Staying in control - why you should always retain your financial independence

Staying in control - why you should always retain your financial independence
As a woman, you have no right to own property, you cannot hold other assets under your own name and you are expected to marry as a means to earn your keep.

That was the case in 1835, and while we may ache for the dresses, thank goodness those other conventions have gone the way of the quadrille. While education for our 19th century sister was likely to stop at the art of conversation and her freedom was similarly limited ... her 21st century compatriot is literally spoiled for life choices.

But while neither society, nor convention stops us from taking on the world - financial matters sometimes can. And without a good financial plan, we may as well go back in time for all the choices we have.

As women, it is so important that we retain an amount of financial independence - whether we are single, in a relationship, or in a family situation. And that means money of your own - not just joint accounts or investments with your partner. Because even if you have a loving partner and kids, you are an individual and have individual needs. And who knows when those needs may surface, or what the future may bring?

Here are some reasons to put yourself first - at least some of the time.

Doing it for yourself

Full time mums often lament the necessity of strict budgeting - and in some cases, asking their partner when they need extra cash. Those girl necessities can sometimes go misunderstood by the male gender - and who needs that! Putting aside even a small amount of money each week exclusively for oneself (not for kids) can mean a lot in girl terms. And it adds up considerably over months - meaning you can have that freedom of choice and independence everyone needs.

But while this is good for smaller items like clothes, you may also like to ensure you have larger amounts available for more expensive needs. Maybe you'd like to take some time out to study, or need a holiday to visit an old friend. Or perhaps you want to take care of your children's education. Examples only - but the whole point is that everyone's different.

By pigeonholing our lives, we are ruling out potential lifestyle change. It's only by keeping options open and allowing ourselves the financial freedom to exercise those options that opportunities can be grabbed and needs fulfilled.

Most fund managers offer investment plans, allowing you to start with a sum as little as $1000, to which you must add a regular amount each month. Over time, your investment returns will compound, producing earnings on top of earnings.

Protect against the unexpected

Ah, that crafty future, 'tis an unknown land. Unfortunately, most of us have no idea what lies in store - unless we plan on sitting in one room for the rest of our lives. Even then, we couldn't be too certain. That's why everyone who relies on an income for their mortgage, rent or lifestyle should take out insurance. Because one sickness or injury could wipe out your investments and put you into debt. The ability to continue earning income and covering expenses is the key issue here. Absolutely the best option is to visit a financial adviser to see what you should cover.

It's time to bring up the unmentionables. Death, relationship breakdown and/or divorce. All happen - regularly - and it's vital to safeguard, (at the very least!) financially against them. Death ... well that's easy. Life insurance covers that. As for relationships,
nothing in life is certain and whatever your situation, it makes sense to put away some security money. Because we never know what may happen in the future. It is essential to maintain your independence, even if that just means having a few different goals to your partner.

And that goes for wherever you are in life. Because a bit of financial planning now can assure your future. It gives you the personal freedom to act with spontaneity if you wish ... and also to fulfill those dreams which need some cash to help them along. It's your life, and with the wonderful freedoms we now have, you really can, with a little planning, live it as you please.