Aneesa Razack, CEO of Share Investing, FNB Wealth and Investments
August is an important month, as it is Women’s Month; and a month that we as women need to utilise in reviewing our savings and investment journey. Saving and investing can be a daunting topic initially, however that age old excuse that ‘someone else will worry about my finances for me is just no longer good enough’. As women, we are more than capable of managing our family savings and investments.
The conventional investment world as we know it has changed. Technology has brought financial literacy and education to our fingertips. With this access to technology, educating once self and staying on top of our finances has become much more achievable, despite some of the challenges we face as women.
FNB data highlights that women utilise savings products more than investment vehicles. The reasons have been attributed to women preferring safer, capital guaranteed vehicles because of lower risk parameters. Women tend to save for emergencies through risk averse long-term savings instruments. This needs to change, as investing one’s savings assists in growing and procuring wealth over the long term. Beating inflation and the increased cost of living, means having a balance of savings and investments, due to higher growth needed to ensure wealth is not losing value over time.
The concept of inflation and the cost of living is exceptionally important in the investment world. Should your funds grow at a rate that is lower than the increase in the cost of living, then your wealth is losing value year after year and that nest egg will depreciate when heading into retirement years. Investing can accelerate growth and put you on a track to achieving long term goals faster and give your children the opportunity to attend their schools and universities of choice.
On average women have longer life expectancies than men do. Which translates to women being the sole decision makers with regards to financial decisions at some point in our lives. Yes, rule of thumb is to always plan and speak about your finances as family or with your spouse, but both spouses need to contribute actively to the financial decision process, and understand the financial decisions being made for the household.
There is still a large percentage of South African women that rely on men for financial decisions and planning, with some women not contributing to the decisions being made. On average we outlive our spouse, and this could mean taking over the finances with no background as to what decisions have been made in the past. This also might mean that incorrect decisions were made in the past and better financial decisions could have been made to achieve healthy retirement nest eggs for yourself and family.
Again, we also need to ensure that the wealth created in the family is correctly protected through instruments like wills and trusts. Planning means being on top of your family finances and should something happen, no adjustments in lifestyle need to take place. Whether you are married, a single mom, working full time or working part time it’s important for every woman to start planning and managing their finances.
Technology means weekly financial webinars, weekly education podcasts and articles as well as advisors a call away. Assistance in building financial knowledge and controlling your financial journey is a click away.
Creating a savings and investment culture among our SA women will not only help us in building financial security, but it will go a long way in increasing the household savings ratio within our lovely country. As South African women we are resilient, strong, and exceptionally capable of taking the finance world by storm and controlling our own destiny.