THE EFFECT OF DIVORCE ON A WOMAN'S FINANCIAL FUTURE
Divorce has many financial impacts on a family and is a problem that many women find pretty much unsolvable. Trying to maintain the same lifestyle, giving the kids everything they need, paying bills and even finding employment can have a terrible impact on your finances following a divorce.
All of this is true for a large number of women, regardless of age, income or motherhood. Financial hardship after divorce is simply a fact of life for many Australian women, particularly when you have spent years raising your children and have lost track of your career.
You can’t even rely on your superannuation in later years, because with no form of employment, your super has been unfunded for years. In fact, even without divorce, most women retire with half the super compared to men, so if you don’t own your own home outright when you retire, you can enter a never-ending cycle of financial hardship.
Then along comes divorce and you need to find a job that usually pays less compared to a man, and you need to put a roof over the kid’s heads, pay all the bills, and the list goes on.
Managing your finances after divorce
Of course, if you knew in advance that divorce was in your future, you might have put a few financial safeguards in place, but hindsight is always a pain, isn’t it? As many divorced women will tell you, losing your home and splitting all your assets leaves you in a financial trap, because you don’t have enough money to buy a house – half a house yes, but not a whole house.
Saving for a deposit can take a lifetime and even if you walk away with enough money for a decent deposit, a single person trying to pay a mortgage on one income is just about impossible. That’s not even thinking about taking on a 30-year mortgage at your age, because if your super won’t pay off your mortgage when you retire, making the repayments on a pension is just about impossible.
Taking control of your finances after divorce
Your first step is to know the value of your assets, how much child support you will be receiving and how much of your partner’s superannuation you will be able to access on retirement. Once all the debts from the marriage have been paid, you will know the state of your financial affairs - even if you haven’t paid much attention to the family’s finances during your marriage.
At this point, you need to find a financial adviser who can sit down with you and take stock of your financial position, including any unpaid debts, insurances, assets, investments and your superannuation. Even women who are single can benefit from a financial adviser, as well as women in a solid relationship or marriage, because illness or bereavement can occur suddenly, leaving many married women in financial hardship. So, it doesn’t matter whether you are single, married, divorced or widowed, all Australian women can benefit from talking to someone who understands their situation and knows how to help secure your financial future.
DO YOU HAVE AN INVESTMENT STRATEGY?
Investment means something different to everyone, from saving to buy a new car or a deposit on a home to buying shares or investing in real estate. We all have different opinions, needs and experiences and we base our investment strategy on what works best for us as individuals. So if you are new to investing and are in the process of putting together a financial plan for your future, here are five questions to ask yourself.
1. What do you want to achieve?
Do you want to save a deposit for a new home, a holiday or a car? Maybe you want to set up an investment portfolio for your future retirement or create a real estate investment plan? Without a clear goal in your mind, you can’t build a strategy to achieve this goal, so your first step is to set up one or more financial goals.
2. How much money can you save each month?
This is where you need to become realistic and decide how much money you can save or invest each month. The best way is to examine your budget and find areas where you can cut down on expenses. Of course, you still have to live and enjoy your life while you are saving, but it helps to write down all of your essential bills, including money for an emergency fund, so you can clearly see how much you can save or invest.
3. What are your time frames?
These will depend on the goals you want to achieve, so for example if you want to save a deposit on a new home, you might give yourself two years to reach your goal. In this case, you might have to back track to step two – particularly if you realise that you can’t save enough money in two years, and readjust your expenses to ensure that you achieve your goal within your ideal time frame. On the other hand, if you want to invest in your retirement, then you will be looking at longer time frames with a number of achievable goals along the way.
4. What’s your risk tolerance?
Some people don’t like to take much risk with their money and others are far more risk tolerant. How much risk you are willing to take will determine the type of investments you make, for example if you want to save for a deposit on a new home, you could put your money in the bank each month or you could buy shares. Knowing that the share market is quite volatile, your risk tolerance will determine whether you prefer the security of a bank or are willing to trust your money to the market.
5. How will you invest your money?
Saving your money in a term deposit is a low risk option and suits many people, but there are other possibilities which might work for your situation and your level of risk tolerance. At this point, it might be sensible to discuss your options with a financial planner who can help you craft a plan that is tailored to your needs. Always remember however, that diversification helps to spread your risks, so it pays to consider including shares, property, fixed interest or a superannuation fund in your saving portfolio.
For help creating a customised saving or investment plan that suits your needs, call us on 07 3356 6929 visit our our Contact Us page.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LIFE INSURANCE
Life insurance is often forgotten or neglected when planning your finances. However, it is definitely worth consideration by every household.
Below I have prepared tips to consider and steps you can take to be more informed about life insurance. This may help simplify the decision-making process so you can make the right choice for you and your family.
CHECK YOUR SUPERANNUATION POLICY
Generally, your employer superannuation should include a life insurance component, as long as you haven’t chosen to ‘opt out’ of it when commencing with your particular superannuation fund. Your first step is to check your annual superannuation statement and if you do have life insurance included, consider whether it is adequate for your needs.
DETERMINE IF YOU NEED LIFE INSURANCE
if anyone relies on you financially, you need life insurance i.e. a spouse or the parent of dependent children. You may also require life insurance if you are someone’s ex-spouse, life partner, a child of dependent parents, the sibling of a dependent adult, an employee, an employer or a business partner. If you are stably retired or financially independent, and no one would suffer financially if you were pass away, then you don’t need life insurance.
