When it comes to financial success – or failure – people can set tough benchmarks for themselves. Financial fears or success means different things to each of us. For a single parent, it can mean not having to worry about unexpected bills. Or for a young professional, it might mean reaching the C-suite.

No matter what financial success looks like for you, when it comes to personal money management, Mortage Choice estimates that close to one in two women are confident that they are on track to reach their financial goals.

However, bubbling beneath the surface, women have some very real concerns about financial failure even though many of these fears may not be founded on reality.

Not meeting self-imposed financial goals

43% of women believe that not reaching their own financial goals is a sign of fiscal failure. The good news is that this suggests women are not only setting financial goals for themselves, they also attach considerable importance to achieving them. The question is, are we setting clear money goals to work towards?

Why it’s unfounded:  73% of women have set formal money goals for themselves. Almost one in five have gone as far as documenting their financial aspirations.  That’s a smart move. Behavioural science tells us that articulating goals creates concrete aspirations to work towards. Formally writing goals down, and even sharing them with friends or family, increases the likelihood of achieving your aspirations.

What you can do to avoid missing your own financial goals:

  • Be realistic with your goals. Setting a benchmark that is genuinely achievable within a given timeframe can keep you motivated to achieve other goals.
  • Make your goals specific and avoid indeterminate goals like “I want to save more”. Instead, add a concrete target such as “I plan to save $100 each month”. This gives you a clear figure to work towards.
  • Take steps to achieve your goals. If your goal is to grow savings, make it happen by setting up an automatic transfer out of your everyday account, into a savings account. 

The looming fear: Bankruptcy

The single greatest financial fear shared by six out of ten women is being declared bankrupt.

Why it’s unfounded: Sure, the idea of becoming bankrupt is unsettling, especially as it carries a considerable social stigma.

However, bankruptcy is very much an act of last resort. There is a whole spectrum of actions that can be taken to salvage personal finances before bankruptcy needs to be considered. And the vast majority of people are a long way from this point.

What you can do to avoid bankruptcy:

  • Monitor your finances regularly – 89% of women do this already. It’s a simple way to identify early warning signs such as mounting debt.
  • Excessive use of debt is the leading cause of personal insolvency in Australia. Don’t take on more debt than necessary, especially debt that’s not backed by a valuable asset as is the case with credit card debt.
  • Consider taking out income protection insurance. Only one in five women have income protection insurance, yet loss of income is the second main cause of personal insolvency.

 

Losing your home 

Homeownership is a big deal for many people. The study found that almost one in two women own their home, with a further one in four saving for a place of their own. Just over 10% of women also own an investment property. Unsurprisingly, the possibility of being forced to sell their home and downsize or rent is what 44% of women feel to be a sign of financial failure. 

Why it’s unfounded:  Homeownership often goes hand in hand with a home loan, and only 7% of women report having difficulties meeting their debt repayments.

What you can do to avoid losing your home:

  • Avoid overcommitting yourself. Be realistic about how much you can afford to borrow – and pay – for a home of your own.
  • Take early action if you’re struggling to meet repayments. Speak with your lender or mortgage broker before you miss a payment. It’s often possible to negotiate a more manageable payment plan.
  • Be careful about acting as guarantor for someone else’s debt (including debts of an adult child). If they default on their repayments, the lender will turn to you to make good with the loan, and that can jeopardise your ability to pay off your own home.

Dispelling the myths & financial fears

There is no doubt that women can face gender-related financial challenges including lower rates of pay, a greater likelihood of working in part-time/casual roles and increased chance of taking extended periods of time off from the workforce.

However, as research highlights, women are taking plenty of sensible steps to bolster their own financial well-being. For many, drawing up a personal balance sheet could reveal that they are in far better fiscal shape than they realise, and are much closer to financial success than failure. Having a money mentor can help too. Speaking with a professionally qualified financial planner can help you stay on track for financial success and let you thumb your nose at those personal financial fears.

