We are Super Women.
Women under the age of 50 make up slightly less than 50% of all the people on earth. This number changes after the age of 55 - when there are 8.6% more women than men.
There’s an 80% chance that a married woman will have to look after herself financially in her future, given their longevity and the divorce rate.
We are facing the perfect storm when it comes to our retirement planning. This means that we need to do things differently if we want the outcome to be better.
Here’s just a few of the challenges facing us, off the top of my head.
We earn less than men but everything we buy costs the same. (Except for ladies’ razors. Ours are twice the price. Because they’re pink.)
We live about six years longer on average. Who’s average anyway?
Living longer means needing health care for longer.
Many of us have taken time off to raise a family, only to return to work at a much lower income than we’re worth, just to get a job.
We are very good savers - but not very good at taking the necessary investment risk to achieve the required growth to get us over the line at retirement.
Women are more likely to leave investment planning to their partners.
Starting sooner rather than later is a very good plan.
Here are a few ways you can future proof your financial security:
Investments and financial planning can seem intimidating. There is a lot to learn and there never seems to be enough time to actually do it. Fortunately, there’s a world of information at your fingertips on your phone or computer. There are so many articles and calculators you can search for, and you can tailor the subject matter to your exact situation yourself. Here’s some starter questions to get you going:
How much do I need to save if I need to earn R25 000 a month in retirement?
What happens to my company retirement fund should I get divorced?
Should I invest in unit trusts or the stock market?
Should I invest in unit trusts or money market funds?
Even today, in 2019, men earn more than women. Men are not afraid to take a job they are only 60% sure they can do. Women tend to wait until they are 100% sure - and then they apply. Men also negotiate harder for what they feel they are worth. Women tend to hold back and hope they will be recognised for their effort. Men will negotiate the price of a car or house. Women tend to pay the price or accept a discount the sales person throws in.
Trust me, they can go lower than the price you are prepared to pay. A trip to a market in Bangkok can help you hone these skills.
Have a look at some of the expenses you currently have and renegotiate:
Your mobile phone contract.
The interest rate on your car payments or your new car.
The interest rate on your bond payments.
The interest rate you earn on your savings.
Your salary increase.
Be involved in the finances
Married women are more likely to leave financial matters, such as retirement planning and investments, in the care of their partners while they focus on the day-to-day or monthly household costs.
I have often had conversations with married women who are leaving their employers, and they request to withdraw all their company retirement fund savings. In my experience, the request to withdraw has been based on a conversation with her husband and the funds are used to ease the family’s cash flow. It might ease the pain right now but the long-term pain of not having enough funds in your old age is devastating.
Arrange a meeting with a financial adviser together as soon as possible.
Be involved in the money decisions.
Ask questions until you understand what it means. Do not be intimidated.
Know how much money you will need to live on in retirement, and be part of the process to ensure that you reach this goal.
I have noticed the differences between men and women especially when I play golf; men will take the big shot over the water. They might lose a ball, but they will give it all they have, and most of the time, the risk pays off. The ladies, however, will hit their ball closer to the water’s edge so that they can pop it over safely. In both cases the chances of losing a ball is about the same, but the ladies now have an extra shot - and a lost ball.
Take calculated risks and understand what this means.
Consult with a professional financial adviser. Removing the proximity of the risk makes it easier to cope with.
Your behaviour is the biggest stumbling block to your financial security
Save yourself first
It’s got to be every man for himself when it comes to making sure we are financially secure. How often have you bought something because it was on sale, or it would look cute on your three-year-old, or because you felt sorry for the person selling the item? Did you need it? Will it have a profound impact on your life?
When we moved into our new house about four years ago, I must have given away about 10 black bags full of clothes and shoes. I also gave away a lot of household goods. I paid for all these things - and yet I gave them away. Look around you All that stuff was an investment opportunity! I love the saying, “Rich people have big libraries; poor people have big televisions.”
The best thing you can do for your children and family is to ensure that you are not financially dependent on them for the rest of your life. Planning for your future will help to secure your freedom.If you’re unsure where to start and the information you find is overwhelming, get in touch with one of the consultants at NFB. We’ll help you create a tailored financial solution that has your future in mind.