There is no denying the financial freedom and power money allows us, but what happens when your ability to access proper financial planning is determined by your gender?
The paradox of the gender pay gap
As we enter Women's Month to celebrate the phenomenal feat that women have achieved by defying the odds and doing what others have said no woman can do, it is also a stark reminder that we still have a long way to go when it comes to empowering women.
Achieving financial freedom is still something many South African women have to sweat for to receive a fraction of what their male counterparts make, despite being better at financial planning and owning more property due to the gender pay gap that still exists. While the workforce is predominantly female, a recent report by PWC revealed that 61% of women earn less than their male counterparts.
The responsibility of having to take care of dependents, parents and heading the household finances that take as much as 67% of their income to cover expenses, has led to women finding ways to invest and grow their finances to ensure that their future finances are protected to make ends meet.
With money comes freedom and power to navigate spaces that previously did not exist for women, but many South African women still find themselves having to jump through hoops to provide for their loved ones.
Women seek financial planning early
The South African workplace still has a long way to go, but for now, many women are pushed to find ways to make their money stretch. The Old Mutual Savings and Investment report revealed that 45% of South Africans have mentioned feeling an increased demand on their current income which has resulted in more people putting less towards their savings.
Financial planning has increasingly become a path that has opened a door for women to invest and grow what they have to work for them and protect the needs of their loved ones, even when they are no longer around to do so.
When it comes to seeking financial advice and investing in financial products such as life insurance and funeral policies women were the main target market. Women are also more likely to make use of these financial products at an earlier stage compared to men. But how can you go about achieving this?
Practical ways to protect your finances
We still have a long way to go when it comes to changing the gender pay gap that puts a limitation on the financial freedom women can experience. However, being in control of your current financial situation is equally important. Things to consider:
Seek financial advice. Always remember that your financial situation is not the same as the next person. We all have different financial responsibilities, which is why seeking financial advice on how you can cater to these without putting a strain on your finances is crucial. There are free financial services that you can get from your bank or an independent financial advisor.
Have life insurance. Whether you have dependents or are planning on having children one day, having life insurance is crucial to protecting their financial future.
Boost your investment portfolio. Speaking to a financial advisor can help you assess how much of your income you can be put aside to invest in products that give you the best return for your money without straining your finances. Keep in mind to start with small amounts and gradually grow your portfolio.
Keep a will in place. Having a will gives you more control over how you want what you have worked for to be distributed when you are no longer around. It will also prevent any illegal claims on property or investments that you have saved for your loved ones.