It is All about the Money…. Honey
You may have heard it said before, it’s all about the money, honey!
Women and their Finances
Disclaimer: If you are looking for proper financial advice, go and seek it from a proper financial adviser. We are not talking about investment strategies here or how to build your fortune.
Your Leadership Voice: Women In Focus
Recently I was very lucky to participate in a course called Your Leadership Voice: Women in Focus. The premise of the course is to give women the skills and confidence to participate equally in public and professional forums. Its based on the panel pledge. If you want to know more about the course, look here. If you want to know all about the panel pledge, look here.
There were so many positives to take away from being a student on a course like this, many of which I will talk about in the future. The course culminates in what is called a SUE talk. SUE stands for Stand Up Equally. All of the women on the course chose a subject that they are passionate about and do a 4-5 minute talk on it. The SUE talk day was so inspiring and empowering, I suggest that you take a look at some of the talks on YouTube, here is a link to mine.
My SUE talk was all about women and their finances. Specifically it was about the need for all of us to get financially literate. One way we can all start is by sharing what we know today, talking about our experiences and educating the women in our lives.
There are two main reasons that I really wanted to talk about financial literacy for women:
Women over the age of 55
The first is that the fastest growing group of people experiencing homelessness in Australia are women over the age of 55. Now homelessness is a vastly complex and difficult to solve problem. I don’t propose that women being more financially literate will address any of the other issues that can present with people experiencing homelessness (like substance dependence, metal health issues, poor social networks, family violence, lack of work experience, illiteracy etc), rather, that being better with money can only serve to help.
Women and their Retirement Savings
The other reason I wanted to talk about financial literacy for women was that we, on average, retire with about half of the superannuation than our male counterparts do, even though we tend to live longer. This makes women way more vulnerable in our later years, a time when we hope to be living both safely and comfortably.
In my talk I focused on what we can do now. And, we can start talking to each other about our own financial experiences. I’ll admit, it is difficult to do as we live in a society where talking about money is seen as taboo. Some of us are embarrassed about how bad we are at saving or how we get to the end of the week and can’t work out where all the money went. Some of us are worried that we might seem a bit boasty because we worked out how to pay off our credit card and save for that holiday. There are even some of us who are scared, because we are closer to the end of our working life than the start, and we don’t think that we have enough money to get by. Whatever your circumstance, I am an advocate for sharing it.
Surely sharing a mistake with a daughter or niece will more likely prevent them from making the same mistake? Isn’t that better than keeping it to yourself? Letting a girlfriend know that you are having a few money issues might result in a fabulous problem solving session (or at the very least will ensure that she opts for cheaper nights in than an expensive dinner out next catch up). Most of us are so worried about the judgement that we might face that we totally miss out on the valuable insights we might gain. I say that’s false economy.
Women Talk Money Campaign
It seems I am not the only one with this good idea, last week ASIC launched the Women Talk Money Campaign, and it’s all about a ground swell movement. The campaign encourages women to talk about their money experiences and it starts with videos of 5 prominent women talking about their money experiences. It also addresses the fact that women face very specific challenges when it comes to managing their money. Please check out the campaign (here), and share it with others.
After my talk I was approached by a number of women of different ages to ask where they might be able to get more information. www.moenysmart.gov.au is an amazing place to start.
Being Better with your MONEY is a good thing
It doesn’t matter what income you receive, be it a pension from the Government or a six figure salary in private industry. Being better with your money can only serve to improve your circumstance, get you more of what you want, and help you to be more secure. Sharing your experiences with the women in your life may also help them navigate their own financial path, importantly, it may save them from dire financial mistakes.