Two major trends are profoundly impacting women. Firstly, women are living longer then men and secondly, nearly half of marriages are likely to end in divorce, with rising rates among couples over 50’s. This means that many women will become widows or divorcees. Some women will be ready – many won’t!
The twin forces of longer life expectancy and high rates of divorce have produced a sobering likelihood that more women will end up alone. Women’s average life expectancy is five years longer than men’s. The median age of widowhood is only 59 years old. At the same time, the divorce rate among couples over 50 has doubled in the past 30 years. Fifty-six percent of married women still leave investment decisions to their husbands. Surprisingly, 61% of Millennial women do so, more than any other generation. What’s more, most women are quite content with their backseat role when it comes to investing and financial planning.
Research suggests women place a greater level of importance on financial affairs than men. While their financial needs and objectives, attitudes toward risk and willingness to plan and take professional advice all are different from men, women, particularly those over 65, display a lower level of financial literacy than men and are less likely than men to have an individualized financial plan. Whether single through death or divorce, many women are and will be faced with the need to re-think their financial priorities and develop plans and strategies that will provide financial security both for themselves and their dependents.
Research also shows that women lack confidence when it comes to investing their money, and they are mostly risk-averse. About one-third of affluent women say the stock market is “too risky” for them, according to a Wells Fargo study conducted in 2013.
More international studies show the following alarming facts that nine out of 10 women will be solely responsible for their finances at some point in their lives;
- Less than 15% of women who are married or living with a partner feel responsible for planning for retirement;
- Only 40% of women participate in their employer’s pension plan;
- Over 75% of women become widowed, at an average age of 56, and one in four of these women are broke within two months of being widowed;
- A high percentage of elderly woman are poverty-stricken;
- Half of all women work in traditionally female, relatively low-paid jobs without a retirement plan; and
- Women retirees receive only half the average pension benefits that men receive.
Steps that you can take today
- The time to become financially involved is today, not when unforeseen
events happen in the
- Educate and prepare yourself. First, you must understand that you need to
save, irrespective of
your current position, and then you must understand where to invest.
- Start the conversation with your partner.
- Turn to a Lifestyle Financial Planner for guidance. The lifestyle financial
planner will help you to identify, achieve and maintain your desired lifestyle.
- Understand your journey, a journey that will never be completed overnight.
Are you prepared for retirement? Your retirement can be 30 years or longer.
Learn about the different investment
options and retirement plans that are available for you.
- Women are better investors than men once they decide what to do.
Women think they are not
good investors and don’t want to make mistakes with the little money they
have. This impression they have of themselves is not correct as studies in
the United States show that they are better investors once they decide to
- Don’t be afraid of taking investment risks. Have a clearly defined strategy
based on your lifestyle goals, and ensure that the risks are quantified for
- No amount you save is too small. The wonder of compound growth is well
known, and the
benefit of time must not be underestimated. If you save R1 000 a month at
an average return of
10% a year, your final nest egg will be as follows: after 10 years: R204,844;
after 20 years:
R759,368; after 30 years: R2,260 487.
- Teach your children early on about finances. Every step our kids take from
retirement will be directly influenced by their ability to manage their
- Make it a priority. Women work hard for their families, for their
advancement, their progress;
they work hard to live the life of their dreams. Make it happen. See it through.
Take control of
your dreams by taking control of your finances. You deserve it.