Why Women Need To Be Financially Independent
I can remember my Mum telling me when I was in my twenties, how important it was to be financially independent. “Always have your own money just in case” she would say. Have your own savings account tucked away for a raining day and don’t tell your partner. “You just don’t know what life will bring your way. You could get divorced; you may not be able to work for a little while, you may need it for the kids’ education etc. “You just don’t know what may happen she would say”. “If life does go smoothly, you and your partner could always use the money to go on a lovely holiday when you retire or you could give it to your kids”. “A woman should always have some money for herself tucked away.”
Of I so wish I had listened to her and followed her advice over the following twenty years.
At the age of 45, I found myself financially ruined due to the STD (sexually transmitted debt) I had inherited from my now ex-husband. I had no savings, worked in our business and he controlled 100% of the money, which he slowly manipulated and planned throughout our marriage. But you see, I trusted him, he was my husband and that’s what you do right?
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
Trust and financial independence are two completely separate things, which I now totally get. Sometimes, unfortunately, I have to learn the hard way.
Financial ruin can happen to anyone; it has no social preference, no age targets and can leave a magnitude of destruction. For countless women, it will take many years for them to get back on their feet financially, but for others, they will never get back to where they were. Time just isn’t on their side.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show the number of women aged 55 and over using homelessness services increased by 52 per cent from 2011 to 2016, when 11,949 older women sought its help. Low superannuation, divorce and domestic violence coupled with high house prices are among the key factors.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of divorces increased by 2,019 (4.3%) in 2015 and the crude divorce rate did not change from 2014 at 2.0 divorces per 1,000 estimated resident population in 2015.
The median duration from marriage to divorce in 2015 was 12.1 years, a slight increase from 12.0 years reported in 2014. The median age at divorce for males was 45.3 years of age and the median ages of females was 42.7 years of age for those divorces granted in 2015.
We all too often see the ugly side of greed come out in people in times of divorce or death. Control and power becomes the main focus, forget about the years of loyalty and joint effort that created it.
We all go into marriage with full gusto and commitment, hoping that we will not become one of the divorce statics in Australia. But when I got married the first time, I did not see the evil that lay beneath the mask of my ex-husband until it was too late.
I so wish I had listened to my Mum all those years ago. Mums really do know best.