Financial control should last a lifetime and it's about being independent in all eventualities. This is according to FNB Smart Solutions CEO Line Wiid. Says Line, "Much research has been conducted over the past few years that has seen women express their confidence in their abilities to manage their own finances, and many have stated that earning their own money and managing their day-to-day money puts them in an empowered position. However, there is still a lack of long-term planning to safeguard their finances in the event of retirement, divorce or death - having left these responsibilities to their partners."
There are simple steps women can take to retain control of their financial independence at all stages of their lives:
- Maintain a full budget of income and expenses - for you and for your family. Empowerment starts by knowing what money is coming into the pot and what is going out.
- Own your own home or make sure that the property is registered as to ensure you have joint ownership with your partner. Its one of the best investments you can make and forms a major part of your personal retirement portfolio. For example, if a relationship doesn't work out you will still have some financial security as you will receive your part of the proceeds from the sale of the house.
- Paying off your debt first is the best way of saving as you will benefit due to loans having higher interest rates than savings accounts. Once your debts are settled you should start saving or investing your surplus funds. Take out your own insurance policies that cover you in the event of retrenchment, disability or death. Keep the beneficiaries updated and make sure you are the beneficiary of your partner's policies.
- Take out retirement annuities for yourself. You will need income when you retire in addition to that of your partner's retirement plan. Retirement annuities are particularly beneficial for women married in community of property since the husband's creditors can not make claims against them for example if he has a business that is forced into liquidation.
- Find the best savings and investment plan for you. Determine what your needs and future objectives are and discuss them with your bank's financial advisor to find the best investment product for you.
- Make sure you have a valid and current will as to ensure your assets are distributed to your heirs, according to your wishes.
"Women are very good at looking out and caring for others. What we aren't good at is recognising that it is equally important to look after ourselves," says Line. "If we don't take active control of our finances throughout all life stages we won't be in a position to look after ourselves, let alone anyone else."