Without a financial plan women at risk
The Money Column: Why on International Women’s Day it’s time to look at the bottom line
93% of modern women say financial independence is vital to them and 62% want more power in politics – in other words they don’t want to be dependent on men!!!
International Day for Women on March 8 is a day when many seminars, conferences, radio and newspapers interviews will be carried out all focusing on the estrogen- dependent population.
Some will be awarded and lauded interviewed and spotlighted.
Speeches like this will be made: “We need recognition from society that apart from being a wife and mother, a woman also feels the need to establish her identity, fulfill her own ambitions and experience financial independence too. The family, which is a unit of society, must understand this aspect and it must respond by creating a congenial environment and by adopting a broader outlook”.
Hot air and rhetoric. We are not all welfare cases and a congenial environment has to be created by women.
To (the not so famous) me, women’s lackadaisical attitude towards financial matters is something that has to be changed at a personal level.
Most women feel that earning and managing money is a man’s job and spending money is their’s.
Financial planning is not even on their radar screen. They retreat so far from money matters that I find it mystifying how they even manage to run their homes.
I have several theories. Firstly, financial planning never feels urgent.
Getting to social gatherings or even work on time, preparing meals, collecting the children from school – these things are urgent, financial planning has to compete with these.
Secondly it can be difficult to know where to start. I have often had friends recommend a good hairdresser or tailor, but seldom (never?) a good financial advisor.
Not fully understanding financial products and having to seek advice can also be off putting, although not fully understanding the workings of the internal combustion engine doesn’t put us off buying cars.
Added to that, shopping for financial products involves time and expense but hardly gives the instant gratification of a new pair of shoes or piece of furniture.
And, in a world where advertisers constantly bombard us with images of the young and the beautiful, when it comes down to it, Investments, Pensions, Life Insurance etc. just aren’t sexy.
Far from promising me eternal youth, slimmer hips or the whitest smile, they force me to confront the fact that I am going to get old and die or, even worse, die before I get old.
I have to step outside my “I’m O.K., it will never happen to me” comfort zone and face some unpleasant realities along with some even more unpleasant possibilities.
However, having now come to terms with my eventual demise, the good thing is that I can actually plan for it and ensure that when it happens it will be my children, not the taxman, who will benefit.
I also realise that if, while I’m alive, I want my children to have further education and I want to enjoy a comfortable old age I have to act.
The sooner I get involved, learn and plan my finances, the sooner I will have peace of mind.
Here are some facts to consider:
* A majority of women will spend almost 1/3 of their adult lives on their own financially.
* Women live longer than men by an average of seven years, 50% of all women older than 65 are widows and frequently suffer a sharp drop in their standard of living.
* A large number of first marriages end in divorce.
* A woman’s standard of living declines as much as 45% post divorce.
* Women are often responsible for the care of an elderly parent, both financially and psychologically.
They typically earn less and spend less time in the work force, taking time off to have children and look after them. Lower earnings result in lower pensions in retirement.
It’s time to become and remain financially independent. Stop making excuses like:
Money is not too complicated to understand --but spending it is so natural, it just flows
If I take risks I will lose everything -- that doesn’t stop us getting married
I don’t have enough money to save – Where does it all disappear I wonder
I don’t have the time to manage my money – but I can spend hours chatting on the net on phone, and spending quality time with friends
It is not selfish to put myself first – Oh but beauty treatments don’t count
Someone else should be taking care of this for me -- because I am such a helpless dimwit
If I take control of my money I will offend others.
The writer is a Financial Planner and Member of the Million Dollar Round Table.
Do you have a question for Emirates 24|7’s financial expert. Write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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