Australian women feel less prepared for their financial futures

3 min read

In an address today at the 2018 Global Summit of Women, BT General Manager Superannuation, Melinda Howes highlighted that more support is needed when it comes to women and finances, with new research showing less than one fifth (18%) of women feel satisfied they are on track in preparing for their financial future.

According to new BT research, the majority of women (69 per cent) acknowledge that superannuation is critical to secure their financial future however, more than half of women (51 per cent) believe they won’t have enough for retirement and almost one third (27 per cent) are unsure or haven’t considered their retirement savings.

Additionally women face around a 40 per cent1 shortfall compared to men when it comes to retirement savings.

Ms Howes said while women play a vital role in managing day to day finances, whether in their household or business, many don’t pay the same level of attention to their own finances and are often underprepared or not feeling good about their long term financial futures.

“Australian women are still retiring with substantially less than men which is a critical issue that must be addressed in terms of helping them prepare for their financial future,” Ms Howes said.

“We know planning for future finances can be daunting, but investment and particularly retirement savings are all the more important for women, given that they will live on average four years longer than men2.”

In addition to making super contributions during paid parental leave, Westpac enables employees to take unpaid parental leave without a gap in their super contributions for up to 91 weeks.

According to the research, when it comes to planning for the future, one in two women say they are ‘confident’, ‘engaged’, ‘knowledgeable’ and are ‘goal setters’ when it comes to managing their finances.

However not many women (21 per cent) say they are active investors, compared with 36 per cent of men, despite two thirds of women saying they have superannuation savings.

“At BT, we are actively thinking about how we can empower our members, including women, to make better decisions about their super. Members like quick and simple tools to help them to take action around their super and investments,” Ms Howes said.

BT has a range of tools available to help members with their super including Wealth Review, an interactive digital program Australians can use to get an immediate picture of all of their financial affairs and SuperCheck, which helps members to quickly sort lost or forgotten super.

“We know women are engaged with their finances and can benefit from tools to boost their confidence in managing their super and investments, helping them take a more active role in achieving their financial goals,” Ms Howes added.

Separately, Ms Howes addressed the need for companies to continue to lead by example in supporting opportunities for women in the workplace and their career progression.

The Westpac Diversity Dividend Report, prepared by Deloitte Access Economics, recently showed that having more women in leadership would create dividends for Australian businesses and the economy.

Having an equal representation of women in leadership could lift labour force participation and add up to $10.8 billion to the Australian economy every year, the report found.

“Women are integral to the Australian workplace and businesses have made significant progress in improving diversity in leadership in recent years. There is still more progress we can make to improve opportunities for women in the workplace and ultimately, support them to reach their financial goals,” Ms Howes said.

1. ASFA account balances by age and gender, 2015-16
2. ABS 18 Oct 2017, ‘Female life expectancy continues to climb’