Taking the time to improve our financial wellbeing is often the last thing we feel like doing. Our lives are busy and for most there’s more enjoyable ways to spend time.
But it’s critically important as financial issues can hover like a dark cloud over our psychological wellbeing. In fact, they’re the top trigger of stress among Australians, more so than family dynamics and personal health, according to the Australian Psychological Society.
And concerningly, AMP 2020 Financial Wellness report shows 50% of Australians carry some anxiety about their finances, with women more financially stressed than men.
According to the research, approximately one in five female employees reported severe or moderate levels of financial stress in 2020, almost double the figure recorded for male employees (11%).
Younger women are particularly at risk, with 23% of those aged 18 to 34 reporting severe or moderate levels of financial stress in 2020, almost three times the number of male employees (8%) in the equivalent age group.
How can women improve their financial wellbeing?
Improvement, like with so many things in life, starts with education and knowledge.
We encourage women to take action – utilise the many available online resources to improve their understanding of key financial drivers, including superannuation, debt and cashflow management, insurance and basic investment principles.
Women should also take the time to set goals and put a plan in place to achieve them – connecting finances with goals helps us engage with our finances, and then having a plan to achieve these goals can significantly ease stress.
Employers also have a big role to play in supporting their female workforce, and the unique challenges they face.
We know, for example, that women are more stressed about their finances in the months leading up to having a baby, than they are a year after the child is born. Many expectant mothers are confused about parental leave policies and what they are entitled to claim. This makes budgeting and planning-ahead difficult – causing significant financial stress.
Employer programs designed around cashflow management and budgeting for expectant mothers are highly beneficial for women.
Additionally, understanding that women carry significant responsibilities beyond work. They’re often the primary care giver and time is a precious commodity. Employers can provide access to online tools and information/education that can be easily accessed at a time convenient to the user.
We also know that women retire with significantly less super than men, and are concerned about not having enough money in retirement. Education programs which help women understand how they can boost their super balances are therefore vital.
It may feel like there’s not enough hours in the day, but there are some reasonably simple things we can do, both individually and with the support of our employer, to improve both our financial and general wellbeing.
This Financy article represents the views of the author only and does not necessarily reflect the views of AMP.