“It’s not your salary that makes you rich, it’s your spending habits” – Charles A Jaffe
There is no doubt that we live in a country with a high cost of living. Many Australian cities are becoming more expensive to live in compared to the rest of the world1.
Regardless of where you live and how much you earn, managing finances is a big concern for many of us.
A 2018 consumer anxiety study by one of the major Australian banks showed that the cost of living had increased our anxiety level the most. Living comfortably in retirement remains a big worry as well as providing for our family’s future2.
Common life events that may affect your financial aspirations and retirement expectations are:
- getting married
- starting a family
- returning to work after having a baby
- losing your job
- divorce and separation
- losing a parent
- dealing with illness
- dealing with financial abuse
Add to these issues the financial consequences and disparity for women, and you might say we have cause for concern.
Women live longer than men (on average around five years3), and despite the increasing workplace equality, they are still typically earning less than their male counterparts.
On average, Australian women earn 14.6% less than men, or around $251 a week4, although gender pay gaps do differ across industries.
- have an average of 52.8% LESS superannuation at retirement than men5
- are more likely to take time out of paid work (or take reduced work hours and pay) to care for their children, and
- in some cases, for the ‘sandwich generation’, also care for ageing parents
The sandwich generation is commonly caught in the financial AND emotional middle.
Now with the royal commission into the Australian aged care industry, there is growing concern for the quality of care and more focus on caring for loved ones at home. The financial obligations can be many and varied.
In regards to gender equality, workplace policies are slowly changing. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) announced the list of employers promoting best practice in the area of promoting gender equality.
The main trends were:
- tailored parental leave policies to support both women and men
- initiatives to encourage women to return to work after a career break
- supporting men’s caring responsibilities
- robust analysis and correction of gender pay gaps
Taking action closer to home
While it is encouraging to see workplaces taking equality more seriously, there is no doubt that taking personal responsibility and action for your own current and future financial situation reaps many rewards. Not just for women, but for whole families and entire communities.
1. ABC New, Living costs in many Australian cities raising faster than rest of world, January 2018
2. NAB Consumer Anxiety Index 2018
3. ABS, Gender Indicators, Australia Sept 2018
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