This article is submitted to us by Helen Baker, an Australian financial adviser and founder of On Your Own Two Feet, part of the Career Money Life Supplier Community. This article is originally published by Female.com.au.
Are you among the 50,000 Australian women going through separation or divorce this year? Perhaps the relationship is a bit shaky”it’s not over yet”but you believe in being prepared. You want to know how to navigate your way to financial independence.
In the forthcoming release, On Your Own Two Feet Divorce: Your Survive and Thrive Financial Guide ($39.95), Australian financial planning expert and author Helen Baker, draws on over a decade’s financial planning experience”and a lifetime as the girlfriend with broad shoulders, a hug and a no-nonsense view of the world”to present a practical guide to negotiating your financial share of the settlement pie.
Helen guides readers through the stages of separation and divorce (pre-settlement, negotiation, and post-settlement phases), providing foundations for a financial rebuild to enjoy your life, happily ever after. It isn’t about taking your ex to the cleaners, but about empowering women to make more educated and informed decisions about their financial situation, wherever they are on Heartbreak Road, shining the light on common mistakes and myths to improve their financial literacy.
Separating from a loved one can be a scary and trying time, but On Your Own Two Feet Divorce provides you with the tools you need to get your finances on track for a thriving future.
Helen Baker is an Australian licensed financial adviser and founder of On Your Own Two Feet, an Australia-wide service dedicated to empowering women to gain and retain their financial freedom. Helen has a degree in Commerce and two master’s degrees in Innovation and Change Management, and Financial Planning. The global financial crisis proved a turning point personally and professionally and Helen grabbed the opportunity to become thoroughly educated and knowledgeable about money matters beyond her home-spun ‘more dash than cash’ upbringing and change careers. She’s been on a crusade ever since to empower women through financial literacy. Her first book, On Your Own Two Feet: Steady Steps to Women’s Financial Independence was published in 2014. Proceeds from her books go to charities supporting disadvantaged women.
Interview with Helen Baker
Question: What inspired you to write On Your Own Two Feet Divorce?
Helen Baker: For me it’s about the First world meeting the Third world. From a first world perspective it’s about:
Trying to help clients to avoid mistakes. I was seeing women for advice in what I call “post settlement” phase and by then they have made their mistakes. One this week we’ve saved from losing $40,000. We want them to work it out BEFORE they sign the bottom line. Research shows clients feel financial advice is about selling a product – I want them to understand they need advice, need to understand the process, understand mistakes to avoid.
Research also shows women often don’t seek advice because they are scared or feel intimidated, so they can read this in private and be empowered then they can either do it themselves knowing mistakes to avoid, or recognise its way more complicated than they though and seek advice but saved themselves more than a “6 minute professional increment” by being more knowledgeable.
2. Help lawyers
There is an expectation that lawyer can tell them everything – lawyers know they cannot give financial advice so they can give this book to their clients as a way to help them see what we are saying above.
3. Because we are paid for our advice, we can you some of the proceeds from the book to help those less fortunate than us.
Question: What message do you hope readers take from On Your Own Two Feet Divorce?
Helen Baker: Seek financial advice BEFORE you sign on the dotted line.
Because the divorce process may take a long time, get control over what you can get control over now, keep getting control as you go, so you start to get your own independence step by step and ensure you make the most of the time you have to rebuild. If you wait until it’s all settled you are at risk along the way of losing what you have and you also lose time. Time is your best friend when it comes to investing.
Question: How can women ensure they are prepared and protected against divorce?
Helen Baker: Firstly you can look at protecting the relationship for which financial stress can play a big part. I talk in the book about a strategy a couple could have put in place to prevent a divorce but they didn’t do it.
Secondly, be across everything financial. Be in control of the financial situation. Know what is going on.
Thirdly, have your own financial foundations in place. I talk about the five foundations, one being an emergency fund. This can also help if you need to “get out”.
Fourthly, be careful about what I call “sexually transmitted debt”.
Fifthly, seek advice from a professional financial adviser who can help you in your specific situation to protect yourself. What are the areas you haven’t thought of?
Question: How can friends and family empower women around them who are going through divorce?
Helen Baker: Encourage them to seek advice. Some people react to different prompts – you may buy someone one of the books, send them a link to a blog that we’ve written, send them the Studio10 clip. The main thing is to talk about it. Fortunately women are very good at sharing. They may have only met you for 5 minutes but if they feel safe they will tell you their life story – so let’s feel safe and trustworthy enough to share. Get it out in the open. Finance is not something to be scared of, but something you can conquer the management of and feel armed and dangerous.
Question: Why was it important to donate proceeds from the book to charity?
Helen Baker: I think we are very blessed in this country. Whilst we can look at the Jones’ and all the people who have more than us and feel unhappy, I challenge you to look the other way and see how many people you are in a better position than. We are much better off than many other people around the world, and we are also fortunate that a small amount of our money can make a massive difference in a third world country. I feel we have an obligation to move the money in this world to ensure everyone can eat, drink, be safe. We have some mega wealthy people in this world. Are they supporting those less fortunate? If I asked someone to donate $40 to a cause they probably wouldn’t because they are asked from various organisations to give, so if I give something of value in the form of a book that people pay for, where I believe they get more value than the price of the book, I can then move this money to something that makes someone else’s life better. It’s a win-win.
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