28 Nov 2017

Women get frank about finance: MLC research reveals women feel in control but are unprepared

More than half of Australian women feel in control of their finances, but many are concerned about their savings and are missing out on valuable opportunities to boost their superannuation, according to new research released by MLC.

The all-female study revealed just 57 per cent of women across the country feel in control of their financial situation and have confidence they will be able to retire comfortably.

Of the 43 per cent who do not feel in control, 61 per cent said low savings is the main factor. This is in addition to the 32 per cent of respondents who said they have less than a month’s worth of savings to live off if they needed to.

The research also revealed that nearly two-thirds of Australian women are missing out on valuable opportunities to grow their super, a figure that MLC is hoping to increase, and one that resonates with Sydney businesswoman and mother of two, Gail Symons.

“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,” Ms Symons said.

Time to make women’s financial wellbeing a priority

General Manager of MLC Advice Jasia Fabig says Ms Symons’ experience is not rare, and that the research findings highlight that, while many women feel comfortable financially, more needs to be done to support them to make their future financial interests a priority.

“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,” Ms Fabig said.

Other key findings:

  • Despite 57% of women feeling in control of their financial situation overall, only 47% of single women report feeling in control of their money
  • 81% of women believe they will own their own home in retirement and 77% think they’ll have less than 50k left on their mortgage when they retire
  • 66% of women are not participating in voluntary super contributions
  • Among women who do not feel confident about saving for retirement, 74% believe that high cost of living in Australia is the reason; 48% nominated low super balances as a factor.

MLC encourages women to take advantage of free general advice consultation

In a bid to provide Australian women with additional financial support, MLC Advice will offer complimentary general advice sessions to 500 women across Australia who are interested in speaking about their finances with an MLC adviser until the end of January.

Women who are interested in this opportunity can register at www.mlcadvice.com.au/centre.

Top tips for women from Deborah Di Trapani, MLC Advice

  1. Don’t delay uncomfortable conversations: Divorce, illness, job loss and death all impact women’s wealth, so speak with your partner, family or a financial adviser to ensure you can plan for adverse events and make sound decisions if they occur.
  2. Get to know your super: How much do you have? How much will you need? How can you benefit from voluntary contributions? All this will have a huge impact when you retire.
  3. 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.
  4. Prioritise your financial goals as well as your life and career goals: The decisions you make in work and your personal life will all impact your finances.
  5. Your salary matters: Your paycheque and super are vital to your financial security. Don’t undersell yourself, negotiate your pay, and be aware of your worth at work.

Top Tips for Women 20s-60+ from MLC Advice

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