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5 tips for achieving financial independence

5 tips for achieving financial independence

By Elaina De Smusko | 22 July 2014

Having assets behind you can sometimes be the only way to protect yourself when life throws you a curve ball and women in particular need to pull their heads out of the sand.

Blogger: Miriam Sandkuhler, founder, Property Mavens

The Council of Australian Government’s Reform Council Report, shows women earn 12 per cent less for non-managerial roles – $31 an hour compared to $35 for men. In total, a woman working 40 hours a week in a non-managerial job will earn $8,736 less than a man in a similar role. Women earn 17.5 per cent less than men, on average – adding up to $266 per week. "Lower pay and workforce participation means women are retiring with an average of 36 per cent less, or $87,000 lower superannuation than men," said the report.

Scary, isn’t it? Ladies, I say pull your heads up out of the sand and do whatever you need to do to create financial independence for yourself, regardless of whether you are married or single. Too often things happen beyond your control, such as death, divorce or desertion and it’s often too late to make up for lost time. Having assets behind you is the only way to protect yourself.

The most empowering place anyone can be is to be financially independent, as this leads to having choices, as opposed to having none. Property is a great vehicle for women to invest in as it’s tangible. Where the ladies often come unstuck however is underestimating how to get started, where to go for help and too frequently they allow emotions to get in the way.


As we are naturally more emotional and nurturing than men, it is easy to get sucked into the vortex of buying property or making important decisions with emotions at the forefront. This is why the auction system works so well, because the auctioneer relies on whipping buyers into an emotional frenzy to generate bigger results for their vendors.

Some tips to get started:

1    Don’t wait for others to get the ball rolling when it comes to creating your own financial independence. Time is of the essence, and for every 10 years you wait, your wealth decreases by half!

2    Always keep your emotions out of it when making financial decisions. Deal in facts, analysis and figures and move forward on that basis. If you are emotional, then seek the help of a licensed buyer's agent to research, source and negotiate for you. It’s common for women – who are more passive by nature – to be bullied by real estate agents and my clients are frequently of this ilk, so do what’s necessary to prevent yourself making bad choices due to not being assertive enough.

3    Hope for the best, but always plan for the worst. Seek professional advice around investment and structuring and how to protect assets from your accountant, financial planner and lawyer before purchasing property.

4    Create your own financial security first and do not put others ahead of yourself, despite your nurturing nature, even if this ahead of helping your children. To be frank, there is no point helping your kids buy a property if you can’t keep a roof over your head or feed yourself. While everyone wants to see their children get ahead, we are all living longer and these nasty things called retirement and superannuation keep rearing their ugly heads. Plan for those first and then help your family with surplus funds.

5    Gold-digging is no longer a female only trait. With divorce on the rise and the consequences quite brutal for both men and women, plenty of guys are looking for a ‘sugar mummy’, so put legal agreements in place to protect yourself and your assets. At least if the fun comes to an end, you retain your assets in the process.

About Miriam Sandkuhler

Miriam Sandkuhler is the founder of Property Mavens – a specialist property advisory firm based in Melbourne.

Unlike most ‘Property Advisors’, Miriam is an Accredited Property Investment Advisor (PIAA), Licensed Estate Agent and REIV member and award nominated Buyer Agent, with fourteen years of real estate experience in two states. She is also the author of the book Property Prosperity.

Miriam excels at identifying high-performing property and strategically building a client’s portfolio with high capital and income growth assets. She is also a passionate advocate of fair play for all and complete accountability and transparency in the real estate industry. She has a strong track record helping investors and home buyers and believes education is the key to empowering people on their journey to achieving their goals.

5 tips for achieving financial independence
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