Even if you’re not confident with your finances, you can look at some key things and make some changes. Our founder Monica Bradley has some advice.

Women are living longer than men, with the average lifespan for a woman 83.1 years compared to 79.4 years for men. Clearly, there’s a need for women to be financially savvy so that they can enjoy a comfortable retirement, especially with the state pension age for women due to rise.

Yet according to a Global Women and Money Study published in 2021, some 58% of women are likely to defer to their spouse to manage long-term financial decisions. Despite more women taking control of household finances, according to an article in the Financial Times, only 34% of women in the UK felt confident about their financial situation – a decline of 15% in the last year.

Given longer lifespans and pension changes, it’s essential for women to take control of their finances. We spoke to our founder and Managing Director, Monica Bradley, about how this can be done…

Firstly what changes have you seen in women’s attitudes to money since you’ve been a mortgage adviser?

The changes I’ve seen in women’s finances and how they control their money over the years are quite noticeable, really. There’s been quite a shift, and I personally see many households now with the female being much more in control of the finances.

An article on the website Unbiased said that many women are reluctant to seek financial advice. How important is it for women to speak to a financial adviser?

It’s hugely important. Many women don’t know where to start regarding who to talk to and how to find somebody that they really trust. Still, it’s essential that women talk to a financial adviser because they may have had a career break, or there might have been some years where they weren’t contributing to the state pension or to their own pensions. It’s also really important to look at your own investments and be in control of where your money is invested. Seek advice and look for an investment adviser to help you.

What can women do to ensure they are getting the most competitive deal on their mortgage?

Understand what your current rate is and when it is coming to an end. With interest rates being the highest since 2007, it’s important to talk to a mortgage broker who will tell you about the different types of mortgages and give you a financial opinion of where things are going.

What can we do to ensure we are getting the best rates on our savings?

We have seen in the last 15 years very low interest rates, and that’s obviously had a knock-on effect on any savings you might have with a bank or building society or deposit-based savings. Many lenders haven’t forwarded that increase in interest rates onto their savers, so you have really got to take control of where your money is invested. There is probably a substantial difference between what you are getting and what you can get.

More couples are sadly splitting up in later life. What would you say to anyone concerned that it’s too late for them to get a mortgage after a recent separation?

There are lots of mortgage products on the market for older borrowers. We’re certainly seeing more people separating later on. There really are options, and it isn’t necessarily all down to income. Banks are looking at different ways of assessing affordability by using different things, such as pensions and investments, so it’s about talking to an adviser.

How can women be more confident about their finances?

Look at your budget. Look at where all your money is going on a monthly basis and understand what you’re paying. Go through your bank statements for the last three months and look at where you’re spending money. Then look at what you’ll get when you retire. Have you got any frozen pensions for companies you’ve worked for in the past? Have you got any investments you’ve left stagnant and not looked at where those funds are invested? It’s about seeking professional advice and understanding what you are going to get when your retire. That’s something people tend to just leave and hope it’s going to be OK, and of course, when you get to your mid-50s and 60s and start thinking about it, it’s sometimes too late to make an incredible difference by then.

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