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Overcome the Mortgage Gender Gap with a Hop, Step and Some Tech

Finance

Feature Photo credit: "Mortgage" (CC BY 2.0) by Got Credit

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

"Ladder" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by treehouse1977

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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Self

I Have Been Bullied Both At School and At Work. Here's What It Taught Me

Starting with a little background, I am an anti-bullying advocate and have recently graduated from The Parent Leadership Training Institute, where as part of our studies we were asked to come up with a community project close to our hearts and put it into action. My cause was bullying, and I began a blog and Facebook page to address issues pertaining to all forms of bullying. Implementing this project was followed by a thre- minute speech to my peers, and, after all this, here is what I have learned about bullying.


Bullying makes people feel bad about themselves, leading to feelings of inadequacy, low self-esteem and even physical symptoms. The repercussions of bullying can cause people to miss school or work as well as countless other negative side effects.

I have been bullied both at school and at work, and I know of others who have suffered the same plight. It is not fun!

My first bullying experience was in seventh grade as a young teen. There was a group of three "mean girls" who harassed me and, I later found out, several of my friends; they thought it was funny to pick on others about their clothes, their looks or whatever else they could come up with (who knows). It felt awful at the time. Supposedly, I was chosen to get picked on because they claimed I bought my clothes at the Goodwill. That wasn't true, but really who cares? Why they were picking on me was never really the point. Luckily, after a while, the meanies went on to the next victim(s) like a never-ending cycle. I tend to think once a bully, always a bully, which goes to show how good a lifestyle that is, because those "mean girls" never amounted to much. In hindsight, I feel sorry for them. Watch the movie The Gift if you're really curious about what happens to bullies when they grow up.

And bullying was not just an issue when I was a teen, since then nothing much has changed. My own nephew was bullied in eighth grade, and he recently talked to me in depth about of how the bullying took a toll on him. Especially because I had the same experience, I could relate to him in ways that some others couldn't. Like reliving my own memories, I was incredibly broken up to hear how it made him feel.

Even worse than that, bullying does not end in the school yard. Employees are being bullied on the job at an alarming rate. When you are bullied on the job as an adult, it taken an even bigger toll. Further it doesn't just go away like those middle school "mean girls." Unless you can quit your job, you might just be stuck. There are all kinds of physical symptoms, stomach pains, migraines and even panic attacks. Beyond the physical, people's mental and emotional state is extremely sensitive to bullying, and as a result work performance might suffer. Furthermore, it might feel like there is no recourse, no one to believe you. You can hope that the HR Department is willing to listen and do something about it, but the whole process can be so disheartening. And in the hierarchical corporate environment, sometimes the bully seems to get ahead and you are left lagging behind in a subservient position. This is what happened to me as a victim of workplace bullying. It started with me being told by a co-worker that my boss was following me to the bathroom, staring down the hall whenever I left my desk to make sure I came right back to my seat. Then it was standing over me as I typed, ordering me to get in a car with them, not allowing me to sit somewhere if it wasn't within their sight. The list of offenses could go on endlessly. There were times I felt like I couldn't breathe. And then, the bully torturing me got a promotion. Like the character of Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada, the classic bully is revered by her peers, despite the fact that all of her employees are terrified of her. Yet, she is in a role of high stature and praised as a bully. We live in a culture that is not only complacent in the existence of bullies, but one that actively allows them to thrive.

It makes you realize how unfair life can be. Of course, no one said that life would be fair; maybe you just assumed that bad people would not get ahead. But, they do. Even now, I cannot help but to shake my head in disbelief. I often wonder what makes a person feel the need to laud their power over another. Are they insecure? Were they bullied themselves? They must feel bad about themselves in some way? Do they feel the need to do this to make themselves look good? Whatever the reason, it certainly isn't nice at all. I have found myself at different times in my life standing up for people who have been bullied around me. And I certainly do not allow anyone to treat me in any way that I find disrespectful. I truly believe in karma, and I tell myself that at some point in time, the bullies will get it back in some way. I have seen it happen, and in the meantime, I just say to myself "What goes around, comes around."

Bullying shows no sign of slowing down, and in this day and age, it's even worse than I have experienced in the past. Cyber bulling, rumors, fist fights, knifes, guns and other forms of both mental and physical cruelty, it truly sickens me. I know that I cannot save everyone, but I try to be an advocate as much as possible and encourage others to do so as well. NO ONE SHOULD BULLIED! It is disgraceful to say the least. You should always practice grace as much as you can. With every person who chooses to do so, the world gets a little bit better. I will be writing more on this topic on a regular basis; I feel it helps to talk about this subject aloud and spread the word. and, if nothing else, be kind.