I’m a great believer in financial independence for women. Every woman should be able to stand on her own two feet when things go wrong.
Women who fall victim to domestic violence suffer in silence as they slowly loose control over all aspects of their life, but for many a secret stash of cash can provide a route for escape and a fresh start; that’s where the f*ck off fund, less angrily known as the freedom fund, comes in.
It’s a secret savings account that can give you the power to run from an abusive relationship, because let’s face it, the tall dark handsome man you’ve longed for may not turn out to be all that he seems.
The freedom fund was first bought to light when Paulette Perhach, wrote a thought-provoking piece about how women can find themselves in abusive situations, at home and at work, but feel trapped because they have little money in the bank.
Sadly, without this secret stash, many women continue to live with domestic violence because they have no money to extract themselves from a dreadful situation.
If you’re a fan of The Archers on BBC Radio 4, then you will know too well of the storyline that has been gripping the airways. It’s about Rob’s long-term emotional abuse of Helen.
Whether it’s at home or at work – abuse is abuse but without money, it’s not easy to say f*ck off. You simply bite your tongue and put up with it.
“I don’t want to be negative, but I want to be realistic– money can give you the strength you need and although it cannot fix everything, it can create a lifeline that every woman should have.”
The boyfriend who may not always use his fist but is happy to put you down when he can, or the one that leaves you in debt without you even knowing it, or the sleazy bosswho stands too close or puts his hand where it’s not wanted – there’s only two words to say to them: “f*ck off”.
So, even if you think you don’t need it, build yourself a freedom fund. If, hopefully, you never need it, at least it will make a nice little pension pot.
So, where do you start? First, remember that it isn’t an emergency rainy day fund; it is money you put away secretly for your self-preservation. Don’t tell your partner and don’t create a joint freedom fund. It has to be your little secret.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to saving, draw up a budget plan and incorporate the freedom fund into it. Make a list of all your outgoings and be prepared to make cutbacks. Make sure you are taking advantage of the best interest rates possible. Take at look at ISAs and some high street bank accounts with competitive interest rates.
Although there is no magic number when it comes to how much you should put away, aim for at least three months salary minimum.
“A freedom fund is a must – you never know when you may need it.”
If you’re a woman suffering from domestic violence, you can also seek help from Women’s Aid and Refuge – call 0808 2000 247 for help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
I recognise that men can also fall victim to such abuse – if you’re a man in need of help, reach out to the Men’s Advice Line – call 0808 801 0327.