Time to take con­trol

CityPress - - Business -

A re­cent sur­vey by 10X In­vest­ments found that many women are not pre­pared for re­tire­ment as they have been re­liant on their part­ners for their fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity. There is still an un­for­tu­nate mis­con­cep­tion that fi­nan­cial plan­ning and re­tire­ment in­vest­ing should be a man’s re­spon­si­bil­ity in a mar­riage or part­ner­ship.

Ac­cord­ing to So­hini Castille, head of em­ployee ben­e­fits con­sult­ing at 10X In­vest­ments, the re­search found that women were al­most 10% less likely to save or in­vest than men were.

“We found that 32% of fe­male South Africans feel vague and un­sure about their re­tire­ment plans. Men, on the other hand, are al­most 10% more clear on their long-term in­vest­ment and sav­ings plans,” says Castille.

Men are more likely to make use of in­vest­ment ve­hi­cles to grow their wealth, while women are ner­vous of in­vest­ing and tend to save in cash – this fur­ther re­duces the amount of sav­ings a woman will have when she re­tires.

Castille says women also feel more in­ex­pe­ri­enced as in­vestors, and pre­fer to use an ad­viser to help them, while their male coun­ter­parts seem to be more in­de­pen­dent when mak­ing fi­nan­cial decisions, and con­duct their own re­search and use on­line re­sources.

The fact that women are more likely to con­sult an ad­viser is not nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing, as men can over­es­ti­mate their own fi­nan­cial abil­i­ties, and they tend to fo­cus on in­vest­ment re­turns rather than hav­ing a holis­tic ap­proach to in­vest­ment plan­ning. The down­side of a more con­sul­ta­tive ap­proach is that it can lead to in­de­ci­sive­ness.

The sim­ple re­al­ity is that, as women, we will ul­ti­mately be re­spon­si­ble for our own fi­nan­cial fu­tures – 80% of women will man­age their own fi­nances dur­ing their life­time for var­i­ous rea­sons, such as if they are un­mar­ried, di­vorced or wid­owed.

In South Africa, we have a se­ri­ous is­sue with the fi­nan­cial pres­sure of sin­gle mothers. An Old Mu­tual Sav­ings and In­vest­ment Mon­i­tor sur­vey, which only in­ter­viewed work­ing, ur­ban mothers, found that about half of them were rais­ing chil­dren on their own, and only 12% re­ceived regular in­come from the fa­ther. Un­em­ployed or ru­ral women were not in­cluded in this re­search.

Ev­ery year, about 25 000 mar­riages in South Africa end in di­vorce, ac­count­ing for a di­vorce rate of more than 50%. In­ter­est­ingly, the ma­jor­ity of di­vorces are ini­ti­ated by women. Even if you find your Mr Right and live hap­pily ever af­ter, sta­tis­ti­cally, you will be left a widow as women out­live men by about seven years. So, leav­ing your fi­nances to a part­ner to deal with is sim­ply not an op­tion.

If you are one of those women who are afraid to take con­trol of your fi­nances, put some time aside to un­der­stand your cur­rent fi­nan­cial po­si­tion. If you are mar­ried, have a dis­cus­sion with your part­ner about the fam­ily’s fi­nan­cial goals. If you want ad­vice, do some re­search and find the right per­son to help you. It’s im­por­tant to take that first step.

– Maya Fisher-French

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