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Being a financially savvy female


5 tips for women to achieve financial independence.

Understanding and being in control of your own money matters is an important and empowering life skill, regardless of your relationship status. Being able to budget, manage existing debts and plan for the future can open up new opportunities and help reduce stress – even if your circumstances change. Here are 5 things you can do to take control of your finances.

1. Have… a conversation

Financial independence doesn’t necessarily mean keeping assets separate, it means having equal access and understanding. Set aside some time to go through your current finances and think about where you’d like them to be. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, being honest and open about your assets, debts and goals will give you greater oversight of your situation and where you can start to take a more active role. Seek out the help of a financial adviser or expert if you’re really stuck and need some professional help to get started.

2. Start… a budget

Setting a budget can be incredibly liberating once you see exactly where your money is going and how much you have left to spend instead of scrambling from pay cheque to pay cheque. A budget provides stability and once it’s established, you can simply set and forget any repayments or savings goals you might have. Start by having your income deposited into one personal account and track your expenses to figure out how much you can afford to save and spend once bills are taken care of. Having an emergency savings fund will give you peace of mind if any unexpected incidentals pop up.

3. Set… good habits

Habits are hard to make and easy to break, but adjusting your mindset and attitude towards money will be really important to hold yourself accountable. Do you make a lot of impulse purchases? Do you let someone else handle most of the finances? Do you worry about being able to pay bills when they are due? Simple things like setting a budget, sticking to a shopping list and having a goal to work towards will help to rein in unnecessary spending. Once you get into the habit of saving and start to see the balance increase, you’ll be more motivated to keep your spending in check.

4. Invest… in yourself

Superannuation. It’s confusing, ticking away in the background and a long way off until you have to worry about it… right? Not necessarily. A nest egg is one of the biggest assets you can build over your lifetime and there are few things you can do to maximise the most of your super. Firstly – consolidate your accounts into one fund. If you’ve changed jobs a few times, it’s possible you have accounts with multiple companies and could be getting charged fees on all of them. Choose one that best suits your needs (check for things like fees, investment structure and built in features such as life insurance) and simply move your funds across via the ATO portal on myGov. You might also be able to make additional contributions into your super through salary sacrifice, but as always, seek advice from an expert to determine what is best for your financial situation.

5. Take… control of your financial future

Knowledge is power and it’s never too late to start learning about finance. Download podcasts and listen to them on the way in to work, subscribe to reputable money magazines or newsletters and start conversations with friends. Normalising the subject will make it much less daunting. Make sure you can access and control your money. Consolidate and pay down your debts. Be frugal and shop around for the best rate for things like energy providers, savings accounts or loans. Teach your kids money skills from a young age. Your financial independence is a long-term commitment worth investing in!

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. This information has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Information in this article is current as at the date of publication.

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