Do women need different financial planning?

Women access financial planning less than men.

Women also earn less than men, accumulate less than men and retire with less than men.

Women live longer than men.

Almost one third of female age pensioners live below the poverty line. It’s expected to get much worse.

Single women who do not own a home suffer the most. They all live below the poverty line.

How does this happen?

Australia tends to have a gender-based income and wealth accumulation bias. It’s caused by:

  1. educational decisions and opportunities. Girls often study lower income subjects, not maths and sciences. University students continue the trend, tending to courses aligned with low income occupations
  2. occupational income bias. Women are paid less for the same work. This is across all industries and professions. Female university graduates earn on average 4% less than males. The gap widens as careers progress. Some say the gap is as much as 18% over a working lifetime.
  3. greater engagement in unpaid work, greater absences from paid work, due to child bearing and rearing, parent caring and other family responsibilities.
  4. the phenomenon of earlier female retirement, whereby women often choose to retire with or before their partners  – despite having significantly longer remaining life expectancies.

What’s the solution?

The solution is not a pink brochure, a glossy photo and an invitation to a cocktail party hosted by a fund manager’s selectively female and un-representively young and attractive PR team, spruiking for more management fees.

Our female clients will be too busy looking after the kids to get there. The child care centre shuts at six.

It’s inadequate nonsense anyway. Financial products cannot bridge the gender gap. The only way to bridge the gender gap is to permanently change our clients’ behaviour. We do this by informing them, advocating for them, coaching them, educating them, trusting them and pushing them.

Virginia Woolf wrote A Room of One’s Own in 1928. If she could posthumously reprise it we bet she would call it “A Positively Geared Share Portfolio of One’s Own”, and include a new eighth chapter on the need for women to become financially independent to be socially independent and relationship independent. And equal. And negatively geared.

Suffragettes need super. And a financial plan.

We want every client to own their (her!) own home

Australian property has averaged more than 10% year for the last twenty years.

Home owners are significantly wealthier than non-home owners.

Anecdotes are dangerous, but we must note the average cost of a wedding is about $40,000. Most brides (and grooms) blow half a home deposit on one big night. Maybe Bernard Salt got it wrong. It’s not smashed avocado keeping young people out of the housing market. It’s the wedding cake. (And later the child care costs).

Interested in learning more?

You can read an excellent article by Catherine Robson on the value of educating female clients here: How a financial planner saved Book Club host Jennifer Byrne’s life.

In 2015 the ANZ released the “ANZ Women’s Report Barriers to Achieving Financial Gender Equity”. You can download this report here: ANZ Women’s Report Barriers to Achieving Financial Gender Equity.

In 2012 The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees published “Super-Poor But Surviving. Experiences of Australian Women in Retirement” and it seems even more relevant in 2017. You can download this report here: Super poor but surviving.