Make financial literacy a priority on International Women’s Day

#BeBoldForChange is the mantra for International Women’s Day and it’s a powerful and positive message to champion, especially regarding personal financial literacy.

The act of being bold will not be the same for any two people – it’s relative to the experiences that have shaped your life, your personal circumstances and the woman you are today. And when it comes to your own finances, being bold can be as pragmatic as committing to action and proactively seeking change.

As a woman, you must be your own financial advocate

Unfortunately, women are likely to have less money in super than their male counterparts, which could have a significant impact on the quality of your retirement. Even if you’ve managed to bridge the inequality through savings, investments, the purchase of assets or an inheritance, it’s still important to consider how you can make your money work to support the life you want in retirement.

Your money also needs to be available to help navigate life changing events such as divorce, losing a partner, ill health or becoming a carer. And in our view, personal financial literacy is key. By equipping yourself to manage your financial resources efficiently for lifetime financial security, you have the power to be your own advocate and make effective decisions with confidence.

Change is a journey and it requires regular activity, no matter how small

Positive financial change does not take place overnight, but beginning the process will have a positive impact on your financial wellbeing and has the potential to influence a wider community. Fortunately, there are several practical steps you can take now in order to empower your financial literacy.

1. Know your current financial position

Even if you think it is untenable, take the time to understand it, face it and own it, and from there you can plan for change. Things don’t improve just by hoping they will.

2. Take ownership over your financial role

If you play a secondary role to your partner in managing your finances, take time to understand your overall position, how your finances are structured and the goals you’re working towards. Become more actively engaged in how your money is managed and make sure you understand the fundamentals so that if you need to take over due to health issues or responsibility redistribution, you can do so confidently. And it’s best not to wait until it’s urgent, start today while you have the benefit of time and a clear perspective. 

3. Start to or continue to educate yourself

Learn small amounts on a regular basis. Having current information helps you make good choices. And it’s important that information is delivered in a way that suits your way of learning. For example, the Dixon Advisory WISE community was created to educate, engage and communicate with our female clients. It’s focused on a learning environment that fosters positive feelings towards managing wealth in retirement and has created an additional network of support among the likeminded women participating in the group. There are plenty of online resources available too, for example ASIC’s MoneySmart website, which features practical tips from how to calculate your net worth to undertaking a stocktake of your assets.

Men can help women be bold for change

The well publicised disparity in pay between men and women in Australia coupled with time out of the workforce for caring responsibilities has profound implications for women as they get older – often impacting their livelihood in retirement. Men can play an important role in closing the gaps by advocating for the women in their lives, for example by treating contributions to super as a partnership consideration and taking proactive steps like catch-up contributions or extra personal savings.

In addition, the language and styles used to communicate financial information can often be intimidating and as such, the wider financial services industry or anyone involved in explaining financial concepts has a role to play when it comes to empowering personal financial literacy. Using language that is accessible, doesn’t confuse and that supports equality is in itself a bold advancement.

Investing and retirement savings is a critical knowledge need for all Australians

A government report into the financial literacy of Australians reveals that we '…have differing attitudes to money and varying levels of financial knowledge and proficiency and may perform well on some aspects of financial literacy but poorly on others'1. But there is time to change all that and today is a good day to make a start, in particular to give yourself the best possible foundation for retirement.

Money is integral to your overall wellbeing

Regardless of how much you earn and how you choose to manage it, money influences almost every aspect of your life. In our view, personal financial literacy and financial planning is key to your overall emotional wellbeing, so seek out and share platforms that help instil confidence and answer your questions.

Be bold for change to empower your own financial future and those of others. Remember, financial literacy is not just about increasing your knowledge, it will assist you to make the best decisions for you and guide proactive steps for better financial wellbeing now and in retirement. Your money and wealth facilitates the fulfilment of your dreams – be bold and proactive to achieve them. 

This insight may contain general financial advice and was prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any advice, you should consider whether the advice is appropriate to you. Seeking professional personal advice is always highly recommended. Any forward looking statements are based on current expectations at the time of writing. No assurance can be given that such expectations will prove to be correct.

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Amie Calvert

Director, Marketing

Amie Calvert is a passionate advocate for female financial literacy and plays a key role in Dixon Advisory’s leadership in this area as Director of Marketing and our WISE program. WISE is our female client network designed to empower financial literacy and create a community and conversation for wise financial decision making by our clients.

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