What does financial independence actually look like for women?

This is where a woman can walk out of her job without having to worry about paying the bills – of course, this applies to men as well. Naturally, women worry if they will be employed elsewhere at the same level of income.

This is where a self-employed woman or business owner finds themselves able to take some time out without worrying over being able to afford to continue to pay themselves. Often, women with young children find themselves working late just to keep their business going, let alone taking time off.

This is where you can walk out of a marriage or long-term, financially committed relationship and not be fearful that you will be unable to keep the roof over your head, which for women is their biggest concern, especially if they have children or have taken a step back from their career to support a partner.

This is where, though you might be in a full-time career and have children, your partner and yourself have made financial decisions jointly and you still have money to spend without having to ask permission.

This is where you get to choose to take time out to look after your elderly parents if necessary, or you can pay for a career yourself if they don’t have the ability.

This is where you get to choose when to stop work, or slow down, not based on whether your partner stops or even has to work longer hours than they currently do.

The future of female finance is in our hands

Female Financial Independence should be our top priority. We must lead our daughters and our granddaughters to believe that there is a different way and that we do not just accept the way things were done many years ago.

Why all women should be striving for financial independence

Scottish Widows’ Women & Retirement 2020 report (*1) states that 59% of women aged over 30 are saving adequately – at least 12% of their income. This is the highest figure from the respected life insurance and pension group’s annual insight, which started in 2005. However, the pension gap is still there between men and women, with 54% of men investing compared to 46% of women. And that does not take into account the amounts invested, as women are generally paid less, and are more likely to have gaps in employment and work part time. Scottish Widows found that the difference was £100,000 invested in pensions over a 44-year career, meaning men had more money in the piggy bank to live off of in retirement.

But seven out of 10 people aged over 90 are women. Yes, women tend to live longer, therefore we have even more reason to make sure that more funds are available.

Women in the past have tended to rely on their partners to deal with the financial decisions. It was not until 1975 women in Britain were allowed to open their own bank account. But we are finding more couples are making decisions together, or the female is holding the purse strings and therefore, wanting to make educated financial decisions. Women have every reason to make sure their financial future is secure. They tend to have gaps in employment after looking after their children, meaning many will have a reduced pensionable income. But, generally speaking, women are living longer and surviving their partners, they often have jobs that are based on their passion not how much they earn, they are more generous in nature (not putting their financial needs first but their family’s wants) and, they are less likely to take risks with their money.

How can the female financial independence situation be improved and made more equal?

This starts with financial education and understanding what the options or paths we take can mean for our long term financial outcomes. Women often making decisions on what is based on what is best for those around them, not what is best for them in the long term.

For example, a couple deciding for one person to look after the children full time. This should mean that their pension contributions are still made, even if by the income of the other individuals salary. Their income becomes their income. Is the relationship set up in that nature? What conversations have been had to enable that set up?

What is female financial independence?

It is whatever allows the individual to feel that they aren’t feeling out of control of their finances. This could be not having to ask their partner for money to get their hair cut or be that they could leave their partner financially set up a new home without the need of the other…. Female financial independence is as simple or as far you the individual feels in control and secure.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *