Women must take responsibility for their financial literacy before settling down, or risk a future riddled with money problems, according to one of the nation’s most awarded mortgage brokers, Zippy Financial Director and Principal Broker, Louisa Sanghera.
Ms Sanghera is committed to improving the financial literacy of women to ensure their economic futures are as bright as men’s.
“The financial literacy of women has been below par for too long now, so it’s time we all made a dedicated effort to change that situation,” she said.
“Society has changed significantly since the days of a man being a household’s main breadwinner, which is why it’s so important that women take charge of their finances early.”
Ms Sanghera said it was imperative that young women established savvy money practices before meeting their significant others.
“Each person has their own hopes and dreams, which is perfectly fine; however, if women are going to improve their financial futures, they must adopt a number of smart money strategies,” she said.
“Preferably this would happen when they are young and single, but they can be instigated at any age – to help prevent financial stress following a relationship breakdown in particular.”
In fact, a recent survey by State Custodians Home Loans quizzed people nationwide on how financial difficulties would be handled following a stressful life event such as job loss, divorce, serious illness or a death in the family.
Almost half of all single women (46%) and specifically three in five single mums (60%) said that not knowing enough about money or who to turn to for help would be the biggest hindrance to getting their finances or their housing issues back on track.
However, Ms Sanghera said this situation could be remedied for future generations by following four simple strategies.
1. Be prepared
Women need to take responsibility for their own financial education, including creating a budget and keeping to it. “That way, women will know what is coming in and going out each month whether they are single or in a relationship,” she said. “They should also create a financial contingency plan and a roadmap to follow in times of financial stress, such as job loss or divorce.”
2. Start saving
Everyone should establish a regular savings pattern from when they start working, but it was particularly vital for women. “No matter how small, by saving money incrementally, it creates a vital financial buffer that will help to see them through difficult times. By adopting this regular savings regime, women will have access to emergency funds when they are needed the most.”
3. Be realistic
During a relationship breakdown, women also need to be realistic about whether it was affordable for them to remain in the family home. “We all have emotional attachments to our homes but sometimes that attachment can cause future financial harm. By moving on into another home, the capital released can create a financial buffer, plus it can prevent unmanageable debt, which can have a damaging impact on your family as well as your emotional state.”
4. Seek advice
As the research also found that nearly 50% of single mums had received poor advice from well-meaning family and friends, Ms Sanghera said women should seek professional advice. “Finance professionals are objective and can advise women on the best course of action, whereas friends and family are clearly more emotionally involved. Seeking advice early, whether you are single or in a relationship, will be another element of your financial literacy, which can help to set you up for a better future.”
About the author: Louisa Sanghera is owner and manager of Zippy Financial Group, recently named Mortgage Brokerage of the Year in the Your Investment Property Magazine Property Investor Awards 2019. Zippy Finance and Ms Sanghera also won the Best Broker and Best Customer Service Individual Metro awards in the 2019 The Adviser Australian Broking Awards.