Property ownership can help prevent poverty in retirement, writes Kate Hill. Image – Shutterstock
  • Women have significantly less superannuation than men
  • Nearly 40% of single women are living in poverty in retirement
  • Retired women more likely than men to re-enter employment

Survey after survey is continuing to show that more females want financial freedom earlier in life – and they want to use property as a vehicle to help them do so.

While the percentage of women who own investment properties has been steadily increasing over the years, little recent research actually exists to determine much more about them, including whether they are single or partnered-up.

Some research, from a few years ago admittedly, identified the fact that only about one-third of Australian investors were females. Plus, the vast majority of investors, at 72 per cent, were married as well.

Back then, there was probably not as much education available for women to learn about property investment, which must be a pre-requisite before deciding to purchase an income-producing piece of real estate.

These days, alas, property education specifically for women still comes up in short in my opinion, which is why I have started to increase my blogs on the matter to start to do my bit to change this situation.

Making a financial plan now

A number of other surveys are also regularly finding that females continue to struggle more than men when it comes to obtaining finance for a property loan, which does seem unbelievable in this day and age.

Some of the reasons for these difficulties include their often-lower salaries as well as sometimes still being asked some completely inappropriate questions about their child-bearing intentions… I mean, really?

But, here’s the thing: women do want to take charge of their financial futures now – long before they have met their ‘significant other’ or even pondered the possibility of having children at some point in the future, if at all.

In fact, according to the Women & Money: Clever Girl Finance Community 2020 Survey Report, two-thirds of females feel optimistic or extremely optimistic about their future financial well-being.

Plus, while nearly 80 per cent expressed confidence in their ability to build long-term wealth, we know that a belief in something, unfortunately, does not necessarily wind up becoming an end result anytime soon.

Of those survey respondents, some 20 per cent were not confident about their own ability to build long-term wealth.

What do you think were some of the reasons for their lack of confidence?

Again, it was that they felt their overall financial literacy wasn’t good enough to allow them to create their own financial independence in the future.

On top of that, some of their other biggest financial concerns were paying down student loans, having no emergency funds available, and poor spending habits more generally.

However, the number one financial concern for all women in the survey – even those who felt quite confident about the future – was having enough savings for their retirement. And their concerns are valid.

Retirement inequity

A Federal Government report found that women retire with significantly less superannuation savings than men – a situation that doesn’t seem to be changing significantly.

According to the Women’s Economic Security In Retirement Report (2020), the average retirement balances at the time of retirement age (64 years) in 2016-17 were $336,360 for men and $277,880 for women.

But, at the age of 65, the average Australian male is expected to live another 19 years while the average woman is expected to live a further 22 years. This means that women’s savings were often not sufficient to support them in retirement…

Fundamentally, the report highlights that Australian women are much more likely to experience poverty in retirement than men. In fact, nearly 40 per cent of elderly single women were living in poverty in Australia in 2012, compared to about 33 per cent for men.

Of course, I wish that no one – female or male – experiences poverty in retirement and I believe strategic property investment can help to prevent it.

The report also found that women are more reliant on the age pension than men as their primary source of income, which is a consequence of the difference in retirement superannuation savings.

Women are also more likely than men to re-enter the workforce following retirement due to financial constraints and women are twice as likely as men to sell their house and move to lower cost accommodation because of tight financial circumstances in retirement, according to the report’s findings.

This type of bleak future should be enough to motivate females of any age to do their best to prevent it ever happening – and, while more is always better, even purchasing one property in your own name can make a huge difference to your financial future.

So, come on ladies, let’s DO THIS!

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Before making any financial decisions, please do your own independent research, taking into account your own situation. This article does not purport to provide financial or taxation advice. See our Terms of Use.

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