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Men can be caring partners, loving fathers, breadwinners and homemakers but one thing they should never be is your financial plan. Whether married or single, working or not, all women should be in control of their financial affairs. The fact is that all relationships eventually come to an end whether that be due to irreconcilable differences or death. That is why all women should ensure that they have a degree of financial independence and know what’s what when it comes to household finances.
Here are four things every woman should do for a healthy financial life:
It is important for everyone to have a will whatever their circumstances. Even if you are married and most of your assets are jointly owned, you should still have your own will to ensure any personal possessions you have (jewellery, family heirlooms and items of sentimental value) are distributed to the beneficiaries of your choice, to name your own executors, to make a donation to a charity close to your heart or to provide for children from a previous relationship. Life expectancy figures suggest that you are likely to outlive the man in your life, which is another strong argument for having your own will.
We come across some couples where one partner may not work and life insurance is only considered important for the breadwinner. Really? According to an annual survey from salary.com a stay-at-home mum works 96.5 hours a week, work valued at almost $119000. Perhaps it is worth taking out life insurance on both parents after all!
I don’t wish to sound sexist and I hate generalisations but it is often said that while women control the cheque book, it tends to be men who look after the bigger picture i.e. the longer term financial management. Of course there are many strong and independent women in this world who manage their financial affairs but there are also many who take a back seat in this arena. Don’t let it be you. Ensure that you understand what assets you and your partner have, which are jointly owned, how much is being invested, where and in whose name.
If your partner were to pass away, would you be able to manage your finances or would it send you into a panic? If the answer is the latter, you need to take steps to inform yourself. There are loads of online resources (including on this site!) to help you get to grips with the concept of financial planning, or why not speak to a professional financial planner with your partner to ensure that the financial future is rosy for both of you.
According to a Scottish Widows report in the UK, 21% of women in their thirties expect to rely on their partner’s income for retirement. A risky strategy when you consider the percentage of relationships which end in divorce and particularly the rise in the divorce rate for fifty and sixty-something couples. It is always a good idea to have your own pension if at all possible. Again, a financial adviser can advise and assist with setting up a savings plan in your name to ensure that whatever happens in the future, you will have a retirement free of money worries.
Women face many unique challenges when it comes to financial planning which is why it is important that you take financial responsibility for your own future. A man can be a collaborator and an ally in this but he is definitely not a plan!