A news story out recently highlighted an interesting insight into women in their 40s and early 50s today – the original Gen Xers. You see, many are now getting divorced, with a lot indicating they have no intention of repartnering at all during their lifetimes. Indeed, they have decided that they want to spend the next few decades concentrating on themselves.
For a Gen Xer, like me, our grandparents’ generation mostly didn’t divorce at all. But successive generations have parted ways with their significant others earlier and earlier with the average of age of divorce for women in Australia now between 40 to 44, often while they are still raising teenage children.
So, this fact means that there are plenty of women out there who have a few decades left in their working lives, but also ample opportunity to improve their financial futures through strategic property investment. I was recently talking to a potential client who is in this situation, however, her children are now adults. She is recently divorced and is keen to become a female investor so she can look forward to a better life as well as a more comfortable retirement. Similar to many couples, she has a different risk profile to her former husband, who was never really keen to invest outside of a purchasing the family home. That risk divergence meant that they both walked away with some funds from the sale of the home, but not much else. Thankfully, this proactive lady promptly went and purchased a strategically selected property but is keen to see what else she can do to invest with the funds, equity, and the time she has left available in her working life. Many women find themselves in a similar situation after a relationship breakdown but perhaps haven’t had much exposure to property investment or even financial matters more generally. Sometimes they have remained living in the family home after divorce, which could still have significant equity available to invest in one or even two investment properties, but they are hesitant to know what to do about it.
Financial literacy is improving out in the world in general, but there are still many women who admit themselves that they could benefit from learning more about using property investment to create wealth, security, and freedom. The reason why it’s so vital for separated or divorced Gen X women is that they still have time on their sides to benefit from one or even two property market cycles, while also continuing their careers and individual lifestyles once their children have finished high school. One of the things that I often come across is that many women in this situation simply haven’t had the time to assess what their retirement may look like because of the competing responsibilities of their home and working lives. If they own their home, sure, they will have an asset at their disposal in their twilight years and some super (much less than men mind you), but perhaps not much else.
This means that the final years of their lives may be spent living week to week on the pension whilst also squirreling away funds to pay the council rates when they arrive every quarter.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way, with many Gen X women likely to have the financial capability to purchase an investment property or two that can drastically improve their retirement outcomes by reusing the equity in their homes. As they near retirement, they can opt to sell those investment properties if they so wish, which is likely to increase the cash at their disposal by hundreds of thousands of dollars – which, of course, they can spend however the wish because they decided long ago to prioritise “me time” during the second half of their lives.