Why it’s key for women to master money matters

Trends show women are unable to 'sweat their assets', making a better financial future an elusive goal

Despite earning 27% less than men, South African women are the backbone of society and the engine on which their household finances are run.

Talk frankly to your partner about all your concerns and scenarios for the family should either of you no longer be there.
Talk frankly to your partner about all your concerns and scenarios for the family should either of you no longer be there.
Image: 123RF/MILKOS

Despite earning 27% less than men, South African women are the backbone of society and the engine on which their household finances are run.

The earning disparities or pay gap do not only affect stay-at-home women but employed women too, making it vitally important for women to take back their financial power and become more financially independent, says Sindi Mondi, Liberty Investment Specialist.

Other statistics show that about 40% of households are currently headed by women, 53% of credit active consumers are women and they often make trade-off decisions between running their households and saving for their future.

Mondi says women usually also live much longer than their male partners, with the gap getting even wider with advancements in medical technology. This longevity should always be in the back of our minds when striving to stretch our rands and educate ourselves on how to grow our wealth.

Living longer than men means that women would need to have even more money saved toward their retirement, says Aneesa Razack, CEO Share Investing, FNB Wealth and Investments.

She says women face further risks to their income and retirement savings as they are  affected by career interruptions due to childbirth, the high rates of single mothers taking on most, if not all the expenses of raising children and running households. This makes it imperative for us, as women, to think of investing for the long term rather than only saving for the short term.

Razack says FNB insights show the little money that women invest, is invested conservatively on cash-heavy instruments and therefore they are unable to “sweat their assets”, making a better financial future an elusive goal. 

Mondi cautions women to also consider scenarios where you’re confronted with divorce, your partner falling ill, being disabled or even dying and you suddenly have to take over managing the finances. 

She suggests starting with an open conversation with your partner about all your concerns and scenarios for the family should either of you no longer be there. 

This includes talking about your current  income streams, the family budget, tallying up the cost or value of your stay-at-home services to the family should anything happen to you, and understanding your marital contract.

“When one partner stays at home or works part time, we tend to forget the cost of sourcing all the services he/she provides to the family. “It is important to collate the cost of having someone to cook, clean, wash and iron for the family as well as to transport the kids to and from school and to other events and activities.”

Mondi suggests you make conversations about money fashionable, even with your children as they ought to learn from a young age that money is finite and the management thereof is crucial. 

Both Mondi and Razack urge women to take active steps in learning and developing  financial knowledge.

“The current pandemic has meant that we have access to a wide range of financial resources, whether it’s through weekly financial webinars, weekly education podcasts, news articles or advisers who are only a call away. These resources will help in building our financial knowledge and controlling our financial journey,” Razack says.

Mondi adds: “Finding an accountability partner, leading by example in how you manage the household budget, and finding the balance between being frugal and self-care will help you master money matters at home, irrespective if you’re working or a stay-at-home partner.”

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