PUTTING WOMEN IN CONTROL
beyond catches up with Sarah Siddons, a Chartered Financial Planner at Siddons & Co Financial Planning based in Ilkley, and discovers a woman on a mission.
Sarah Siddons is no stranger to helping people sort out their financial issues having spent the past 14 years advising her clients and helping them plan for their future.
But the Ilkley-based expert now wants to break the taboo of women discussing money in a bid to empower them to prioritise their own needs and take control of their financial lives.
She is only too aware that not taking control of financial matters is a real risk for women, as ultimately it may lead to them facing a cash-strapped retirement.
It is a fact that is certainly backed up by the shocking statistic that, on average, women retire with just a fifth of the pension wealth of a man at age 65. (Source: milestones: journeying into adulthood, ONS, Feb 2019).
As Sarah explains: “It’s so important for women to be armed with the right knowledge and necessary facts about their finances and financial future because so many women may be heading into retirement blindly, not knowing how much money they will need to be able to live comfortably; some may not even know how much money they have and may be leaving the management of their finances to their partners.
“Many women I’ve spoken to tell me that they’re too ashamed to admit they haven’t made any concrete financial plans; they want to ask lots of questions and really need to understand the pros and cons before making decisions. A good adviser will be non-judgemental and supportive, creating the perfect environment for them to learn and gain confidence.
“I know from my own personal network that many women keep a lot of plates spinning, and if they can outsource some of the worry about money matters to a supportive and trusted expert, that’s one less thing they have to think about. Once they’ve gained financial control and security, their wellbeing and peace of mind for the future won’t be far behind.
Putting women in control of their divorce settlement
One area that Sarah has chosen to specialise in is divorce planning for women. Having been through the process herself she wants to ensure women get the best possible financial outcome from their divorce.
For many women this means changing the way they approach the process of getting divorced.
Sarah explained: “Getting divorced isn’t easy. Emotions are usually running high and there is likely to be a lot of stress and anxiety about what happens next and what life will be like in the future. You will most likely talk to friends for emotional support, and contact a lawyer for legal advice. But who do you turn to for financial support?
“What you need, from the very beginning of the process, and arguably before you even speak to a lawyer, is a financial planner in your corner as part of your support network. Someone who will help you work out what questions you should be asking, and how much you will actually need from your financial settlement to maintain a decent standard of living. Then you’ll be able to approach your divorce lawyer confidently armed with the knowledge of what a good financial outcome will look like for you.”
Sarah believes that approaching the divorce process in this way puts women firmly in control and ensures they can make the best possible decisions about their finances from an informed position. Helping them achieve a better outcome in their divorce settlement.
As Sarah knows from her own experience, this is so important when you consider the fact that once a financial agreement (Consent Order) is made and signed off by the courts, it’s highly unlikely it can ever be changed.
Sarah concludes by saying: “It’s simple really, women in all walks of life need to be in control of their own financial future and I want to help them do that. It just takes a phone call to start the process.”