5 Ways To Make Your Money Grow: Why Financial Self Care Is so Important - Women's Health

5 Ways To Make Your Money Grow: Why Financial Self Care Is so Important

Don’t make the same money mistakes as countless people before you have done. With light at the end of the COVID tunnel, now is a chance to make positive changes towards affording the life you truly deserve!

Aside from the obvious health concerns, women have been hardest hit by the pandemic – higher unemployment, greater wage disparity, domestic violence. However, it has also revealed opportunities to break the cycle and improve both our finances and our quality of life.

Here are 5 essential money fundamentals every woman needs to know:

1. Be involved

Traditionally, women raised the kids while their partner was the breadwinner and financial controller. But when their partner dies or the relationship breaks down, these women find themselves broke and alone. 

Many are in their later years, meaning they have few employment options. As a result, women aged 50-plus are the new face of homelessness. 

For others, desperation to keep their kids fed forces them to stay in abusive relationships. Often with tragic outcomes.

Even if they are protected financially, they’re still left struggling to untangle a web of financial and legal matters about which they have little or no knowledge, all while grieving.

Hence the most important thing you should do is take an active interest in your finances. 

Don’t leave money matters solely to your partner. Don’t blindly forego your own income. Don’t think “it won’t happen to me”. 

Know your numbers, make financial decisions jointly, and understand where your money is going and why.   

If you’re already single, you can get started now.

2. Career check

COVID laid bare the insecurity of casual and part-time roles – which are dominated by women – with huge job losses in sectors like hospitality and tourism.

On the flip side though, never before has working from home been the norm. Having invested in platforms and equipment to facilitate this shift during lockdowns, employers will likely continue with remote work, at least in some form.

As such, now is a great time to re-evaluate your work. 

Can you transition into a different industry with more security or greater job satisfaction? Some sectors are desperate for local staff and may pay more than pre-COVID to fill critical vacancies.

Could you return to full-time employment? Without commuting to an office, you can now do school runs or check on elderly parents while earning more. Perhaps share caregiving roles with your partner or become the main breadwinner yourself!

3. Get good advice

Many women believe finance is a man’s world and advice is only for the wealthy. Instead, they rely on well-meaning but not necessarily accurate advice from family and friends. 

But professional advice is for everyone. And it’s tailored to your circumstances.

Qualified advisers cover everything from investments and superannuation to budgeting, tax strategies and COVID assistance. Some strategies mean you may still get Centrelink even though you have wealth.  

Advisers can help you discover options you never knew about and prompt you to consider things that get overlooked in the busyness of life.

If you feel uncomfortable liaising with a man, I’m living proof that there are female advisors out there. And you can seek advice with your partner or separately.

4. Have contingencies

As COVID has shown, none of us know what the future holds. 

An emergency fund is crucial. Accessible cash set aside means you can pay the basics should disaster strike, whether it’s job loss, illness, natural disaster, or global pandemic.

Should you need to leave an abusive relationship, or your partner suddenly dies or walks out, your own cash stash could be a lifesaver.

Consider other back-ups too: do you have adequate insurance cover? Is your will current? 

5. Plan for the long term

Statistically women live longer than men. How will you afford to live if your partner is gone?

Aussie women earn on average 14.2 per cent less than men – with the pay gap having worsened due to COVID – and have less in superannuation too. Plus, the last of your savings may have gone towards supporting your partner through their final days.

Additionally, singles lose the economies of scale – living costs per person are cheaper for couples. As a widow, your expenses won’t fall dramatically. Plus, they are now paid for from one income source instead of two. 

Without adequate foresight and planning, your final years could be pretty lean.

By all means hope for the best, but plan for the worst too. You’ll be much better off should you need to fall back on those contingencies. If not, you’ve still enjoyed having peace of mind!

Helen Baker

By Helen Baker

Helen Baker is a licensed Australian financial adviser and author of the new book, On Your Own Two Feet: The Essential Guide to Financial Independence for all Women (Ventura Press, $32.99). Helen is among the 1% of financial planners who hold a master’s degree in the field. Proceeds from book sales are donated to charities supporting disadvantaged women and children. Find out more at www.onyourowntwofeet.com.au

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