Your checklist for financial independence

checklistWomen have come a long way in establishing their independence. They pursue careers, run households and contribute to the economy. When it comes to finances though, some women still sacrifice their independence by leaving their financial security in the hands of a spouse or partner.

 The first step to financial independence is to take control of your finances, says Sonja du Toit from Sanlam. Below is a simple but helpful checklist you can use when thinking about your financial needs, goals and priorities.

Do I have a budget, and am I sticking to it?

Keep careful track of all your income and expenses and of whatever financial solutions you already have in place.

 Am I living within my means?

Credit is an inevitable part of life, especially for bigger purchases, says Sonja, as few people can afford to buy a house or car with cash. But when you start using your credit card to buy food or pay for living expenses, you may be in trouble. Buying on credit is very expensive and people often overspend when they don’t purchase items in cash. Stick to your budget, pay cash as far as possible and use credit sparingly.

 Is my will up to date?

Do you have a will that specifies your wishes with regard to your spouse and/or children and their financial needs? Have you appointed a guardian?

 Do I have enough life cover?

Do you have enough life cover to make sure that your family will be taken care of financially should you pass away? The life cover amount should cover your contribution to the household budget and any outstanding debt you may have, especially debt on assets you own. Speak to your financial adviser to make sure that you have adequate cover.

 Do I have enough disability cover?

Are you sufficiently covered if you are no longer able to generate an income due to disability as a result of an accident or a critical illness, such as cancer?

 What happens if I lose my job?

Using income protection insurance, you can protect your income in the event of temporarily or permanently becoming unable to earn a living. Several good options are available in the market. Speak to your financial adviser to find the option that offers the best value and addresses your particular needs.

 Do I have an emergency fund?            

Do you have an emergency savings fund to cover those unforeseen events or expenses?Apart from a joint savings plan with your partner, it’s a good idea to have your own separate savings pool to which you contribute monthly. Not only is it a welcome safety net, but it also gives you a sense of financial security.

 Am I saving for my child’s education?

Is your child’s schooling and tertiary education planned for, including related expenses such as uniforms and study material?

 Are my retirement savings on track?

You need to ensure that you save enough for your retirement so that you can be financially self-sufficient and maintain your standard of living in your golden years. Statistics show that women live longer than men and therefore have to make provision for a longer retirement period. Meet with your financial adviser annually to make sure your retirement savings stay on track.

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Sue St Leger

Owner of Sue St Leger & Associates
Sue St Leger & Associates

Sue St.Leger, owner of Sue St Leger & Associates, shares her personal tips and thoughts on the importance of women supporting other women in business, leadership and networking. As an experienced profiler and emotional intelligence assessor, she encourages fostering a supportive and empowering environment for women through self-development.

Mel Gard