only is it a couple’s greatest asset, it’s also the heart of the family unit. However, putting concerns of the heart in front of the realities of budget, can put unwarranted stress on finances and emotions. Despite this, a third of all women in the survey 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, to avoid turning one of life’s hurdles into a major catastrophe, what should women be doing to ensure a brighter financial future:
Be Prepared – Educated yourself about your finances. Draw up and get on top of a budget so you know exactly what’s coming in and going out each month. Set up a contingency plan so you have a clear roadmap to follow should anything happen to the family’s breadwinners.
Save for a Rainy Day – If you don’t have any savings, start saving. Skip a coffee, cancel your cable TV or cut down on the takeaways and put the money into a savings account. Every little helps and it will soon build up into a fund to fall back on in an emergency.
Be Realistic – Should the worst happen, don’t let emotions cloud your judgment. If you can’t afford to remain in the family home after a divorce, move. The capital you release will provide a financial buffer that will ease your move into a new house and prevent you from digging deeper into a pit of debt.
Talk to the Pros – Don’t 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 and are there to help take some of the stress out of your difficult situation and help save you money.
About Louisa Sanghera
Louisa Sanghera is a Finance Broker for Residential Mortgages, Vehicle and Asset Finance, Commercial Lending and Budgeting and Cashflow Coaching with Zippy Finance. She has gained more than 30 years in the Banking and Finance Industry, and since founding Zippy Finance 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.
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