Life insurance does not simply apply a monetary value to someone’s life. Instead, it helps compensate for the inevitable financial consequences that accompany the loss of life. It helps those left behind cover the costs of final expenses, outstanding debts and mortgages, planned educational expenses and lost income. But most importantly, in the aftermath of an unexpected death, life insurance can lessen financial burdens at a time when surviving family members are dealing with the loss of a loved one.
CAN I AFFORD LIFE INSURANCE
Life insurance doesn’t need to be expensive. Of course, there are expensive options that offer more.
IT IS TOO CONFUSING
Deciding on a policy doesn’t need to be complicated. In the vast majority of situations, a household would be well cared for simply by buying enough life insurance to replicate all or most of the insured’s income for a term as long as the household expects to need that income.
I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT
It is a discussion we don’t want to have. We don’t like to talk about life insurance and death. However, open and honest discussions about planning for an unexpected death can be surprisingly life-giving. Purchsing life insurance is an important part of your long-term and comprehensive financial plan.
This is general information. For more information or to schedule a 30 minute FREE consultation with Amanda, please do not hesitate to contact her via this link. https://www.amandamccall.com.au/financial-services-blog
FINANCE CONSIDERATIONS FOR SOLE TRADERS
There are a lot of benefits to being your own boss, such as the increased flexibility you can build into your life and the freedom to make your own decisions. On the other hand, you also have to take control of your business finances and this is where many sole traders drop the ball.
As a sole trader, you need to assess your need for income protection, personal accident insurance and business insurance, as well as giving due consideration to superannuation for your retirement.
Let’s take a quick look at each of these financial considerations for sole traders.
If you are ill or injured and are unable to work, income protection can give you up to 75% of your income, so that you can pay your mortgage and bills, until you are able to work again. You can also take out a total and permanent disability insurance, in case you are unable to work again. As a sole trader with no employees to carry on the business if you become ill or unable to work, your income will stop immediately, which is why income protection is a vital part of planning for your future.
Personal accident insurance:
Depending on your situation, some sole traders prefer to take out personal accident insurance instead of a total and permanent disability cover. This type of insurance only covers accidents, not illnesses, but since it is cheaper than income protection, you might find it more suitable for your needs. It might also be more appropriate for people who are ineligible for income protection insurance, particularly since there are no medical questions or tests needed to apply for personal accident cover.
A sole trader doesn’t have the same protection as a company, so you are liable for all business debts and risk losing your personal assets if you can’t pay these debts. This is why it is important to consider taking out insurances to cover your financial obligations, if the operation of your business is interrupted by floods, fires, storms etc. You can also investigate professional indemnity to protect you from legal claims by customers, as well as public & product liability insurances.
Another very important consideration is your retirement, which is where superannuation becomes essential. As a sole trader you don’t have to pay into a superannuation fund, however when you retire you will have to rely on the government pension. It makes financial sense to organise your own superannuation, particularly since you can claim a tax deduction on your contributions.
If you are a sole trader and want to discuss securing your financial future, call us on 07 3356 6929 or complete our online enquiry form.
WEALTH FOR WOMEN
We are still a long way off equal pay for men and women unfortunately. On top of that it is usually women who take time off full time employment for motherhood, sacrificing superannuation and wages along with it. Awareness is improving, however as a woman, investing in a financial plan is an excellent way to help you bridge the salary and super gap and build your wealth.
There are a number of ways women can move towards wealth creation, including:
1. WORK WITH A FINANCIAL PLANNER
A financial planner can, of course, advise you on a number of non-gender-specific financial issues, such as setting a budget, paying down debt, saving, investing, superannuation, planning for retirement and more.
But there are specific money matters, applicable to women only that a good planner can also address. These include lower salaries resulting from gender pay gap and less superannuation due to time off work.
Financial planners will use their knowledge and expertise to help you develop a clear strategy for managing your finances and achieving your personal financial goals. They’ll work closely with your particular circumstances to help you create a financial plan.
Investing can be scary when you don’t know much about it. Once again a financial planner can help in creating an investment plan. They will make clear recommendations concerning investments; to outline both the potential risks and rewards of investing; and to communicate any changes that could impact your investments, such as spikes or slumps in the market. (Keep in mind, however, that financial planners – however good they are – cannot predict market behaviour or ensure a positive outcome.)
A financial planner can also help you figure out the level of risk you’re comfortable with when it comes to investing. It’s important to find a financial planner you have a good rapport with and who works to your comfort level.
You don’t have to have a lot of money to start investing. You can start with a small reserve of savings.
3. BOOSTING YOUR SUPER
The big obstacle here is the gender pay gap, as your super is determined on your salary. However there are some things you can do to boost your super.
- Salary sacrificing - This involves deducting an amount directly from your salary; consequently, you’ll pay less income tax, too.
- Super splitting - This enables husbands to divide their superannuation contribution between their own funds and those of their wives’.
- Out-of-pocket contributions - Keeping in mind that you can’t access your super before you retire, you might want to contribute regular – affordable – amounts to your fund.
4. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE WORTH
Many professions have an independent guide to salary expectations based on factors like your qualifications and years of experience. If you don’t know whether you are being paid appropriately, check a salary guide site such as Hays or Live Salary.
Amanda McCall finance offers a FREE 30 minute consultation. Please visit the contact us page via this link to arrange your consultation. https://amandamccall.com.au/contact-financial-services-brisbane