Good conversations about money can support your financial wellbeing throughout life, but the latest Women’s Financial Wellbeing Guide from Commonwealth Bank shows that girls are less likely than boys to be taught about investing and saving at an early age, which can have long-term impacts.
Big milestones such as your first job, moving out of home, moving to another country, buying your first home, having children, separation and divorce, and retirement can have specific financial considerations. Taking steps early on can help set you up for greater success.
Women live longer than men (87.3 years vs 84.6 years), but by 2030 are projected to retire with about half the superannuation of males.
While both men and women work around 55-56 hours a week, women do about 65 per cent unpaid care work, compared with 36 per cent for men, the guide says.
The average gap between the salaries of Australian men and women is 14.6 per cent, with women earning almost $254 less each week than men.
As a result of lower pay, more part-time employment (44 per cent women, compared with 15 per cent men) and career breaks caring for children or relatives, by the age of 50, the superannuation gap between the sexes is around 73 per cent.
Where the money goes
While fewer girls are taught about investing, when they do invest, they are more successful, gaining a 12 per cent greater return than men, according to the research.
The guide shows that 60.6 per cent of single first-home buyers are women and 75 per cent of all retail transactions are made by women.
Women are making more and more money decisions on their own, too. With a third of Australian marriages ending in divorce, 82 per cent of single parent households are mothers and it’s estimated that by 2036, 33 per cent more women than men will live in single person households.
Defining financial wellbeing
While we might understand what our physical or mental wellbeing feels like, when it comes to understanding financial wellbeing, here are some questions to ask.
- Can you meet your financial obligations, such as bills and expenses?
- Do you have the freedom to make choices to enjoy life, such as eating out or taking holidays?
- Do you have control of your finances, for example, can you avoid unnecessary fees and charges?
- Do you feel you have financial security, both now and for the future, including being prepared for unexpected events?
Dividing your money management into every day, rainy day and one day categories can help you determine your answers.
Catherine Fitzpatrick, General Manager of Group Customer Relations, CBA said: "Financial wellbeing is fundamental to our overall wellbeing; it affects the lives we lead and the choices we make. The Women’s Financial Wellbeing Guide gives girls and women the tools to build, secure and maintain economic security across their lifetime.
“Our focus on financial education and independence aims to prevent financial abuse because having money and knowing how to manage it, leads to greater choices. Women face a number of structural and systemic challenges including the 14.6 per cent gender pay gap and less superannuation due to career breaks and working part-time when managing caring responsibilities. As we strive toward a more equal and inclusive society, it is essential women play an active role in their financial wellbeing.
"The Women’s Financial Wellbeing Guide is for women of all ages, life stages and backgrounds. It provides specific tips and information to help women, their partners and families to navigate important life events and milestones, as well as everyday money matters.”
Read the Women’s Financial Wellbeing Guide to find out more about how to build financial independence, become financially secure and enhance your financial wellbeing.
Note: If you are experiencing family or domestic violence, it might not be safe to have a conversation with your partner about money. Seek advice and support from a family violence service before deciding if a money conversation is appropriate for you. The Commonwealth Bank Domestic & Family Violence Emergency Assistance Program offers services including access to independent specialist trauma counsellors, financial assistance, safe establishment of bank accounts and telephone support to ensure appropriate communication with family and friends.
Contact CommBank’s Financial Assistance Solutions teams on 13 30 95 or request assistance in NetBank if you’re behind in paying what you owe.
Find out more about staying safe as you age in CommBank’s Safe & Savvy Guide.