Well, here’s your worst nightmare on a platter. Close your eyes and imagine you’re getting a divorce (you don’t even need to have been married to know this is a hideous ordeal).
Now add on to that you have children. Four of them. Ok, now wipe your brow and swallow the pill that you’re also broke. Flat broke. And last but not least, you’re a woman.
Meet Anthea, who found herself in this exact boat. Luckily for Anthea, she’s a smart cookie. She decided not to throw herself off a cliff, and instead, launched herself into learning about money-management – and the result? Anthea is now thriving in her life of supporting her young family alone. It’s true, it is possible to overcome our worst nightmares and come out stronger. Here’s how she did it.
For a start, let’s just acknowledge that the financial situation Anthea found herself in, is sadly typical of many women who begin their lives with a promising career, meet a lovely man, marry, have babies and take time to raise them in the early years (which is not “time out” let me tell you!!) and then attempt to re-enter the workforce many years later only to find themselves out of practice, torn between multiple priorities, several years behind in superannuation payments and suffering permanent baby-brain! The thought of having to re-train your brain at this stage of life to learn an entirely new language (the language of financial stability) with this amount of pressure on you to sink or swim is astronomical.
But unlike most people in this boat who struggle to adapt, Anthea got her skates on and began upskilling at a rapid pace so she could go on to thrive in her new role as solo bread winner. And she nailed it. The biggest change she says in the beginning was having to look at everything with a magnifying glass. What used to be a simple grocery bill now became an exercise in micro-management and budgeting for the smallest of items.
Anthea says she “had to stop and think, ‘What are my expenses this week? What’s come in and what’s gone out?’ Suddenly having to become aware of budgets and cash flow really reshaped the way I looked at money.”
The second moment of brilliance came when she realised she was not a genius and that there was someone else out there who did this stuff for a living who could help her get on top of it all. Anthe says “I also spoke with an accountant, who had lots of advice on setting up basic systems to manage my affairs. As I began to put that advice into practice, I realised I’d had a fear factor around money. I hadn’t wanted to know about it and had been happy to leave it all to someone else. The accountant encouraged me to not be afraid and to start learning.”
Which leads us to the third clever step Anthea clearly made. She took a hard look at herself and her emotional relationship with money and said “screw this” to the old way she had done things and began a hot new love affair with her own savings account.
Once Anthea overcame her fear of money, she discovered the rewards of being savings savvy. And then the empowerment really began! And as we all know, when we feel good about something then we generally succeed at it too.
So, what does Anthea’s financial success look like now? Anthea says she feels a lot more confident, she is aware of her incomings and outgoings, which means fewer nasty surprises, especially when it comes to the kids. Anthea budgets for things that are above and beyond the basic necessities and even has money saved for those expensive times of the year like school holidays.
And ultimately, Anthea says she enjoys watching her savings grow. She finds it very satisfying to have her own choices and to reap the rewards it brings for her whole family. She adds that having a long term vision for her finances helps her make smarter decisions and that being in the driver’s seat might be “challenging and confronting – but doing so gives you choices, options – and a better future.” And if that’s not the definition of true freedom then I don’t know what is.