‘Financial literacy’ is catapulting women ahead in 2020

by Emma Allen

This Sunday, March 8, is International Women’s Day – and it’s more than just a day to celebrate women and girls across the world.

It’s a reminder that we need to focus our efforts on achieving equality within the social, political, cultural and economic spheres. But what does this actually mean in practice?

Many women in Australia assume this day has little relevance for them. They mistakenly believe that it’s only women in developing countries who are still struggling to achieve gender parity. But even in a wealthy country like Australia, we’re a long way from reaching real equality – and a huge part of getting closer to this goal is financial literacy.

They say that education is power and financial literacy is no exception. The ability to understand financial matters, create and stick to a budget, and make sound economic decisions is a total game-changer for any person, but especially for women, as it gives them the ability to empower themselves and take charge of their lives.

Women contribute so much to our society and economy and the fact is, a great deal of this work is unpaid.

Bearing and raising children, caring for the elderly, and the mental and emotional workload of handling household administration and keeping everything running smoothly… these are roles you’ll never receive a paycheque for, despite the enormous amount of energy they require and impact they have.

On top of this, women earn less – and according to ASIC’s Money Smart report, the average superannuation balance for a woman in retirement is just $231,000, compared to $454,000 for males. When you consider that women have a longer life expectancy (84 years, compared to 80 years for men) you realise that not only do they have less money in retirement, it has to last them longer.

When you take into account the impacts of taking time off work to care for children, delayed career progression, unequal pay and sex discrimination in the workplace, and throw in a relationship breakdown later in life, it’s no wonder that women over 55 are the fastest growing group of homeless in Australia.

Isn’t that a terrifying thought?

How financial literacy can turn the tables

I truly believe that the way we can overcome this shocking statistic is to instil financial literacy in women and girls – and it’s never too early, or too late, to learn this essential life skill.

What is financial literacy? In a nutshell, it’s about increasing your awareness of financial matters, and empowering yourself with the knowledge required to competently manage your financial affairs.

It’s not about becoming wealthy – although of course, that would be nice – but instead about doing the best you can with the money and skills you have. It’s also about creating long-term plans and knowing that you can withstand setbacks or challenges that may happen down the track.

The way to do this is to make the most of the resources you have available to you now, and invest strategically to give you security in the future. These investments could be financial, such as buying property or shares, contributing extra to your super or starting an emergency fund, or they could take the form of upskilling or studying, as an investment in your future career.

For many women, however, the biggest blocker is themselves – and their own mindset.

An investor mindset is one that uses whatever you have within your reach right now to get you further ahead in the future. This growth mindset means you have to look past your current situation or struggles, and be both proactive and practical in your decision making.

Finding the right professional, such as a property expert or financial adviser, is key to this process. They can help you become actively involved in the whole process, from goal-setting and research through to planning and taking action, giving you the confidence to make these big financial decisions for yourself.

So, this International Women’s Day, take advantage of the fact that we live in a country with ample resources and opportunities that so many women elsewhere could only dream of. Then, resolve to make 2020 the year you work on improving your financial literacy and secure your future – whatever it may bring.

For more information, contact us on 1300 449 974 or download our complimentary e-book “Investing Made Simple: Empowering Women through Property” on http://f24.f99.myftpupload.com/women-and-property/