Last month we celebrated International Women’s Day on Wednesday 8 March.
As part of the celebration, I attended two panel discussions within the Financial Services industry, alongside Milford’s own broadcast presentation (pictured above, click HERE to view). One common message that resonated with me was the need for women to plan financially, not only for retirement but also for unexpected events that may arise. While this message applies to everyone, it is particularly pertinent for women who may face unique challenges such as leaving the workforce to start a family or taking time away to care for elderly relatives. Studies have also shown that women are less likely than men to have retirement savings and to engage in retirement planning.
Despite their resilience, women still need to plan carefully for their financial future.
This planning should consider factors such as women tending to live longer than men, which means preparing for a longer retirement period. Furthermore, studies have shown that women are less likely than men to have retirement savings and to engage in retirement planning.
To address this issue, women need to be empowered to take on the appropriate amount of risk, rather than being led by fear. There should be no judgement when asking for help to get on track for retirement, or when seeking financial advice. If women have not felt comfortable speaking with advisers in the past, because it’s been a predominately male dominated industry, they should be aware there are now many women advisers in the industry who are passionate about helping women succeed. At Milford, for example, 43% of our advisers are female.
Financial literacy and empowerment can help women overcome some of these challenges by equipping them to make informed decisions about their money. As well as retirement planning, guidance may also be sought on how to budget, save, invest, manage debt and handle unexpected expenses.
A good place to start is opening and contributing to a KiwiSaver account, which can provide a solid foundation for retirement. It is important to be confident with the investment strategy you choose and to review it regularly with a financial adviser, as KiwiSaver is not a “set and forget” investment.
It is time to break away from the Kiwi reluctance to talk about money, and instead encourage it to be a dinner table conversation. Women should talk about money with each other. This will raise awareness and financial confidence, leading to improved financial outcomes for women, their families, and their communities.
It is important to promote financial education and encourage women to seek advice from financial advisers so they can build a secure financial future. Now is a great time to start.