Broker delves into divorce-related financial stress

by Madison Utley29 Mar 2019

A mortgage broker who has gathered data around divorce-related financial concerns has revealed that a startling 81% of survey respondents experience financial stress to the degree that it affects their day to day operations.

“Looking at people’s finances, and having been through a divorce myself, I noticed there was an issue with people coming out of separations having a lack of access to assets,” said Janine Leafe, who has been in the financial services space for seven years and acted as a mortgage broker for the past five.

In order to understand the depth of the issue, she put together a survey and used her substantial LinkedIn platform – her followers exceed 33,600 – to gather data from individuals who have gone through a divorce themselves. 

Nearly 50% of those surveyed reported that earning income is important to their happiness, and over 60% indicated that they did not know who to turn to or where to go with their financial stress.

According to Leafe, early access to superannuation is often the only way for people who have been “left with nothing” to get back on their feet. However, she said there is an inherent problem with legislation dictating the terms of release for those who have been through divorce.

“Unfortunately, the way it’s structured at the moment, people have to go on hardship for 26 weeks before they are allowed to access their super,” explained Leafe.

However, only 20% of survey participants recorded being aware of the possibility of accessing their superannuation funds early or the 26-week rule. 

Both the lack of accessible information and the subpar options available to those with divorce-related financial stress frustrates Leafe.

However, the outpouring of support and people reaching out with their own stories has Leafe set on continuing to push for legislative change.

“Without numbers, [legislators] aren’t going to take an interest,” said Leafe, who is still attempting to reach her goal of 500 survey respondents. 

To anonymously contribute to the data, the survey can be accessed below:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7BFDJMR