 

This is a guest post by Nicola Field – a senior finance writer from Mortgage Choice. Find out more about Financial Fitness research.


We are taught to believe that wealth comes from having access to lots of money. But experience has shown me that this is not true. I was raised in a billionaire household and yet lived most of my early adulthood in deep anxiety about my personal finances. At the age of forty, I was a single mother with $2 million of debt and no idea of how financial systems work.

Living a life of prosperity – creating the right riches for you – has nothing to do with how much money you have around you. It is about having a healthy mindset and a willingness to create.

Of course, wealth creation is easiest if you have the right tools, so here are some that I believe are key to financial freedom. Most exciting, every single one of them is within your reach, right now!

Self-worth

This might surprise you and perhaps sounds a little cliché, but experience has shown me that self-worth is the key to creating wealth. Why do 70% of lottery winners lose their money within five years? Because, at a deep level, they do not believe they can have this type of wealth. Or it may be they feel they don’t deserve it. Either way, this unconscious lack of self-worth drives them to make unhealthy decisions and unwise investments.

You must be invested in your own fulfilment to invest time and energy into researching your best financial options.

If you want to create the right riches for you, it is vital that you value yourself enough to make the best choices for you. You must love you enough to say ‘no’ to yourself. You must believe you are worthy so you can make truly wise decisions. You must be invested in your own fulfilment to invest time and energy into researching your best financial options.

When it comes to wealth creation, self-worth is the foundational tool. Without it, nothing else matters.

Questions

Most people are unaware of the power of a question, but queries are an effective tool in many facets of life, including wealth creation. Firstly, asking yourself questions can reveal your underlying beliefs about money and highlight your unconscious points of view. This is important information to have as you set out on your journey to p08rosperity.

…queries are an effective tool in many facets of life, including wealth creation

How do you view money? Is it a happy or sad thing? Is money easy to make? Why or why not? What should people do when they have lots of money? Save or spend? Why? What are your family’s views on money? What does your culture or religion say about money? All of these questions, if answered honestly, can offer you vital insight into your point of view about wealth and, most importantly, how you may try to sabotage your own financial well-being.

Secondly, questions can help you navigate those awkward moments when you want to spend money impulsively, or frivolously. Wealth creation is about wise decisions, and experience has shown me that wise decisions are not aligned at all with out-of-control emotions and desperate yearnings!

When you find yourself about to make a significant impulse buy, use questions to bring yourself back to reality. Can you live without this item? (The answer to this question is normally “yes”.) Once you know you can survive without the item, you can realize the purchase is a choice. Is this the right time to spend money on that kind of purchase? How will the purchase affect your other financial plans? Is the purchase more possible and appropriate at a later time?

When you ask a question, you activate your creativity and intuition

Finally, questions draw our awareness to new and exciting possibilities and help us create financial opportunities that we have never before considered. We are taught that the key to any step forward is to make judgements, come to decisions and form conclusions. But, this way of thinking actually limits our decisions to knowledge we already know, or possibilities we have already considered. When you ask a question, you activate your creativity and intuition – you open your mind to recognize and consider ideas that are not simple replays of your past.

If you really want to be a powerful wealth creator, keep asking questions:  What else is possible? What is right about this situation that I’m not getting? What do I have to be or do different today to create and generate more money right away? Vitally, don’t immediately come to conclusions. Instead, let the answers and ideas reveal themselves to you in their own time.

Internet

Ok, this one seems pretty obvious, but when you have a firm belief in your worthiness and a mind that is open to all possibility, then the internet becomes more than an information highway – is an incredible realm of opportunity. With the internet at your fingertips, there is no excuse to be poorly informed about your finances. Looking to invest? Research the company or fund statements. Wanting to learn new ideas? Enrol in online courses and seminars. Want to see what opportunities are available to you, right now? Real-time updates of stock, commodities and real estate are all at your disposal. So get moving, and make the internet work for you!

