Don’t rely on the ‘man plan’ for your first home

More women have decided to take wealth creation into their own hands and buy property, rather than waiting for a white knight.

That’s certainly what I’m witnessing. I’m surrounded by female clients, friends and colleagues who have purchased property because of the perceived stability it offers.

Bella Zanesco ringfenced 30 per cent of her income to put towards a house deposit.Credit:Submitted

Take the cases of Fiona, Lauren and Bella. They are three very different women — a single, employed Gen Y; a married, employed Gen Y with a business-owning husband and a business owning, separated Gen X.

All three own property — some more than one — and all have used different types of financing and refinancing to obtain their estate.

Fiona Skrzypnik, 28, has always been a saver.

She appreciates that being able to live at home means she can fast track her savings, so her system has been to save 90 per cent of any income she receives — whether that’s salary or gifts — and to spend the other 10 per cent.

Fiona Skrzypnik purchased an investment property at age 25.Credit:Submitted

She has shunned credit, preferring to save for anything she wants to buy.

Her reason for purchasing an investment property at age 25 was partly because she believed that it was “the thing you do” but also because, as a single woman, she wants to be financially independent and to support herself in the long term.

Fiona used a mortgage broker for her initial loan and her parents were guarantors for 12 months, at which point they were able to be released.

After checking semi-regularly to see if she could get a better deal with both her broker and online, she used online lender Tic Toc to secure a better interest rate and found the process easy and, surprisingly, “fun and a little bit cheeky”.

While Fiona might seem exceptionally frugal, she still indulges her love of fashion by signing up to coupon-sites, so she’s notified of any big sales, as she shuns paying full-price.

Lauren Law, 33, loves travel and adventure.

However, she wanted to own her own home — something she doesn’t see as an investment but rather as security and stability.

To save for her first home deposit, Lauren and her husband banked as much as they could.

They were renting, so they chose to cut out all non-essentials and were “incredibly tight,” with no discretionary spending during the time they saved.

Lauren Law cut out all non-essential spending to save for her home.Credit:Submitted

They secured their loan at age 23 through a mortgage broker and, at the time, were offered twice the amount they had chosen to spend on a house.

However, Lauren wanted to feel comfortable and was disciplined enough to borrow only the amount they had initially decided.

She has since used a mortgage broker to buy an investment property and to do a refinancing on her home, as she didn't want to go to multiple banks or different institutions.

Lauren now works backwards with her budget — she wants to pay off her home loan in a few years, prioritises her love of travel and adventure and then spend what is left.

Bella Zanesco, 42, an author and owner of life and career coach company Fully Expressed, ringfenced 30 per cent of her income to put towards a house deposit.

After three years and a separation, Bella was concerned she wouldn’t continue to save and wanted the discipline of paying down a mortgage quickly to motivate her.

She was only interested in buying a house she could afford, potentially with an income stream through renting out rooms, to alleviate any potential mortgage stress.

Bella was surprised at the ease with which she, as a business owner, was able to secure a loan but suspected that saving a sizeable deposit, finding a great broker who understood lending to a business owner and buying well within her means helped.

In Bella’s words, she simply didn’t want to rely on the "man plan," which she still sees too many other women doing.

Property may not be the only investment game in town for women. However, the common theme with these three women is it’s possible, but there is no silver bullet.

The key is prioritising financial independence, spending wisely, saving well and finding something to motivate you rather than simply relying on the "man plan."

Melissa Browne is CEO of A&TA and financial planning firm The Money Barre

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