Articles by The Professional Trustee Team
Women and money
I reckon all women are in the protection business. Just look around. They are born protectors. They look out for their friends and family and are constantly trying to protect those they love. They even look out for friends of friends. Experience has shown me that women are frequently much better than their counterparts in dealing with wealth building and protection issues. Let me give you a couple of examples.
Protecting the family by putting a roof over their heads
For those old enough to remember, you will recall the time when you could capitalise the family benefit the government handed out. At that time in history I was involved in completing the legal work for a property building and selling company. Couples would cash up 5 years worth of family benefits, save a weekly deposit themselves and purchase a home. Many a Kiwi family got their foot on the property home ownership ladder in this manner. The main driving force behind most of these home purchases was a woman. In fact, the salesmen used to say that if the female in the equation wasn't interested, the sale wasn't going to go through. I guess there must be some truth in this sentiment because real estate agents tell me that this is still the position today – if the woman doesn't like the home there isn't going to be a sale, no matter how much her husband likes the place.
Keeping the roof over the family's heads
When I worked for a firm of solicitors that acted for a bank, I found out that women are very good at stepping up to the plate when trouble is on the horizon. In this role, my job was to ensure the bank's legal documentation was in order so the bank could sell up a borrower's home when they defaulted on their mortgage payments. It was a pretty soul destroying role but I learnt a lot about the law and about human behaviour. When the money problems came about, they often occurred in those days due to a business failure. Nine times out of ten, it was the husband's business that had failed and ninety-nine percent of the time, it was the wife that called me to discuss the issue. The husband could frequently be found engaging in one of two activities; playing ostrich and ignoring all attempts by the bank to deal with the matter or playing chicken and taking flight, leaving the wife to deal with the mess.
Tell me why
Because women are generally pretty good at getting and protecting wealth, it surprises me that a perception exists that the female sex have trouble looking after and protecting their own affairs.
From what I have seen, it does appear that sometimes women don't want to get too involved in the topic of money, or at least aren't as interested in the green stuff as men are. That doesn't mean, however, that women aren't good with money.
This week I was giving a presentation about 'all things money' and I noticed that one woman was having real trouble with the subject. I wondered why that was. Perhaps historically the subject had caused conflict within her own marriage. Perhaps she found the language of money too confusing. Perhaps she saw knowing about all things money as unfeminine. Perhaps it was even a historical family thing where money wasn't openly discussed with her parents. I'm unsure of the reasons and there are probably plenty. What I do know, however, is that not knowing about money definitely puts women on the back foot and unnecessarily so in my view.
The way I look at it is if you are in a relationship and you understand about the green stuff, including what is going on in your partner's financial life, then as a couple you will be stronger. Alternatively, if you are on your own, then the buck stops with you so you may as well make each one count and get some understanding how moola is made, lost and protected.
Here's a really interesting thing to consider. Women, when they do get an understanding of money, make it, handle it and protect it in far better ways and to much greater degrees than men. Women have uncanny capabilities and instincts when it comes to money. Ask any money trader. A woman on a 'Spot Team' will often write far better deals, with greater consistency then her male team mates.
In my view, if we are going to have to deal with the issue of protecting the family jewels, we may as well get armed. A little knowledge goes a long way and the right person on your Money Team can make an incredible difference. Find a person who you feel comfortable with who has the education, skills and experience to help you.
Check out a couple of books as well. Start with the basics. Budgeting, insurance, risk, diversification, shares, superannuation and property. Get a working Money Language of terms and definitions behind you. Then move to understanding how to grow money.
Finally, have a bit of a look at how you go about protecting money and those assets you purchase with the gold you've made. Check out the Family Trusts section of our website.
If along the way you have any questions about money or Trusts, let us know. Our email address there is [email protected] and our telephone number is (09) 522 7955. Until I hear from you, happy travelling everyone with building your financial future and protecting what you grow.
The main things I got out of Property School were knowledge on subdivision, feedback on current market, tips on areas and types of properties to buy. I really enjoyed learning from the examples of the presenters own experience. - Craig H - October 2015
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