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A man is not a financial plan, here’s how to empower yourself this Women’s Month

How many of these statements, are true and may even apply to you or female friends and family members that you know?

“As a woman discussing money with family is not part of our culture.”

“I must get married to be taken care of – Social security is associated with marriage.”

“Parents only invest for daughter’s wedding day not necessarily for her future.”

As a young girl you probably heard magical fairy tales about meeting your Prince Charming or “Marriage Bae” one day.  A lot of ladies are still looking for that special man to come into their lives and sweep them off their feet, but does meeting your “marriage goals” guy mean you will live happily ever after? The local movie “Seriously Single” currently on Netflix, poignantly depicts that as a woman, you are enough.

Women shouldn’t rely on a man to be their financial plan. Gone are the days when the biggest financial decision a woman could make was, who she chose to marry. Savvy confident women should definitely take financial matters into their own hands.¹

The decision to take up insurance has nothing to do with your marital status. It is about ensuring your legacy. That means when a mother with life cover passes on, her debt is paid and her kids can finish school.

Women have as much of a legacy to protect as their male counterparts.

If you are employed, you should opt for long-term plans like an endowment plan, retirement annuity, life, dread disease or disability cover. These plans provide financial security for women as they mature and create positive legacies for their dependents.

Research shows that most women will have to manage their own finances at some point in their lives. At least 30% of women will be single by the age of 65 because of either a divorce or death of a spouse. Some women may simply want to take control of their hard earned money, whether they are in a relationship or not.

We suggest focusing on these key points this Women’s Month:

1. Women will probably outlive their male partners

There’s a 70% chance you’ll be on your own in the later years of your life. In terms of financial freedom, this is important for two reasons:

  • If your partner passes away and he was the one who managed the finances, you’ll suddenly be pushed into the lead money role. This could be complicated and it’s difficult to pick up where he left off. Working side by side with him on your financial planning throughout your married life or life together can help you to easily take over if you do outlive him.
  • As the person who’ll potentially live longer, you are responsible for making sure that you have enough to retire on. Work with a financial planner to get a tight financial plan together. Invest in a savings product you can’t access so you won’t be tempted to withdraw funds. If you change jobs, keep your retirement savings in a suitable retirement fund – avoid the temptation to spend it.
  • Life insurance is directly related with the age and income of the policyholder. Making it unlikely for a home-maker to get one. Get Life insurance at an early age “ it is cheaper the younger you start. Then ensure that you keep it no matter what. If you stop earning an income to have kids insist your partner continues to pay your premiums, or get your adult kids to continue paying“ it is the one sure way to create wealth for your family.

2. Your fairy tale may end:

No one wants to admit that their marriage or relationship may not last, but unfortunately divorce statistics show that this is a very real possibility that should always be planned for. Protect yourself by drawing up an antenuptial contract that will protect whatever you bring into the marriage, as well as fairly split up the assets accumulated during the marital years. Have your own source of savings and “if at all possible “ keep earning an income. This will help you get back on your feet if necessary and ensure you don’t feel trapped in a marriage that isn’t working. If you’re in a committed long-term relationship, the same applies. Speak to someone about how to protect yourself and make sure you’re planning for your own financial future.

3. Whatever he can do, you can do too:

An online survey of 67 000 participants found that:

  • Only 43% of women are confident in their investments compared to 56% of men.
  • Only 25% of women are on track for retirement compared to 33% of men
  • 30% of women spend more than they earn every month compared to 17% of men

Invest in learning financial terms. Watch news and read credible financial publications. Talk about money matters with other women or men and partner with a financial planner in your journey. Knowing more puts you in a position to look after yourself.

It’s not make believe that women earn less:

Studies have shown that women still earn less than men. This is changing as opportunities for women improve “ South Africa has the highest percentage of female executives in the Middle East/Africa region.” What this means is that, whether you are in a relationship or not, you need to make sure that your pay cheque works as hard as it can for you.

Here’s how:
  • Have a strategy in place. Find a financial planner you like and trust. Set short- and long-term goals that are achievable.
  • Be disciplined. Don’t get emotionally involved – treat everything involving money like a business proposal.
  • Save as much as you can as early as possible. Compound interest means the earlier you save, the higher your interest.
  • Clear high interest debt first “ Some debt charges interest as high as 28%. That’s three times higher than you’ll earn on a regular investment!
  • Despite the odds, women from all walks of life multitask all the time. Find ways to supplement your income “ a side hustle”.

4. Take risk into your own hands:

An important part of any well rounded and savvy financial plan is covering potential risks. It can be catastrophic if you are unable to earn, especially if you have dependants. A comprehensive package of risk insurance includes income protection, dread disease and life cover. Your financial planner will work out the level of cover you need to maintain your and your family’s lifestyle if you can no longer work or if you pass away.

5. Empower your little ones:

Children are still shielded from money matters. It’s never too early to lay financial foundations: “The greatest gift we can give our children, especially girls is to make them secure in their own self-sufficiency.”

  • Make sure pocket money is earned not given.
  • Be open. If times are tight, involve children in the budget planning discussions.
  • Make sure children know that you work hard to provide for them. Remember, children follow in your footsteps and they will probably develop their relationship with money from your relationship with money. Be a good example.

To all the men reading this message “Be the husbands, brothers, fathers, uncles, friends that empower and support the women in your lives to achieve their legacies”

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