Secure your financial future on International Women's Day

We spoke to AMP Financial Adviser Dianne Charman about her career and views on how women can press for financial progress.

Q. Why did you choose to become a financial adviser?

It was a love of maths, coupled with a desire to work with both money and people that led Dianne to a career in financial advice, however her path was not a straightforward one.

After entertaining careers in stockbroking and accounting before winding up in banking, Dianne was in her mid 20s and, having accumulated some savings, went to see a financial adviser.

Little did she know that meeting would change her life. Not only did she walk away with an investment plan, but the adviser suggested she consider a career in financial advice as a way to combine all of her interests, as well as her plans to have a family.

She says it has been an ideal career which has given her the opportunity to empower and help people take control of their future, as well as giving her the personal flexibility to raise her kids. “With our emotional intelligence, women are so well equipped for this role.”

Q. What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

“I’m very passionate about educating and empowering women,” Dianne says. And it’s more than lip-service, she really does walk the walk.

Early in her financial advice career, she established investment clubs for women with a stockbroker friend. “What we did was create an opportunity for women to learn more about the stockmarket. I just knew that if I could educate women about these things I could give them a better outcome.”

More recently, she has begun running financial education workshops for women to help them embrace their financial wellbeing. “Women have a different decision-making process and they love to be fully educated before they make decisions.”

Q. What are your reflections on the gender gap that exists between salaries and retirement savings for men and women?

Dianne says that women are faced with a “triple whammy” of being more likely to take time out of the workforce to have and raise children, being more likely to take on carer careers such as teaching, nursing, aged care and child care - jobs that are typically lesser paying roles - and are more likely to be impacted by the increasing casualisation of the workforce.

She says where women are doing the same jobs as men but are paid less, Governments and corporations need to do more to bring about pay equality. “Women are not asking for any more than men. What they’re asking for is equal pay for equal work.“

Q. Do you have any tips for women that can help them take control of their financial destiny?

  • Firstly, Dianne says women need to recognise that there is an issue with their retirement savings. “Check your super statement,” she says. “Engage, learn, be interested, get involved in your financial education.”
  • Secondly, she says, women can be more proactive in asking those hard questions about better wages, pay increases, promotions and equal pay. “Women tend to under sell themselves and it means at times we miss out on some financial benefits which can hold us back financially.”
  • Thirdly, she says, women should begin saving as early as possible for their retirement, emphasising that it doesn’t have to be a lot to make a difference. “Even putting an extra $500 into your super a year can help. The power of compounding interest is a women’s best friend.”
  • And finally, women should reflect on their values and their goals to work out what happiness is to them, in order to determine their financial needs. “It’s not about millions and millions of dollars for most of us, it’s about getting to the bottom of what really matters to you which is the most important start point on building your financial security.”

Her parting words of advice for women looking to improve their financial destiny? “The amount of income you have doesn’t actually matter. It’s what you do with what you have that matters. You have to be the master of your own destiny.”

For more information

To learn more about what you can do to help combat the retirement gap read our article Press for progress on International Women’s Day, or speak to your financial adviser.

If you don’t have a financial adviser, call us on 131 267 or search for one online.

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