Finance 10 July 2019
It's hard to dispute that women have a tougher time getting ahead in certain sectors than men. While there's certainly an argument that those with a strong will can succeed in anything, the stats often show that females are underrepresented or undervalued in some areas.
In recent years, one of the major talking points has been the gender pay gap. Following the publication of average hourly earnings in April 2019, we know that 78% of the country's largest companies had a gender pay gap in favour of men. That's a problem in and of itself. However, an indirect and possibly overlooked consequence of women earning less than their male counterparts relates to mortgages.
The Property Ladder Isn't Easy to Climb
Anyone trying to get on the UK property ladder will know that it's tough regardless of gender. With the average house price now more than £226,000 and lenders being tighter than they once were, everyone may struggle. Something we do know, however, is that women have had it slightly tougher. In 2015, one in ten women claimed they faced discrimination when applying for a mortgage.
According to NAWRB, the biggest barrier to entry for women trying to get a mortgage is pay. With the gender pay gap meaning women have lower annual incomes, lenders often see them as less desirable candidates. On top of that, motherhood is an issue. Although unsaid, there has long been a perception that female mortgage applicants are discriminated against if they plan to have a baby. In essence, if they're likely to have a long period of time off work or working reduced hours, lenders see them as a greater risk.
Use Every Tool Available
As we know from other walks of life, becoming a mother shouldn't exclude you from anything. However, in the cutthroat world of finance, these types of issues still exist. With that being the case, you need to know your options. Today, there is more information and resources out there than ever before. Simply knowing what a lender offers can help you improve your chances of being accepted for a mortgage. For example, Coventry Building Society is rated as a more consumer-friendly lender than most.
As outlined by online broker Trussle, Coventry mortgage customers had fewer complaints compared to other lenders. The site says that, between July and December 2017, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) upheld complaints from just 0.1% of Coventry customers. That's significantly lower than the national average of 0.4%. Although that doesn't mean you're more likely to be approved for a mortgage by Coventry Building Society, it does suggest the company has a desire to be a friendly lender. This, in turn, could give you a better chance of getting the money you need.
Beyond making your own assumptions, mortgage calculators are now more advanced than ever. By using sophisticated algorithms, brokers can process live data. The benefit of this is that the calculators can make suggestions and continually refine them. Taking into account lending rates, approval rates, house prices and more, the software makes it easier to find a suitable deal in the moment. Again, this technology doesn't guarantee you'll get accepted. But any time you can get an edge, you should take it.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist