How do you value yourself in terms of your finances? How do you manage your own finances as a woman? I often find that as women, we often put our own financial needs absolutely to the end of the queue.
If you have children, you’ll always put your children ahead of yourself. If you have other members of the family who seem to be struggling, as women we tend to always put their needs first rather than prioritising ourselves. When you make a decision to put your own financial needs first, you feel really selfish. It’s important to understand that, as women, we often feel the need to nurture others and to give to other people. I see the issue in terms of us giving is not really a big problem in and of itself. However, when you put other people’s needs ahead of your own ‘often’ – then you find if something happens like your relationship comes to an end, you’ll find that you have issues with regards to home ownership or superannuation – your care plan for yourself for the long term. All of a sudden, you realise that because you put everybody else’s needs ahead of your own, your future financial situation doesn’t look so good.
The other issue that we can have is that as we make life changes, such as a Divorce, you might end up with your children the majority of the time and you need to keep a roof over your heads. This can be tough because banks are not necessarily as supportive of you as a single person to service a mortgage – for some reason our financial institutions think that gender impactsyour ability to pay your bills.
Yet we know that’s just bullshit – right? In fact, most women that I know, when they’ve ended up in that situation end up working two jobs if they have to, or they’ll rent out a room in their house to ensure that they have enough money coming in to make their commitments and to keep that security over their head.
My biggest issue in looking at all of this stuff is that I can’t find a bank out there that’s actually really supportive of women in Australia – the recent media about the finance industry indicates that many banks aren’t doing the right thing by many members of our community – but women are marginalised even further in that.
I don’t understand it – when more than fifty percent of the population are women… How can our needs be ignored? Maybe somebody should be focusing on providing financial services specifically for women.
In my book, Define Your Inner Diva, in Discerning Diva I highlight that the Commonwealth Bank in Australia actually has a ‘Women In Focus’ program that supports female entrepreneurs and business people. They provide support in access to business networking events but there doesn’t seem to be anything specific about their lending criteria for women or understanding that women’s financial needs throughout their life course might change over time and that their customers in that.
The ANZ actually has a focus on women but they seem to be focusing on women who have less than fifty thousand dollars in Superannuation and they are trying to sell them some basic level of insurance. I just find the whole notion quite disappointing.
Seriously? In this day and age, where women work for the majority of their lives? It’s not like we have many ‘stay at home Mum’s’anymore! It’s not like the old days when you got married that you had to give up your full-time job because all of a sudden you are a wife and you had to stay home and support your husband – like they did in the 50s and the 60s. We all work and contribute asequally to the society as men do, yet our financial institutions are not supportive of women and their differing working situations or different financial positions.
I work for myself, so these days the bank doesn’t even like to talk to me about any lending, even though I have huge amounts of equity in my home. They just see me as this ‘enormous risk’! Yet, I’m a health professional and I have earned substantial income in the past working for government agencies and other corporates, yet somehow, working for myself I’m perceived to be greater ‘risk’.
Yet I have staff who can take a letter that says that they earn money from my business on a consistent basis and they can borrowmoney – even though their borrowing capacity is 100% dependent upon MY ability to keep my business running! It’s stupid! Why is it that I am seen as much more of a risk because I actually work for myself?
Let’s face it, that means that I’m more inclined to work myself to the bone to actually make sure I can get the income coming in and pay my bills – right? Why then do our financial institutions still view me through the lens of traditional ‘male-dominated’ policies in consideration of me in my business? They don’t want to meet all my financial needs, but they’ll lend money to my staff based on the fact that my staff is earning money from my business. It’s non-sensical!
They treat my employees differently to the way they treat me. Somehow, the fact that my staff is reliant on me for their income is less of a risk than me being reliant on myself! It’s stupid! It makes absolutely zero sense to my brain – it’s irrational.
The Commonwealth Bank is the only bank that has been supportive of my independence as a woman in business. However, I think they don’t go far enough…
I’m on a quest to find the best financial institution for women and I’m going to tell you all about it when I find it. Or somebody is prepared to have an interview with me and explain how they do focus on banking for women.
Have a great week I’ll see you soon…