This post is sponsored by the Commonwealth Government and ASIC.
Some blog posts are much harder to write than others. This is one of those on the difficult end of the spectrum but as a wise woman shared recently, “The stories that hurt the most are the ones that need to be told the most.” You see, so far 2015 hasn’t been quite the year we were hoping it would be. Though no one’s fault, just a whole set of unfortunate circumstances, we have had a really tough time financially. This series of unexpected circumstances drained our back up finances more quickly than we could ever have imagined and the icing on the cake – our one and only car’s catastrophic mechanical failure five days before Christmas.
It actually took us four months to get our car back up and running, as we simply did not have the money for the extensive repairs required. We did not want to borrow money for the repairs as we are still paying the loan for the actual car. During those four months we had to scrimp and save every single cent that we could to have any hope of the repair work being done, at a time when we were already financially stretched to the max.
As a relatively intelligent, financially aware adult, this is the first time I have ever found myself facing such tough financial difficulties.
It has been embarrassing.
It has been isolating.
It has been stressful on relationships.
It has contributed to health issues.
It has had a negative impacted on self-esteem and feelings of self worth.
And as much as we have tried to protect them, it has also affected our children.
It has been really, really tough.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am positive this is a short-term problem for us. I know that there are many, many families and individuals in our communities facing much longer term, ongoing financial difficulties and other serious life stressors – such as medical issues or unexpected loss. I know we are fortunate. We have a home and our health and each other. We have food in our tummies and shoes on our feet. We have so much and please don’t get me wrong, we are very, very thankful.
But in many ways I am also thankful for our difficulties.
We have discovered who our real friends are.
We have been humbled, blessed with help and support, often from the most unexpected of places.
We have been able to teach our children that we cannot always have what we wish for.
We have had to learn to make do, to compromise, and to be resourceful with what we have.
We have gone without and been better for it.
We have been broken but we are slowly being repaired.
And it has really highlighted how important it is for all of us to have good command of our personal finances. There are so many life events that impact upon financial wellbeing. Some of these are planned but many are not. You may be taking a career break to have children or to study, facing long term illness or disability, planning a return to work or even experiencing family breakdown.
When I was recently invited to review the Women’s Money Toolkit from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), I knew that it was time for our story to be shared. As we look towards re-building our own sense of financial stability, there are some really useful tools provided in the Toolkit that I would encourage you to take time to explore – because you honestly never know what life is going to throw at you!
The kit has been developed in recognition of many of the unique financial challenges women often face, such as taking time out of paid work to care for children, living longer, and having less Super then men. These challenges don’t only have a financial impact but also personal, emotional and social impacts too.
In the Women’s Money Toolkit you will find free, independent information related to key life events and their financial impacts. The Toolkit includes an optional, brief questionnaire that can help determine which of the site’s resources are most pertinent to your family’s situation. It also assists you to easily create an actionable to-do list of financial tasks to help you prepare, for both the expected and the unexpected.
The Toolkit includes links to a range of useful tools such as a budget planner, a parental leave calculator, information about insurances, and the TrackMySPEND app – which is one I am have already started using.
Whether you’re struggling to make ends meet or in control of your finances but wanting to make sure that you are fully prepared, the Women’s Money Toolkit can help you get your financial affairs in order.
I am speaking from experience when I say, don’t put it off.
What about you? Have you faced unexpected financial struggles? What advice do you have for those trying to overcome financial difficulties?