Written by: Nick Bregozzo
Aussie women feel anxious about personal budgets and finances, according to a recent survey.

In past years, the traditional stereotype was that women maintained the household finances and budget, while their husband was the breadwinner. In modern Australia, domestically men may no longer be the dominant breadwinner or majority earner but it seems that women continue to shoulder the emotional responsibility when it comes to the household’s finances.

Canstar Blue, the consumer ratings agency recently surveyed over 4500 Aussies, both men and women regarding household finances and debts, and the results were interesting to say the least.

The results revealed that less than half the female respondents understood financial language.

This is in stark comparison to the same survey conducted six years ago, resulting in statistics suggesting that a decline in financial literacy. This is despite initiatives introduced by the Federal Government to improve financial literacy and its appointment of well-known financial commentator, Paul Clitheroe as Chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and the introduction of numerous Government sponsored programs.

Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) note that ”knowing how to make sound money decisions is a core skill in today’s world, regardless of age. It affects quality of life, opportunities we can pursue, our sense of security and the overall economic health of our society” National Financial Literacy Strategy, March 2011.

Adding to this is the well documented association between relationship discord and financial turmoil.…  Anecdotally and statistically, relationships are more likely to breakdown when there are financial pressures within the relationship. It stands to reason as well; any relationship would come under pressure when the finances are stretched.

Confused and scared about their financial future, conflict ensues which ultimately leads to the breakdown of the relationship. Following this, it’s often the case that each person in the relationship is forced to start again financially. At this time it’s common for people to rely upon credit to purchase toasters, TV’s, furniture and everyday essentials. This results in increased indebtedness with less capacity to service those new debts.

Add to this the massive increases in power bills, groceries, petrol and healthcare and all of a sudden, for these newly separated, debt burdened individuals a financial disaster looms.

What can people do?

Plan for bad times in good times. As unromantic as it might sound, if you and your partner came to understanding about what would happen if the relationship ended at the start of the relationship, if the relationship ever ended there would be a contingency plan in place for both parties to follow.
Keep finances separate. This is easier said than done, especially if the relationship is a long term relationship.
Have a regular finance meeting (once a month is terrific). Communication is the key to a sound relationship. Make decisions that count and benefit the family/partnership and discuss matters without blame or guilt. At this time, examine your budget and see whether there are savings to be had. Debt Consolidation may also provide a solution if of course the new loan repayments are cheaper than the sum of the individual debt repayments, providing a financial benefit.

It’s a sad indictment but more often than not, relationships end. Apart from the emotional fallout that this creates, there is a very real financial fallout in most cases. It’s a shrewd idea to plan for such contingencies and strive to avoid and prevent relationships from ending as the financial costs to each party can be huge. This said, sometimes relationships should end for one reason or another, and when this happens it is a wise idea to have a plan in place to address the consequences so that each party can move forward.