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Ten ways for women to take charge of their finances

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From making a will to getting comfortable talking about money, these are 10 ways women can take control of their financial lives.

Women’s main priority is the health, happiness and financial security of their children, yet according to a study by Aegon almost half have never discussed with their family the financial implications if were to die or be unable to work.

Women can take full control of their finances in these 10 ways: 

1. It’s good to talk – Don’t be a wallflower. If you aren’t the main breadwinner, or have devolved some financial responsibility to your husband or partner, make sure you ask how the money is managed, whether you are provided for in retirement, and what would happen if one of you were to die or be unable to work.

2. Understand your finances – This isn’t the 1950s. Don’t make the make the mistake of leaving it all to your husband, partner or children. Few of us think we’ll get divorced or that their husband will die, be made redundant or become ill, but it happens. Equally, they may be terrible at managing finances, but if you don’t know what they are doing, you won’t know until it’s too late.

3. Prepare for retirement – Women live 6 to 8 years longer than men in retirement. The state pension is unlikely to provide sufficient support and you also need to ensure you have made sufficient national insurance contributions to qualify. Those employed should have access to a workplace pension. Self-employed or stay-at-home mothers will need to make provision.

4. Appoint a guardian – This ensures your children are cared for by the right people if you or your partner die.

5. Make a will – Drawing up a will is not expensive and ensures that your money is distributed according to your wishes. Remember that it needs to change if you marry, divorce or have children.

6. Understand that the provision of childcare has a value – if you are sick or can’t look after your children for any other reason, someone will need to take care of your children if your husband is to continue working. Usually, that person will want to be paid!

7. Invest in stock and bond markets – Women have a tendency to be too cautious and retain all their money in cash. This means they may not have enough protection against inflation and may not meet their long term financial goals. Stock and bond markets tend to perform better than cash over time, though may fluctuate more in the short term.

8. Pay off expensive debt – It is usually extremely expensive to keep money on a credit card and you would be better off biting the bullet and taking out a personal loan or remortgaging. Steer well clear of other financing options, such as pay-day lenders.

9. Get educated – Contrary to popular myth, money is not boring. It is a really useful thing that can help you buy nice stuff. Managing it properly should make life less stressful.

10. Recognise the importance of money – It can feel a little grubby to care too much about money, but some attention ensures that your family are properly provided for and there are no nasty shocks lurking.

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