Many women are still lagging behind in their longer term super savings.i There are several reasons for this that are often out of a woman’s control. However, women can try certain strategies to improve their financial situation.
What’s holding women back financially?
Women face some very real and specific challenges when planning to put money aside for the future, including:
Juggling day-to-day demands – Caring for others and managing household activities can make it a challenge to balance work and family life. Research shows that providing for daily family needs was a high priority for 80% of women surveyed and is a key reason women feel limited in committing resources towards their own financial futures.ii
Taking time out of the workforce – Close to half of employed females currently work part time, with those aged 25-44 indicating raising children or looking after family members as their main reason for not working full time.iii Other major reasons include study and not always being able to secure full-time work. This often means earning less, which results in lower employer-paid super contributions.
Lower salaries – Among full-time workers, men in Australia earn around $17,000 more each year in their base salary. This inequality extends to $27,000 when including super, overtime, bonus payments and other discretionary pay.iv
Lower super savings – The average super balance for women by retirement is $231k, compared with $454k for menv. However, women, on average, live around four years longervi than men and therefore usually need more savings to live off for those additional years.
Six ways for women to start taking control of their finances
1. Set personal goals – Life goals can be important for wellbeing,vii but they can also provide a focus for financial goals. Make sure life goals are clearly defined, measurable and attainable. If they’re linked with family goals (eg. buying a bigger house), factor in your own financial safeguards too (like being a co-signature on all assets).
2. Prioritise time for money management – Juggling family life can leave little or no time for anything else. However, putting aside an hour a week to prioritise money management and savings could make a big difference in the long run. Use this time to make budgets, set savings goals, check current spending, and examine accounts to make sure your current savings are working for you.
3. Get on top of super – Taking control of super today is future self-care. It may help provide more choices and opportunities when you are no longer earning an income. Think about how long your super will last. You can also try completing a lost super search, consider consolidating super accounts, and consider making additional contributions to your super.
4. Have a safety net – Life doesn’t always go to plan. Research shows women are resilient when it comes to dealing with challenges involving money, including divorce, separation, or illness. However, the impact of these challenges could possibly be reduced by having a safety net in the form of emergency savings or insurance.viii
5. Do some salary research – Understanding the market value of a role arms you with important information that can be used to levy future salary negotiations, or to spark a conversation about a pay increase if a review is overdue.
6. Consider investing for the future – research shows that women make better investors than men because they spend more time researching investments, are better at matching their goals to their investments, and don’t get panicked in fluctuating markets.ix
If you want help putting strategies in place for your financial future get in touch.
i RMIT University Research: Women and money in Australia, across the generations, 2016. Page 11 paragraph 5, paragraph 2,
ii 6 ASIC Money Smart website, Women’s money challenges infographic
iii Reserve Bank of Australia, The rising share of part time employment, bulletin, September Quarter 2017, page 21, graph 4 & 5.
iv Australian Government Workplace Gender Equality Agency report – Gender Equality Insights report 2016, Inside Australia’s gender pay gap. Page 13, paragraph 2
v ASIC Money Smart website, Women’s money challenges infographic
vi ABS Gender indicators, life expectancy, Feb 2016.
vii Entrepreneur magazine. Article: Why our brains like short term goals, by Monica Mehta, January 2013
viii RMIT University Research: Women and money in Australia, across the generations, 2016. Page 12, paragraph 1.
ix UNSW Business School article. Business Think. Sorry guys, but women make better investors than men. January 16, 2018. Paragraph 2.
© AMP Life Limited.
First published November 2018