Superannuation. Taxes. Stocks. Budgets. Bills. Hardly words you would describe as fun or, for a lot of women, even remotely interesting. Unfortunately, this lack of interest means women tend not to invest, pay off our debts in time and it also means we are less likely to have enough money to sustain us in retirement. And that’s not even the worst part. Some women, coined ‘Cinderella Singles’ in financial circles, rely on men to save them from having any economic responsibility.
A British study has found that forty per cent of women admit they leave superannuation to their husbands to sort out. And despite the fact that we live longer, only 47 per cent of women are saving enough for retirement, compared with 59 per cent of men. Studies in Australia show a similar pattern.
“Women are still significantly worse off than men, despite almost 20 years of compulsory superannuation,” said Pauline Vamos, chief executive officer of The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA).
This news made my feminist heart break a little; did I just step back to 1950? You’d think the notion that women are sitting around waiting for a man to take care of them would be completely outdated. In 2011 we have a female Prime Minister, a paid parental leave scheme and as slow going as it is we’re finally making inroads to bring about equality in traditionally male dominated fields. But then I thought about who is responsible for money in my own household and realised it was something I had wiped my hands of a long time ago.
I don’t know what happened. I used to be so good with money, but as I’ve gotten older it suddenly got all too hard. No longer was it just about putting pocket money into a Dollarmites account or income into a term deposit to save for a car or overseas trip. I struggled to understand the jargon of the stock market, investing money seemed risky and I still don’t know what the Dow Jones index is. I’ve asked before but like Teflon, it’s just not the type of information that sticks to the walls of my brain.