By Jessica Donaldson
Many women enter relationships with their long-term partners having been financially independent as young adults, but for some reason as their relationship with their partner develops, their financial independence inevitably erodes. Perhaps women are too busy looking after everyone else to bother looking after their own finances. Whatever the reason, at some point in a woman’s life she may find herself suddenly thrust back into being responsible for her own finances, and that can come as an unwelcome shock.
Let’s face it – partnerships either end in separation or death. It may sound harsh, but everyone should be prepared for that eventuation, especially women, who tend to outlive their partners, earn less, and save less for their retirement.
There are steps you can take now that will arm you with the skills you need in the long-term to successfully manage your own finances. Discuss your finances with your partner regularly: make sure you know what you both earn and what you both owe. Sounds simple right? But it’s surprising how many women just survive on a week-to-week basis, and don’t know the ‘big picture’ when it comes to their own household finances.
Try dividing up money management tasks so that you become familiar with performing each task, this will also provide you with a good overview of how things work, and where you are heading financially. Work out a budget and stick to it! Many people that don’t have budgets don’t know they are spending beyond their means, until it’s too late. If you don’t have it, don’t spend it.
Hone your financial skills by reading easily digestible finance and investment books and websites. There are many resources out there targeted specifically at women. Discuss your finances with a friend or family member who is a good manager of their own finances – they’ll be sure to share some useful tips and good advice.
And for those mothers of daughters – start discussing money with your daughters from an early age. Let them earn pocket money, teach them how to save, and how to spend sensibly. You can arm them now with the solid financial skills they will need later in life to become financially independent young women.