Ok, so there you are, happy as can be, handling the bills and letting your husband take care of the big financial decisions.
Then he dies, or leaves you for a babe half his age.
What happens to the financial safety net you thought you had?
That depends. Here's advice on what every woman needs to know about getting your fair share in case you are widowed or divorced.
Over the years, I listened to a number of my divorced clients thread together the pieces of their dilemmas, and the creeping thud of reality then hit me too.
I was reminded that my male life experience did not equip me for dealing with women's issues.
I know the financial world and can spout the greatest of platitudes about what you should do to gain control over your money.
But I, was hard pressed to effectively apply what I knew to the unique circumstance of the modern women and do so without appearing condescending.
I am not sure, at what age men decide that the female of the species is no longer the keeper of solutions!
During the first 18 or more years of my life the only person that could help decipher situations and dilemmas was a woman, my mother.
Then something changes when we get our first paycheque.
We are now the sole source of economic, political and mechanical aptitude. Far from the truth!
As John Gray has so effectively pointed out in Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus, at the nucleus men and women share few similarities as developing humans.
Because of the complexity of the world we live in both men and women find themselves in situations which demand better solutions and advice. In addition, that advice may need to be different.
My husband (or future husband) will take care of it.
It's amazing how many independent, maiden name-keeping women secretly rely on a current or eventual marriage to take care of their retirement needs.
But, many things can go wrong with the he'll-take-care-of-me strategy.
Some woman don't marry and many married women eventually divorce.
Even those whose vows last a lifetime may find themselves in situations they didn't expect.
Their husbands may lose their careers to downsizing or disability or other misfortunes.
No matter where your money comes from, make retirement planning a priority as an individual.
Don't rely on your husband to contribute towards your retirement benefits: take responsibility for your own retirement.
A number of people, more often than not women, find themselves in a financial predicament at retirement age when they can do little about it.
The divorce rate is getting ever higher, and often includes couples getting divorced near or even after retirement age.
Women should take accountability for their retirement planning irrespective of whether they are single, divorced or married.
Though divorce happens to one out of every two new marriages in SA, no woman is ever prepared for the emotional and financial upheaval it brings into her world.
Divorce means a broken heart, shattered dreams and, more often than not, financial problems.
The shattered dreams and the broken heart tend to heal with time, but time does nothing to soften decimated savings, loss of a house, the problems created by a cut in family income.
Many of us have stretched the financial limit to live in our dream homes. That house doesn't get a bond payment break just because you finally got rid of 120 kilos of couch potato!
The only way to protect your financial well-being is to become informed about your rights.
Only if you are knowledgeable will you be able to act effectively -- for yourself and for your children, if you have kids.
One particular area is that of his pension. Make sure you know how much you are entitled to.
After all, in your own way you helped him build it up and it's your right to take your share.
Make sure you are not cut out of his will or trust fund.
Are you still the beneficiary on his insurance policies?
Have you changed your will?
Let this be a wake-up call to the Second Wives Club: Make sure your husband is leaving all his property to you.
Keeping an RA going is a good option under these circumstances.
This is not only important for the self-employed woman, but also for the woman married in community of property. If her husband's business is forced into liquidation, creditors have no claim against her RA.
Pitching money into a joint retirement nest egg account with your husband may feel cosy, but it's not a money-savvy move.
In a basic savings plan, taxes aren't deferred, meaning you owe them right away on the interest, at your current tax-bracket rate, rather than at retirement time, when your tax rate should be considerably lower.
Instead, take advantage of an RA plan.
You'll benefit on two fronts - a tax deduction every year you contribute, plus earnings that are tax-deferred.
The attitude and approach of women to financial planning might be different, but when it comes down to the products - they're unisex - a pension is a pension, whomsoever buys it.
Concerned about your future welfare? THEN, CALL ME.
Don't leave your concern here. email me for advice - no obligation!