So now you are on your own? You may be asking – how on earth do I manage my finances, super and investments? I don’t even know how to open a bank account!
For many Australian women, the reality of being alone is a hard enough reality to deal with. Ensuring your family is ok, that you have a place to live and food on the plate is your initial concern after the emotional trauma of the past few years. And then you have to worry about income, super and money. It’s the last thing you need but it’s a necessity to get some proper advice and structure or else chances are you will forever be worried about money. This can lead to lack of stability, poor decisions and can be linked to other mental health issues due to the stress of not knowing how you will survive financially.
Unfortunately, many women are alone due to divorce or simply because their partner dies before them. Almost 60% of women aged over 60 in Australia are alone.
Not always but in many cases, the male partner previously managed the money and now the female survivor is left with investments, super, insurances tax and banking.
The first priority is to get peace of mind and realistic, honest and practical advice.
The next stage is trying to turn the confusion into clarity. What do you have, does it make sense, how to budget, how to provide, how to deal with banks….? What is a self-managed fund and what am I supposed to do is a common question. And all questions are great questions.
After this stage, there is most likely a period of what I call the cocoon phase where you do not want to make any major decisions. This is an important phase and other than urgent matters time should be taken before making significant changes or making major investments. Its time to reflect, settle down and take your time.
In time the sun does come out again and the future is bearable if not a pleasant surprise with respect to those that have left your life (and sometimes not in a divorce)
An initial checklist to get your finances in order would be:
- Call your bank and ensure you have access to all accounts
- Talk to your accountant or financial adviser and make a time to understand your taxes and any structures such as a super fund or trust
- Make an appointment with your solicitor to review your wills
- Calculate a budget so you know how much you need to live day to day
- Write down a list of the places you would like to see or visit
It is important you have a trusted independent adviser to act in your best interests and ensure you have your entire financial house in order. It’s important to have a sounding board. Making plans and having certainty about your finances can remove a lot of stress. This is an area that is often neglected or left to the advice of “friends”. Getting professional independent and trusted advice can make sure that you can enjoy all other aspects of your life that is likely to last for many more years. Life does improve after the initial shock, it may never be the same, but there is hope.
Arch Capital is an independently owned financial advice and tax practice located in the Northern Beaches and CBD. They specialise in retirement advice and have a focus on helping women who need a trusted adviser they can lean on now and for the future.