Australian women retire with an average super balance of $157,049 – around half the average men’s balance of $270,710, but investing in the stock market could help them catch up.
For a lot of Australians, “investing in the stock market” is a scary phrase.
More than half of Australian women believe the investment industry tells them that investing is “complicated”.
A quarter believe it’s intimidating and one in five believe it appears to be tailored to men, a new report from Fidelity International, The Financial Power of Women, has revealed.
But while these concerns persist, the reality of financial returns should be just as compelling.
“Not enough women are investing in the stock market. They are more risk averse, prefer the perceived safety of cash and feel that the investment industry is not tailored to them,” said Fidelity International Australia managing director, Alva Devoy.
“Why does this matter? Despite recent progress, women are still earning less, they take career breaks and there are fewer of them in senior positions which has resulted in a superannuation gap.”
It means that ultimately women’s ability to make money through work is less than men. So it’s more important that their money works for them. Investing is one way to do this.
In the report, Devoy gave the example of a mother who invested $5,000 into the ASX200 when her child was born in 2000.
If she reinvested and put in another $5000 every year of the child’s life, by the time they were 18 the invested money would have grown from the $90,000 invested to $194,132.
If she had saved $5000 every year in cash with an interest rate of 3 per cent (which is higher than many savings accounts at the moment), the sum would have only grown to $120,584.
That’s a difference of $73,548.
Naturally the lesson is relevant for all Australians regardless of gender, but it’s arguably more pertinent for women, given the current financial disadvantages women face and concerns about investing.
“If women’s ability to earn and then save during their working lives is less than men’s, then it’s more important than ever that they have access to the tools to make their money work hard from them,” Devoy said.
“A lack of time and confidence, and fears about the risks, are all obstacles that are stopping women from believing that investing is for them.”
Today marks International Women’s Day.
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