When it comes to managing money, research shows that many women are highly competent at meeting their day to day financial needs1 but are lagging behind in their longer term super savings2. There are several reasons for this, as well as some clear ways to start taking control.
Money challenges women face
Women face some very specific hurdles when planning to put money aside for the future, including:
- Juggling day to day demands - caring for others, paid work, and household activities take up much of a woman’s day. In fact, 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 futures3.
- 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 the dominant reason4. This can mean earning a lower income, as well as lower employer-paid super contributions.
- Lower salaries - among full-time workers, men in Australia earn around $17,000 more than women each year in their base salary. This extends to $27,000 when measuring total remuneration, including super, overtime, bonus payments and other discretionary pay5
- Lower super savings – the average super balance for women by retirement is $231k, compared with $454k for men6. Yet women live on average, around four years longer7
Money hurdles women face
Six ways to start taking control
To help address some of the challenges, here are six ways women can start taking control of their finances, and get on top of their longer-term savings:
- Set personal goals – life goals can be important for wellbeing8, but also provide a focus for financial goals. Make sure they’re clearly defined, measurable and attainable. If they’re linked with family goals (eg buying a bigger house for the family), factor in your own financial safeguards too (like being a co-signature on all assets).
- Prioritise time for money management – juggling family life can leave little or no time for anything else. However, putting aside an hour a week now to prioritise money management and savings, could make a big difference in the long run.
- Get on top of super – taking control of super today is future self-care. It will help provide more choices and opportunities when you are no longer earning an income. Key ways to keep on top of super could include: knowing how much super you currently have versus how much you may need, completing a lost super search, consolidating super accounts, and making additional contributions.
- Have a safety net – life can have a habit of not going to plan. Research shows women are resilient when it comes to dealing with challenges involving money, including divorce, separation or illness, however, the impact on their lives could be reduced by having a safety net in the form of savings or insurance9.
- Do some salary research – doing some online research into the market value of a role is a good way for women to understand what the average income for their role is and can help with future salary negotiations.
- 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 markets10.
1,3, RMIT University Research: Women and money in Australia, across the generations, 2016. Page 11 paragraph 5, paragraph 2,
2, 6 ASIC Money Smart website, Women’s money challenges infographic
4 Reserve Bank of Australia, The rising share of part time employment, bulletin, September Quarter 2017, page 21, graph 4 & 5.
5 Australian Government Workplace Gender Equality Agency report – Gender Equality Insights report 2016, Inside Australia’s gender pay gap. Page 13, paragraph 2
6 ASIC Money Smart website, Women’s money challenges infographic
7 ABS Gender indicators, life expectancy, Feb 2016.
8 Entrepreneur magazine. Article: Why our brains like short term goals, by Monica Mehta, January 2013
9 RMIT University Research: Women and money in Australia, across the generations, 2016. Page 12, paragraph 1.
10 UNSW Business School article. Business Think.Sorry guys, but women make better investors than men. January 16, 2018. Paragraph 2.
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