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Take charge of your financial future

Unpacking topical issues and how they impact ordinary South Africans on Women’s Day.

As we celebrate National Women’s Month and the role that women play within society, it’s also an appropriate time for all South African women to take stock of their finances and own their financial security and success.

What are the day-to-day financial struggles women face in South Africa?

According to the 2017 Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor, 50% of women consider themselves single mothers, and only 16% of these women receive financial support from the children’s father. This highlights the urgent need for women to secure their financial futures by making sure they seek out quality advice and draw up a financial plan. Financial education and self-discipline are the keys to financial success.

Women need to take control of their finances

Many women still rely on others – their spouse, partner or parents – to take care of them financially. But the reality is that South Africa has a high divorce rate, so relying on a partner is no guarantee of security. In a recent DailyWorth survey of 10 000 women, 60% said their investing and planning skills are below average. This Women’s Day, women should particularly consider two critical elements – how best to protect your income-earning ability and how best to save for retirement. Remember that your income and your family’s lifestyle can be severely impacted by severe illnesses, disability or even death – and you need to make sure you are covered for these risks. The fact that women tend to outlive men by several years highlights women’s greater need for long-term savings.   

On a personal note…

Women must empower themselves and create their own financial future. There is no magic formula, just proper financial planning and discipline. It starts with preparing a household budget and settling your debt. Then ensure you have disability and critical illness cover in place and start saving for the future. Professional financial advice is available for everyone and is not limited to the wealthy. Take control of your financial situation this Women’s Month by speaking to a financial advisor.

Madelein Marais is legal advisor at Old Mutual Personal Finance.

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