March 8 marks International Women’s Day – a good time for women to embrace opportunities to achieve financial independence.
After 30 years in the money business, I’ve seen women make great strides with their personal finances. The gender pay gap is narrowing, lenders no longer shun single women and, little by little, women are gaining a larger slice of the superannuation pie. But there is still plenty to be done, and a key step is for women to take control of their financial wellbeing.
What many women may not realise is that they often have the ideal qualities to be successful investors. Research shows women often enjoy higher gains than men on investments like shares. That’s not necessarily because they intuitively pick the top performing stocks.
Rather, women tend to hold onto their shares over time, enjoying decent long-term gains and minimising brokerage costs. Women are also less inclined to be overconfident about investing.
On the downside, women often face unique hurdles.
In particular, women account for 70 per cent of all part-time employees, and that can mean earning a lower income, as well as lower employer paid super contributions. Women are also more likely to take time out of the workforce to raise kids or care for ageing relatives.
The solution is for women to make their own financial wellbeing a priority.
The online Women’s Money Toolkit developed by money watchdog ASIC can be used to generate a personalised to-do list of steps that will boost your financial health.
Paul Clitheroe is a founding director of financial planning firm ipac, Chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and chief commentator for Money Magazine.