It's time for a little positive discrimination. This financial advice is, quite unashamedly, for women. The money issues that govern the way we all live affect men and women differently, and this offers a decidedly feminine spin on things...but gentlemen, you're more than welcome to read along.
Overcome the great wage disparity
Welcome to Australia of the 21st century. We have a female Prime Minister. A female Governor-General. And a 20th century pay gap between men and women.
Historically, there is a pattern of men earning more than women, even in these enlightened times when females have a growing presence in the workforce. In 2011, the Australian Bureau of Statistics calculated that men earn 11% more than women on a per hour basis. While this statistic is seen as fact, it doesn't have to be considered a given.
The reason men earn more money is because they ask for it! Social researchers have found that male workers are more likely to ask their superiors for pay rises, extra super contributions and added incentives. Employers won't reward shy and retiring types. If you want to close the pay gap, you need to buck the trend and ask for more.
Boost your superannuation
Parenthood might be a planned hiccup on the traditional career path, or an out of the blue event that throws massive boulders onto the road. Regardless of the amount of fore-thought, it can still hurt a woman's earnings and superannuation.
While an increasing number of men are becoming stay-at-home dads, women still make up the vast majority of at-home carers for their pre-school children. Time out of the workforce equates to a shortfall in superannuation contributions, yet it is imperative you have enough savings to enjoy a comfortable retirement. To help you achieve this, you can do worse than to top up your superannuation fund, above and beyond your employer contributions.
More: Women and super – taking charge
Don't outlive your savings
Women might not earn as much as men... but we live longer. In 2011, the Australian Bureau of Statistics announced that life expectancy for women is 84 years compared to 79 years for men. Statistically speaking, there's a chance you'll end up alone in your 'golden years'. While it may seem a little morbid to be thinking about the death of a loved one, the reality is you need to be prepared for such an eventuality.
We've already spoken about topping up your superannuation but if that is not enough, you might want to make a slight reduction in the amount of money you spend now and enjoy the savings in the future.
Another sensitive subject to consider
We have raised the issue of death so we might as well raise another touchy subject. Break ups. Whether it is a divorce or the ending of a long-term relationship, it is the woman who suffers most, in the financial sense anyway.
Again, the statistics back it up with the Australian Institute of Family Studies analysing the data and concluding that the negative impact on a woman's income is greater than on her former partner’s.
The researchers also found that financial hardship after the break-up can be reduced through earning a high pre-split income, control over financial decisions during the relationship and having legally enforceable arrangements in place to manage distribution of assets.
As you have just read, financial advice for the goose is hardly good advice for the gander. The differences between the sexes extend to more than a woman's superior ability to parallel park.
By having this new perspective on the world of finance, you can plan to get out of the red and in the pink.
Part two: Making more money – Nothing out of the ordinary
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