Research from NAB and MLC has reported that just 57 per cent of women feel confident about their financial situation and are confident they’ll be able to have a comfortable lifestyle in retirement.
Further, only 47 per cent of single women feel confident with their money.
The general manager at MLC Advice, Jasia Fabig commented: “What we often see is that women put the interests of others before their own, and at key moments in life – divorce, death, illness, or job loss – they are severely impacted.
“Only 34 per cent of the women MLC surveyed are putting extra money into their super, and we’d like to see this number grow.
“Women and their money matter, and we want them to be able to weather financial storms.”
Sixty-one per cent of women who felt they weren’t in control said low savings was the main factor, while 32 per cent said it was because they possessed less than a month’s savings to live off “if they needed to”.
Of the 43 per cent of women who aren’t feeling confident about their retirement savings, 74 per cent listed Australia’s high cost of living as the main factor and 48 per cent pointed to low super balances.
The research also found that two-thirds of women are “missing out on valuable opportunities to grow their super” by not making voluntary super contributions.
MLC referred to Sydney businesswoman, Gail Symons, as an example of how it can happen.
Ms Symons explained: “I am an educated, successful woman, and I thought I was doing everything right, but nobody told me about the consequences of not putting myself and my money first, and the impact my life decisions would have on my financial situation down the track.”
According to Ms Fabig, Ms Symons' experience is not uncommon. She said women’s financial wellbeing needs to be prioritised and supported.
However, the research also found that 81 per cent of women believe they will own their home by retirement and 77 per cent anticipate they’ll have less than $50,000 to pay on their mortgage at retirement.
Financial Planner at MLC, Deborah Di Trapani advised that women “get to know” their super, “prioritise” their financial goals in the same way they would prioritise life and career goals and consider negotiating their pay.
She added that it’s important to: “Be independent and become an expert on your money: Know your money inside out and – debt, savings, investments, insurance and super – and how all of it works for you.”
At the same time, “don’t delay uncomfortable conversations”. Ms Di Trapani said that divorce, job loss, illness and death can impact wealth so it’s a good idea to speak with partners, family members and a financial adviser to “ensure you can plan for adverse events and make sound decisions if they occur”.