 

Curry Glassell is a dynamic producer, author, speaker, philanthropist, Right Riches for You facilitator and art-loving mother of two who loves helping people realize what’s actually out there for them in the world, if they let it in. For more information: www.curryglassell.com


Achieving financial independence requires much more than taking a few considered steps erred heavily on the side of material caution. To be truly in control of your financial future, you have to make creating financial independence front and centre of your fiscal playbook.

This doesn’t mean scrimping and squirrelling at every opportunity you get, turning down nights out with the girls, and saying ‘no!’ to every retail purchase, but it does require conscious spending and smart saving.

Financial independence comes from a holistic approach to all areas of your life which takes into account past, present, and very importantly, future decisions.

“To be truly in control of your financial future, you have to make creating financial independence front and centre of your fiscal playbook”

Try breaking down your actions into three areas:

1. Prevention

If you find yourself feeling as if your finances are quickly spinning out of control, a great place to start is prevention. Prevention is preemptive and should ensure that, whilst you sort out your current cash flow, you don’t dig yourself further into a cavernous black hole of debt.

  • Really think of the small stuff – bought coffees, quick drinks and take away lunches are all silent ‘killers’ of budget success. A bit of planning in advance and some modesty can make a huge difference to your future.
  • Set up separate accounts for different types of revenue – this is an oldie but a goodie. The ‘jars system’ is known to work well because it adds visibility to your saving efforts.
  • See a financial planner – getting advice from a professional is a great way of putting your own personal situation into perspective. Not only will they be able to look at your finances objectively, they’ll also be a great source of ongoing support on your journey. Remember, financial planners aren’t just for the rich, they’re for the smart and also for those wanting to educate themselves for the future.
  • Set yourself a goal – it might be a lovely dinner out, a weekend away, or a fun purchase. You have to have small rewards to make the efforts worth it.
  • Seek guidance – friends and family members usually have some great personal tips. Why not discuss saving techniques and challenges with your girlfriends over a few glasses of vino every now and then? Shared tips will help everyone out.

“Remember, financial planners aren’t just for the rich, they’re for the smart and also for those wanting to educate themselves for the future.”

2. Regulation

Getting on top of your spending is one thing, but regulating your ‘good behaviour’ is often the part that people find most difficult. Whilst short-term financial freedom can feel rewarding, it’s ongoing, consistent smart decisions that will create long-term financial success.

  • Break things down into small achievements – look at each bill and account separately and get them each under control, as opposed to trying to look at the whole picture at once, all the time.
  • Engage your suppliers early – don’t wait until your third default notice to get things sorted. Many creditors are generally quite happy to develop payment plans to help you avoid stiff penalties.
  • Set aside time each week to focus your financial future – if you’re part of a couple, do this together. It’s always difficult when only one person feels like they’re carrying the whole burden, and this may help you feel like you’re in it together.
  • Get the kids involved – make it fun! Kids have great imaginations (as you’ll know if you have any), and having them involved can often be great motivation. Have you ever considered ‘fake take’ nights (homemade meals to replace expensive take-away), or getting them involved in the prep and cooking?

“Many creditors are generally quite happy to develop payment plans to help you avoid stiff penalties.”

3. Revaluation

Lastly, but not at all least important, take stock of your current situation and identify any areas in your finances where you can renegotiate your loans for more favourable terms of repayment. Your situation may change over the lifetime of a loan and oftentimes financial institutions will be understanding of this.

  • Take time to re-quote things like house and contents insurance, car insurance, phone and Internet plans and health insurance.
  • Also take time to re-quote the bigger things like credit cards and home loans – it’s amazing how much you can save by chatting with your providers to make sure you’re getting the best deal (but not compromising on quality).

“… take stock of your current situation and identify any areas in your finances where you can renegotiate your loans for more favourable terms of repayment”

Financial tips for this article were kindly provided by People’s Choice Credit Union.

 

Featured photo credit: Koshiro.kun via photopin cc