This week I have been introduced to a lovely woman. A woman and mother, who is caring, intelligent, articulate, smart and was completely unprepared for what has occurred in her life. Let’s call this woman Jane. Jane could be any one of us. She went to school and is highly educated. She had good jobs and was employed at a management level. Jane did contribute to society and to those around her. She got married to the man of her dreams and had children, from the outside everything looked NORMAL.
Then one day after a marriage that lasted over two decades and Jane doing everything she thought NORMAL, things changed. Her husband wanted a divorce. Completely unprepared, Jane found herself in a situation she never expected. The shock and stress were incredible, but she needed to continue for her children’s sack.
During her marriage, Jane had allowed her husband to control the finances and make the decisions on their MONEY. They lived a good life never wanting for anything as they were both well paid. But the decisions Jane’s husband was making were not in the best interest of the family or of Jane. They rented, (and there is nothing wrong with renting if you put your money into investments like myself and many others do.) And from what l can understand lived a life of abundance. Now abundance can come in many forms, and I strive for abundance. But buying possessions which do not go up in value and are just filling a void is not a sound investment strategy. Spending money on eating out and entertainment when there is no money in the bank is ridiculous and dangerous. Now let me be clear, this was not Jane’s doing. She was in a relationship whereby her husband had total control over the family finances and was later explained to Jane, she was financially abused. Abuse in a relationship can come in many forms, but ultimately it is all about control. How can you divide assets at the end of a relationship when there is none. I am sure she now looks back and can see the signs of controlling behaviours and wishes she had done things differently. I am not here to judge just point out the facts.
This scenario is not unfamiliar to me, or the Angels l work with. In a healthy relationship, decisions are discussed and agreed upon jointly. You must plan for the future or otherwise you PLAN to fail. It is as simple as that. Thinking that tomorrow will be all right but not putting any structures in place to protect your future is like driving your car in the dark and not putting on your headlights. A crash is bound to happen.
As mothers, we MUST teach our daughters and granddaughters that finances are important, and they must be our priority. For us to succeed in life not only must we have financial literacy we must have what a colleague and girlfriend calls ‘ A Freedom Fund.’ Why would you need ‘A Freedom Fund’, if you are in a happy, healthy relationship? Easy, none of us knows what is around the next corner. It may never be used. But the sense of peace knowing that you have choices because of that fund can make such a difference at a difficult time. I have also seen this fund used when an unexpected life event has occurred. And let me be clear right now, this does not need to be a secret fund. You can tell your husband or partner all about it. If your relationship is strong and healthy, he will be OK, because he knows it will never be needed. It could be called ‘the celebration fund’, and after your 70th birthday, and a successful marriage the money could be used for a once in a lifetime trip to celebrate your lifelong relationship. Whatever you feel comfortable with.
Being prepared is not something you should shy away from or be worried about. None of us knows what our futures hold or how it may turn out. Sometimes, like Jane, you never expected to be where you are right now, having always done the right thing yet life throws a curve ball you never saw coming.
Jane is currently dealing with life on government support. She is a courageous woman who now wants to stand up for all of those women in her situation and her strength to keep going for her children, and hopefully, herself will get her through. For me, while Jane tackles this ever growing issue of women in their late 40’s -50’s struggling to survive and living from day to day. I see that if we address the issue at the start of a relationship and help our daughters, maybe others can learn from Jane’s story and prevent the issues of poverty by being involved in our financial futures.
This is easy for me to say as l am not in a controlling relationship. But if the signs are there, you need to do something before it is too late. Think of Jane and her situation, have a conversation, and if you get shut down, this is a warning sign. Address your concerns before becoming homeless and living with depression I could never imagine.
I wish Jane all the best, and I am here to help any way possible. In this situation, if Jane wants our help, my business will look to find Jane employment and help get her back on her feet anyway possible. I have attached a Newspaper article about her current predicament and if you are reading this and are in a similar position, just know you are not alone.