Finance: Who’s to Blame for Women’s Lack of Retirement Funds?

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woman with piggy bank

Too many women are ill-prepared for their future and are fed the story that it is because they’re just not good with money. I’m here to tell you that’s not true.

You are more capable than you think and it’s never too late to start building wealth. I’ll let you know why women are in this position of not being prepared for retirement, and what you can do to turn the situation around.

Why women aren’t prepared for retirement

There are many valid reasons why women don’t have enough funds put away for retirement and it’s not always their fault.

Marketing Women have been left out of investment conversations and the sharing of wisdom by the finance industry. Over the last 20 years, 70% of investment marketing and educational pieces have been written by white middle-aged men, for white middle-aged men. They forgot to consider the women! Men, with their uninterrupted careers and higher average pay, generally have a healthy superannuation account. The finance industry markets to this, something many women don’t have.

Men do money differently to women For men money represents power. For women money represents safety. There’s so much more at stake for a woman when she gets money wrong. She’s already behind on salary and super and if she’s taken time out of the work force to have children, she’s behind even more due to missed superannuation contributions and the missed compounded earnings of those contributions. For this reason, women tend to over-analyse their finances which can lead to analysis paralysis. As a result, they freeze and don’t take action.

The history of women Men have been practicing money for thousands of years. For women, money is relatively new. Around 100 years ago, women couldn’t vote and were deemed incapable of managing their own money by law makers. Up until the late 1970s women couldn’t apply for a line of credit without a man’s co-signature (even if she was the breadwinner). My point is, true legal financial independence has only been available to women in the last 40 years or so. It’s new and it’s going to take a while for our beliefs and confidence to catch up.

Trauma Women commonly come into large sums of money through trauma such as divorce, inheritance or becoming widowed. When we’re in trauma, we’re stressed. Studies show that when humans are stressed our IQ drops by up to 46% – not good for financial decision making!

The farer sex Studies show that society treats girls differently to boys when it comes to discussions and lessons about money. Girls are taught to be ‘careful’ with money, while boys are taught to take risks. This emphasises my earlier point that women over-analyse financial opportunities and therefore miss out on wealth creation opportunities.

Of the many reasons, other than income gaps, as to why women have less superannuation funds than men most relate to belief systems and education.  But the good thing about belief systems is that you can change them.

We didn’t come into this world with beliefs. As new borns, we trusted that we would be looked after and our every need would be met. Beliefs that we are less valued than men or not good with money have been learned from our environment, and so of course they can also be unlearned!

It’s never too late to start sorting out your money. Where there’s a will there’s a way!

How to transform your financial future

Small actions compound and set us on the right trajectory. Start here:

Identify and release negative or limiting beliefs about your ability to make money. I have a 10-minute exercise available here  to help you uncover your negative money stories and create something more positive.

Write down your goals for retirement. How much will you need to live on per year? At what age do you plan to retire? What will your lifestyle look and feel like? How will you know where to go if you don’t know where you’re going?! Writing down your goals is powerful because your brain doesn’t know the difference between imagination and reality. When your brain sees written information, it takes it as instruction and seeks out ways to make it come true. Studies prove that your goals are 42% more likely to come true when you write them down and read them regularly.

Know where you stand. How much do you have in superannuation right now? What’s your current financial position? It’s only numbers… they can’t hurt you. I have a free template available here.

Start taking action to set up a plan for your retirement. There are plenty of free tools and resources available at moneysmart.gov.au. Take advantage of government co-contributions, ensure all of your superannuation funds are rolled into one, and review your insurance. Review your superannuation fund’s performance, asset allocation (risk assessment), and fees. If you need to change funds, it’s ok. Your new fund will organise the transfer for you as part of their service. It’s all very clean and easy but I wouldn’t go changing funds unless you need to as some transfers may trigger capital gains tax. Consult your financial planner on this if needed.

Did you know that if you have stock investments outside of superannuation you can roll them over into your super fund as a contribution to take advantage of the superannuation environment’s lower tax rates? You can ask for your investments, to be transferred ‘in specie’ so that you don’t trigger any capital gains.

Remember, you are more capable than you think with money, it’s just that no one told you how! DECIDE to review your financial position and take action! If required, seek the services of a licensed financial planner. It’s never too late to sort out your finances. The only thing worse than starting late, is not starting at all.

Legal Note: Information provided by Love Luck Wealth is factual in nature and does not take into consideration your personal financial situation. It is for educational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice nor financial product advice in any way. Remember, the value of any investment can go down as well as up. Before acting, you should consider seeking independent personal financial advice that is tailored to your needs from an appropriately licensed or authorised financial adviser.