Anna Sofat describes herself as a financial educator and mentor. She’s also, we should point out, a highly qualified financial planner whose business Addidi Wealth exclusively focuses on helping women with their financial problems.
She focuses on keeping her clients on the straight and narrow, making sure they are squirrelling their pennies and that they understand what they want their money to do for them. She says many people are great at their jobs, but need a bit of guidance on how they can get their finances to gel together.
With an initial focus on women in their 40s and 50s, many of whom write to us saying they don’t know where to start, worried that they haven’t got much tucked away, Anna says its never too late to start. You can always make a difference to your long-term financial well-being.
Her first port of call is always to look at your state pension entitlement. She recommends getting an estimate from the Government. Then, she says, people need to ‘bother’ their HR person at work.
“Employers now need both to provide you with a pension and contribute to it. The government contributes too, so the whole thing is a no-brainer”. (New rules on so-called ‘auto enrolment’ mean all employers need to set up and pay into a pension scheme for employees by 2018. Do check it out – if you chip in, you’ll get ‘free money’ from your boss and the Government.)
In terms of saving, she suggests that it’s all a trade off between how much you’re willing to save today, and how much you want to live on tomorrow. “Unless you’re very lucky, no-one is going to write you a cheque”. On the whole, Anna believes people are too cautious. They tend to avoid the stock market even if they have 20-30 years to invest.
There are a few problems that tend to be unique to women: They are prone to putting the needs of their children before their own. That’s admirably self-less, but can leave them poverty stricken. She issues some tough love on getting your own finances straight before worrying about anyone else.
Divorce is another big issue. She says women are prone to focusing on keeping the family home together, and should be thinking harder about pension assets.
Overall, Anna believes a plan can work wonders. There are not many things you can control about your future, but your finances are one of them.