Let’s Even The Score
Women face a lot of challenges when it comes to money. A recent study by the ABS found that 65% of women aged 20-74 are in paid employment, 32.5% of women have caring responsibilities for a parent and 62.2% of employed women with a child under 5 work part-time. Further to that, the stats tell me that I am likely going to live longer than my male partner and have less superannuation at retirement - $231k compared to $454k.
So, as a 30-something year old woman, these issues hit a bit close to home. Gone are the blissful days of ignorance where any questions about my future from well-meaning people would be shrugged off with a “don’t ask me that, it’s not my problem”. Ever wish you could travel back in time and slap the younger version of yourself? Happens more than I would like to admit.
These issues that us women are facing aren’t new; nor is there a magical solution. What we CAN do though is empower ourselves to make small changes now that will make a BIG difference in the future. The suggestions I am going to make aren’t rocket science, but sometimes we need a gentle reminder to get our S**t together.
Consolidate your super funds
Let me preface this by saying you should always, ALWAYS seek financial advice regarding this, as you don’t want to lose important insurance cover and you also want to make sure you’re invested appropriately in line with your needs and stage of life. Reducing the number of super funds you have will mean you are only paying one set of fees and are less likely to “lose” super due to not keeping track of your investments.
Pay a little extra into super
An extra $10.00 a week into super could make a big difference. For example, I’ve plugged my age and my starting balance into MoneySmart’s superannuation calculation. Assuming mid-tier fees and a balanced portfolio, I could add potentially $20k on to my super balance over my working life with little-to-no sacrifice being made.
Build a savings buffer for life’s up and downs
Changes in employment, relationship breakdowns, illness or injury… unfortunately we can’t plan these things. Having a savings buffer means you won't need to borrow money if a crisis happens and you can access your money quickly. This will give you the peace of mind that you can face any challenges that life throws at you. Which leads me on to the next point….
Start small to build your savings
The secret to building a savings buffer is to start small and save regularly. It doesn't matter how much (or how little!) you save, you just need to make a start, and then keep going.
For example, if you put away $10 or $20 per week, you'll have $520 or even $1,040 by the end of the year. That's the start of a solid amount of savings that will give you some financial breathing space.
Be aware of incidental spending
I am a complete coffee fiend, so I’m not here to tell you to stop giving in to your coffee addiction. What I will say though is keep track of how much you spend on “little” purchases – they do add up. Cutting back to, say, 3 take-away coffees a week may save you around $520 a year. Put that in savings, and you’re on the right track!
So, while none of these strategies are necessarily mind blowing, they can make a massive difference to your financial wellbeing over the long term. Now is the time to take action and as a woman, don’t leave these changes up to some bloke…..take control of your finances and start saving.
If you would like to discuss a more in depth and personalised plan for your financial future from a trusted local financial adviser, we’d love to be involved in helping you attain your goals.
Michelle Jones - Client Services Manager @ Elevate Wealth Solutions