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End of Financial Year round-up



"Getting on top of your finances in midlife is like climbing a mountain. It may be a steep climb, but the view from the top is worth it"

Unknown


As we approach the end of the financial year in Australia, I've spent the last week meeting with my financial planner and accountant to make sure I've tied up all the loose ends. I love to make sure that I am maximising all of my taxable business expenses and buying up equipment or tech that I may have put off earlier in the year.

I was not great with my money in my younger years. I was never frivolous or a spendthrift, but I had, and can still over-extend myself in terms of my financial commitments. I was 52 when I started to get professional help. I'm not where I want to be business wise, but I'm very happy with where my personal finance is going. Although I'm not planning on retiring, I do want to slow down at some stage, so therefore my focus is that my partner and I build a comfortable future.

Like many women, being self-employed my super is atrocious, but I know with the right support and consistency, it's never too late for me to get on track financially.


NEW FINANCIAL YEAR - NEW FINANCIAL GOALS

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear the words ‘New’ and ‘year’ in the same sentence, I get excited. There is something almost irresistible about having a new beginning and the chance to start fresh. Out with the old, in with the new.

As I write this, I am picturing you yawning, thinking to yourself ‘but it’s just a new financial year – that just means it’s time to start looking through my old receipts so I can do my tax!’. And while that may be true, I wonder how many of us, as women, are as financially literate as we should be?

Too many of us in the past have relied on partners to take care of the family financial issues; and in combination with pay gaps, superannuation gaps and caring gaps in our working lives, have ended up with much less than we should in our retirement years. Especially after the breakdown of a relationship.

I found myself struggling financially after my divorce from my first husband and was left with some often-uncomfortable choices to make (like: I can afford milk OR bread this week). It was not a pleasant way to live, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Statistics show that about 60 per cent of women experience financial hardship in the first year after a divorce. Women who are divorced or separated are about half as likely to own their own home after they have turned 50 compared to those in a relationship. And I know we keep mentioning this one, but women over 55 are the fastest growing demographic of homeless people in Australia.

So, how financially literate are you? Try this quick quiz (I will give you the answers later)

Question 1. Numeracy

Suppose you put $100 into a no-fee savings account with a guaranteed interest rate of 2% per year. You don’t make any further payments into this account, and you don’t withdraw any money. How much would be in the account at the end of the first year once the interest payment is made?

Question 2. Inflation Imagine now that the interest rate on your savings account was 1% per year and inflation was 2% per year. After one year, would you be able to buy more than today, exactly the same as today, or less than today with the money in this account?

Question 3. Diversification Do you think that the following statement is true or false? ‘Buying shares in a single company usually provides a safer return than buying shares in a number of different companies. (True or false?)

According to Professor Alison Preston of the UWA Business School, for a person to be considered financially literate, they need to answer all three questions correctly.

The good news for us ladies over 50, is that it is not too late for us to become financially secure, but we can only do this by becoming not only aware of our financial situation, but we also need to take control of it.

There are some excellent free resources online, but in my opinion, you can’t beat getting some advice from a reputable financial planner. And then, follow through on it! Become financially educated and plan to enjoy your future!

Jody Webster

[Correct answers: Q1 $102; Q2 Less; Q3 False]

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