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Women and money
By Tammy Barton

Women have a different financial experience than menBudgeting and saving is important for everyone, but women need to be especially vigilant about saving for rainy days, time out of the workforce and eventual retirement.

A study of Australians last year found that women aged under 30 represent the most likely demographic to experience money problems. Many young women struggle to make ends meet and have no savings to fall back on.

This trend has a habit of continuing throughout a woman’s life. By the time an Australian woman reaches the end of her working life she’s likely to have about one-third less in superannuation savings than the average male retiree.

There are a number reasons for this. Average full-time female earnings are lower than that of males and women are more likely than men to be employed in part-time and casual work. Women are also more likely to have periods of absence from the paid workforce while they raise their families, and to have sole parenting responsibilities. Not to mention, women experience more pressure than men to conform to fashion, beauty and social trends.

A woman in her twenties might be tempted to delay thinking about saving for her retirement for a few decades. Well, here’s a sobering thought: The age pension is a safety net for retirees, but it will not necessarily provide for a comfortable retirement. According to the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (AFSA) a retired individual needs about $40,000 a year if they'd like their budget to include items such as entertainment, a car, clothes, private health insurance and holidays. The age pension is worth barely half that.

Despite rapidly changing social roles, it’s extremely important for women to recognise that their financial journey is likely to be different to that of their male counterparts. The sooner you establish good money management habits, the more financially prosperous your life will be, all the way to retirement and beyond.

Five quick money savings tips for women:

1. Set your financial goals.

2. Create a budget.

3. Save up for the things you want - get rid of your credit card.

4. Never go shopping without a list.

5. Start investing for retirement sooner rather than later.

The Government's Money Smart website also includes useful resources for women wanting to get a better handle on their money.

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